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Going west means our hero(es) will be coming from the east, which means the sun will rise behind them. It is widely accepted that the sun is a metaphor for light and all that is good and righteous. Similarly, dawn is a metaphor for new beginnings and hopes. So going west is a sort of VisualMetaphor, showing that our hero is bringing new hopes for better life with them. Furthermore, from a cinematic prospective, it makes for a very [[RuleOfCool heroic and awesome]] shot.

Another reason has to do with recent history. When the European nations entered their expansionist periods, they started going north, east, and south. To the west was a vast and dangerous ocean. When Europe was running out of room, they tried going west and found a continent that was entirely new. So "west" became the direction of exploration, challenge, and great rewards. As America became colonized and then independent, and the United States purchased the Louisiana territory, west was STILL waiting for European-descended explorers, and held challenge and land for anyone who could defend their territory. This concept was further promoted by the discovery of gold in the western and northwestern mountains, prompting [[GoldFever the Gold Rushes]] as people flocked successively further and further westward to seek riches and fortune on the frontier. These events are still recent in a sense to the human race, and so "west" has become associated with "frontier", "adventure" and "unknown" tropes, and the braving of great risks for great rewards.

to:

Going west means our hero(es) will be coming from the east, which means the sun will rise behind them. It is widely accepted that the sun is a metaphor for light and all that is good and righteous. Similarly, dawn is a metaphor for new beginnings and hopes. So going west is a sort of VisualMetaphor, showing that our hero is bringing new hopes for better life with them. Furthermore, from a cinematic prospective, perspective, it makes for a very [[RuleOfCool heroic and awesome]] shot.

Another reason has to do with recent history. When the European nations entered their expansionist periods, they started going north, east, and south. To the west was a vast and dangerous ocean. When Europe was running out of room, they tried going west and found a continent that was entirely new. So "west" became the direction of exploration, challenge, and great rewards. As America became colonized and then independent, and the United States purchased the Louisiana territory, the west was STILL waiting for European-descended explorers, explorers and held challenge and land for anyone who could defend their territory. This concept was further promoted by the discovery of gold in the western and northwestern mountains, prompting [[GoldFever the Gold Rushes]] as people flocked successively further and further westward to seek riches and fortune on the frontier. These events are still recent in a sense to the human race, and so "west" has become associated with "frontier", "adventure" and "unknown" tropes, and the braving of great risks for great rewards.



'''Note:''' this trope is for when the journey west has symbolism and meaning beyond just "Character X happens to go west". For examples to count, they have to imply a new life, a quest or an adventure of some sort. If our heroes are heading west only at the end of the plot this is RidingIntoTheSunset.

to:

'''Note:''' this trope is for when the journey west has symbolism and meaning beyond just "Character X happens to go west". For examples to count, they have to imply a new life, a quest quest, or an adventure of some sort. If our heroes are heading west only at the end of the plot this is RidingIntoTheSunset.



* ''Anime/{{Mushrambo}}'': The heroes head west to Shinzo, where the last human city is, in order to save humanity. Also throughout the show Yakumo repeatedly says something along the lines of "always going west, to Shinzo".

to:

* ''Anime/{{Mushrambo}}'': The heroes head west to Shinzo, where the last human city is, in order to save humanity. Also throughout the show show, Yakumo repeatedly says something along the lines of "always going west, to Shinzo".



* ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'': Inverts this as the heroes journey east and then south. Probably symbolic of the fact that they, in contrast to the vast majority of epic stories, set out to ''[[EastwardEndeavor get rid]]'' of something rather than to ''find'' something. At the very end of the book though [[spoiler:most of the characters do in fact travel all the way west--to either spend the rest of their eternal life there, or to die there]].

to:

* ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'': Inverts this as the heroes journey east and then south. Probably symbolic of the fact that they, in contrast to the vast majority of epic stories, set out to ''[[EastwardEndeavor get rid]]'' of something rather than to ''find'' something. At the very end of the book though [[spoiler:most of the characters do in fact travel all the way west--to west -- to either spend the rest of their eternal life there, there or to die there]].



* In ''Series/{{Vikings}}'', Ragnar Lodbrok is an ambitious man of humble origins who is dissatisfied with the established Norse practices of tending poor homesteads and raiding bankrupt villages to the east. Instead he looks west, dreaming of the riches and glory that await anyone brave enough to sail the open sea.

to:

* In ''Series/{{Vikings}}'', Ragnar Lodbrok is an ambitious man of humble origins who is dissatisfied with the established Norse practices of tending poor homesteads and raiding bankrupt villages to the east. Instead Instead, he looks west, dreaming of the riches and glory that await anyone brave enough to sail the open sea.



