Sunday, November 14, 2010

[Twitter Talks] Do you like happy endings? Yes or no? AND why?

In theory, I should've presented an installment for Beyond the Wordcount, but life is funny when it decides to act up. I've rescheduled and that installment will come next Sunday, while I gather a whole new group of Tweeps to help me with the current installment of Twitter Talks. I don't mind at all, because this question has been on my mind a lot:

Do you like happy endings? Yes or no? AND why?

Technically, these are there questions, but I wanted Twitter to be more involved. To answer my own question... No, not really. The greatest cliche in the history of storytelling [be it by mouth, by written word or currently by movies] is the happy ending. Of course, when I say happy, I think the extreme, idealized happily ever after that your Mary Sue and Gary Stu deserve, where all the subplots and main arc are resolved and all the people that deserve good things to happen to them live gloriously, while the villains are crushed. Good wins. Evil loses. It's too idealized for my own taste. I need the battle scars. The lost battles. The broken hearts. The not-so-pleasant, but still passable endings. If you get in a fight and come out the winner, you still get bruises to show that you were in the fight. In the goody, goody happy endings... eh, it's all back to square one. It's why I enjoy reading twisted stories lately.

I wanted to test the waters and see, if I could find more supporters. BUT I guess I did not:

@Rhube: Happy endings.Been thinking about this recently.Oddly, I don't like to write happy endings,but I think I prefer reading them. Not always, but often. I dunno.

@Pallekenl: I only enjoy happy endings in a book if they fit the story (so not tacked on) and because they give this warm fuzzy feeling :D

@Hagelrat: love the cozy feeling of a happy ending but if the book doesn't suit it then it ruins the story. So depends on the book a lot!

@Susi_Sunshine: depends...I can live with not so happy ending if it has the promise of HEA [Happily Ever After] but mostly me likes those. Depends on genre. In romance it's a must but in others it's not all a requirement for me.

@editormum75: Yes, but more importantly, I enjoy RESOLUTION in book endings. [I have to add here that I agree, the ending of a book can sometimes not be the actual resolution and what I mean in my question is the resolution aspect. Slippery-slope of defining a novel's anatomy.]

These are the outright happy ending supporters. Nothing wrong with happy endings, when they are done right and there are too many attempts that end in the saccharine territory for my taste. But when done right, my oh my, it's goosebump Nirvana.

The majority of the answers, however, just show sophisticated book lovers are, understanding how certain books demand certain endings that are foreshadowed right in the beginning and reinforce what the reader felt in the beginning.

@cjhillrwb: solid endings. Doesn't matter happy or sad as long as they are solid and make sense with no huge leaps to get there.

@laurenbeukes: I like an ending that's true to the book. Tragedy is potent, happiness can be more so, if it's not a Hollywood afterthought.

Then I receive the most thought provoking answer in the bunch:

@thefourpartland: It depends on the writer. No from King or Erikson, yes from Eddings or Lackey. Because of the style of the author. It's possible to tell which ones are suited to happy endings. I'd never expect it from King.

The idea that the author's style, strengths and weaknesses determine what sort of ending rings true [and what the reader will enjoy] despite the story demands. I guess that this makes sense. I don't think that King, who writes the creeps will make a Happily Ever After enjoyable or as empowering as someone who usually writes hopeful stories does [Lackey, I guess, I'm not much for the hopeful stories]. It certainly is food for thought and I do beg your comments on this.

Share what you feel.

As a final tease, here is a tweet that is not a direct answer to the question, but worth paying attention to.

@ghostfinder: The ending is less important than the journey.


SusiSunshine {The Geeky Bookworm} said...

Okay I actually hate those in the "saccharine territory" too. LOL

It'a probably really that it has to fit the book.

Anonymous said...

Pshaw - I object to being called an 'outright' supporter. ;-p For me it does depend, and in the past I have prefered bitter-sweet or sad ones. I've just OD'd on them right now - now the sad ending feels more cliched. You know I'm not so much for the Happily Ever After twee, sickly happy ending.

But it's OK - I know you were looking for a polarised result.

Harry Markov said...

@Susi: What's with the saccharine? It will kill ya... *shakes head*

@Ro: Yeah, I thought in extremes. The black and white variety. The so-so endings on either a more positive note are a more negative note are pretty balanced. I wanted more opinions.

Anonymous said...

I tend to subscribe to the Shakespearean idea of happy ending, i.e as long as no one dies tragically at the end!

Harry Markov said...

HAH! :D I like it when almost everyone does die. What does that say about me?

Lex said...

Happy endings are dependant on the story that came before it. I watched a (dark, twisted) movie the other day and the HEA was that everyone but one bad guy (who suffers horribly) died and the MC was shipped off to a home for the criminally insane. Vengance was carried out. The MC was validated. It was a happy ending for the story being told. Anything else would have ruined the story and negated all the suffering and emotional turmoil that the characters had gone through.

Don't get me wrong, I also like the HEAs where everything is sugary and sweet and the MC gets her guy etc etc. It just has to fit the story.

Harry Markov said...

I guess that is true. But it also has to be well done. There are some books for instance, where the HEA is predestined AND still it's handled badly, despite belonging to the story. It's off topic, I know, but had to say it.

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