Welcome back to:
Rants & Rambles is a weekly feature where I share my own personal thoughts and opinions about both bookish and blogging related topics. As stated, these are MY OWN opinions and while you can choose to disagree with it, I hope that you at least respect it.
This week on Rants & Rambles I want to discuss:
... you turn to the last page of the book…
When I was a senior in college, I took a Children’s Literature class where we analyzed a number of fairy tales. And I’m not talking Walt Disney Classics. I’m talking about the original tales written by The Grimm Brothers, Charles Perrault, Hans Christian Andersen and Joseph Jacobs. These short stories leaned more towards the side of gore and misfortune, but even though the MCs struggled, they always ended up happy.
The hero was triumphant, the dragon was slayed, and princess found her one true love. TYPICAL! This got me to thinking about the literature I read today and how majority of the books I read do have a happy ending. Even the most heartbreaking books find some way to end on the good note. There are occasions where I read books where everyone is dead by the end, but it is rare, VERY RARE.
I started to see how we have become conditioned to ALWAYS expect a happy ending. What if our ship doesn’t sail? What if the the heroes don’t take down the villain? How do endings that deviate from the norm affect our reading experience? I then started to think in terms of writing and one question kept floating around in my head: HAVE HAPPILY EVER AFTERS BECOME A REQUIREMENT OR ARE THEY AN EASY COP OUT?Have happily ever afters become mandatory in modern day literature? I mean how many books can you say that you’ve read that don’t end on an happy note. Majority of the New Adult books I read always either end with an engagement or a wedding. BAM, fairy tale ending! I’m not going to lie, I’m a sucker for this trope. I love happy endings, but let’s be real for a second: THE GIRL DOES NOT ALWAYS GET THE GUY! But readers don’t want that. They want romance, wine and dine, and forever and always. I mean, what would happen if Sarah J. Maas killed off all her male love interests and Aelin ended ruling by herself? There would be A LOT of pissed of readers around the world. So in a way they have become a requirement. Happily ever afters have become a literary norm and I think they keep the peace, while providing some sense of hope as we live vicariously through our characters.Then there are times where I wonder if we are just taking the easy way out by writing a story with a happy ending. I mean who doesn’t like a story where things end up working out in the end? Wrapping everything up and sticking a bow on it makes a book look pretty, but sometimes I don’t want pretty. I want a little wear-and-tear because life is not always pretty. Taking a chance and writing an ending where things don’t turn out the way we hoped can be rewarding in of itself because it reminds us of life’s ugly truths. So don’t be afraid to get your hands a little dirty and write that heartbreaking ending. Stop taking the easy path because reality is not always a pretty picture.Not including The Fault in Our Stars and Allegiant, here are some of my favorite books where our MCs don’t get a happily ever after.
♥ THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE by SARAH J. MAAS: No happy ending for Sam. I swear that last novella was brutal!
♥ ELEANOR & PARK by RAINBOW ROWELL: The OTP did not set sail, but instead, the anchor was let down and the romance was docked. These two COULD possibly have a “happily ever after” in the future, but for now it’s just not happening.
♥ AMY & ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR by MORGAN MATSON: Again, another book where the OTP did not set sail. The two end up going their separate ways and everything is pretty much up in the air.
♥ FORBIDDEN by TABITHA SUZUMA: Not even going to discuss, but NOT HAPPY, NOT HAPPY AT ALL!
♥ BRIGHT SIDE by KIM HOLDEN: There was no happy ending for our MC in this book. She put up a fight, but of course sometimes we just have to let go.
♥ THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by JOHN GREEN: R.I.P Augustus Waters.
♥ ALLEGIANT by VERONICA ROTH: We all know what happened…CHAPTER 50!
♥ ME BEFORE YOU by JOJO MOYES: Again, NOT HAPPY! I think we all know by now how this story ends. *bursts into tears*
Happily Ever Afters are here to stay. They’ve become a norm in modern day literature and to get rid of them completely would probably cause pandemonium. I do wish that more books would stray from this trope and show that sometimes life is NOT all ‘hearts & flowers’. I like a good book with a struggle and sometimes I wish there were more of books written without cookie-cutter endings.
That is all for this week’s Rants & Rambles. I hope you enjoyed my random thoughts!
So how do you feel about HEAs? Do you see them as a requirement or a cop out?
Let me know in the comments!