After finally finishing The Lamplighter's Special, my sequel to The Night Watchman Express, I've learned one thing: Endings are hard to do. It is a very difficult, complicated thing to increase suspense and interest in a group of characters, and arrive at a conclusion that is either happy or sad, in a way that balances the beginning and the middle of the book.
Seriously, I'm just realizing this. You'd think it would be obvious. Miss Writer starts her book, develops a plot, and therefore she must find a satisfactory way to end that book. However, I don't think I'm all alone in having this difficulty. I heard, for example, a lot of people criticize the final book of the Twilight series. Ditto with the Harry Potter series. (For the record, I rather like the chapter that begins, "Nineteen Years Later....") Stephen King is well-known for having a hard time with endings; his son, in Heart Shaped Box, seemed to have inherited the tendency.*
There must be some good endings out there, though. and by good, I mean well-done, finely executed. Here are some of my favorites:
1. The Shawshank Redemption - The scene of Red walking across the beach to see Andy Dufresne still gives me chills. The credits roll, and I like to imagine what happened next. Did the men hang out, go to a little Mexican place and have some food and a few "Bohemia style beers?" Did Andy introduce Red to a nice woman who lived nearby? Did they settle down there at Zihuatenejo? I like to think they did.
2. Apollo 13 - That last line of the narration is incredible. "I sometimes catch myself looking up at the Moon, remembering the changes of fortune in our long voyage, thinking of the thousands of people who worked to bring the three of us home. I look up at the Moon and wonder, when will we be going back, and who will that be?"
3. The Road - I didn't see the movie. The last paragraph of the book, however, describing the beauty of river trout, is pure horror.
4. Frequency - This movie won't win any lifetime awards, I suppose, but my husband actually stood up and cheered (in our family room, not a theater) at the end.
5. "Reader, I married him..." But of course.
What endings to movies or books (or songs, or poems, or anything) have you enjoyed? Please share them in the comment section, because I'm still working on that ending thing.
*Do go and read Heart Shaped Box, though. It scared the bejeesus out of me.