Book Series Endings: Fantasy addition

Hey everyone!!

Today I am discussing book endings and what I want from them. Ending are one of the most anticipated parts of a book series because it’s not just a book. It’s the FINALE. The story has to get wrapped up and it needs to climb the climax peak and then it all needs to be smoothed over. It’s a lot.

I think endings are hard for a fan and for a writer. I don’t want it to end but I know it needs to happen.

Let’s talk about it…. and I am focusing on fantasy series endings!!

Obviously this is personal opinion. What I like, you might not like or vice versa but that’s okay, we all have different opinions. If I do say I don’t like something but you really do, I mean no offence and hope you don’t take it that way. 

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Things People ‘typically’ Expect From Endings:

  • Plot twists
  • Big reveal and thrilling plot
  • Relationships to develop
  • Character arcs to be completed
  • Big evil defeated/quest completed/purpose achieved
  • It all to calms down and general feeling of peace *deep exhale*
  • OR the unexpected *dun dun duuuunn*

This isn’t a list of things that HAVE to be in finales to make them good but they are typical things and I know I like them in finales. But that doesn’t mean that GOOD FINALES must have them all because every ending is different and there is no right way.

I think the main purpose an ending should achieve is to solve all the questions the writer has been asking in the previous books and to push their character into the final bit of the journey. I like it to be equal parts character and plot led. It is personal to the author and you can’t prescribe a list of things it must include because every ending is unique. But I think important things to consider are why hasn’t the purpose been achieved before– what made it possible now? And how will the ending affect the character/s?

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My Favourite Type Of Endings

Happy Ending:

You know what I like happy endings. I know you can put them down as predictable and cheesy and gooey and blah blah blah. And I agree happy endings can be slightly predictable because they are around a lot. But predictable doesn’t mean bad and there can still be surprises along the journey instead of a radical change at the end. Plus I like it when my characters, who have gone through hell, get a happy ending (yes they have to acknowledge they still carry demons if applicable). It’s hopeful, it shows bad events don’t mean your life is going to be all bad. It shows that you are always capable of getting a happy ending. And I feel very satisfied after reading one.

But they have to be done right…

HAPPY ENDINGS: THE PERFECT FORMULA (to me)

ONE: The story has to be wrapped up. NO burning unanswered questions please.

TWO: Recognition of loss: if a character had been tortured, loss someone, had issues, been abused etc. I don’t think the pain will just eradicate so I think it is important to show that it still exists and they are still coping with it. They still carry this weight with them and they still have a happy ending. Because it is the eradication of pain that makes a happy ending but learning how to handle your pain every day.

THREE: The idea of moving forward: the story may be ending but I like there to be a line or something that makes a point of saying ‘their story isn’t over’ because although I won’t get to read it. I like to imagine the characters have this whole life still.

FOUR: The characters feel happy and content with their situation. It is what they deserve after all. If a book ends with a shared joke among some of the favourite characters I will finish it with a smile on my face!!

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The Surprise Ending: *plays ‘I wasn’t expecting that’*

Oh My Gawd!! That ending came out of nowhere. I think there is popularity around endings that make you have a heart attack and surprise you because it is great feeling and people want to talk about it. Like ‘did you see that coming?’ and it is memorable. But these are hard to do and even harder to get right but these are a few ways I can like it:

  • Flip the story— this is a bold move and well slightly risky. But if you set it up right, it can have the wow factor. So it could be like— Cheesy narrator voice please: X is the bad guy, the one you fear and run away from. The one whose name you avoid as if it was poison to the tongue. You have been tasked to hunt X down and you are happy to do so. But then you meet X and he is looks like a victim and mirrors you own losses so you befriend him. This is basic and slightly common nowadays but you told a fact at the beginning and then reversed it in the end.
  • Surprise betrayal, surprise friend, surprise plan (did I say surprise?)— a writer walks you down a path and along the way they give you little facts. Get ready for a basic terrible story: Y is walking down a path. He plans to go by the flowers and over the bridge. But then Z blocks the path forcing Y to go down the path in the dangerous forest. There Y comes across V, his mortal enemy, but V wants to kill Z so they unexpectedly team up and attack Z from behind and win. But then Y attacks V and kills her. It was his plan all along– he is the lone survivor. So the writer told you some facts and said it is going this way but when actually it was the writers plan to take it this but they never told you this fact.

