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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Power Grid

10 Terrific Trios

Allow Us To Explain

Allow Us To Explain

To simply say that The Power of Three is a popular trope would be to vastly understate its importance in creative works. The Trio pops up all over film, television, literature, and assorted other mediums. The concept of three plays with and unseats our natural preference for the more stolid (or boring!) number two and creates something more unstable, and with inherently more possibilities. You won’t be surprised to see a lot of our picks have got some…issues to work out.

Consider the typical love triangle. George Harrison, Patti Boyd, and Eric Clapton could tell you what’s so exciting and dangerous about this bound-for-unhappiness combination. Or the psychology of the phrases “third wheel” and “odd man out”, a set-up that implies someone’s awkwardness or unwanted intrusion – perfect for drama. Of course, there’s always the triple set that completes each other, as well, representing the id, ego, and superego, or the knight, the knave, and the squire – but we’ll get to that. In fact, let’s get to it now, with some of the best threesomes (er, but not like that) around.

Natasha Simons is a freelance writer who does not write fanfiction about any of these trios. She blogs here.

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  • Francesca M

    OMG how could I forget the Rogue Demon Hunter bit. Awwwwww loved Angel.

  • Jackie DeWitt

    God Dammit. I just spoiled Supernatural for myself.

  • Terence Ng

    I love you so much for Scott, Jean, and Emma. The original source of the quote is long gone now, but I always loved the following line: ”Splitting up Scott and Jean reinvigorated both characters, even if Jean’s too dead to take advantage of it.”

    Scott and Emma forever! Jean and whoever she wants to be with forever!

  • Stevi Ferguson

    Jack, Will & Elizabeth from the original Pirates trilogy. It was the quirky synergy between that trio that was really missing for me in the fourth movie.

    Another fave trio for me (which will probably date me) was Cory, Sean & Topanga from Boy Meets World.

  • Francess Dunbar

    … You included ICarly. Ugh, I love this site.

  • Eva Marie Heater

    You forgot The Order of the Triad from The Venture Bros.

  • nmlop

    Also – no Scully, Mulder, and Skinner?!

    there are minor ones too – the Baudelaire Orphans would be in my top pic – but those are more personal. I’m really surprised there’s no Kirk/Spock/Bones though! less surprised about X-Files as it often gets left out on this blog, different strokes I guess.

    and… no note of how troubling it that most of these are MMF or MMM? (including the Kirk/Spock/Bones and Scully/Mulder/Skinner.)

  • John Wao

    Supes, Batman, and Wonder Woman?
    Buffy, Spike and Angel? or
    Buffy, Willow and Xander?
    Moe, Larry and Curly?
    Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland?
    Scooby, Shaggy and Velma?
    Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson?
    Pacey, Dawson and Joey?
    Bo, Luke and General Lee?
    Jack, Kate and Sawyer?

  • Megan Jeffrey

    Having just finished the trilogy (ugh, I’m so slow on awesome things sometimes), I put a vote in for Katniss, Haymitch, and Peeta from The Hunger Games. I loved the dynamics and the psychological tension between those three. Great list  :)

  • Anonymous

    Kirk, Spock & Bones was the first trio I thought of.  I’m simultaneously impressed and dumbfounded to find them absent from the list, while Breaking Bad and four people from Supernatural are.

  • A Talbot

    I don’t see Kingdom Hearts ANYWHERE on this list. And that game (series) is FULL of trios. Lets list them off, shall we?

    Sora, Riku, Kairi
    Roxas, Axel, Xion
    Rikku, Paine, Yuna (originally Final Fantasy)
    Terra, Aqua, Ventus
    Donald, Sora, Goofy
    Mickey, Goofy, Donald
    Hayner, Pence, Ollete
    Zexion, Vexen, Lexaeus
    Marluxia, Larxene, Axel

    That is a lot of trios. Granted some of them aren’t exactly loyal to each other, but a good deal of them are. It should at least get honorable mention on the list. (Wow, I feel like such a geek…but really! 9 trios! Almost enough to fill the entire list!)

