discussion

Should Good Things End?

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It’s natural to not want books to end; to wish we could get endless information about our favourite characters, to know they’re alright after the story ends.

A few year ago, John Green addressed questions about The Fault In Our Stars by saying he had no right to dictate what happened after the end of the book because, after all, the characters’ lives end when the story does; something that he actually explored in the author character of the very same book.

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An obvious one to consider is Harry Potter. With a new movie franchise breathing life into this magical universe again, along came new illustrated versions of the books (published on a yearly basis, an exhibit at the British Library, cover redesigns for the minor spin-off books and, more recently, the announcement of 20th anniversary house editions for Chamber of Secrets. My love for this world is no secret, but sometimes it can feel overwhelming and it leads me to wonder: when does you run out of things to produce? When does it all stop?

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Another example is the Miss Peregrine trilogy, written by Ransom Riggs. To me, this series was the perfect length and the ending left me with a heart set to burst; it was the right goodbye for these characters and their world. But with the movie adaptation bringing along the Tales of The Peculiar companion and the announcement of a brand new trilogy… following the same characters.

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Someone I cannot help but mention is Cassandra Clare, who is very much known for creating series after series set within the Shadowhunters universe. The Bane Chronicles started off as a bi-monthly Ebook series but became so popular that it was produced in a physical form with an added story. Now some of the stories have started coming out in small, compact, beautiful editions.

I want to make it clear that this is not an attack on anniversary editions: I don’t mind new books to mark the milestone, to give us an excuse to revisit a well loved story.

But maybe there’s a beauty to the fact that things do end. It makes us appreciate them a lot more when there’s nothing else to be said, to know that we may never get answers to some of those lingering questions over the year.

Or maybe it’s just me.
Let me know what you think.

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16 thoughts on “Should Good Things End?

  1. I have to agree, some series are just “milked” way to much and it ruins the series for me. It also gives me a bad taste in my mouth. This is a bit hard to explain, but I will try. For me when a series goes great it ends and then all of a sudden “We are adding ____ books!” I get a bit upset. It seems more like a money grab more than anything because the story was planned to end that way. When this happens I tend to not continue.

    I also love Harry Potter, but with the resent additions, along with some of the things she has come out to say have also made me not want to continue with the growth of the universe. The first reason is she is “milking” the series. She tried to write other books and they did not do well so she decided to just come back to the Harry Potter Universe. She also keeps changing things after the books have finished, which in a way I understand, but the series is over and published you cannnot rewrite it. Sorry I went on a bit of a rant there. But, I do love the original series and I will continue too. I am not interested in the new stuff that is coming out.

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    1. You explained your point perfectly! When I was younger I used to adore the concept of getting new books in my favourite universes. Which is one of the things I hate about being an adult; that I know see it as an opportunity for the publisher to make more money. I’m all for it if it feels necessary. Like in terms of Fantastic Beasts, I don’t mind. But the other book related content just feels like it’s reaching for the fans to buy “new” versions of essentially the same thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such an interesting blog post! I definitely think that some book series’ go on for far too long, to the point where it seems the only reason the author is continuing to write a series is to make money.
    I find that spin-offs, if done well, don’t bother me particularly (I’m a big fan of Cassandra Clare’s books for example, and I think that’s because she focuses on an entirely different set of characters). One thing that DOES annoy me though, is when a book series continues into the next generation. Idk, just for me, personally, turning the protagonists into the parents kind of ruins the first few books, in my opinion. What do you think?

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    1. It’s something that’s been on my mind for a while and there are so many more examples I could have given! I will admit, while I absolutely adore Cassie’s books, I’m glad she’s moving on from the shadowhunter world after The Last Hours because it’s starting to feel like she’s exhausting the world a bit.

      I think it’s very natural for us, as readers, to want to know what happens to the characters after the story finishes and for a while I was that person. But I feel that constantly adding new information about what happens after the ending of the book can impact the story itself. There is nothing to stop us revisiting our favourite stories but when it feels like things are added for the sake of it, that’s when I feel it needs to stop.

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  3. This is a super interesting post. I definitely think things need to have endings, and I think that can apply even do individual books – not everything has to be a series! Sometimes it’s nice to read a book that ends, and not with a cliffhanger to get you interested in the sequel.

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    1. I will admit, I don’t mind the odd companion thing (like Leah On The OffBeat) but it can get to a point where it feels like TOO MUCH but you also feel like you’re missing out once you decide not to invest in that additional material. It’s part of the reason I’ve also starte doing “is this new edition worth it?” Posts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For sure. I’ll have to check out your new edition posts – I’m not sure I’ve ever bought more than one copy of a book (except maybe a physical copy of an ebook). Do you think the new editions are often actually worth it?

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  4. Like many here, I agree that too much is too much! Knowing when to end is an art. Bukowski wrote a great poem about it, and although he comes off as a self-absorbed asshole, it works. 🙂

    I’d partly disagree with John Green, though. Characters’ lives do not end when the story ends – their lives always and ever extend far beyond what any amount of text could contain. That’s one of the secrets of writing. It suggests more than it says!

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    1. John Green addressed it in the sense of that he doesn’t feel qualified to say what happens after the book ends (this came about after people were quoting him as saying what happens to particular TFIOS characters when he hadn’t).

      I see books as sort of like events in life. We all have some amazing memory we look back on but our lives didn’t end once it’s over. But I don’t think, in a lot of cases, we need to know what happens after.

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  5. No you didn’t misinterpret, don’t worry! He also believes the story ends when the book does!

    It’s strange because when I was younger I wanted EVERYTHING from books and wouldn’t accept endings whereas now when new additions end I just want them to stop!

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  6. Completely agree, if I see one more Harry Potter book I may stamp my feet. I love the giant illustrated editions they released and I think they deserve a place, but it feels like nearly every other book is a cheap cash in and it’s awfully convenient that most of them are released just before Christmas.

    I’ve also seen Grey around because apparently we can’t get enough of an abusive relationship. I hate those books with a passion, they don’t show the dom community in a good light.

    Is it worth mentioning Mara Dyer? That series finished in 2014, so quite a while ago for YA. Now there’s a new series about Noah Shaw which sounds like the same book from his perspective, I’m pretty critical.

    And I’d be remiss if I rambled this much and didn’t mention The Selection series, I was in the minority that loved the first three books but when they released a cheap quick written cash in about her daughter I hated it, she was a spoilt brat and I wanted to chuck her out of the window.

    Oh and in this now blog post worthy comment I’m going to throw in the Soulfinder’s series by Maria V. Snyder. The Study series was wrapped up yeeears ago until she announced a sort of sequel, which is now confusedly titled “Soulfinder #1, Study Series #4” on Goodreads.

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    1. I never thought there would come a time when I would get sick of seeing Harry Potter. I mean, the illustrated makes sense and when my cousin’s daughter is old enough I’m definitely going to read those versions to her, but things like the COS house editions which have nothing different but the cover? And in the US for the 20 year anniversary for the first book they’re releasing the ENTIRE SERIES again but with new covers. Oh yeah the entire shades series is being done from Grey’s POV and it’s sickening.

      It probably doesn’t help that I complain about new books being added to things and then keep buying them. I AM THE PROBLEM.

      Liked by 4 people

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