* ''VideoGame/TheOregonTrail'': The game puts you in the shoes of a pioneer from the 1800s and has you pack your wagon with goods, weapons and provisions and set off with your family from Independence, Missouri, on a long, difficult journey following the westward trails across the Great Plains, the deserts and the mountains. The trek is absurdly dangerous, but those who survive to see its end will be rewarded with a new life and a homestead in the promised land of the fertile Willamette Valley, on the westernmost coast of the North American continent.

to:

* ''VideoGame/TheOregonTrail'': The game puts you in the shoes of a pioneer from the 1800s and has you pack your wagon with goods, weapons weapons, and provisions and set off with your family from Independence, Missouri, on a long, difficult journey following the westward trails across the Great Plains, the deserts and the mountains. The trek is absurdly dangerous, but those who survive to see its end will be rewarded with a new life and a homestead in the promised land of the fertile Willamette Valley, on the westernmost coast of the North American continent.


* ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheLightningThief'': The prophecy given before the quest starts with "You shall go west, and face the god who has turned".

to:

* ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheLightningThief'': ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians: The Lightning Thief'': The prophecy given before the quest starts with "You shall go west, and face the god who has turned".


Added DiffLines:

* Book 2 of ''Literature/SonOfTheMob'' starts with Vince, Kendra, and Alex making a cross-country trip to California, where they will be starting college. Vince's movie script version of the scene describes them as {{Riding into the Sun|set}}rise for symbolic reasons, but Kendra points out that would be impossible since they're going west.


-->''Go West! Life is peaceful there...''
-->''Go West! In the open air...''
-->''Go West! Where the skies are blue...''
-->''Go West! This is what we're gonna do...''
-->--'''Go West''', ''Music/PetShopBoys''

to:

-->''Go ->''Go West! Life is peaceful there...\\
Go West! In the open air...\\
Go West! Where the skies are blue...\\
Go West! This is what we're gonna do...
''
-->''Go West! In the open air...''
-->''Go West! Where the skies are blue...''
-->''Go West! This is what we're gonna do...''
-->--'''Go
-->-- '''Go West''', ''Music/PetShopBoys''


* ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'': Inverts this as the heroes journey east and then south. Probably symbolic of the fact that they, in contrast to the vast majority of epic stories, set out to ''[[EastwardEndeavor get rid]]'' of something rather than to ''find'' something. At the very end of the book though [[spoiler:most of the characters do in fact travel all the way west - to either spend the rest of their eternal life there, or to die there]].

to:

* ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'': Inverts this as the heroes journey east and then south. Probably symbolic of the fact that they, in contrast to the vast majority of epic stories, set out to ''[[EastwardEndeavor get rid]]'' of something rather than to ''find'' something. At the very end of the book though [[spoiler:most of the characters do in fact travel all the way west - to west--to either spend the rest of their eternal life there, or to die there]].



* At the start of the second series of ''Literature/WarriorCats'', the main characters receive a sign that they must head toward a place where the sun drowns in the water each night - i.e. journey to the west, toward the sea.
* ''Literature/TheWonderfulWizardOfOz'': The heroes head west twice - once to Emerald City and again to defeat the [[AddedAlliterativeAppeal Wicked Witch of the West]].

to:

* At the start of the second series of ''Literature/WarriorCats'', the main characters receive a sign that they must head toward a place where the sun drowns in the water each night - i.night--i.e. journey to the west, toward the sea.
* ''Literature/TheWonderfulWizardOfOz'': The heroes head west twice - once twice--once to Emerald City and again to defeat the [[AddedAlliterativeAppeal Wicked Witch of the West]].


Added DiffLines:

* ''Literature/{{Redwall}}'': In ''Mossflower'', Martin the Warrior and his companions travel west from the Mossflower Wood to the mountain of Salamandastron, looking for a smith who can fix his sword. Part of the riddle that guides their journey tells them to follow the setting sun. Other books also feature westward quests to Salamandastron, which sits on the coast of the LeftJustifiedFantasyMap.

