We all know the Happy Ending
, it's one of the most (if not the most) common trope ever made. From the last blockbuster to the oldest folk tales, there's basically a conflict between a good guy and a bad guy, and the good guy wins at the end, defeating the bad guy. The designated couple of the Love Triangle
is toguether at last, the President Evil
has been deposed, the Doomsday Device
has been destroyed, the Complete Monster
has paid for his crimes in a highly ironic way
, the Eldritch Abomination
has been banished to his horror dimension, the One-Ring has been melted, the mother of Bambi has been avenged...
There is another type of happy ending, which is much harder to pull. A story with a happy ending for ALL. For the heroes, but also for the villains. The villain did not simply escaped from retribution
, he got what he actually wanted. The Bad Guy Wins
, but not in detriment of the hero, and certainly not a Downer Ending
How can the story achieve an end like this? Perhaps the villain's goal was not bad in itself but did not care about the side consequences; so the hero prevented the disaster and allowed the villain to get what he wanted. Perhaps the President Evil
realizes that he can still be a Manipulative Bastard
getting wealth and power and without the interference of the Congress, the Supreme Court and the press by being just a Corrupt Corporate Executive
. Perhaps what the villain really wants is money, and he learned that he can get even more money legally
. Perhaps he was doing it all for revenge, and drops everything when he realizes that his loved one was Not Quite Dead
Or perhaps... the hero and the villain simply sit down as adult people, discuss their needs and desires, and agreed a way to leave everyone satisfied.
The trope is more likely to take place in productions for children or in humorous settings. It is easier to come to an agreement with a Harmless Villain
or and Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain
than with an Eldritch Abomination
who wants to destroy the universe For the Evulz
Since it's an Ending Trope
, spoilers will be unmarked.
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- JLA/Avengers: The heroes got a great victory, the Grandmaster won a game... and Krona, as a cosmic egg, would experience first-hand the birth of the universe, the knowledge he was seeking all along.
- "What if? Civil War" has an alternative ending for the civil war. Both sides of the conflict save Goliath from the clone of Thor, and then Captain America and Iron met in an office, discussed the problem as adult people, and find a way to prevent superheroes doing disasters as in Stamford and, at the same time, keep their secret identities safe.
- Asterix at the Olympic Games: The Romans (who are only the Designated Villains in this story) train the legionnaire Gluteus Maximus to take part in the Olympic Games. When the Gauls find out about the Games, they send their own champion, Asterix. They discover too late that they are not allowed to use magic potions in the games, and Asterix can not beat well trained Romans. However, he plays a Batman Gambit on them, so they are all disqualified, and Asterix becomes the unopposed champion. But he did not take the Palm of Victory home: as he had no use for it, he gave it to Gluteus Maximus, who is promoted to Centurion, and Centurion Gaius Veriambitius is promoted to senator.
- The first appearence of Arkon, in The Avengers. He comes from Another Dimension, and the rings of his world (similar to our sun) begin to collapse and shut down. He discovered that the first atomic explosion could light the skies for a brief time, and a higher explosion at a certain place would light Polemachus forever. Of course, Earth would be destroyed, but who cares? The Avengers follow him to that dimension, and then again to our world... except for Iron Man and Thor, who stayed in Polemachus. In no time, Iron Man built a machine lighted by Thor's lighting, that solved the problem without destroying earth.
- The first story arc of the Young Avengers. Hulking discovers that he is a Kree-Skrull mongrel, son of Princess Anelle and Captain Marvell. The Super-Skrull want to take him to the Skrull homeworld, the Kree want to take him to the Kree homeworld, and he just wants to stay in Earth. How do we deal with this? He proposed to stay a year in each world, to know each one, and then decide. Kree and Skrull are satisfied. And when they leave... the real Hulking shows up, he's not going anywhere: the Kree left with the Super-Skrull posing as Hulking, and in a great position to spy on them.
- The Sword of Truth series ends with Richard using the Boxes of Orden to create an Alternate Universe without magic for the Imperial Order and sending them all there.
- The ending of Eric has Rincewind & Eric happy because they've escaped Hell, the demons and damned souls happy because Hell is back to the way it was before Astfgl took over, and Astfgl is happy because he's got the boring office job of his dreams.
Live action TV
- Los Exitosos Pells. The designated couple is together at last. The third one, the gay forced by his father to stay married with the woman, gets rid of him and leaves with his own love. Amanda, the evil assistant, got her own TV channel. And Franco Andrada, the big bad, is captured and sentenced to prison... but that's not the end! The narrative jumps 10 years, and the people that Franco met in the prison help him to begin a successful political career.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's "In The Cards" is a comic relief episode where, in an effort to get a rare baseball card for Sisko, Jake and Nog inadvertently do things that make most of the main cast happy, including the villainous Weyoun and the guest mad scientist Giger.
- In Graduados, everybody was happy in the end. The true loves were united, the villains were redeemed by The Power of Love, the bachelors became parents, the fat girl was accepted by everybody, the immature guy matured, the Happily Married parents of Andy stayed that way, and Vero stills provides Rock for everybody in her amateur radio. Long live Rock & Roll!
- Lampshaded in Asterix and Cleopatra, where Cleopatra orders an architect to build a huge monument in 3 months. If he does it, he will be covered with gold, if he does not, he will be hurled to the crocodiles. Of course, he finished the building in time. In the last scene, all the characters (Romans, Egyptians, Caesar, Cleopatra and the 3 Gauls) share a celebration. The narrator points that everybody is happy, everybody is eating, everybody is drinking, everybody is enjoying the happy ending... well, almost everybody. And then we saw the angry crocodiles with protest banners, because nobody was sentenced to be their food.
- Super Friends. This happened at the end of several of the first season (1973-74) episodes.
- "Dr. Pelagian's War". The title ecoterrorist uses his control of the weather and the oceans to try to stop three business people from polluting. Although the Super Friends capture him, all three of the business people agree to stop their polluting so he effectively wins.
- "Too Hot To Handle". The alien Solar Terrarians require a hot climate to be comfortable, but they've polluted their planet so much that its climate has grown too cold for them. They try to alter the Earth's climate to make it hot enough so they can live here (which would kill all humans on Earth), but the Super Friends foil their plan. The Super Friends go to the alien's home planet and clean up the pollution, allowing the aliens to continue to live there in comfort.
- "The Weather Maker". The inhabitants of the frozen country of Glacia need warmth to survive, so they plot to alter the course of the Gulf Stream. Unfortunately this would cause massive weather disruption in the rest of the world, so the Super Friends stop them. They discover that the machine used to alter the Gulf Stream has tapped into an undersea source of geothermal energy which will warm up Glacia.
- "The Watermen". An alien spaceship runs out of fuel and crashes on Earth. The aliens try to extract more fuel (silicon) from seawater, but this causes a red tide-like effect in the ocean. The Super Friends track down the aliens and stop their mining activities, but also provide them with enough silicon to return home.