Loony’s Musings: the end of a series

Update: I am back in the land of internet! This means I’ve caught up on all the lovely comments and emails and Tweets and…okay, I really need to visit all your lovely blogs. I’m working on it! I’m armed with chocolate from the Sydney Royal Easter Show. While I was away at my grandparents’ place, I also read three books and broke my glasses. Whoops.

Today I want to talk about serieseses. I never know how to write the plural for it. Series’? With the apostrophe thing? Anyway.

It all started with How I Met Your Mother. So obviously today’s post will feature How I Met Your Mother GIFS.

image

(I mean, really, could there BE a more perfect GIF?)

The reason I’m using How I Met Your Mother as an example is because of the uproar at the ending. I haven’t actually seen the ending yet, so don’t worry – no spoilers here. But if you haven’t heard about it, basically? Everyone hates it.

And it made me think about book series’, and the pressure on authors to please fans as well as stay true to their original intentions. I mean, that’s hard work. I get that. But sometimes I just wish I’d never read the series in the first place, because the ending is so awful. It’s like, oh yeah, this is pretty awesome, OH COOL, this is going really well. You buy the last book and…wow, okay, this is not good. This is not good at all. I’m looking at you, Allegiant.

Marshall: [thinking] Small penis. You have a small penis. Oh, that’s super interesting! But you have a small penis. Dammit, Marshall! Okay, okay, think of any two words other than small or penis. Got it! Small penis. Dammit!<br /><br />
     How I Met Your Mother 6.05 - “Architect of Destruction”

So what does an author owe their fans? How much should that be taken into account? In the case of How I Met Your Mother, it had been going on a long time. People were invested in the characters and the story. But from what I read about the ending, it seems like the writers were almost manipulating the audience.

Which isn’t cool. Here’s what I want in an ending to a series.

– I want things to be resolved. Not necessarily everything – I don’t mind open endings.

– I want there to have been development of the characters. Character development is incredibly important no matter what type of story, and I think that was one of the main downfalls of How I Met Your Mother’s finale.

– Feels.

Okay, so it doesn’t have to be heart-wrenching or deliriously happy, but I’d like to FEEL something about these characters I’m so invested in.

– It preserves the integrity of the series. Okay so I sound nerdy writing this. But seriously! You can’t create an entire series and then completely turn it around and do something completely different. I think this was kind of where the Divergent trilogy failed for me – I loved the first book, but then the next two didn’t follow on enough for my liking.

– It doesn’t change main characters! I’m talking about The Last Dragon Chronicles here.

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The first few books were fantastic. Then they got…well, kind of awful. It completely changed into different worlds and ideas, and it was nothing like the first books at all. It was like the author had merged a different idea into the last few books.

I don’t actually read series’ all that often. Contemporary YA books are often one-offs, and that’s my favourite genre. But when the end of a series is everything I wanted, that is an amazing feeling. That book hangover when you finish the last page and just wish there was more…fangirling with other book-lovers…wanting to erase it from your mind so you can experience it all over again…those are great feelings.

What do you want to see in the ending of a series? 

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30 thoughts on “Loony’s Musings: the end of a series

  1. Hey, I didn’t hate the HIMYM finale! I only had a whole bunch of mixed feelings about it.

    I (unsuccessfully) try to avoid series unless all the books are out already, because after years of waiting for something, it’s almost impossible for the ending to live up to expectations. And I completely agree with everything you listed, particularly the part about not changing main characters; I don’t think I’ve read any series that did that, but it just sounds like a terrible idea.

    • I think you’re definitely in the minority there! Although my sister liked it as well. I’m up to the middle of season 8 so I’m not quite there yet.

      Living up to expectations is really difficult when it’s been a long series. I’m so glad the ending of Harry Potter didn’t disappoint! Or at least, it didn’t disappoint my fourth-grade self 🙂

  2. I didn’t actually mind Allegiant! I did think the writing became rather sloppy here through, which made me sad. I don’t even watch HIMYM but I’ve heard all about the hated ending. Great post!

  3. Ah, I haven’t read Allegiant yet, but I’ve heard that it disappointed many people. Though, Mockingjay did seem to be a bit short and not have much to it, also being… anti-climatic? at some parts? Or it’s just me talking. I still like reading series, though last books don’t seem to be the best.
    HIMYM, I had mixed feelings about as well…
    Nice post 🙂

    • Mockingjay was my least favourite of the Hunger Games series. I guess that’s because the actual Hunger Games wasn’t present in the books, which was what drew me to the books in the first place. Sometimes it’s the middle book in a series (mostly trilogies) that disappoint me. But it can often be the last book too!

  4. Oh man, you’re so right Emily! I’m genuinely so afraid about the final Skulduggery book, and Sweet Reckoning, and other series that I’m beginning to start, it’s unhealthy and scary! I don’t and haven’t watch HIMYM and don’t think I ever will, but it’s a shame people are disappointed, people loved that show. Anyway, great post hunny! 😀

    • I haven’t read any of the Skulduggery books, although I’ve heard from friends that they’re really good! More books to add to the never-ending TBR 🙂 it’s a shame about HIMYM, definitely. I’m up to season 8 but I’m not sure if I want to watch the ending now!

      • The Skulduggery Pleasant books are SO good – especially if you like tongue-in-cheek characters. I agree with Amanda, though, that I’m afraid for the final book. I’m about 2/3rds of the way through the penultimate one, and I’m not loving the pacing compared to the previous seven, so I’m worried Landy is going to try too hard to make the last book explosive and oh-look-more-fight-scenes like I’m finding this one.
        Fun fact: I’ve actually met the author.