Added DiffLines:

-->''Go West! Life is peaceful there...''
-->''Go West! In the open air...''
-->''Go West! Where the skies are blue...''
-->''Go West! This is what we're gonna do...''
-->--'''Go West''', ''Music/PetShopBoys''


* ''VideoGame/TheOregonTrail'': The game puts you in the shoes of a pioneer from the 1800's and has you pack your wagon with goods, weapons and provisions and set off with your family from Independence, Missouri, on a long, difficult journey following the westward trails across the Great Plains, the deserts and the mountains. The trek is absurdly dangerous, but those who survive to see its end will be rewarded with a new life and a homestead in the promised land of the fertile Willamette Valley, on the westernmost coast of the North American continent.

to:

* ''VideoGame/TheOregonTrail'': The game puts you in the shoes of a pioneer from the 1800's 1800s and has you pack your wagon with goods, weapons and provisions and set off with your family from Independence, Missouri, on a long, difficult journey following the westward trails across the Great Plains, the deserts and the mountains. The trek is absurdly dangerous, but those who survive to see its end will be rewarded with a new life and a homestead in the promised land of the fertile Willamette Valley, on the westernmost coast of the North American continent.


This trope is frequently used to start a CowboyEpisode. A LeftJustifiedFantasyMap can lead to this if the characters are interested in crossing the sea. For the video game equivalent see WhenAllElseFailsGoRight.

to:

This trope is frequently used to start a CowboyEpisode. A LeftJustifiedFantasyMap can lead to this if the characters are interested in crossing the sea. For the video game equivalent see WhenAllElseFailsGoRight. Contrast EastwardEndeavor.



* ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'': Inverts this as the heroes journey east and then south. Probably symbolic of the fact that they, in contrast to the vast majority of epic stories, set out to ''get rid of'' something rather than to ''find'' something. At the very end of the book though [[spoiler:most of the characters do in fact travel all the way west - to either spend the rest of their eternal life there, or to die there]].

to:

* ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'': Inverts this as the heroes journey east and then south. Probably symbolic of the fact that they, in contrast to the vast majority of epic stories, set out to ''get rid of'' ''[[EastwardEndeavor get rid]]'' of something rather than to ''find'' something. At the very end of the book though [[spoiler:most of the characters do in fact travel all the way west - to either spend the rest of their eternal life there, or to die there]].


Another reason has to do with recent history. When the European nations entered their expansionist periods, they started going north, east, and south. To the west was a vast and dangerous ocean. When Europe was running out of room, they tried going west and found a continent that was entirely new. So "west" became the direction of exploration, challenge, and great rewards. As America became colonized and then independent, and the United States purchased the Louisiana territory, west was STILL waiting for European-descended explorers, and held challenge and land for anyone who could defend their territory. This concept was further promoted by the discovery of gold in the western and northwestern mountains, prompting the Gold Rushes as people flocked successively further and further westward to seek riches and fortune on the frontier. These events are still recent in a sense to the human race, and so "west" has become associated with "frontier", "adventure" and "unknown" tropes, and the braving of great risks for great rewards.

to:

Another reason has to do with recent history. When the European nations entered their expansionist periods, they started going north, east, and south. To the west was a vast and dangerous ocean. When Europe was running out of room, they tried going west and found a continent that was entirely new. So "west" became the direction of exploration, challenge, and great rewards. As America became colonized and then independent, and the United States purchased the Louisiana territory, west was STILL waiting for European-descended explorers, and held challenge and land for anyone who could defend their territory. This concept was further promoted by the discovery of gold in the western and northwestern mountains, prompting [[GoldFever the Gold Rushes Rushes]] as people flocked successively further and further westward to seek riches and fortune on the frontier. These events are still recent in a sense to the human race, and so "west" has become associated with "frontier", "adventure" and "unknown" tropes, and the braving of great risks for great rewards.


* ''VideoGame/TheOregonTrail'': The game puts you in the shoes of a pioneer from the 1800's and has you pack your wagon with goods, weapons and provisions and set off with your family from Independence, Missouri, on a long, difficult journey following the westward trails across the Great Plains, the deserts and the mountains. The trek is absurdly dangerous, but those who survive to see its end will be rewarded with a homestead in the promised land of the fertile Willamette Valley, on the westernmost coast of the North American continent.

to:

* ''VideoGame/TheOregonTrail'': The game puts you in the shoes of a pioneer from the 1800's and has you pack your wagon with goods, weapons and provisions and set off with your family from Independence, Missouri, on a long, difficult journey following the westward trails across the Great Plains, the deserts and the mountains. The trek is absurdly dangerous, but those who survive to see its end will be rewarded with a new life and a homestead in the promised land of the fertile Willamette Valley, on the westernmost coast of the North American continent.

