I’m reading Deathly Hallows right now, and even though I’m team “Nineteen Years Later is not canon,” I do appreciate how well JKR wrapped up the series. It has me thinking about stories that didn’t get a happily ever after wrap-up.
I guess the really famous one is the Divergent trilogy. I haven’t read it, but I know that a lot of people were very angry about it. I know people were really divided on the ending of the Hunger Games trilogy. Twilight, people definitely fight about, but people also fight about everything related to Twilight, so…
The one on my mind is the ending of Carry On. It was definitely a happy ending, but those wings? Like, what is he supposed to do with them for the rest of his life? Move to a sleepy desert town and change his name to Erika?
No hate on Carry On, of course. It’s one of my favorite novels ever. I read Chosen One stories a lot, pretty much exclusively, and I love how Rainbow Rowell turned every single Chosen One trope on its head.
I recently finished the Heroes of Olympus series. It’s a happy ending, or at least everyone is in a positive state. But it’s a messy ending too. I’m sure whenever Game of Thrones ends, that will be the messiest ending of all time.
But is that a bad thing?
Harry Potter taught a generation to be empathic and compassionate. If nothing else, Twilight was the Internet fandom that everyone cut their teeth on. The Hunger Games taught us to keep an eye on our authorities. The collective Riordan universe is teaching mythology that I, for one, would not have learned otherwise because Greek (and Roman) mythology has always fascinated me, but I’ve always been really intimidated by the Metamophoses, etc, etc.
And sometimes messy endings are more realistic. Sometimes we learn more from a story that didn’t force everyone into a cookie-cutter happy ending. Because life is like that. Life is messy, but being a mess doesn’t exclude you from finding happiness.