Question of the day:
“What is your favorite type of book ending?”
Well, let’s take a look at the four main ones.
There are sad endings, where things don’t work out for the characters. Evil wins, things are still bleak, the conflict might be resolved but the reader is left thinking, “What?! That’s IT?” They might feel cheated, used, lied to. Besides A Game of Thrones (Oh, Ned!), one book that somewhat makes me think of this type of ending is The Maltese Falcon, a book which I hated through and through. It’s been a while since I’ve read it, so bear with me. In the ending, Sam Spade’s partner’s murder is solved, but the woman he likes ends up getting locked away…by Spade’s hand. Then Sam goes back to the same old grind, and nothing, essentially, has changed. Again, it’s been a while, but those are the impressions I was left with. Another book that falls in this category is The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, which I won’t spoil for those who haven’t read it.
Another type of ending is the happily ever after ending (or happily ever after for now.) The main character/s come out golden, the conflict is resolved, and all is well with the world. Traditionally, romances fall into this ending category. It’s part of the genre requirement, which some authors now and again attempt to shirk. Endings include the Harry Potter Series (good guys win, Voldy’s dead), Jane Eyre (“Reader, I married him.” Rochester regains some of his sight, etc.), and Pride and Prejudice (he overcomes his pride, she overcomes her prejudice, they get married.)
The third, and my favorite for reading and for writing, is the bittersweet ending. Something good is gained, but at an extreme price. The main example of this I can think of is The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Yes, it has about four different “endings,” but the final one is a parting of ways. Frodo and Gandalf are off to the gray havens, Legolas and Gimli are sailors, Aragorn is king, Merry and Pippin serve him, and Sam is left to finish the book started by Bilbo. On a brighter note, they’re all alive (except for Sean Bean, poor man.) Sam has married Rosie, and together they have a few hobbit children. And there is one major discovery for us, the readers: we find out who has the third Elven ring.
There are also open endings, which tease that there could be a sequel (or that you could decide how things end yourself), as there are a few somewhat loose ends. The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle fell into this category for me. The author tied up the main story, but…. Well, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.
As far as what type of ending I enjoy writing most… read my books and find out 😉
What’s YOUR favorite ending type?
Keep your nose in a book,
2 thoughts on “Book Ending Types”
I’m for the happy ending, by all means. But _The Lord of the Rings_ is probably my favorite story of all time — and you’re right, it’s a bittersweet ending. Which may be why it always seems to me autumn is the best time to read LotR (I’m rewatching the movies now).
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*runs to bookshelves* I think it’s time for some LOTR rereading here. Thanks, Rick!
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