Storytelling Element - Restore

Quick! What do you get when you have a Chosen One or a One True King that’s trying to overthrow an Evil King or Chairman or whatever your Antagonist is in order to put things back the way they’re supposed to be?

You have a Restoration Story.

The Goal to Restore things (either put things back the way they were or fix something that’s been broken) is actually pretty limited, since the motivation itself is so narrow in scope. That said, it can be pursued in any number of interesting ways and feeds easily into a bunch of other motivations that can be suitably engaging for your audience.

Let’s take a look at the classic example of the One True King and his mission to claim the throne.

This can be done one of two ways: either the One True King was king before (or his family were kings before) and he’s going back to the kingdom in question to take his rightful place, usually accompanied by a band of plucky sidekicks


the One True King is unrelated to the current sociopolitical situation and has been Chosen by an Artifact, a Deity, or a Suspiciously Iconic Power to lead these people, whether or not he wants to.

In either case, your Hero is meant to occupy that throne and lead those people, and when he gets there he will likely return the kingdom to its former glory, either by Fisher King rules (the Rightful King solves things by simply being where he’s supposed to be) or through some application of the strengths and skills he was forced to learn on the way to the throne and which the False King never had. The fact that this is more or less a foregone conclusion doesn’t mean that the journey to get to the throne isn’t interesting or even that he might not fail. The Risk of Failure in this case seems cataclysmic to the character, but really the worst result is that a group of people is placed under greater duress or worse conditions until such a time as a new Rebel Leader or Chosen One rises up to lead them in the right direction again. That is - failure might be the end of this character's personal arc with this goal in mind, but it’s not the end of the story.

The alternate application of this Goal is to Fix the Broken Thing, which is usually an artifact of symbol of great power that will in turn influence the situation and make it better in general. This common enough that it shows up in kid’s shows and comics with fair regularity; the macguffin is in pieces either due to it being supposedly evil or as a plan from the distant past to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Wrong People and the protagonists need to put it back together again to make their situation better.

And that’s pretty much the gist of it.

What movies, shows, books, games have you seen a theme of Restoration in, and was it used well, or did it fall through somehow?

#Elements #Storytelling

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