Reading Writes {Chapter Two} Best & Worst Endings // Reading | Kylie Purtell - Capturing Life

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Reading Writes {Chapter Two} Best & Worst Endings // Reading

And they all lived happily ever after.

Could an ending be anymore cliche? Probably not. But sometimes, that kind of ending can just work. Other times it's a giant cop-out from a writer too lazy or too confused to be able to present us with anything better. Sure, the way an author starts a book can be pretty crucial. But for me, it's the ending that makes or breaks it. The same is true of any story, no matter the medium.

I hate nothing more than a book, movie or TV show to have a shit ending. It leaves me feeling ripped off. Conned. It tarnishes the rest of the experience, even if up until the end it had been a really good experience and story. Now to be honest, there aren't a lot of books where I hated the ending. In fact, it's usually TV shows or movies where I get to the end and have that ripped off feeling.

In fact, I couldn't really tell you many book endings that I hated because if I hated them they have faded from my memory. I'm pretty sure I've completely blocked them out, such was my anger and disappointment! TV shows, though, that's another story.

I wasn't too impressed with the ending of How I Met Your Mother. It was ok, and I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. Despite the fact that the entire last season covers basically one day in their lives, and I liked the fact that you got flash forwards of Ted with the Mother, I didn't like the ending. It just felt too easy. And so obvious. I picked it at least 10 episodes before it happened.
Final sentence from one of my favourite books

Lost was another disappointment, although again, I so knew it was coming. It was exactly what I said it would be. But still annoying. Seinfeld and Mad About You both sucked as well. Friends was actually ok. It's just that they could have done anything and I still would not have been happy because it was my favourite show and I never wanted it to end!

The ending of Stargate Atlantis was really shit. It wouldn't have been so bad if the Atlantis movies that they had planned at the time actually happened. But since they didn't, the ending just sucks even more, there were so many things they needed to address.

What did I love the endings of? Alias. If you go online and google Alias ending there is heaps written by fans and critics of the show about it's ending and how much people didn't like it. I for one thought it was brilliant. Especially what happened to Sydney's arch nemesis, Sloan. He couldn't have come to a better end!

I also loved the ending of The Office (US) and the 30 Rock ending wasn't too bad either.

In terms of book endings that I loved, my favourite has to be, of course, the Harry Potter series. Seriously, the last 5 chapters of the last book are pretty much the best 5 chapters of any book I've ever read. That's why I was so pissed off with the ending of the last movie, it was ridiculously shit-house, losing all the awe and amazingness of the final confrontation that the book had.

I also didn't mind the ending of the third Hunger Games books. I think there is real pressure on an author to nail an ending when it comes to a trilogy or a series, even more so than a TV show or movie. Readers invest so much more time in their books and to get a shitty ending after spending what can sometimes amount to hundreds of hours spent reading their words is a real big fuck you on the part of an author.

Having said that though, there is the simple fact that not everyone is going to be happy with the ending that a writer presents us with. We are social creatures, us humans, and as such we become seriously attached to the people in the stories we read or watch. Everyone has their own ideas about how a book, series, TV show or movie should end, and there are always going to be those that don't like what they are presented with.

However if an author treats their characters, and thus their readers with respect, then I think even an ending that people aren't so happy with, people will still see the value in it. It won't taint the rest of the work that has gone before.

I have high hopes for the final book in the Wool trilogy, as well as whatever the final book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series ends up being. Although to be honest with you, I am highly suspicious of just how George R. R. Martin plans on finishing that series and from what I've read about him, I wouldn't be surprised to get a big "Fuck You" ending from him!

So tell me, what endings have you loved, what endings have you loathed?

P. S. Just wanted to say a super big thank you to everyone who linked up with me last month. It was so great to read all your posts and have your support, and I hope to see you all linking up again this month. You guys rock!

P. P. S. Next month I'll be writing about favourite books so get your lists ready!


  1. Will write something and return to link! Endings are hard, I think. Sometimes an ending grows on you as you age tho...we went back to the Seinfeld ending not that long ago, and it's better than I remembered. I think the pressure was too great at the time...

