The Power of Three

via Three Trees — method two madness

I reblogged this from the site above because I liked the picture, but it made me think “Why is three so powerful?”

That picture wouldn’t work as well with two trees or with four. In fact it’s a good example of what artists call the rule of thirds, divide a picture up into threes lengthways and by height and place your objects of interest at the points of intersection and you tend to get a good picture. Not sure why but it just makes it more interesting, it’s not the only Method of composition but it’s easy and it works.

But it works in stories too: three wishes, three kings, three witches, three billy goats gruff, and even in Harry Potter you have Harry, Ron and Hermione. Again it’s not the only set up, detective stories in particular seem to work in twos possibly following the Holmes and Watson archetype,  but three seems to work well.

And if you go a step further and start thinking about structure, then you can see that many books are in three parts, and often chapters can be divided into three parts as well. Once you start looking for it you can see it everywhere.

I think I need to do some research and find out why. In the meantime, can you think of any more examples of the power of three?



9 thoughts on “The Power of Three”

    1. Thanks. I never knew that the Haiku was not always a three line poem. You should do a post about it. I’ve become more interested in Japanese culture since reading “The Narrow Road to the Deep North”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Early Japanese Haikus were one line of up to 17 syllables. Japanese Haikus had sound symbols called onji which differ to our syllable structure. A good book, if you are interested, is The Haiku Anthology edited by Cor Van Den Heuvel.

        Liked by 1 person

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