Mentor Archetype

A more experienced advisor or confidante to a young, inexperienced character, particularly to a hero.

Even though this character is better skilled, faster and more experienced than The Protagonist, they aren't the Hero, either because they are not The Chosen One or because they have already grown too old for the task. Their role is to introduce a new skill or sharpen the current skills of the protagonist, often hoping to pass the torch because they know their career is coming to an end. This character may die, so that the protagonist can learn to stand on their own two feet.

Compare Big Good where they tend to keep a distance on the hero's quest and run things from the throne.

Named after Mentor, Telemachus' elderly advisor in The Odyssey, who was actually Athena in disguise. For more information concerning "The Mentor" and other narrative archetypes, see Vladmir Propp's theory of narrative.

A list of subtypes can be found on the Mentors page.


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     Comic Books  

  • Shazam, from Shazam!
  • Surprisingly, Wolverine is this to several generations of X-Men, being a father-figure to a number of the teenaged female members.

     Fan Fiction  

  • Takamachi Nanoha Of 2814: Superman is an older advisor for Nanoha. She smugly notes how her mentor can actively assist her "which other Magical Girls only dream about".
  • The Vocaloid fanfiction Vocal Vision has Luka as this for Miku. Also Gakupo for Luka and Haku.
  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality: The archetype is continually referred to as "the mysterious old wizard." Harry gets two, Quirrel and Dumbledore, and Hermione has some frustrations finding someone willing to mentor her. "Dumbledore refused to be my mysterious old wizard, do you know where I can write to request another one?" In the end, they decide that since Hermione is actually the hero of the story, that means Harry is her mysterious old wizard. It helps that it turns out he's technically sixty.
  • In Guardian, Lady Ginnem—the first summoner Lulu guarded in Final Fantasy X—is portrayed this way for Lulu, taking an interest in her while Lulu is living in the temple orphanage and teaching her magic. (Sadly, her Mentor Occupational Hazard is preinstalled by canon.)


  • In Dragon Queen, the old man tries to be this, but is hilariously ineffective.
  • Trope Namer: Mentor himself or possibly Athena herself in The Odyssey.
  • The Sisters of Orion, especially Vasja'ri, in Alterien filled this role for Oberon and the other early Alteriens.
  • A few people played this role for Caspian in Astral Dawn. The most notable mentors he had were Magali, Peleus and Ixchel.
  • Gandalf in "Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" plays this role to Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, and indeed to many of the Fellowship in Lot R.
  • Haymitch Abernathy to Katniss and Peeta in The Hunger Games. All past victors are brought back each year to mentor the new tributes from their district, though Haymitch definitely keeps this up long after the Games themselves are over.
  • A Mage's Power
    • Basilard is a squad five senior. His job is to teach Eric, Tiza, and Nolien how to be proper mercenaries and develop their respective skills.
    • Dengel is a classical example in that he is both older than dirt and regarded as a sage. He teaches Eric high-level and esoteric forms of magic.
  • The Reynard Cycle: Reynard and Isengrim play this role to several characters throughout the series. Notably, Isengrim mentors Reynard, and vice versa.
  • Soul Seekers: Paloma, Daire's grandmother, is this.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, Lone Star was this to the Junior Rangers. Alex realizes how much when he comes to talk Alex out of his My God, What Have I Done? reaction to having caused a death.

     Live Action TV  

  • Angel: Lorne, sort of.
  • Giles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is a watcher. His job is to train a slayer.
  • Megan in Privileged becomes this to the twins as well as their tutor.
  • Hornblower has two important mentor figures in the miniseries adaptation Horatio Hornblower:
    • Captain Pellew takes a special interest in Hornblower because he sees a promising officer in him. It's with the interesting twist that he sometimes pretends to be furious with Horatio just to mess with him. It takes Horatio some time to figure out when Pellew is joking.
    • Matthews is Da Man among lower deck characters. He can offer his insight even to officers who respect him and listen to him because Matthews is experienced, reasonable, respectful and concerned for the good of the ship.
  • In The Shazam!/Isis Hour there was a character actually named (or at least called) "Mentor." And he drove around the country in his RV with a young kid he wasn't related to. And no one ever seemed to find that odd.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Rikidozan to BI Cannon in the Japan Wrestling Association. Unfortunately, he never got to finish the job as he died from a stab infection after a Yakuza attack, causing his two disciples, Giant Baba and Antonio Inoki, to tear the promotion apart in his absence.
  • When his in ring career began to wind down Bobo Brazil took to mentoring the hot new talent and potential superstar Rocky Johnson.
  • Kenta Kobashi served as one to Kenta Kobayashi, the future ace of Pro Wrestling NOAH, prior to his learning excursion to South America. The name similarity was just a coincidence, with the latter going by KENTA to distinguish himself.
  • The Místico gimmick originated around Fray Tormenta mentoring one of his orphans who desired to become a luchador. CMLL had planned for there to be multiple mentored luchadors, starting with El Sagrado, but when he proved to be unconvincing, the angle was abandoned, with Místico being the only reminder of it's existence due to his breakout status.
  • In Gateway Championship Wrestling's latter days, MsChif mentored Jackal and Cabal, originally for the purpose of defeating her enemies, her own mentor Johnny Greenpeace and Daizee Haze, the trainee of her tag team partner. Jackal ended up taking her place in the light heavyweight division when she left too.

  • The six original Turaga from BIONICLE to their respective Toa warriors and the adventure-seeking Takua.

     Video Games  

  • Wynne in Dragon Age: Origins if the player wishes. Verges on a parent/child relationship with a mage protagonist.
  • Kyu in HuniePop…in regards to teaching the player to become a Casanova.


  • In Freefall, Florence explains to Helix that space is unforgiving and he must learn from Sam, who has been there before, and ask Florence whenever he doesn't understand why Sam is doing something. Sam finds it briefly cool to be a mentor before he realizes that it could also be Florence assigning him a watchdog.
  • Lord Frey from Alfdis And Gunnora seems to be something of a mentor to young Alfdis.

     Western Animation  

Alternative Title(s): Mentor, The Mentor