Have you ever noticed in movies that monasteries, secret martial arts dojos, and other places of secret knowledge are always high up in the mountains?
Right now I’m thinking specifically of Batman Begins, Kill Bill II, Lord of the Rings, and pretty much every movie ever where a character needs to develop skills (usually with a montage) in order to achieve their goal.
It always happens on a mountain. Why?
Climbing a mountain is a trial that petitioners must go through. They need to be deemed worthy, and one of the ways they’re tested is by being able to get there in the first place. Notice that when the hero arrives at the dojo, he’s always near death, frozen, or whatever– it’s because that’s what it takes to get there.
The mountain is a metaphor for any challenge, but still, people assume that successes come easy. They don’t. The evidence is in the very fabric of stories we tell, back all the way through every story ever told.
If success were easy, we would see the dojo in the hero’s backyard, not on the mountain. And he would just walk back there and be like “Wassup. Train me.”
Would that movie suck? Yes. Would it be valuable if it were easy?
No. It would not.