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Where are we in the Three Act Structure? Is an Act 3 Resolution possible?


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#1 LordPathera

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 02:13 AM

For those who may not know, a three act structure is a general story frame that denotes points in the story where dramatic tension rises, climaxes and then falls.

 

There's a fancier way of describing it, but from my understanding, each act bookmarks phases of the story. Act 1 establishes the setting, characters and starts the story; Act 2 raises the stakes in the story through dramatic developments and twists that place obstacles in the way of the character's actions and beliefs; and Act 3 is where the plot begins to resolve itself with all of the threads winding together into a conclusion.

 

Seeing as that ASOIAF has seven entries and always seems to have something happen that keeps things tense, how can we judge where we are in the Three Act Structure? Obviously AGOT belongs in Act 1 because it's the first installment that introduces the characters, mood and tone of the series and ASOS belongs in Act 2 for having some of the most infamous events/developments in the series yet (Red and Purple Weddings; Revelation that Baelish poisoned Jon Arryn and started the whole plot; Jon Snow becomes Lord-Commander; Jamie becomes a likable character; Tyrion kills Tywin and etc.).

 

But where would the rest of the books fit into the three act structure? Or is it a situation where Act 2 will stretch out until Book 7 with Book 1 being alone in Act 1 with all of the other books in Act 2? Is the Three Act Structure even applicable to ASOIAF?

 

I'm also asking in consideration to what appear to be the primary three plot-lines around which the characters and story most heavily revolve around: Winter coming to the Wall; The Game of Thrones and connected War of Kings; and Danaerys in the East. We'll never get to Act 3 until all of these major plot points reach some sort of huge game-changing climax that puts everything in the past books into perspective on how they're connected and how these events of dark and tragic events led to the only possible resolution to the crisis if there is one.

 

For example: Let's say that Danaerys comes to Westeros, kills (F)Aegon and absorbs his faction and then conquers the weakened Seven Kingdoms. That's two major plot-points that have come to climax and resolution. But this is done while ignoring the third plot point involving the coming of the White Walkers, then that's a loose end that could undo anything that Danaerys has gained and the story won't come to a true resolution until it's dealt with. Maybe by having Dany use her new power and her dragons to come to the aid of Jon and the Watch and defeat the White Walkers through a Song of Ice and Fire that the bards will sing of for ages.

 

Maybe Jon and/or Dany won't live to hear the songs, but at least the realms are safe. At least all three plot-threads have come to some sort of satisfactory end that ties up all of the loose ends with surviving characters using the newfound peace to rebuild the realms and heal their grievous emotional and/or physical wounds.

 

Here's another one.

 

Let's say that both R+L=J (I believe it's a valid and well evidenced theory, but remains a theory until absolutely confirmed by Martin) and the GNC are true with Jon Snow defeating the white walkers as AA and becoming King in the North while becoming de-facto Ruler of the other realms after the Lannisters, Tyrells, and Martells destroy themselves in their game of thrones and in the fighting against (F)Aegon. But Dany is still in Eastos...and since Martin himself seems firm on 7 books, it would be a bit of a cop out for him to keep Dany in Eastos after all of the build-up for her to come to Westeros and fight to reclaim her birthright.

 

My point is that I just don't see where the resolution for all three plot-lines will come from. I can see possible resolution scenarios, but they all involve leaving out one of the essential plotlines and that's a huge loose-end that shouldn't be ignored at least according to the Three Act Structure. That would something of a cliff-hanger and those don't do so well unless there is a clear intent for a sequel which Martin has made clear he wouldn't do.

 

So back to the original question, where are we in the Three Act Structure if one is applicable and when will we able to mark where the resolution involved with Act 3 begins?



#2 oprahnoodlemantra

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 02:26 AM

In GRRM's original plan the whole series was meant to be a trilogy. A Game of Thrones would have consisted of what is now AGOT, ACOK, and ASOS. Then there would have been a 5 year gap between book one and two. Book two would have been A Dance With Dragons and contained everything in AFFC, ADWD, and the remaining story that didn't make it into AFFC/ADWD but will be in TWOW. Finally, the last book would have been The Winds of Winter and had what will be the rest of TWOW and ADOS. Obviously, the story grew in the telling and we're now at 7 (planned) books.

 

 

 

So, to answer your question, we're almost done with Act 2.



#3 Arya kiddin'

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 02:27 AM

The three act structure in my opinion:

 

1.  War of the five kings

2.  Dance of the Dragons

3.  Battle of the Dawn

 

Book 5 shows us transcending form act 1 to act 2, which in my opinion will be the major plotline in book 6. For a good theory, check this. Act 3 will be played out in late book 6 to book 7. The narrative is not broken here into clear three categories, as much as it smoothly transcends form one to other.

