Random Raging Rant No. 1: Lack-Lustre endings.
We have all had that book, TV or gaming series that we absolutely love and adore. For a while there, you absolutely live and breathe it. You want to shout from the rooftops how flipping fantastic it is and grab people by the front of the shirt and shake them stupid while explaining every single in and out of the story line. Then, this series comes to an end. You get slightly depressed, but part of you can’t wait to find out what happens. You get your hands on the last installment. You’re almost peeing your pants in excitement while you are reading it, playing it or watching it. This series has been one of the most fantastic things in your life up until now. You have spent hours and hours of your life taking time to read or play or watch it. Then you’ve almost finished it. Everything in the series is going according to plan, and you can almost taste that sweet ending that you have been waiting for. Then, right at the last hurdle, AN UNEXPECTED TWIST LUNGES OUT AT YOU, RIPS YOUR HEART OUT AND SHITS ALL OVER THE HAPPY ENDING.
This momentarily makes me want to gouge someones eyes out. Its like the author/producer/designer has either: A) Had their brain eaten by zombies
B) Smashed their face into the keyboard multiple times when deciding the plot for the ending.
Nothing, NOTHING, is more disappointing than a shitty end to a fantastic series. Will you ever be able to look at the series again in the same way after you have seen its terrible demise as it careens off a cliff? Ever be able to read it, watch it, or play it again feeling the same wave of awe you did the first time? You bet your sweet ass you won’t. While some of these endings just ruin the last installment of it, most end up rendering the whole series completely pointless!
The two major examples of this I have run into recently are the endings of Mass Effect and the Hunger Games series. These are two absolutely mindblowing series that I loved, but the endings were filled with twists. And not the oh-my-god-that’s-amazing type of twist, the oh-my-god-is-this-person-on-crack type of twists. There will be spoilers ahead, so if you are actually interested in pursuing these titles, probably skip to the ending paragraph. For those who have already read The Hunger Games and played Mass Effect, or for those of you who don’t really care and want to continue to read my drivel, read on 😀
AGAIN, I WARN YOU, MAJOR SPOIL ALERT! 😀
THE HUNGER GAMES
Ok, so for those of you who haven’t read the Hunger Games, I will do a quick recap on the series as a whole. In Book 1 (The Hunger Games, which on its own is a fantastic book) you are introduced to the main character Katniss, her sister Prim, and her best friend Gale. Remember these names, as they are the three that feature in the ending that I ranted about for weeks on end. They live in a postapocalyptic world in the city of Panem, which contains the Capitol, and 12 Districts. The Capitol is rich and lavish, and rules over the Districts. About 75 years ago, this dictatorship caused a rebellion among the districts, but they lost. In the fight, District 13 was obliterated, leaving only the 12. As a way to prevent this from happening again and to remind the districts who is in charge, the Hunger Games was created. Each year, 2 children, a boy and a girl between the age of 12 and 18, are taken from each district, and are forced to fight to the death in an arena. 24 tributes go in, only one can come out. These children are randomly picked out of a draw, and the whole city of Panem is forced to watch children, THEIR children, fight and kill each other as a reminder of how weak they are against the Capitol.
Katniss lives in District 12, the poorest district, and within that district her family is considered poor. Over the years, her family would have not survived if it was not for her skilled hunting and her best friend Gale. These two have a very close relationship, and he loves her. Through the whole series, he is always there for her, and does not give up on her. The other important person in Katniss’ life is her 12 year old sister Prim, who she loves more than life itself. She has spent her whole life protecting her. At this years Hunger Games, Prim’s name gets drawn. Katniss sacrifices herself and takes Prim’s place, certain that she is going to die in the Hunger Games, but was happy in knowing she had saved Prim’s life. Everything that follows is because of the decision she made to protect Prim. Throughout the books, we see Katniss survive the Hunger Games through defiance of the Capitol, return to District 12, be threatened by the President (Because of her the Districts have begun to riot. If a 15 year old girl can defy the Capitol why can’t they?), is put through another Hunger Games, saved by rebels, delves into madness, and becomes the face of the second rebellion of Panem.
