History BittersweetEnding / Literature

22nd Aug '16 4:15:07 PM nombretomado
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* The {{Elenium}} ends with the death of [[EldritchAbomination Azash]] and Sparhawk returning home to his wife and daughter, but along the way we have the deaths of [[SacrificialLion Kurik]] and [[AlasPoorVillain Martel]], an entire nation left with no government or diety to watch over it, and an entire pantheon of gods who have retreated from interacting with mortals after realizing that they can be killed just like Azash.

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* The {{Elenium}} ''Literature/TheElenium'' ends with the death of [[EldritchAbomination Azash]] and Sparhawk returning home to his wife and daughter, but along the way we have the deaths of [[SacrificialLion Kurik]] and [[AlasPoorVillain Martel]], an entire nation left with no government or diety deity to watch over it, and an entire pantheon of gods who have retreated from interacting with mortals after realizing that they can be killed just like Azash.
21st Aug '16 9:04:50 AM Tyk5919
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* At the end of ''Literature/TheBuilders'', everyone is dead except for Boudica and the Captain, and there's a strong possibility that the death of the Toad Lord and Mephetic will result in another war that will tear the country apart. [[OnlyTheLeadsGetAHappyEnding But the Captain did get revenge on Mephetic and the Toad Lord without dying in the process]], and there's a slight chance Barley also survived and went back to living a peaceful life.
20th Aug '16 5:28:53 PM nombretomado
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* The prequel Kingpriest trilogy of ''{{Dragonlance}}''. Sure, the [[BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil Balance]] is restored, the [[HolierThanThou Kingpriest]] gets his comeuppance, and the ''Peripas Mishakas'', the [[CrystalDragonJesus setting's Bible]] is saved, but somehow this doesn't make up for the gods having to [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt blow up half a continent]] to do it.

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* The prequel Kingpriest trilogy of ''{{Dragonlance}}''.''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}''. Sure, the [[BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil Balance]] is restored, the [[HolierThanThou Kingpriest]] gets his comeuppance, and the ''Peripas Mishakas'', the [[CrystalDragonJesus setting's Bible]] is saved, but somehow this doesn't make up for the gods having to [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt blow up half a continent]] to do it.
4th Jul '16 12:20:52 AM Morgenthaler
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* In Marti Steussy's s-f novel ''Forest of the Night'', the main character fulfills her childhood dream in the end. But by then, her [[TheObiWan mentor]] is dead, as is the [[IllBoy disabled native child]] whom she'd befriended. She's had to dump her boyfriend, because it's clear he'll never fully understand her. And she's become [[KnightInSourArmor generally disillusioned]].

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* In Marti Steussy's s-f novel ''Forest of the Night'', the main character fulfills her childhood dream in the end. But by then, her [[TheObiWan mentor]] mentor is dead, as is the [[IllBoy disabled native child]] whom she'd befriended. She's had to dump her boyfriend, because it's clear he'll never fully understand her. And she's become [[KnightInSourArmor generally disillusioned]].
28th Jun '16 1:13:49 AM PaulA
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* LloydAlexander examples:
** ''[[PrydainChronicles The Chronicles of Prydain]]'' end with Taran essentially making the opposite of Frodo's decision in ''Literature/LordOfTheRings''. While his friends and companions go off to a paradise across the sea to spend eternity in happiness, Taran chooses to remain behind to attempt to restore Prydain. Sure he gets to be High King as part of the deal, but that doesn't take the sting out of never seeing your friends again. At least Princess Eilonwy decides to stay with him too. The ending gets extra bitter points as Taran tries to rebuild Prydain because he made promises to comrades, [[HeroicSacrifice often over their graves]], to finish their work for them. His WorldOfCardboardSpeech to the other companions, explaining why he cannot go with them, drives home for everyone just how much it cost to win peace for Prydain. Taran gets Samwise's ending (without the Ringbearer tag).

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* LloydAlexander examples:
Creator/LloydAlexander is quite fond of these:
** ''[[PrydainChronicles The Chronicles of Prydain]]'' ''Literature/ChroniclesOfPrydain'' end with Taran essentially making the opposite of Frodo's decision in ''Literature/LordOfTheRings''. While his friends and companions go off to a paradise across the sea to spend eternity in happiness, Taran chooses to remain behind to attempt to restore Prydain. Sure he gets to be High King as part of the deal, but that doesn't take the sting out of never seeing your friends again. At least Princess Eilonwy decides to stay with him too. The ending gets extra bitter points as Taran tries to rebuild Prydain because he made promises to comrades, [[HeroicSacrifice often over their graves]], to finish their work for them. His WorldOfCardboardSpeech to the other companions, explaining why he cannot go with them, drives home for everyone just how much it cost to win peace for Prydain. Taran gets Samwise's ending (without the Ringbearer tag).