There are probably many other ways surprise can happen but these are just a few to give you an idea of the ones I like. Especially as it includes thought out detail that was planned ahead of the story instead of just being done for surprise effect.

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Details I Love In Endings:

📖 When the ending has a link to the beginning— ARRGGHH!! My heart adores the planning and thought this takes. I really like it– it is poetic and it can be a brilliant way to make sure you have had character development.  This can be quite specific to small details and I love that.

📖 Using the same line in book 1 and the last book. It is just a cute full circle link which I adore.

📖 A bit of realism: I know I said I like happy endings but if it was a war or deadly situation, there will be dark consequences. I think this should be included, even if it can be painful to read. You’ve got to talk about the effects on people being in dark situations.

📖 CHARACTER ARCS COMING TO A SATISFYING END: It is just the best. It shows you they can improve and it brings a nice close to their story whilst still feeling like it’s a new ‘beginning’ for them.

📖 When you realise everything has been foreshadowed. GENIUS.

📖 Consistency. Basically make sure you don’t change the rules of the world to get a convenient/easy end.

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Things I Personally Don’t Want In Endings

(Although they can still be done well in most cases) 

📖 The character sacrifices everything and dies but THEN comes back to life. Please no. If you die, you die. I really don’t like it when they come back from the dead. It eradicates the sacrifice and it is done too much. There are other ways to have emotional scenes without someone dying and coming back.

📖 Getting married *bells chime* and I read mostly YA, so, why are they all getting married at 17?!? Can’t they date for a while without the world falling apart and they see if they want to get married.

📖 Everyone is completely fine: emotional damage what?!? There have often gone through traumatic experiences, it can’t just be forgotten.

📖 A life of adventure to sitting still. I personally think if the characters loved adventure and wasn’t forced into the adventure then why would they want to settle down. It doesn’t match the character we know.

📖 Not addressing everyone in the story. Hi secondary characters, what are you doing? Who knows… Not me. Secondary characters shouldn’t be an afterthought and when you have multiple characters their stories should be concluded in some way. Secondary characters are sometimes my favourite, give them good endings too.

📖 Jumping to the future to see that they are fine. I don’t hate this one and I get why writer’s do it but I prefer to imagine their future for myself. It feels too closed.

📖 The character’s memory is gone. Nope. Sorry I did not get emotionally attached to this story just for my favourite character to forget it all.

📖 The story has changed too much and I don’t like what has happened to the characters. I can like the first book but sometimes the sequels are radically different. It is a shame because you’re like no. What happened?? Especially if a character has changed in a way you didn’t like it can be hard to connect with them again. But this is down to personal preference so I understand that authors have got to do what they feel is right and the story can still be written really well.

📖 The story has been sacrificed for a surprise gasp. Obviously I like surprises and plot twists but I think they have to make sense and to have been in the works for a while whether through foreshadowing or something.


 

What is your favourite type of ending?? What is your favourite book finale??
What are some things that you hate in endings?? Do you enjoy happy endings or do you prefer something else??

22 thoughts on “Book Series Endings: Fantasy addition

  1. Great post! I agree with a lot of the things you said, what seems to be most important to me is that the ending is in the same spirit as the rest of the books. Meaning that if there’s a big final twist it makes sense or has been foreshadowed in some way, like you said. I especially don’t like characters that change at the very end, it feels like a personal betrayal after following them for so long.

    I think especially in fantasy or books that have spent time building up until a final ‘battle’ or ‘showdown’ it’s really difficult to live up to that while writing the ending. Winter did that really great with an epic battle, even though I didn’t like the overall book because it felt so slow and all over the place. I also like when authors find a solution in other ways, like maybe it’s not a grand finale plot-wise, but with a lot of focus on characters achieving or not achieving what they hoped.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! And yes I agree– endings are best when they are in the same spirit as the rest of the book as it is what the audience know and love. Yes I do like twists to be foreshadowed– it’s stronger writing and more enticing!! Yes when characters drastically change at the end it does feel like a betrayal– like ‘no, we’ve been through so much together’!!