Firstly, while Katniss’ mental state in the third book (Mockingjay = least favourite book) is understandable (she has seen many horrors and had to kill other kids), it ends up completely changing her character. Everything that made Katniss wonderful, her willpower, her determination and her strength, is gone. She may as well be a different character. And because of her descent into madness, at the end of the book, she isn’t even recognised for the wonderful things she achieved, she is just forever know as a crazy lady! Secondly, Gale just disappears off the face of the planet. These guys were best friends for years, helped each other survive, HE LOVED HER FOR GODS SAKE, and then he just ticks off, for no particular reason, never to be heard of again. JERK. Finally, EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS TO KATNISS is because she wanted Prim to have a good life and most of all, LIVE. So what happens right at the end? Prim dies. Yep, gets blown to pieces in front of Katniss. WHAT THE FRACK. EVERY FLIPPING THING THAT HAPPENED STILL DIDN’T CHANGE THE OUTCOME, WHETHER PRIM ENTERED THE HUNGER GAMES OR NOT. SHE STILL DIES. I just don’t understand the author’s reasoning in even doing this, or even writing the whole freaking series for that matter if the whole reason the series exists ends up dying! Seriously, this ending was so disappointing on so many levels, and had left so much unsaid that I have been advising people to read the first book only. First book = Fantastic. Second book = Great. Third Book = TOTAL PILE OF ELEPHANT DUNG.
Again, a quick recap of the game. The main character Commander Shepard is on a mission to destroy the Reapers, a group of huge-ass alien beings who wipe out all life in the galaxy every 50, 000 years to make way for new species and evolution. Humans along with many other species rally together to defeat the Reapers. This game is an RPG, so your choices affect the outcome of the game. You form friendships, relationships, you personally craft the person your own Shepard becomes and form your own crew. You grow attachments to your favourite crew members and your own Shepard. You play 90 loving hours of gameplay across the whole three games, always having freedom of choice in your decisions (something Bioware has always prided themselves on in Mass Effect) and trust that your decisions and actions will make a difference. Right? WRONG! Right at the end, you have absolutely no choice but to make your Shepard die. While Shepard dying isn’t the problem (he/she is a solider, it’s a hero’s death) the following cut scene after his/her death is terrible. Firstly, the variation in choice is gone, the only difference? Option A gives you a red explosion, Option B give you a green explosion, and Option C gives you a blue explosion. Pick your fricken favourite colour out of the three, and that’s your versatile ending.
No matter which one you pick you get the same outcome, Shepard dies, the Reapers leave/die, the galaxies transport systems (Mass Relays used to get from one solar system to another) are screwed and your crew gets stranded on a different planet. So much for different endings based on choice Bioware!
Also, as a gamer playing an RPG, even if your character dies, you want closure on the story. In Mass Effect 3, you find out NOTHING. You don’t find out the state of Earth or the galaxy after the war. Your lover doesn’t even mourn your death or didn’t even stay on Earth for your funeral (if there even was one, which we don’t know), as they are too busy admiring the pretty scenery on the planet their stranded on. And recognition of Shepard’s sacrifice? You get some little old grandpa telling his grandkids a story about him years after. WHAT THE FLIPPITY SHIT? THIS MAN JUST SAVED THE WHOLE GALAXY, AND THAT’S THE AMOUNT OF RECOGNITION HE GETS? Brilliant game, terrible TERRIBLE ending! I’ll also point out that Bioware in fact made another game before Mass Effect 3 (Dragon Age, another RPG, I highly recommend it!) in which your decisions actually DO affect the story line with varied and multiple different endings, and gives a brilliant recap of what happens to the country and every one of your party members after you finish the game, EVEN if you die. I will never know why they didn’t give a bit more thought to make the Mass Effect ending similar to this other highly praised game. Moral of the story Bioware: don’t fix what ain’t broken!
Long story short, bad endings suck. If you are writing, directing or creating a series, for the love of god please don’t ruin the whole series with such a cop-out ending! Your character doesn’t always have to be in constant turmoil, and endings with apparent ‘twist’ deaths may make you feel like you have made it more interesting, but in this act you could potentially be ruining your whole series! Would have Harry Potter been as successful if Harry had died and Voldemort had won? NO! Would have Lord of the Rings been a classic if Sauron had killed Frodo and Sam and taken the ring? NO! Mostly, as soft as it sounds, people want things to end on a positive note, and if a main character has to die, make it WORTH something, not just end it with a once heroine turned crazy person or an old man telling a piddly little story. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather hear the lame phrase ‘And they all lived happily ever after’ than have twisted and crap filled endings! GAHAKAUFGBAUKFGLIAKFLIAGFJHAGKJGAFG!
Until next rant my lovely followers 😀