Trope Workshop:"There and Back" Story

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Trope Workshop Guidelines

The "There and Back" Story is based on the journey of a small group of characters from starting point A to destination B, usually with intermediate stops along the way. The journey will inevitably force this group to interact with periphery characters or locations, unrelated to the group and their quest or other periphery character met long the journey.

The intermediate periphery interactions in the journey will consist little more than an introduction of the character/location, it idiosyncrasies, sometimes a small easy resolve subplot and a quick departure to hurry to their goal. These periphery characters often can not support an entire story story line by themselves, but the journey's necessity of constant travel, thereby a lack of substantive interaction with each characters, justifies the substantive nature of the interaction. A tenuous link between the outwardly unconnected locations or characters met along the way is sometime made by artifacts or piece of informations given to the main character, which becomes crucial in a subsequent encounter with another unrelated character of location, however, the need for the join is generally the only substantive link.

The movies in the class of trope are can be the classic type of hiking movies (like Lord of the Rings), a car race movie (where there can by a similarity with The Big Race trope, were one race over various locations dominates the entity of the story), or even a car road trip story etc.

Compare with Hero's Journey.

Examples of "There and Back" Story include:


  • Fury Road (2015) - Whilst this 2015 Australian post-apocalyptic action film is basically a trip over to the Swampland (Green Place) and then back again to the citadel. The intermediate encounters are interspersed with extended road fight sequences, but the general premise of this trope still hold true.
  • The Great Race (1965) - This movie is about a road race from New York to Paris Race, which has intermediate stops at various intermediate location to allow the characters to interact with each other and local peripheral characters. In this story, the "back" element is assumed, but not featured.


  • Around the World in 80 Days - The start and end destination, i.e. London, are the same, so the "back" element of this "There and Back" trope is non-existent, however this is basically a land and sea journey version of a "There and Back" trope.
  • The Hobbit - The book consists of going from Hobbiton to the dragon lair, indeed Frodo's book about the journey is called "There and back, A Hobbit's Tale".
  • The Lord of the Rings - The book is spent travelling from Hobbiton to Mordor with the ring, encountering peripheral characters who only offer objects to assist the hobbits for future problem situation they encounter later on in the journey. After the ring is destroyed, the end journey on an eagle summoned by Gandalf is comparative painless, leading to the question being asked of why they could not just travel there by eagle to begin with.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

Western Animation

  • Dora the Explorer - Each episode presents a journey the protagonists must take to complete a goal. The journey, the details are given by Map, will include two primary landmarks (usually a man-made structure followed by a natural obstacle) that must be passed before Dora and Boots can reach their destination, with challenges such as tasks or puzzles along the way. The episode always revolves around successfully reaching the target location and completing their quest task, sometimes including a glossed over return journey, with Dora and Boots singing the "We Did It!" song in triumph.
  • Go, Diego, Go! - Each episode presents a journey which must be undertaken to complete a goal. The details of the journey are provided by Click, but usually include two intermediate locations along the way, intermixed with Diego generally saving animal he meets along the way, with sometimes a journey back which is glossed over. In the end Diego announces that the mission is complete and orates a moral message about saving the planet.

Other Media