To begin this post, I want to make it clear that it’s entirely possible for a story’s ending to be both -a happy one, and incredibly aesthetically pleasing to read because it’s all thoughtful and lyrical.
But no, I’m not talking about those. Those are perfect and we all know it.
Behind the bench, a young, gangly, Snowfire tree had been planted in a mound of moss-covered soil. Healthy, strong, already flowering with its beautifully scented white summer blooms, the Snowfire would grow in the coming years and drape its branches like a veil around the bench, waiting for their children to sit beneath its fragant blooms to read and dream of heroic battles and noble deeds of their ancestors, and imagine the day that they, too, would earn the right to protect their kingdom and discover a love to last the ages.
-The Winter King, by C.L. Wilson | Aka, perfection
I’m talking about books that have either one, or the other.
We love happy endings because, they’re well… happy? And we like happy. I looove happy. In fact, I hate happy endings being ruined so much, that I’d take everybody in the book dying rather than a bittersweet ending with… I don’t know, let’s say there’s a couple, and one of them dies. I’d rather they both died.
Happy endings are satisfying because they are the readers’ reward.
Like here you go my pets, thanks for sticking with me for five books.
It’s just simple maths.
Satisfying, Lyrical Open endings (SLOEs)
Let’s just pretend SLOEs are a thing.
You know, these are the ones that even though everyone really does die, you don’t really care because the writing is beautiful, and you get a life lesson, or something to think about because of that open end.
Except, you do care.
But we’re siging this guy praises here so let’s leave that for later.
I like how these can be so powerful in their own right too. Because, often, these just feel right. They bring the story full circle and that’s why they’re so satisfying.
Which do I prefer?
I think as I general rule, I’d go with my happy ending. Books mess with my heart so much, so I’ve got to protect it. That said, if I want to get a bit more specific…
SLOEs are my precious when the focus of the story isn’t romance, of course, if it’s done right -like all the things. Because an open ending just for the sake of being mysterious just sucks. It’s not cool.
Of course some open endings might be considered happy. Because they’re not dead, right? They might die, but they haven’t yet, so… I say fuck that. That’s not happy, that’s torture.
Which do you prefer?