On Disappointing Endings and Who Owns the Creation
Updated: Jun 5, 2020
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER ended this week. I’m sure you heard the wailing and gnashing of teeth, no matter where in the world you were.
Last fall, ALLEGIANT, the final book in the DIVERGENT trilogy was released. And again, you probably heard the wailing and gnashing of teeth over that one, too. Though it probably wasn’t as concentrated; a book takes a little longer to consume than an episode of a television show.
Both stories ended with a somewhat controversial ending, and ending that some said was inevitable, and others said was no better than a trick. A trick based on a lie. A trick based on a lie with the intent to mock the audience’s pain.
Both stories delivered on the promise they made at the beginning.
(Spoilers abound. Not little ones. Big ones. Turn back now. I’m not kidding. I’m going to ruin both of these things for you after the jump.)
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER promised us that Ted would get a happy ending. They gave us a happy ending. Twice. Ted got everything he wanted out of life, more than most people get. Yes, there was sadness mixed in (some even say it was a tragedy), but the actual ending was happy. A happy ending, following a big personal tragedy? That’s definitely more than most people get.
DIVERGENT promised us that being a divergent was really, really dangerous. They gave us danger. So much danger that the divergent girl dies.
These may not have been the promises you wanted them to fulfill, and they may not have been the ones you had envisioned for yourself after waiting years for them to come to fruition, but they are the promises made by the storytellers themselves. These writers wrote the stories they envisioned, in the way they envisioned them.
And I’m going to tie this all back to Harry Potter.
Back in February, Rowling made some comments to the effect that she would change the ending of Harry Potter if she had the chance. Again with the wailing and gnashing of teeth. Everyone just about lost their damn minds because she was trying to change the story that was already out there. Rowling was trying to mess with what she had already put to paper, what she had already signed off on and said “DONE” to.
It’s not dissimilar to what George Lucas is hated for.
Lucas created STAR WARS, put it out into the world and then came back twenty years later and changed what he’d put into the world. He tried to alter what was already in existence, tried to take back what he’d given us.
But it was too late. STAR WARS and HARRY POTTER already belonged to the public by the time their creators tried to amend the stories, angering their fans.
But HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER and DIVERGENT were still in the hands of their creators. Until that book is published, until the tv show airs, until the movie premiers, that story belongs to the creator. Period.
You can hate it.
But it’s not wrong. It can’t be. It’s what the creator envisioned for it. Ted’s story ended exactly as it should have, as did Tris’s. If the creators of these stories come back in five or ten or thirty years and say “I should have done it differently,” THAT is when I am going to get mad. Because now the story belongs to us. It’s out of their hands, and it belongs to the public.
And for the record – I really like how both ended. They were – excuse me, they are – the right endings for those stories.