 

And how would we converge the plot lines? I believe on the wall. When Westeros realizes the gravity of the situation of others, all the interest will promptly shift to the wall. And the characters playing out the biggest part imo would be Jon, Dany and Bran.



#4 Kienn

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 02:39 AM

I prefer to categorize stories in the 172.777 act structure, it usually fits much more nicely. We're currently in act 103.9


Edited by Kienn, 28 October 2013 - 02:42 AM.


#5 Ours if the Fury

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 02:53 AM

The three act structure in my opinion:

 

1.  War of the five kings

2.  Dance of the Dragons

3.  Battle of the Dawn

 

Book 5 shows us transcending form act 1 to act 2, which in my opinion will be the major plotline in book 6. For a good theory, check this. Act 3 will be played out in late book 6 to book 7. The narrative is not broken here into clear three categories, as much as it smoothly transcends form one to other.

 

And how would we converge the plot lines? I believe on the wall. When Westeros realizes the gravity of the situation of others, all the interest will promptly shift to the wall. And the characters playing out the biggest part imo would be Jon, Dany and Bran.

Yeh this seems in my opinion the right idea!!

 

I think the only thing i would add is that i think the transition between act 1 (Wo5K and DwD) is kinda integrated into one but will move on as a new stage to the story the DwD if all of us correct will end both the DwD and the Wo5K's 

 

I believe this because there are still five kings (aegon being 5), and with the DwD if the general assumption become truth Aegon should die at the end of the DwD, which means no five kings and in the process i also believe that Tommen will die and sadly either Stannis or Euron.

 

And then both acts will be over and then to the final act!!!



#6 Jon Snow-Targaryen

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 02:57 AM

1.Summer

2.Winter

3.Spring



#7 Arya kiddin'

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 03:04 AM


I believe this because there are still five kings (aegon being 5), and with the DwD if the general assumption become truth Aegon should die at the end of the DwD WoW, which means no five kings and in the process i also believe that Tommen will die and sadly either Stannis or Euron.

 

And then both acts will be over and then to the final act!!!

 

Agreed. My thoughts as well. :)



#8 Spartan64Destiny

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 03:10 AM

The last two books from my guess is going to be at least 3,000 pages all together because GRRM has a lot of loose ends to tie........A LOT!!!!!!



#9 Lummel

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 04:13 AM

I thought the three act structure was something used in TV shows in which you have between 40 minutes and two hours to tell a story.  I'm not sure how useful a concept it is to apply to ASOIAF as a whole in which the story is unfolding on different levels, for example the personal (individual character growth and development) and the political (fight for the Iron Throne, local power struggles).

 

For instance you could describe (so far) Varys' Aegon plan alone in a three act structure: preparation (AGOT-AFFC), appearance (ADWD), Denouement (TWOW..?).  Applying a three act structure to the whole book, I think, would be to concentrate exclusively on one aspect of the story such as the fight for the iron throne.  :dunno: 



#10 The Idiots Lantern

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 04:23 AM

It's more likely a five-act structure. Introduction -> Building action ->Climax -> Falling action -> Resolution.

I believe GRRM lets his characters speak with their own voices, and to some measure make their own decisions. This means they sometimes surprise him by doing something (completely in character) that he didn't plan for and has to alter his plans to accomodate. BUT I also think he knows where the pieces would ultimately end up. And what I've read of his other fiction says he can resolve his plotlines just fine. Probably not everything, because he's not a "neat little bow" kind of guy, but the major plotlines will be resolved, one way or another.



#11 King Zee

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 04:33 AM

 Obviously AGOT belongs in Act 1 because it's the first installment that introduces the characters, mood and tone of the series and ASOS belongs in Act 2 for having some of the most infamous events/developments in the series yet (Red and Purple Weddings; Revelation that Baelish poisoned Jon Arryn and started the whole plot; Jon Snow becomes Lord-Commander; Jamie becomes a likable character; Tyrion kills Tywin and etc.).

 

But where would the rest of the books fit into the three act structure? Or is it a situation where Act 2 will stretch out until Book 7 with Book 1 being alone in Act 1 with all of the other books in Act 2? Is the Three Act Structure even applicable to ASOIAF?

 

 

 

 

AGOT was the prologue - why did the war start ?

 

ACOK and ASOS  were Act 1 - the first turning point being the Red Wedding. and the removal of the power of House Stark.

 

 

AFFC and ADWD  were ACT 2 - the rising action being the disintegration of the ruling orders in Westeros and Essos.



#12 NomadicDirewolf

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 07:46 AM

not sure if that structure would be applicable to aSoIaF. If it were then aGoT (not even all of it) would serve as the first act,and we've been in act 2 since then. I think it might fit better for the first part of the series, particularly the first three books with Act 1 being the first half of aGoT, Act 2 lasting until aSoS (or possibly at the climax of aCoK) most of aFfC and aDwD served as a Act 1 in part 2, but now we are at the beginning of Act 2