Another year is coming to a close. It happens every year, but still manages to catch me by surprise each time. Since the end of the year is a great time to look back and reflect, I thought I’d reflect on another type of ending. Books! In particular, I want to give my opinion on the endings for a couple of series that seemed to cause an uproar — The Hunger Games and Divergent.
Beware, there will be SPOILERS ahead, so if you haven’t read either series and want to remain spoiler free, you might want to stop here.
*****WARNING: You are now entering the spoiler zone.*****
The obligatory warning has been given. If you are still reading (hooray!) that means you have either read the series and know what happens, or that you don’t mind the spoilers. Either way, welcome!
First, let me just say that I respect everyone’s opinion, even if it differs from my own. I welcome an open and civil discussion. No biting, no spitting, and no kicking below the belt. 🙂
Overall, I liked both The Hunger Games and the Divergent trilogies. I have to say that I liked the former series much more than I liked the later. The Hunger Games ended in a much stronger way than Divergent did, but I’ll get to that later.
In The Hunger Games, people seemed to be upset by the fact that Katniss ended up with Peeta. They thought that since she loved someone at the start of the series (Gale), she should have ended up with him at the end. I also read reviews where people lamented the fact that Katniss didn’t seem happy with how her life ended up. I have to respectfully disagree with both of those statements.
Maybe it’s my psychology degree talking, but I thought the ending was very believable. Think about it, if you had been physically and psychologically tortured in the way that Katniss (and Peeta) had, you would have some baggage. Your “happy ending” would look different than if those things had never happened. But, that doesn’t mean that their ending wasn’t happy. I believe that Katniss grew to love Peeta because of their shared experiences. She might have started as a person who loved Gale, but she grew into the person who loved Peeta.
Also, it struck me that in the first book, when Peeta and Katniss were traveling by train to their first Hunger Games, they discussed their worst fears. Katniss did not want to lose her sister, Prim, and Peeta did not want to lose the person he was. He didn’t want to be changed. Peeta lost himself at the end of the second book/beginning of the third. Katniss lost Prim by the end of the third. They both lost everything. They had everything taken from them, except each other. To me, that’s powerful.
I didn’t see the ending of The Hunger Games trilogy as sad. It might have been a little bittersweet, but not sad.
It took me a little while to start the third book in this series (Allegiant), but I was able to remain spoiler free. As far as the series goes, I liked each subsequent book a little less than the one before. With Allegiant, I felt like the story lost focus after the group left the city behind. The way that the conflict was resolved between the Allegiant and the Factionless was way to easy to be believable. After 3 books of tension buildup and lots of violence, all Four had to do was put his foot down with his mom — give her an ultimatum — and everything was a-okay. Nope, sorry. Don’t believe it.
But that is not the incident that had so many people up in arms. That’s not what caused some readers to send death threats to the author (really, people?). Oh, no! Some readers flew off the handle because the author killed the main character, Tris. Yes, Beatrice Prior is well and truly dead, sacrificing herself for her brother, who many believe (and understandably so) that he may not have deserved it. I understand why people are so upset, I do. I am a huge fan of happy endings, too. I love it when the girl gets the guy, and they ride off into the sunset together, swooning.
However, I’m not afraid of the unhappy ending, especially when it makes sense and is in keeping with the theme of the story and the characters in it. Sometimes, loved ones die. And, sometimes, the most poignant lessons in life can be learned through loss. Tris’s sacrifice was totally in keeping with her character. It didn’t come out of nowhere. She had tried to sacrifice herself on other occasions, but this time it was out of love and not guilt.
Was I upset when Tris died? Of course! I cried like a baby. I cried for Four and his pain. I cried for the ache in his heart and the prospect of his life without the person he loved. But, I thought how the author handled the loss was actually quite beautiful.
I understand that each person’s perspective is colored by their life experiences. Maybe that is why I appreciated watching Four struggle with losing Tris and finally start inching ahead, little by little. I have not lost someone I love in that way, but I do know loss. I do know what it’s like to try to forge ahead in life without a loved one, who left this life way too soon. I actually think that the death of Tris and the way it was handled was one of the things that the author got right in the last book.
Although I understand why people were upset by certain aspects of The Hunger Games and Divergent series, I have to disagree with the thought that these two trilogies were ruined by what happened in the end. I understand that some will disagree with me about that statement, and that’s okay with me.
I hope everyone has a wonderful (and safe) New Year’s Eve celebration. This year may be ending, but I’m excited about the possibilities that a new year brings. See you on the flip side!