** "The First Two Lives of Lukas Kasha" ends with the main character saving the day, learning his lesson and being very violently torn from all the friends he's made over the course of the book including [[WillTheyOrWontThey the girl he may or may not have fallen in love with]], along with any influence he may have had over that world. Instead, he is sent back to his home where everyone thinks he's a worthless layabout and no one believes he was almost a king, and a good one at that. He leaves the town in order to spend his entire life searching for a way to get back into Abidon.
** "The Rope Trick" ends with the characters very narrowly escaping the bad guy's clutches, the main character finally accomplishing the thing she's been trying to do all novel, and entering a land of peace. The bitter part? None of them know if they're alive, dead, or nonexistent. Lloyd Alexander is quite fond of these.

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** "The ''The First Two Lives of Lukas Kasha" Kasha'' ends with the main character saving the day, learning his lesson and being very violently torn from all the friends he's made over the course of the book including [[WillTheyOrWontThey the girl he may or may not have fallen in love with]], along with any influence he may have had over that world. Instead, he is sent back to his home where everyone thinks he's a worthless layabout and no one believes he was almost a king, and a good one at that. He leaves the town in order to spend his entire life searching for a way to get back into Abidon.
** "The ''The Rope Trick" Trick'' ends with the characters very narrowly escaping the bad guy's clutches, the main character finally accomplishing the thing she's been trying to do all novel, and entering a land of peace. The bitter part? None of them know if they're alive, dead, or nonexistent. Lloyd Alexander is quite fond of these.
17th Jun '16 11:34:22 AM StarSword
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* ''Literature/TheLincolnLawyer'' by Creator/MichaelConnelly. Upside, Mickey Haller's old client Jesus Menendez is exonerated of the rape and murder of a prostitute and the truly monstrous rich kid who actually did it goes down for the crime. Downside, Mickey is penalized with temporary disbarment for breach of professional ethics, and Menendez has been infected with HIV by PrisonRape and sues Mickey for malpractice (since he'd originally convinced the innocent Menendez to plead guilty to avoid the death penalty). The "downside" half was left out of the 2011 FilmOfTheBook.
12th Jun '16 8:23:31 PM Willbyr
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** ''Literature/EndOfWatch'': Bill Hodges and his friends are able to defeat Brady Hartsfield, but not before he's able to enact part of his plan to cause mass suicides. Also, Hodges succumbs to his cancer in the epilogue.
11th Jun '16 12:47:24 AM Morgenthaler
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* The end of the Drizzt Do'Urden novel ''[[LegacyOfTheDrowSeries The Legacy]]'' has Drizzt and his friends fighting off the drow and [[HeroicSacrifice Artemis Entreri... and Wulfgar dying]] to save his friends from a demon, the brave dwarven priest who was going to officiate his and Catti-brie's wedding being crushed to death, and a threat of an army of drow coming upon Mithral Hall. Yay?

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* The end of the Drizzt Do'Urden novel ''[[LegacyOfTheDrowSeries ''[[Literature/LegacyOfTheDrowSeries The Legacy]]'' has Drizzt and his friends fighting off the drow and [[HeroicSacrifice Artemis Entreri... and Wulfgar dying]] to save his friends from a demon, the brave dwarven priest who was going to officiate his and Catti-brie's wedding being crushed to death, and a threat of an army of drow coming upon Mithral Hall. Yay?
7th Jun '16 3:30:04 PM Morgenthaler
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* ''TheNameOfTheWind'': Kvothe saves the village of Trebon from the rampaging Draccus, finds the titular name of the wind, avoids being expelled from The University and is actually promoted up the ranks, and beards his rival Ambrose yet again while his fame rises. However, in doing so he had to destroy the denner resin he was hoping would provide for his future, the villagers of Trebon bury the remains of the Draccus (costing him and every other researcher the chance for a unique study), and, worse, because he CannotSpitItOut to Denna he winds up becoming something of her UnluckyChildhoodFriend. Not to mention the seething hatred Ambrose has for him is cranked up yet another notch (and it was already at murderous levels). He himself sums it up best: "Oh, it's just the same thing you've heard [[TVTropesWillRuinYourLife a hundred times before]]. Prince Gallant kills the dragon, but loses the treasure and the girl." From the way the FramingDevice is set up, it's implied that his whole adventuring career has been this way.
* ''TheBartimaeusTrilogy'' ends with Nathaniel redeemed, Bartimaeus freed, and the commoners gaining a greater voice in their own government. Of course, it also ends with Nathaniel ''dying'' [[RedemptionEqualsDeath at the moment of his redemption]] and Kitty's budding friendship/morethanfriendship cut off, leaving her alone and aged from the effects of Ptolemy's Gate. The new government that replaced the wizards (whom Kitty helped to overthrow) was hinted to be just as petty and corrupt as the previous one, and the unmentioned fact that the Americans will become the next great empire based on magic and subjugation of demons, bringing the whole bloody cycle around yet again.
* Creator/IsaacAsimov's ''{{Foundation}}'' series. The protagonists find Earth and civilization continues to revive, but the Second Galactic Empire will never come, humanity will probably lose its individuality and become part of a galaxy-wide organism. Also, the fan-favorite robot will die in some centuries, but not before he possesses an innocent Solarian child who has the potential to undo 30,000 years of social engineering on its own. The earlier books contain quotations from an "Encyclopedia Galactica" published during the Second Galactic Empire, it seems safe to say that something would have intervened to prevent Galaxia from arising had Asimov decided to finish the series properly before he died. (Or, as suggested at the end of the Second Foundation Trilogy, the Second Galactic Empire was able to somehow ''incorporate'' Galaxia.)