  • natface

     I purposely left Kirk, Spock and Bones off the list, because I felt we had enough classic trios on here.

  • natface


  • Francesca M

    Then ya should have given them an honorable mention, tsk.

  • Francesca M

    Rocking Choice.

  • ainok

    Mike and the bots?

    Also I’m quite sure you are writing some fanfiction of some kind somewhere. Nobody who knows about the existence of Supernatural and uses the term OT3 can make that sort of claim (with a straight face).

  • Terence Ng

    I <3 Al.

  • Terence Ng

    Don’t feel bad. I just finished the first book. I feel so old.

  • tardis_stowaway

    From Doctor Who, I’d go with the Ninth Doctor, Rose, and Jack over the Matt Smith-era Team TARDIS.  Nine and Rose were already very close when they met Jack, but somehow a con man and former Time Agent fits so smoothly into their lives that by the next episode they are doing coordinated high-fives and finishing each others’ sentences.  It’s one of the few love triangles that is actually a TRIANGLE, with sexual tension between all of the characters, and not an open angle with two characters of one gender attracted to one character of another gender.  (Bless you, Captain Jack Harkness.)

    I do love the Ponds and their Doctor, but in my opinion they don’t equal the epic, fantastic trio of the Oncoming Storm, the Bad Wolf, and the Captain. 

  • Emma Schurman

    When you say Leon…do you perhaps mean Lester?

  • natface


  • Melissa Francis

    No Charmed. I thought for sure they would get in there.

  • Psychotronic (Michael F.)

    Simply for the sake of showing love for the Doctor Who classic era, I would give The (Fourth) Doctor, Sarah Jane & Harry Sullivan an honourable mention. They gave a magical kickstart to the Tom Baker era. The Second Doctor, Jamie & Zoe also had that chemistry of Three.

  • Emma Jones

    Oh man, I was just gonna say. One of my all time favorite trios.

  • Emma Jones

    G-Money… heheh…

    Just to tack onto your Zelda, Link, Ganon bit, and the whole idea that evil is always there for good to exist… this is what I’ve always thought, too. Why else would evil resurge at the same time Link was ready for his new adventure? Why do the same characters reveal themselves over and over? It’s the balance of the world. It builds up to a point of climax, on the verge of instability, and then the rest of the trio comes in to balance out the effects of power, and the whole cycle starts over again.

    The exception, I believe, is Majora’s Mask (no sight of the trio there, really), but that’s just a good game, by itself, and given it’s the sequel to Ocarina, I think the balance is safe for now… just have to worry about a freaky moon.

  • Crystal Mccoy

    Link, Zelda and Ganon! HELL YEAH!!!!

  • Angel H.

    Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee!

  • nmlop

    agreed on the honorable mention! it’s one thing to leave out the X-Files or Avatar: TLA, but to exclude such a major trio bears some explanation, I think. for example, I had expected the Scoobies to be on the list but totally bought the explanation of why Angel, Wesley, and Cordelia were the better choice after I read it.

    still a fun list, I will just be off finding some Kirk/Sock/Bones OT3 fic :)

  • Francesca M

    OMG AVATAR.  /palm I should have thought of them!

  • John Noll

    I was honestly expecting either “Prue, Piper, Phoebe” or “Piper, Phoebe, Paige” to appear somewhere, especially after the VERY specific “Power of Three” mention on page 1. 

  • Frodo Baggins


  • Bettina M.

    As any hardcore SPN fan, I refuse to believe Cas and Bobby and really gone. We just reject your reality and substitute it for our own, as the Great Calvin once said ;) I’m really glad they made it into the list.I agree that Avatar: TLA should have been here! Go Team Boomeraang!

  • Avalon

    I kinda liked the who Scott/Jean/Elizabeth (Psylocke) one. Specially as Psylocke was just trying to mess with Scott’s head xD

  • Avalon


  • Constance

    Excuse me, but what is wrong with Zelda’s alter-ego? We have so little going for us in video games.