I was super disappointed when folklore was removed from the Historic Preservation department. I love a good legend, or myth, or folktale (I think most historians do). We all have stories, we grow up on stories, we make our own stories. The world is layered with myths and legends. Some things are built on them. Royal families make their claim to a throne through mythical beings. And they don’t have to huge, country or planet wide. We make our own, much smaller, personal legends. Everyone has stories that their family or friends know, that have made the rounds and reached the status of legend. You don’t even have to finish it, and everyone knows. I can say one word to certain people and they’ll start laughing because it’s a story so ingrained in us. And of course they have to spread their favorite story about me to everyone we meet.
The breaking down of legends and stories into components is fascinating. I love TV Tropes. Besides being funny, it’s a fascinating look into how legends grow. You can find the source of many common pop culture references there. A lot of them have transcended the media they came from. TV Tropes does support the idea that every story is the same. But while there may be only a handful of stories, told over and over, I think that’s only when breaking them down into components. The very basics of a story are like a skeleton. What’s put on those bones is what really matters, what makes a story great. Like Avengers: Infinity War. It’s the Hero’s Journey, one of the most basic and common structures for a story there is. But while Infinity War followed that structure, they used Thanos, the villain, to walk the Journey. It’s called the Avengers but the movie is really Thanos’ story. So yeah, that same skeleton is there, but the way it was fleshed out makes it different. Maybe even makes it legendary.
So that’s what we do as individuals and as a group. We build on the basics, but find new or unique ways to flesh them out. Maybe we’ll make something legendary.