  2. I've been compiling a list of my favorite reads so it sounds like it will be perfect for next months link up?

  3. I'm going to join you for next month's link up - this is the first time I've seen it and I love it. I have to say I'm a sucker for a happy ending but I also like a bit of a shocker - I really liked Gone Girl (haven't seen the movie yet). You're right that viewers/readers need to be treated with respect. Some of those Hollywood movie endings are ridiculous!

  4. This topic had been on my mind last week as you might now from my FB feed. I absolutely hated the Gone Girl movie. There were times during the film, despite its predictability and implausibility, that I thought, ok maybe this film is alright. And then came the end. I wanted to kill myself and all the characters in a mass murder suicide. I don't think I've ever felt more ripped off by a film.

    I liked the way Sex & The City finished up. Six Feet Under was also done really well. Breaking Bad probably had the most satisfying ending of all my favourite shows.

    I am concerned about just how George RR will finish of Song of Fire & Ice. So many plot lines to tie up! So many fans heavily invested after reading over 5000 pages or watching however many episodes it will end up being. I feel for him in a way. The pressure must be huge!

  5. See I haven't seen the end of HIMYM and many of those other shows. But as for endings I like ones that have closure because I hate being left hanging or not knowing! I'll go back and see if I have a book post I can add to this link - hope you're great girl, back in the saddle after two weeks off - HUGS xx

  6. Shows: I hated the end of Seinfeld. The end of that series was never going to please everyone, so it's like they opted for pissing off everyone instead!
    Books: SO MANY. Big Brother (Lionel Shriver) wins worst ending EVER for mine. I'll ditto you that the third book of The Hunger Games was ended well, but that's with the disclaimer that I think the third book was a bad ending to the trilogy. (If that makes sense. I disliked the third book, but like the way it ended if it had to exist.) I didn't like HP when I first read it - why fast forward? Why show that? Why? - but now I like that it wraps it up. No more books, people. 19 years later, Harry is happy. The end. Recent reads: I just read We are Called to Rise (I've linked the review) and the ending felt implausible. But I'm not sure I hated it, just didn't believe it could happen. Also recently read Lost & Found, and didn't hate the ending but wasn't blown away by it as I was expecting.
    Will stop there. I could write forever on this!! x

  7. I think the ending of the Hunger Games was done really well, and I actually liked the end of the HIMYM. It came full circle.
    Funny, I've got a post written in my head about book endings to link up with you. Hoping to actually write it on a screen tomorrow :)

  8. I like endings I don't see coming, or have twists, but I also am a sucker for a HAPPY ENDING. I *hated* the ending of City of Angels! I loved the ending of the Twilight series (movie - I didn't read the book). I liked the ending of "The Sixth Sense" because for all the people who totally saw that ending coming, I didn't! Can't think of any others off the top of my head but will let you know! :)

  9. I liked the ending of the Twilight series of movies too, it was way better than the book, although the book was ok too. But the movies definitely had a better end to them.

  10. I thought so too, re: Hunger Games. The HIMYM end was ok, I guess I was just looking for something a little more, and there were also a few things they didn't resolve, like the goat (unless they did and I totally missed that bit!).

  11. Yes! I thought the same thing about Seinfeld!

    And I agree about the last book in The Hunger Games. Sadly the second and third books really struggled to live up to the first one, but I think that was always going to be the case coz the first one was just so damn good!

  12. Yeah I'm not a big fan of the open-ended closing! I'm a big fan of Law & Order SVU and so many of those episodes end like that, sometimes it really kills me. I just have to hope that with almost 20 years worth of episodes to work my way through, some of them will be resolved further down the track!

  13. I haven't read the book or seen the movie of Gone Girl, but I definitely want to read the book before I see the movie. Amazingly I have managed to avoid any spoilers for book or movie, but I have a few ideas of what might go down. My sister is reading it at the moment and I'm hoping to borrow it off her when she is finished.

    And I agree about the pressure on George RR, I don't envy him that job at all! I just hope he doesn't die or something before he gets to it!

