Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Ending of Allegiant

Okay, so it is probably ridiculous to write about the ending of a book before I write about the book itself, especially when I have other posts that I intended to write this week and just haven't happened, but oh well.  I just finished Allegiant and I have all the thoughts (as do all the t/weens apparently - just Google "Veronica Roth" for a spoiler-risking hint).  I feel like this probably shouldn't need saying but as this post is about the ENDING of the book, it will contain spoilers.  SPOILERS.  Like, super-spoilers.  So I'm going to follow the author's example, as set in her own post on the ending, by putting a spoiler break in case you're reading this on something that doesn't include the cut.

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Did we all make it?  Okay, good.

In case you didn't actually read Allegiant and have no intention of doing so but are curious about this post, I'll just tell you what happens: Tris, the protagonist of the trilogy (though she shares the narration in this final book), dies at the end of the book, while saving the world future dystopian Chicago.  And oh god, it made me so happy.

Before you go thinking I'm a sick freak, let me clarify: it actually made me a little weepy, particularly when her uber-boyfriend, Tobias, is all sad about it.

But also, I was happy.  Because people freaking die when they do dangerous things, as the series's body count will attest to, and hero/ines are not excluded from that.  I am a big fan of ambiguous and unhappy endings because I like for literature to be real and reflect the truth and, sadly, that's how life usually is.

Of course this makes me think of two other major series written for young people: Hunger Games and Harry Potter.  I think that Hunger Games handles this well - sure, Katniss and Peeta live and even get married and build a life together, but Katniss is damaged and that makes it real.  Harry Potter, of course, loses this sense of reality.  Harry not only lives, but he is not damaged or even really affected by his past.  I think this was a weakness on JKR's part - she loved him too much to kill him and it cost her series in the long run.

In contrast, Veronica Roth was extremely brave in her choice to kill her heroine and protagonist.  She stayed true to her story and to life, and while that may disappoint some readers, it is far more satisfying than some false happy ending.  It also lends the series some balance - Tris has survived a lot that she shouldn't have through her mysterious resistance to her society's serums and her rapid recovery from terrible injuries.  In the end, though, she is mortal, and that helps me to believe everything else.

2 comments:

  1. a) I super love it that Tris dies at the end, for all the same reasons you have said. That is cool and Veronica Roth is awesomely brave to be so merciless.

    b) I actually disagree about the Harry Potter books. I think JK Rowling did a better job than many authors do of showing how the horrors her characters have experienced influence their lives in the future. Harry and the others have emotional fallout from the things they go through. The epilogue was optimistic about Harry's future (he has a family and he's happy), but I also think the books up to that point had made it clear that horrors in your past cause you trouble in your present. I always assume that Harry went to years and years of important wizard therapy, given how messed-up he was in, for instance, the fifth book. Not like that just goes away.

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    1. I think that JKR did a good job up until that epilogue. I think it goes beyond optimistic to just sickly sweet. But for most of the series, yeah, Harry is haunted and affected by everything in a believable way.

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