  5. Oh yep, I’d agree with your list of things to WANT to see in a series. (Although, don’t spear me, but I don’t think Allegiant could have been anymore PERFECT. xD) I don’t like changing characters either..gah, that always bugs me. I mean, I’m here FOR a particular character. I’m not invested in the “world”, I’m invested in the characters. Robert Muchamore’s CHERUB series drove me crazy because of that. Because he never developed the “new” main characters very much…it was like I was expected to be interested in them or something. Bleh. One of my favourite series (serieses’??!! what. how.) is the ending of the GONE series by Michael Grant. My heart broke. Good news, right? XD

    • It seems like people either loved or hated it. Unfortunately I was firmly in the “hated it” section!

      Changing characters annoys me too. I don’t care if stories are plot-driven, the main character is who we’re invested in. That’s why they’re the “main” character. The Last Dragon Chronicles is an amazing series for the first few books, then it just goes downhill with another ENTIRE universe and set of characters. Like, why. Why would you do that. But when a series ends fantastically, that is lovely. Even if it’s heart-breaking (His Dark Materials and Harry Potter, I’m looking at you).

  6. Dystopian YA constantly fails to impress me at the end, I usually enjoy the first and/or second book and then it just gets very bad very quickly *glares at Veronica Roth and Suzanne Collins*

  7. I agree with everything you’ve said, especially the stuff about ‘Allegiant’, which drove me bonkers. I haven’t seen the end of HIMYM yet but I have had it spoiled by someone very careless (grr) so I know what happens. To be honest, it wasn’t a surprise. But I’m saying no more. And yes, I was (will be?) disappointed.

    Also, the plural of series? Just series. No apostrophe. Definitely no ‘serieses.’ Series is actually a plural word; it only exists in that form. So, now you know.

  8. I didn’t mind Allegiant. I can see it wasn’t the best ending, but I think (again, just my opinion) Veronica Roth was quite true to Tris. There have been series endings that I can’t stand though. Oh my goodness, I HATED Requiem by Lauren Oliver. I couldn’t even finish it, and I loved the start of the book. I think sometimes too many books are being made into trilogies when there’s not enough scope for three books (or more if the series is bigger). I don’t mind an open ending either, but the writing has to be good. It can’t get sloppy, or completely different to the rest of the series. It has to connect. (Apologies for the long reply…)

    • Well, I’m not a dystopian person to begin with, so I was really let down by the ending. But I know a lot of people loved it 🙂 you make a good point about trilogies, and I don’t see why so many speculative fiction books are made into trilogies. Divergent could just as easily have finished after the first book, I think. And hey, I don’t mind long comments! I appreciate every single one 🙂

    • Luckily it hasn’t happened to me particularly often, but when it does, it’s all the worse. Because, you know, you’re invested in the characters and the story, and it’s like the ending you’ve imagined has somehow died. Really disappointed in HIMYM from what I’ve read 😦

  9. I totally agree with you, Em. I want to have a resolution and I want the series to end on a relatively happy note. *looks at Allegiant* but I also don’t want to to be too sweet and perfect because then it would be too unrealistic. YES TO THE FEELS! There needs to be feels in ALL books. Not just the last instalment.

    Brilliant post, Em! <33

    • I’m pretty fine for sad endings, but not if they’re completely useless. *also looks at Allegiant* Like, what was even the point? I agree about unrealistic happy endings, though. If they’re all tied up in a nice little bow it feels really forced – to a point that’s why I don’t like the 19 years later section of Harry Potter. And yes. FEELS FOR ALL BOOKS. Let’s make it law 🙂

  10. I have the worst luck with my glasses haha, I always end up bending them out of shape or ruining them in some sort of way.

    Anyway, this post is brill. There’s a lot of ways a series can end badly, and if it does so you can’t help but feel sad about the rest of the series.

    What I do need from a series ending is some form of closure, I need the majority of plot holes filled in. Reading a bunch of books and still not having ANY answers?? That doesn’t work for me 😛 YES! The HIMYM finale totally failed because it went exactly back to how the characters acted in the first seasons. They had all of this development and then it was just erased in the finale >.<

    Great post! I definitely agree c:

    • It’s weird because I’ve never broken glasses. Then my last pair I accidentally snapped, and this pair broke when I was just putting them on. But they were still under warranty so I’m getting a new pair for free 🙂

      If a series ends badly it’s definitely difficult to think of the first book/s in the same light. It’s like the whole thing is ruined.

      Closure is good. If there are still things dangling that haven’t been tied up, it seems sloppy to me. But then, like Mel was saying, it’s just as bad when things are too happy and tied up in a pretty little bow, so it’s good when there’s a balance.

      I want to watch the finale of HIMYM, but I don’t at the same time. I’m so angry that they completely erased all the character development! GRR.

  11. I have never seen How I Met Your Mother o.o
    But I can totally relate to the end of a series thing, I had a post about it not too long ago. I read a lot of dystopian/paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi stuff and those sorts of books do tend to be in serieseseses. So I know the feeling of wanting some closure, but being too afraid to end it all :/ But it is mostly about closure for me. I’ve never paid too much attention to character development/integrity and all that. But I see your point. If you’re used to one thing, don’t confuse everyone on the last book D:

    • Don’t even bother 😛
      I get so scared when the last book in a series comes out. Over the years I’ve been really invested in Harry Potter, then Eragon, then The Last Dragon Chronicles and Ingo, and now it will be The Lunar Chronicles as well as Ensnared (third book in Splintered trilogy). But at the same time, it’s wonderful to see how everything ends 🙂

  12. Pingback: What Happened This Week: Stacking the Shelves, Divergent movie and querying | The Loony Teen Writer

  13. How far are you through the last HIMYM series? I don’t think we in England are even halfway through yet, and it is killing me not actually seeing it! (Now I know how Americans feel when we Brits tweet about Downton Abbey! xD)
    *grabby hands for Barney gif*

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