      That’s true– people are always on about a ‘grand finale’ and it puts a lot of expectation that it needs to be full of epic scenes and the unexpected.
      I have to say with Winter I read part of it really fast and other parts more slowly so that could have been to do with the pace. But I really enjoyed where the characters ended up and it definitely had a ‘finale’ vibe (if that makes sense).

      Yes I like other solutions too especially focus on the characters and their personal goals so I agree.

      Thank you for the lovely comment!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooh yes what an interesting topic! 😀 For me I like finales that suit the story. I mean I would expect a cheerful ending if the book was kind of a fun, fluffy type. But if the story was dark and the characters suffered a lot, I don’t expect a sugar-sweet type of end. Something, maybe, not completely happy but not tragic either. Something with a bit of hope? 🙂

    Also, one of my pet peeves if “it was all a dream” and it didn’t really happen. Sigh. Also characters coming back from the dead because then I feel kind of cheated. I also adore surprise endings as long as I can binge the series (if I can’t, then I have a love-hate relationship :p) My favorite kind of surprise endings is the type that holds up to rereads. I know The Queen of Attolia does a fabulous kind of surprise ending.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay I’m glad you find the topic interesting– I really liked writing about it even if there was quite a lot to cover haha!! Yes I agree– finales should suit the story. The readers have gone on a journey so when that is radically changed it can leave you feeling unsatisfied. And yes dark stories maybe do need to have a bit less than a happy ending but I agree they can still have some hope in the ending.

      Yes ‘it was all a dream’ is so unsatisfying— I didn’t get attached to the journey for it not actually of happened in this world. Yes characters coming back for the dead is not by favourite storyline at all!!
      Surprise endings are great but when you have to wait they can be annoying. They are still brilliant for making you want to read the next one immediately!! haha!!
      That’s true– endings still being good whilst rereading them is a certain test. I’ve never read the Queen of Attolia but I might have to now!!

      Thank you for your lovely comment!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Queen of Attolia is actually book 2 in a series called the Queen’s Thief. It begins with The Thief. I love this series and 10/10 recommend!

        Yes I agree with you about the reason I dislike “it was all a dream”. It was like…what happened to their arcs 😦 It’s all gone! The few times it did work for me included the one in Alice in Wonderland because it was all so wacky it could only work as a dream. Haha!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ohh I have heard of The Thief!! I’m glad you loved it. I will have to read it soon– I am looking for a fantasy series I can binge read as well!! 😊
          Yes it is kind of disheartening!! I have read Alice in Wonderland and I agree it did suit that story– the book is full of madness that would be in a dream 😂!!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this post SO much! I’m a marshmallow and a lover of happy endings, but I feel like everything has to be properly… wrapped-up, otherwise it can be SO frustrating. I have a love/hate relationship with surprising endings, sometimes I gasp and feel like it’s so, so well done and I never saw it coming and I’m not over it for a long time (like, We Were Liars, which is not a fantasy book, but the one popping into mind right now haha) and otherwise I’m just so mad, because WHY and I just wanted my normal happy ending haha. I think it depends on the series, too! Sometimes I need closure and some other times I’m okay with a little more, open ending haha 🙂
    Winter is also one of my favorite books and one of my favorite series finale, too, I thought it was so good! 🙂
    Lovely post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! It is so great to hear you loved it!! Happy Endings are great– they leave you feeling great and when it is characters you love, you really want them to have a happy ending, right?!?!?
      And yes everything does need to be wrapped up in the endings because having unanswered questions is so annoying!!
      Yes I think surprise endings do have to been done right and can be quite hard to deliver– you want to be thinking about it afterwards for the right reasons– I’ve heard about We Were Liars and I am curious about the ending now haha!!
      That’s true endings do depend on the rest of the series!!
      I really enjoyed Winter– I was happy what happened to the characters and how the story wrapped up.
      Thank you and thank you for your lovely comment!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agree and, when I love the characters so much, I just want them to be happy and all the fluff hahaha ❤ ❤
        I hope you'll give We Were Liars a try someday, I personally hadn't read anything about it nor heard any spoilers, so the shock of it all had me, wow. I think this is one of the surprise endings that work and have you thinking about it for a long, long time and THIS is awesome 😀
        You're so welcome, this was a great post 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this post soooooooooooooooooooo much! I’m a huge sucker for a happy ending, but is it bad for me to say I also think the characters need to suffer a bit? Otherwise, it is just unrealistic and unenjoyable. I am kind of undecided though when it comes to surprise endings because sometimes I get really upset with an image built in my head not being met, and sometimes it meets it perfectly and then I am disappointed because it was predictable.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah… thank you so much!! That’s wonderful to hear and it means a lot!! 😭💕
      Yes I do love a happy ending–they leave you feeling so good afterwards!!
      Yes I agree the characters probably do have to suffer a bit because as you said it is realistic and adds a depth to their story.
      Yes I know what you mean– surprise stories can go either way. And it can be disappointing when you wanted it to go another way. And I think there is a struggle with stories being seen as predictable but predictable doesn’t always mean bad. However surprise endings when done well can be really good. It probably depends on my mood a bit as well!! 😂
      Thank you for the lovely comment!! 💛

