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  • Jeff Dean

Endings

I’m not sure about you, but I’ve come across my fair share of terrible endings. I’m not limiting this only to novels – I’m talking about movies, TV shows, video games, you name it. Are the endings actually terrible or are we just sad to see them end and therefore categorize them as terrible? There are some out there that I can safely say are plain “bad” but others – well, it took several years and some maturing, but I am now able to see that they weren’t so “bad” after all.


What sparked this topic? I’ve been hearing a lot of how “bad” the “Game of Thrones” series finale was. I personally haven’t seen it. In fact, I haven’t watched a single episode of the show, but that’s another story. This reminded me of the last time I saw a terrible series finale of a favorite TV show, back in the 90’s – a show called “Star Trek the Next Generation”.

Back then, I HATED the series finale of TNG. I remember thinking, “That’s it?? That’s how the show ends?? What the hell??”. Looking back on it now, I can say that my judgement was primarily based on the fact the series was ending more than the actual ending itself. I simply didn’t want the show to stop, I loved it, and I looked forward to watching new episodes every week. So naturally, I’d hate ANY ending the show delivered. Will others be thinking the same of the “Game of Thrones” finale over the years to come?


As for video games, there is one particular ending that I cannot forgive even after all these years. It’s the conclusion of a game called “Breath of Fire 3”. This game had to have been 40 hours’ worth (if not more) of gameplay. They did an excellent job getting you invested in the characters, building relationships, and by the end, all I wanted (as anyone should) was a nicely wrapped up ending with no loose ends. Is that too much to ask? I guess it was, because what I got was the complete opposite. The ending pretty much consists of the two main characters, walking silently side-by-side to the edge of a cliff and staring into the horizon. That’s it! No dialogue, no epilogue, no nothing. Just DONE. Wow, what a waste of time. Had I known to expect that kind of ending, I never would have invested anything in it.


You know, I think TNG did it right. By that I mean they left it so that all the main characters were still alive, no major, traumatic events took place, and everybody was happy. We were left with the idea that they’ll continue their voyage through space, doing what they always do, and that’s it. Couldn’t be more positive than that. I think that’s better than endings where EVERYBODY dies and EVERYTHING changes – all this stuff is going on. Can’t just leave it on a high note. Makes me wonder how other writers let this happen in the first place.


Now that I’m writing my own series, I often wonder how mine will end. Will I be able to learn from the mistakes of others and give it a proper conclusion or will I produce an ending so bad that my series will be remembered for all the wrong reasons?


Are there any endings or finales you can think of that are absolutely terrible and unforgivable?



Final screenshot taken from Breath of Fire 3's ending.

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