I watched the Grimm’s version of The Frog King because I like to see Faithful Henry come to life in a movie. I was drawn to his character and role in the story because life is a series of existential suffering and problem solving; we need someone who will be there for us to help us get through the challenges. I think of Faithful Henry as a helper or mentor in a hero’s journey. Without him the journey to transformation probably will not take place. A depressed person can turn suicidal if he feels alone in this world. We all need a Faithful Henry either in the outside world (friend, parent, and mentor) as also within; Carol Pearson described this as The Orphan archetype.
The orphan archetype is a part of us that learns to recognize and thus avoid situations that are likely to hurt us. We all have a collection of orphaned or banished selves living in the personal or collective unconscious. Many of this can be brought back into consciousness through analysis and other forms of therapy, gently enriching the psyche; it may act on knowledge the persona cannot even acknowledge having, thus becoming a secret and valuable, but hidden sidekick (Pearson, 11).
Yes, we need some help from beyond our familiar selves, both in the outer world and the inner realms. Socially, it is crucial that we are able to admit our limits and ask for help. Begging is totally honorable when on the quest.
On the inner level, there is knowing beyond knowing. That is, inner guides are available and can be enormously helpful. Again, the crucial step is asking for assistance. Whether this is journal-keeping, prayer, meditation, or pondering one’s dreams, we can work at being open to guidance larger than our own brilliance.
Faithful Henry definitely adds an interesting dimension to this story, doesn’t he? I like your idea of him filling the role of a mentor. If we take all of the characters to be aspects of our inner psyche, then it almost seems to me like Faithful Henry is our inner heart or soul (our own inner mentor or Higher Self). He is the part of us that waits, in silent hope, for our egos to be overcome and our true self to blossom. I love the emphasis on faith here, and also strength. In a way, Faithful Henry is what holds the whole narrative together, if we think about those iron bars, carefully guarding and holding his heart until the right time.
Pearson, Carol. Awakening the Heroes Within Twelve Archetypes to Help Us Find Ourselves and Transform Our World. HarperElixer, 2012. https://lapl.overdrive.com/media/980166
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