My 5 Favorite Types of Endings

When you think about an ending, you mainly just think about whether it's happy or sad. However, there are lots of ways that storytellers can play with the idea of an ending, often with really awesome results. So here are my five favorite types of endings.

*Note: This is assuming that the ending is well-executed. I've read plenty of books/seen plenty of movies with each of these endings that really didn't pull it off very well.

1. The Bittersweet Ending

This is the one where the characters have walked through Hell, climbed Mount Doom, and swum across oceans of despair. They've lost friends, made enemies, and been broken into pieces. And yet, despite all that adversity and loss, they're still alive. That's what this ending is mainly about -- the main character(s) survive. They may or may not have achieved their goal in the way they wanted to. They may or may not have all their limbs intact. But they're alive, and that's what counts.

Examples (I'm writing these in white to avoid spoilers. Highlight them if you want to see!):
  • The Hunger Games trilogy (Suzanne Collins)
  • The Maze Runner trilogy (James Dashner)

2. The Ending that You Think will be Devastating but Turns Out Happy

Generally, this one involves some type of deception or mix-up that means you think a character or a cause is lost, but it actually isn't. And then you laugh and cry and punch your fist in the air when you realize the truth. For me, there's one series in particular that did this really, really well, and I've put it in the examples.

  • Illuminae (Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff)
  • Gemina (Ditto)

3. The Somewhat Incomplete Ending That Still Works Fine Without An Epilogue

These are the endings which benefit from a little uncertainty. We don't know what might end up happening to the characters -- and, in some cases, if their main problem will ever be truly resolved -- but somehow, it doesn't matter. We've seen their journey, and that's what counts. Plus, the great thing about this type of ending means there's room for a sequel :D

  • The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas)
  • The Wake trilogy (Lisa McMann)

4. The Trippy Ending

This is the ending with such uncertainty it makes your head spin. Perhaps there's a huge twist that gets revealed right before the end, or perhaps there's a hint that something could still go very, very wrong. And somehow, you forget to be mad about it because it's just SO COOL.

Examples (both movies, not books):
  • Inception (Christopher Nolan)
  • The Sixth Sense (M. Night Shyamalan)

5. The Happily-Ever-After

Because it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside :)

  • Every Disney movie ever

Yes, I'm sappy. Sue me :P

So those are my five favorite endings. Do you like them too? Do you have any to add to the list? Share in the comments!

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