Recently, I finished watching the second season of the Anime series “Black Butler” and I absolutely despised the end. I wish I’d stopped watching at the end of season one. Both the protagonist and the antagonist (who is completely likable, he does battle with utensils and makes a great cup of tea) had “the worst thing that could possibly happen” to them and that’s when the story ended. I was left with HUH?! WHY DID THEY END IT LIKE THAT? WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?! Yes, I know, it’s a passionate response, but when you fall for wonderfully deep dimensional characters, you develop certain expectations.
Call me old-fashioned, but I like my heroes (or anti-heroes) to overcome the grand obstacle at the end. Otherwise, what’s the point of the build up all along the way? Yes, it’s true, real life has a nasty habit of kicking you down, but in the books I read and the movies I see, I want at least a sliver of hope. Call it the Hollywood ending if you like, but that’s what I want. It’s the reason I gravitate to the middle grade and young adult genres. They usually end, you know, sorta happy.
My mother feels the same way about Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein Series. She had to call me up to tell me when she finished it so she could rant about how dissatisfied she was about the end. Her words went something like this, “Oh, Karin, it was awful. Just awful. He (the author) completely ran out of steam and the whole series just ended.” She’d spent her money, mostly she spent her time, and she wanted a payoff at the end.
I’m waiting for her to finish the last book in the Hunger Games trilogy to see what she thinks about that ending. No spoilers here, but I wish I’d stopped reading after book two . . .
So when one of the women who is in my writing critique group who read my recently finished WIP said something to the effect of “Please, please change the ending,” I took her very seriously. And I changed it.
Yes, I write for me, but more importantly, I write for readers, and my desire is for them to be satisfied when they get to The End. I know I can’t please everyone. I’ve learned that after years of teaching: some students will love you, some student will hate you, most fall somewhere in the middle. But in this age of e-books, print on demand, and increased writer/reader social interaction, maybe in the future we’ll have more “pick the ending you want to read.” Elle Lothlorien did it with her book “Sleeping Beauty.” Will we see more of this? Should we?
PS: I’m reading the Black Butler Manga now. I’ve heard the storyline goes in a different direction than the Anime series!
Photo © Redbaron