As you may have surmised, I’ve been thinking a lot about endings – particularly, the endings of serialized stories. Here’s a list of a few endings I loved and will defend to the end, and one that wasn’t the true ending but fulfilled the purpose of an ending for me.
If you know me at all, you know that I love Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle. It’s a possibly unhealthy, wanting-a-Raven-Boys -tattoo, type of love. And while I also enjoyed The Scorpio Races, I was not as enamored with her earlier Shiver trilogy. The main characters were simply too sappy, and the series had too many werewolves for me. I kept wishing that they would stay with the side characters Cole St. Clair and Isabel Culpepper more, and while I appreciated the somewhat open ending of the original series, I was left wanting more.
So when it was announced that there would be a follow-up, standalone novel focusing on Cole and Isabel, I was pumped. It was somewhat fan-servicey (Is that even a word? It should be.), but I loved it. It offered these two characters, sarcastic and meandering in their unhappiness, a happy ending. And while I may find some arguments that this wasn’t a true ending, being a standalone novel, it will always be the ending of the series that I remember.
Speaking of happy endings, is there any manga that ends happier than this series? This shojo manga has so many characters, and the characters develop so subtly, that I’m actually amazed that we got to a happy ending for nearly everyone involved. Normally I would roll my eyes at a “and they were married into their old age” ending, but for this series, so tinged in death and sadness, it totally worked.
How I Met Your Mother
I know, I know. Everyone hated the ending of this show. But really, I feel like my only real problem with it is the pacing. The mother’s death is glossed over, and spending an entire season on a wedding, even if the marriage ended well, seems unnecessary. We needed more time to say goodbye to the mother, and we needed more time to watch the dissolution of Robin and Barney. I agree with all that.
But am I mad that Robin and Ted end up together? No. This ending worked great for me in that it made me rethink the entire series. It is an adult assessment of love, and shows that people can have relationships that change and evolve, and that the world is not made for happily ever afters.
Mad Men: The ending I wished for
This is not a complaint regarding the real ending of the show. I actually really enjoyed it, and I was especially happy to see Peggy get a happy ending (And, no, this happiness does not take away her feminist credentials, by the way. She is a three-dimensional character with three-dimensional needs, and I feel like we left her at a great place to see all of those needs met).
But the episode that I will always think of as the emotional ending of the show is “The Strategy.” It’s the ending of this episode that shows Don, Peggy, and Pete as a true, if dysfunctional, family. They have all been trying to find happiness and success, but it seems that together, they have at least achieved comfortability and closeness. And seeing these three characters at ease, especially with each other, was my favorite moment in the series, bar none. There’s a great article on this episode over at Wired that encapsulates it better than I ever could.