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sophie!! I want to hug this post and give it a high five at the same time–I love it so so much. ❤ "Using the same line in book 1 and the last book." Yes yes yes so much yes to this. I know some people think it's cheesy, but it NEVER fails to send shivers down my spine.

    The "jumping to the future" one annoys me a lot sometimes! The epilogue in the last Harry Potter book is probably the best example I can think of. Like, I don't really need to know that all the characters got happily married and had dozens of kids and are living their best lives.

    I'm planning on finishing the last two books in the Raven Cycle series in the next couple of months, and I can't wait to see how the story all wraps up in The Raven King.

    Oh, and I love your cheesy narrator voice! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh… thank you so much!! That makes me so happy to hear– I really enjoyed writing this one. Yes I love it when it used the same line and it does send shivers down my spine— like YES that just happened!!

      Yes it not necessarily bad when you jump to the future but it just seems unnecessary and not as satisfying as other endings to me. And Harry Potter is one that I think of for this as well. Yes you don’t need to see this living their ‘best lives’. Plus the scenes are always too small to get a full image so it only shows the good stuff which is unrealistic I find.

      Ahh… the last two books in the Raven Cycle are my favourites. I hope you enjoy them both!! 🙂

      Thank you haha, I quite enjoyed using my cheesy narrator voice!! 😉
      Thank you so much for the lovely comment!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah, I love this post, and I haven’t seen anything like this before!! I fully agree with basically everything you say – especially about war, or dangerous situation going on… and no character dying. I definitely don’t want my favorites to die, but it’s also wildly unrealistic when no one even gets hurt. I also hate when the author sacrifices supporting characters who were not well-develop, and makes it seem like ‘A Big Deal’ when really, no one cares – Cassandra Clare did that, for example. The Raven King and Crooked Kingdom and two of my favorite series for sure – I loved the surprises they packed, and also how they both ended with the characters planning their future. Like you said, it is lovely to imagine what they may be doing next – same about Winter, although I found that one a tad bit too long, it dragged at parts for me. But I’m glad you loved it!! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh… thank you so much!! That is so wonderful to hear!!!
      I’m glad you agree with what I said!!
      Yes I think if you are going to right about dangerous situations then you should write about it realistically where people can get injured, die or suffer some trauma from the events. And yes I don’t like it when side characters die because as a reader you’re not as attached to them and it doesn’t have the same impact!! And all the main characters survive because they have enough ‘plot armour’ to get through these situations– it just isn’t very realistic. I know it is fiction but I think it should be realistic as well.
      Yes I loved The Raven King and Crooked Kingdom– and I love characters planning their future as you get to imagine what could be! Yes Winter is a very long book and I read some parts quicker than others so I think the pacing was a bit off but I still really enjoyed it!!
      Thank you so much and thank you for the lovely comment!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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