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* ''TheNameOfTheWind'': ''Literature/TheNameOfTheWind'': Kvothe saves the village of Trebon from the rampaging Draccus, finds the titular name of the wind, avoids being expelled from The University and is actually promoted up the ranks, and beards his rival Ambrose yet again while his fame rises. However, in doing so he had to destroy the denner resin he was hoping would provide for his future, the villagers of Trebon bury the remains of the Draccus (costing him and every other researcher the chance for a unique study), and, worse, because he CannotSpitItOut to Denna he winds up becoming something of her UnluckyChildhoodFriend. Not to mention the seething hatred Ambrose has for him is cranked up yet another notch (and it was already at murderous levels). He himself sums it up best: "Oh, it's just the same thing you've heard [[TVTropesWillRuinYourLife a hundred times before]]. Prince Gallant kills the dragon, but loses the treasure and the girl." From the way the FramingDevice is set up, it's implied that his whole adventuring career has been this way.
* ''TheBartimaeusTrilogy'' ''Literature/TheBartimaeusTrilogy'' ends with Nathaniel redeemed, Bartimaeus freed, and the commoners gaining a greater voice in their own government. Of course, it also ends with Nathaniel ''dying'' [[RedemptionEqualsDeath at the moment of his redemption]] and Kitty's budding friendship/morethanfriendship cut off, leaving her alone and aged from the effects of Ptolemy's Gate. The new government that replaced the wizards (whom Kitty helped to overthrow) was hinted to be just as petty and corrupt as the previous one, and the unmentioned fact that the Americans will become the next great empire based on magic and subjugation of demons, bringing the whole bloody cycle around yet again.
* Creator/IsaacAsimov's ''{{Foundation}}'' ''Literature/{{Foundation}}'' series. The protagonists find Earth and civilization continues to revive, but the Second Galactic Empire will never come, humanity will probably lose its individuality and become part of a galaxy-wide organism. Also, the fan-favorite robot will die in some centuries, but not before he possesses an innocent Solarian child who has the potential to undo 30,000 years of social engineering on its own. The earlier books contain quotations from an "Encyclopedia Galactica" published during the Second Galactic Empire, it seems safe to say that something would have intervened to prevent Galaxia from arising had Asimov decided to finish the series properly before he died. (Or, as suggested at the end of the Second Foundation Trilogy, the Second Galactic Empire was able to somehow ''incorporate'' Galaxia.)
28th May '16 2:49:08 AM Morgenthaler
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* Sinclair Lewis' ''ItCantHappenHere'' ends on a bittersweet note. Doremus returns to America to encourage dissidents, thereby playing a vital role in the resistance against the government. However, he's constantly on the move to evade Corpos and unable to see his loved ones. Even in a best case scenario, it will likely be years before he can see Lorinda and Sissy again.

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* Sinclair Lewis' ''ItCantHappenHere'' ''Literature/ItCantHappenHere'' ends on a bittersweet note. Doremus returns to America to encourage dissidents, thereby playing a vital role in the resistance against the government. However, he's constantly on the move to evade Corpos and unable to see his loved ones. Even in a best case scenario, it will likely be years before he can see Lorinda and Sissy again.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=BittersweetEnding.Literature