Should Books Have Happy Endings?

Let me start off by saying that this post will refer to the fantasy genre, as opposed to other genres. I’m not asking whether tragedies should have a happy ending because – hey – that’s a silly question really isn’t it?

This is something I’ve been thinking about recently. We all know the sort of stories where the knight in shining armour saves the beautiful princess from the dangerous dragon, takes her back to the glorious king who gives him her dainty hand in marriage. Happily ever after (and what a depressing use of adjectives, if I may say so!). Is that how a story whould always be? Should a fantasy author mould himself to the happy ending, giving absolution to whatever hurts the hero has gotten (I couldn’t find a synonym for ‘gotten’ beginning with a ‘h’ to get that alliteration flowing, my apologies [I seem to be waxing prose today!])? Continue reading

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