  14. Awesome, it will be great to have you Denise! Some Hollywood movie endings are just beyond a joke, and they really make you think twice about going to see another one when you get treated with such contempt!

  15. Awesome, that would be great! I'm going to be talking about some of my faves (as it's really time I revisited my fave list again), and also a recent list of favourite books as voted by Dymocks Staff which had some interesting choices in it. Can't wait to read your list next month!

  16. I definitely agree that an ending can grow on you. There have been some that have really shitted me at first but over time I've come to accept that it really was the best way for it to end.

  17. Endings are SO important. I need to be swept off my feet and my heart needs to skip a beat ;) Haven't read much fiction lately to comment on endings there- but I wasn't overly impressed with Offsprings recent ending. Harry Potter is one of the most epic endings - I like things to be finished up nicely with a neat little bow and JK did that perfectly with Harry x

  18. I ADORE this show and when I was BF'ing Oliver I had them recorded on our Foxtell, when we had it, and I used to watch them back to back - one of the best shows EVER!

  19. I'm with you, there's nothing worse than a bad ending!
    Yes HP was very satisfying, as was Friends (also MY favourite TV show ever!). I thought the end of Sex and the City the TV show was fantastic, and then along came the movie which I thought surprisingly added value to the whole story and also finished well......then they went and ruined it with SATC2! Another fave show of mine that ended recently was Dexter, and I'm still not sure how I feel about the ending. Through the whole series you kind of loved him for being bad, I think part of me wanted to know that he was going to continue to be a badass!
    Trying to think of an ending that really got my goat. The only one I can think of right now, but not really an ending so much as the very last scene in a movie, was The Matrix. So, apparently the guy can fly, and you choose the last 5 seconds of the film to reveal this to us? What the hell was that?!!
    Loving this linky by the way, I'm joining again!

  20. Merlin had a shitty ending. It just ended, that was it, I actually had to google it to make sure that it was in fact the last episode.

    I love books or movies that leave an open ending, not a completely wide open one, but one that leaves you wanting to know more about the characters because the writer has written so well about them. I could read The Mortal Instruments forever because I loved hearing about the different things that the shadow hunters had, although the ending of the last book was a bit of a sucker punch.

    I'll have to write a post about mental health books and link up!

  21. Oh, and another thing (now you've got me started), how is Sons of Anarchy going to end?! So many possibilities. I'm thinking it is all going to end very badly for everyone involved, and lots of characters are going to be killed off in the remaining 8 or so episodes. Oh that show is terrifying but damn it's goooood.
    And I also am very impatient to see how the mighty George R R is going to tie things up with Song of Ice and Fire. What will there be to wait for once that series is over?!
    Ok, I'm out :)

  22. So many books leave me hanging and then you don't get a sequel to tie it together. I'm with you about Harry Potter - loved it!

  23. I really disliked Seinfeld's ending. It was depressing. I wasn't a fan of Lost's ending either and I haven't seen the last season of How I met Your Mother yet. I agree, Alias was awesome. Every second of it. I miss that show. As for books, there haven't been many endings, that I can remember, that I didn't like. They don't seem to stick in my head as well as the movies :/

  24. I hate Seinfeld's ending too. I loved The Office UK's ending, but I haven't watched much of the US one. I wonder if it's the same? I love any ending that's not 'tied up with a bow'. I like questions left unanswered (to some extent) so you can keep on reading. Best book ending ever (lately, at least) was Mark Watson's Hotel Alpha - it ends, but then you get to go to a website where there's 100 short stories continuing little tangents about different characters or different versions of events. It's the ending that never ends! Brilliant idea!

  25. Do not talk to me about Lost. I am still not over it. Matter of fact, I refuse to watch any more of that silly Under The Dome show and not just because it's a load of poorly acted crap. I just KNOW it's going to end disappointingly, even though Stephen King generally comes through... x

  26. The book that comes to my mind first thing and that I hated the end is definitely Gone Girl. I was hooked all along but so disappointed by the ending.

  27. Most recently I disliked the ending of Gone Girl. As for Seinfeld, agree totally!


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