Tales From Earthsea

Inciting Event: After murdering his father the king in a seemingly out-of-character move, Prince Arren is rescued from wolves in the middle of the desert by a man called Sparrowhawk. Arren is the main character, but for most of the story (and the most is one of the shakier parts of the story’s continuity), the archmage Sparrowhawk is the protagonist. He takes Arren under his wing, and they travel together to Hort Town.

First Plot Point: After going berserk and rescuing the girl Theru from slavers, Arren himself is kidnapped. This is the Key Event. He is then rescued by Sparrowhawk who takes him to the home of his old flame Tenar (who is Theru’s guardian). Tenar’s farm is the adventure world of the Second Act, and Arren’s arrival there is the First Plot Point.

First Pinch Point: There are a number of pinches throughout the First Half of the Second Act. First, we meet the evil sorcerer Cobb, who is interested to hear of Sparrowhawk’s whereabouts. Then Arren has a nightmare in which he is overcome by darkness—a nightmare which prompts Sparrowhawk to return to Hort Town to retrieve the sword of Arren’s father. But neither of these are the pinch point.

That happens when the plot significantly turns with the arrival of Cobb’s head guard Hare. Hare threatens Arren and Tenar and demands to know of Sparrowhawk’s whereabouts.

Midpoint: This movie isn’t seamless by any means, but it kills it here at the Midpoint. This is one of the most staggeringly subtle and beautiful Moments of Truth I’ve ever seen portrayed on film. Arren overhears Theru’s heartfelt song of loneliness and is overcome by his own loneliness and grief. He and Theru reconcile, and he reveals to her the truth about what he did to his father and that sometimes his “shadow” overtakes his personality. He tells her he’s decided to leave the farm to protect everyone from himself.

Second Pinch Point: After Arren’s departure, we again have slew of pinches. Hare captures Tenar and ties up Theru. Arren is then pursued and overtaken by his shadow—and unknowingly kidnapped by Cobb. But the true pinch comes after Cobb drugs Arren and first reveals his plan to pass through “the door between life and death” (which will forever upset the balance of the world) and then gains control over Arren by learning his “true name.”

Third Plot Point: After learning what happened from Theru, Sparrowhawk arrives at Cobb’s castle and is captured. Arren, under Cobb’s control, nearly kills Sparrowhawk and is overwhelmed with grief by the darkness within himself.

Climax: Theru sneaks into the castle, gives Arren his sword, and inspires him to embrace life by telling him her true (dragon) name and learning his in return. Together, they rush to rescue Sparrowhawk and Tenar from Cobb.

Climactic Moment: Theru turns into a dragon and kills Cobb.

Resolution: Arren and Sparrowhawk prepare to return to Arren’s kingdom, so Arren can face up to what he did to his father.

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