Added DiffLines:

* ''VideoGame/TheOregonTrail'': The game puts you in the shoes of a pioneer from the 1800's and has you pack your wagon with goods, weapons and provisions and set off with your family from Independence, Missouri, on a long, difficult journey following the westward trails across the Great Plains, the deserts and the mountains. The trek is absurdly dangerous, but those who survive to see its end will be rewarded with a homestead in the promised land of the fertile Willamette Valley, on the westernmost coast of the North American continent.


Another reason has to do with recent history. When Europe was in an expansionist movement, they started going north, east, and south. To the west was a vast and dangerous ocean. When Europe was running out of room, they tried going west and found a continent that was entirely new. So "west" became the direction of exploration, challenge, and great rewards. As America became colonized and purchased the Louisiana territory, west was STILL waiting for European-descended explorers, and held challenge and land for anyone who could defend their territory. These events are still recent in a sense to the human race, and so "west" has become associated with "frontier", "adventure" and "unknown" tropes.

to:

Another reason has to do with recent history. When Europe was in an the European nations entered their expansionist movement, periods, they started going north, east, and south. To the west was a vast and dangerous ocean. When Europe was running out of room, they tried going west and found a continent that was entirely new. So "west" became the direction of exploration, challenge, and great rewards. As America became colonized and then independent, and the United States purchased the Louisiana territory, west was STILL waiting for European-descended explorers, and held challenge and land for anyone who could defend their territory. This concept was further promoted by the discovery of gold in the western and northwestern mountains, prompting the Gold Rushes as people flocked successively further and further westward to seek riches and fortune on the frontier. These events are still recent in a sense to the human race, and so "west" has become associated with "frontier", "adventure" and "unknown" tropes.
tropes, and the braving of great risks for great rewards.


* ''Literature/JourneyToTheWest'' is an ancient [[note]]published in the 16th century, but inspired by older events and legends dating back the the 7th[[/note]] Chinese story about Xuanzang and his mission to find the scrolls of Buddha and bring them back home. He and his protectors go far west, beyond the mountains, to find the scrolls. The reason for Xuanzang heading west is fundamentally geographical, as he traveled from China to Buddhism's place of origin in India. Given its age, it's most likely the TropeMaker of significant westward journeys.

to:

* ''Literature/JourneyToTheWest'' is an ancient [[note]]published in the 16th century, but inspired by older events and legends dating back to the the 7th[[/note]] 7th century[[/note]] Chinese story about Xuanzang and his mission to find the scrolls of Buddha and bring them back home. He and his protectors go far west, beyond the mountains, to find the scrolls. The reason for Xuanzang heading west is fundamentally geographical, as he traveled from China to Buddhism's place of origin in India. Given its age, it's most likely the TropeMaker of significant westward journeys.


* ''Literature/JourneyToTheWest'' is an ancient [[note]]published in the 16th century, but inspired by older events and legends[[/note]] Chinese story about Xuanzang and his mission to find the scrolls of Buddha and bring them back home. He and his protectors go far west, beyond the mountains, to find the scrolls. Given its age, it's most likely the TropeMaker of significant westward journeys.
* ''[[Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief]]'': The prophecy given before the quest starts with "You shall go west, and face the god who has turned".

to:

* ''Literature/JourneyToTheWest'' is an ancient [[note]]published in the 16th century, but inspired by older events and legends[[/note]] legends dating back the the 7th[[/note]] Chinese story about Xuanzang and his mission to find the scrolls of Buddha and bring them back home. He and his protectors go far west, beyond the mountains, to find the scrolls. The reason for Xuanzang heading west is fundamentally geographical, as he traveled from China to Buddhism's place of origin in India. Given its age, it's most likely the TropeMaker of significant westward journeys.
* ''[[Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief]]'': ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheLightningThief'': The prophecy given before the quest starts with "You shall go west, and face the god who has turned".


* In ''Series/Vikings'', Ragnar Lodbrok is an ambitious man of humble origins who is dissatisfied with the established Norse practices of tending poor homesteads and raiding bankrupt villages to the east. Instead he looks west, dreaming of the riches and glory that await anyone brave enough to sail the open sea.

to:

* In ''Series/Vikings'', ''Series/{{Vikings}}'', Ragnar Lodbrok is an ambitious man of humble origins who is dissatisfied with the established Norse practices of tending poor homesteads and raiding bankrupt villages to the east. Instead he looks west, dreaming of the riches and glory that await anyone brave enough to sail the open sea.

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