If you had to choose a mentor from the ranks of fiction, who would you choose?
There are so many to pick from, it was a bit difficult to narrow things down far enough to create a poll. So, I went with my own geek leanings: Doctor Who, Dumbledore, and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock.
Not going to lie. I really thought it was going to be Dumbledore.
I mean, true, he almost got Harry Potter killed a bunch of times and led him into Voldemort’s murderous arms like a lamb to the slaughter. But Dumbledore is amazingly magical and lives in the world’s coolest castle!
I can kind of understand not wanting to be Sherlock’s protégé. You would learn a lot, but it would be terrible. I don’t know if anyone would be strong enough to make it through that apprenticeship with any sort of self-esteem left. I suppose if you wanted to be a world class investigator, it might be worth the headache, but as I don’t want to delve into the world of murder… I’d probably avoid him.
Now, I can’t speak to every Whovian’s heart, but having the Doctor as your mentor would mean traveling in the TARDIS. So, not only do you get thousands of years of knowledge spanning across the reaches of time and space, you also get to travel across the reaches of time and space.
Granted, hanging with the Doctor will mean that every time something fun happens, someone’s probably going to be trying to kill you too. You could get lost on a random planet, zapped permanently back in time, have your memory permanently wiped, or be taken to an alternate dimension. But just imagine the scenery you’d get to see along the way!
The question of the perfect mentor is also interesting to consider as an author. If your story calls for a source of sage wisdom, what kind of knower of all things do you want to write? What’s going to be of most use to your characters while still propelling the story forward? What is going to appeal to your audience? Should your mentor actually be super intelligent, or are they a faker?
In each of my series, I’ve used a different sort of mentor. From a wise old teacher to a traveler between worlds.
Writing each mentor has been a learning experience. Imparting pearls of wisdom is, after all, a very important job. And the information given can change the course of a story and a life.
If you were going to trust one fictional character to teach you, who would you choose?
Also, head over to Twitter and vote in this week's poll:
What is the best way for a protagonist to go out?
Glorious battle, self-sacrifice, aging in the prologue.