Five Rules of Fellowship (the Questing Kind)

We’ve read ’em, we love ’em, we want more of ’em.  Those books where a rag-tag group of people journey with each other towards a destination, a quest, a mission – an adventure.  These are my favourite kind because we are treated to – not only an epic adventure – but a view of relationships, evolution of mind, heart and spirit and sacrifices made when we enter into these types of stories.  I call these Fellowship stories because they always contain a group of three or more people travelling together towards a goal.  We all are familiar with the Lord of the Rings – probably the most well-known Fellowship story of all. As I’ve read these types of books over the years, I’ve come to notice 5 unspoken rules about Fellowship stories.  But before we get into them, what do I mean by fellowship?

Fellowship is defined as:

1. the state of sharing mutual interests, experiences, activities, etc

So in the case of these stories, the mutual interest is a focused goal, usually to save the world, destroy the one ring, defeat evil, fight zombies, find a cure,  and so on.  The mutual experiences and activities are the challenges the group faces on their journey.  I haven’t met a single person who doesn’t love the Fellowship type stories, whether they be a movie or a book.  It is compelling to witness how a group stays strong or dissolves due to circumstances outside of their control.  We see the true nature of character in group dynamics; who is lacking courage, who has malice in their heart, who is loyal, loving and brave.  I am drawn to these types of stories (as I am sure we all are) because let’s face it, we are drawn to each other – we humans need each other.  As an introvert I revel in solitude – but only for so long.  Eventually I will seek human companionship.  We create fellowships for ourselves without our even knowing it – our group of friends/family who we spend the most time with.  We recognize ourselves in these stories, relating to one or two characters within.  Who we cheer for, who we mistrust, who we miss when they are gone from the story can reveal something of our inner selves.

Let’s dive in to the five rules shall we?

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The Five Rules of Fellowship:

  1. There must always be a group of three or more people
    • It can start out as one or two but eventually, a group of three or more is formed along the way
  2. There must be a journey with a mission involved 
    • the journey has to be a physical one towards a destination (with the added bonus of an emotional and spiritual journey developing along the way)
    • the mission usually involves saving the world, kingdom, city, country, another being or soul
  3. The group gets separated along the way 
    • either by choice or by force
    • it can be the entire group splitting or it might just be one or two people who leave the group
  4. Someone in the group eventually (*usually) betrays another 
    • betrays the whole group or an individual
    • this betrayal might be forced (blackmailed or seduced by power)
    • betrayal might also by by choice (they put themselves before the group to save their own ass)
    • * I say usually because not every Fellowship story has a betrayal – though most do
  5. Someone in the group will eventually sacrifice themselves for the group
    • it could be the betrayer who redeems themselves in the end with an unselfish act
    • the sacrifice is usually made so the rest of the group can be saved to finish their journey

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These are the 5 rules I’ve observed that are standard throughout each story.  Is there a rule you have observed that I haven’t listed?  If so, I would love to know.  Write it down in the comment section below.

To end this post I want to list the books of an author who writes a lot of Fellowship stories.  Stephen King.  He loves them and I love him for loving them.  His Fellowship stories are:

  • IT
  • The Cell
  • The Stand
  • Stand by Me
  • The Mist

Other Fellowship stories I’ve read that follow the above rules?

  • The Passage Trilogy – Justin Cronin
  • Dies the Fire – S.M. Stirling
  • Swan Song – Robert McCammon
  • The Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum
  • The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
  • The Walking Dead (graphic novels) – Robert Kirkman
  • The Braided Path – Chris Wooding
  • A Song of Ice and Fire series – George R.R. Martin
  • Tigana – Guy Gavriel Kay
  • The Last Unicorn – Peter S. Beagle
  • Fire of Heaven Trilogy – Russell Kirkpatrick

I know I’ve read many throughout the years and can’t remember them all – but these are the ones that stick out in my head. What Fellowship stories have you read?  I would love to know so I can add them to my To Read list.

 

This post brought to you by the letter F and the A to Z Challenge.

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About Geeky Book Snob

Learning stuff since birth. Happy introvert who likes socializing when she's not busy being an introvert who likes to read.

Posted on April 7, 2014, in General Musings & Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Great topic idea for the letter ‘F’ 🙂

  2. Sukanya Ramanujan

    Makes notes- not sure if there needs to be betrayal but separation is a rule. Reminds me of another great book- tigana by guy Kay
    Wait it’s on your list

  3. I’m sharing this with my sister. This describes her parody to a T.

  4. This is also my favorite type of story to read! I grew up going on adventures of all kinds with my brother and sister, and these type of plot lines almost allow me to recapture the camaraderie and shared adventure of my childhood. I think the original “Star Wars” film, based on George Lucas’ novel, shows a great example of this, as they travel from planet to planet to reach the Death Star in an effort to save the galaxy.

  5. I quite like Steven Brust’s The Phoenix Guards (itself an homage to The Three Musketeers), layers of pseudo-history and all.

  6. Great article. Just though I’d mention that The Dark Tower series by Mr. King is another “Fellowship” story of epic proportions.

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