Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Endings

I realized something about myself while watching LOST last night.

And no, it's not that I'm incredibly nerdy, and love thinking about the space-time continuum, or string theory, or throwing out facts about dominant hemispheres (did you know that the majority of left handed people are still left-hemisphere dominant?).

All that, I already knew.

What I realized last night was that I love happy endings.

As I watched in horror as more characters tragically died (no spoilers in case you're a fan, and haven't seen it yet), I realized that all I wanted was for them to escape and be okay.

I'm a happily-ever-after type of girl.

I hated the third Pirates of the Caribbean. Yes, At World's End had the shocking ending that you didn't see coming. Yes, I realized how delicious Orlando Bloom can be.

But it wasn't how it was supposed to end. Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan were supposed to end up together. After watching three whole movies, I don't want to find out that the love story I've been swept up in didn't actually happen. Would it have been predictable? Maybe. But so much more satisfying.

There were many critics of J. K. Rowling, saying that she should have killed off Harry Potter in The Deathly Hallows. It would have been a more interesting story, a more unexpected ending, a less cliched "good conquers evil." I, for one, am glad that she didn't. Harry Potter had been my literary companion for years. I don't know if I would have ever been able to pick up the series again, if I knew the unwilling hero died at the end.

Unhappy, shocking endings, or the boy doesn't get the girl, or the hero doesn't save the day. Maybe the critics are right. Maybe it is more realistic. But isn't that the point?

There are plenty of sad stories out there. I work in a place were behind every single door is a another sad story. Some stories so sad, with no chance of a happy ending, that they take my breath away and leave me reeling. Life itself is so full of sad stories, with unexpected endings. I don't need real life from my movies, TV shows, and books.

If heroes and main characters aren't allowed their happy endings, what chance is there for the rest of us?

Maybe happily-ever-after is predictable. Maybe happily-ever-after is cliche.

Who cares?

I want my happy ending.


  1. I want more hemisphere dominance things--my 2nd is a surprise lefty, and I'm very interested in that, too. And we like to discuss LOST, too. :) Last night was definitely sad--doesn't someone need to make it back to the baby? Ugh!

    While I enjoy a happily-ever-after story every now and then, I'm still one that likes a good Grapes of Wrath, or Sister Carrie, or Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant. I guess I like a good story that feels real. But man that Jane Eyre is a good one, too. :)

  2. I love happy endings too! And darn it...I want one myself! And, I would have been very mad at JK Rowling if Harry died at the end...that's many years of my life I commited to him saving the wizarding world!

  3. Plays, stories, movies keep us real, because they speak to an eternal dream in mankind that good does conquer, that there is hope for the poor, the unfortunate, the lost or lonely. Its why there are heroes, and why it can be anyone. Critics believe they are being real to be harsh, and exacting, but they are not real to the hope in the heart, and the vision of the best that is in each of us. A long way of saying, "Yes! I agree with you!"

  4. I want endings that just make sense. Whether it's happy or sad, I want to feel like it was earned. I would prefer to see the hero prevail, but want to feel like they earned that victory, rather than the deus ex machina problem where they win on accident, or because of some circumstance no one could have possibly known about.

    And there is no way JK Rowling could have killed off The Boy Who Lived.

    I was not pleased with at least one of the deaths on this week's LOST. I liked the idea of it, but there was another factor to consider before you-know-who did what he did. A factor named Ji-Yeon.

  5. I'm all about the happy endings. I don't watch movies (or read books) to get more "real life." I do these things as entertainment. And I want to end up happy when I'm finished watching.

  6. This is soooo true and you have it exactly correct...I love a happy ending. I agree that the news and the world are covered in sad stories, tragedies, and unhappy endings. When I read a fictional novel, watch television or a movie I want the world to be one big, full of love place!

    These are ways that I escape from reality and they should go just as I have laid out in my head.

  7. Me Too! I am all for things that give me a good cry (every now and then) But I prefer things to end with that happy tilt at least. I never had a problem with Fairy Tales ending and they lived happily ever after. To me it means not that they were always happy about everything that happened but that they kept that positive slant on life and lived after the manner of happiness. I have always believed that happiness is a choice. I Love Happy Endings but I agree with Karen about the happy ending being earned- I like them to make sense too.

  8. I love ending with a twist, an ending that you did not see coming, a total surprise. Good or bad, give it to me! Surprise me..

  9. What a great post. Sometimes happy endings come later in life...they did for me. But for my movies and tv I want them in an hour and 1/2.

  10. I'm right there with you on this one, I don't want to stick around for three movies only to see the romance die, however, I feel like so many movies have happily ever after endings that it often sets our expectations up for real life and then when things don't happen like they do in the movies, we take it personally...

  11. Ditto! Happy endings gives us hope. and belief that good will always prevail over evil. Very, very good post!