Created By: GrigorII on October 13, 2012 Last Edited By: Arivne on September 25, 2014
Nuked

Everybody Gets Their Happy Ending

All characters get what they wanted... even the villains

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Trope
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.

Examples

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    Comic Book 
  • 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.

    Literature 
  • 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!

    Western Animation 
  • 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.

Community Feedback Replies: 37
  • October 13, 2012
    Generality
    This is the original meaning of the word "Comedy", which in ancient Greece had this kind of ending as its definitive trait. As plots became more complex, this kind of ending became less common.

  • October 13, 2012
    Waterlily
    Many people believe that this was the original intention of The Merchant Of Venice in which the villianous Jew Shylock is forced to convert to Christianity at the end. Most modern audiences do not have this reaction.
  • October 13, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    'Absolute' Happy Ending seems easy to confuse with Golden Ending - it suggests a change in the quality of happiness, not the number of happy people.

    Universal Happy Ending, maybe?
  • October 14, 2012
    MorganWick
  • October 14, 2012
    Koveras
    • The Multiple Endings of Daggerfall become this... post-Daggerfall. Basically, later lore established that a time paradox happened and all the endings somehow occurred at the same time, including the ones for the bad guys.
  • October 14, 2012
    GrigorII
    I changed the name as proposed
  • October 14, 2012
    StarSword
    Need in the description: Since it's an Ending Trope, spoilers will be unmarked.

    [[folder:Literature]] [[/folder]]
  • October 14, 2012
    polarbear2217
    Theater A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum

    Pseudolous gets his freedom Miles Gloriososus, Erronius, and Philia get each other as family. Hero and Philia get each other

    Pseudolus: Something for everyone--
    Hero and Philia: A comedy tonight!
  • October 14, 2012
    NimmerStill
    I think it's common in children's media, partly as an Aesop about how villains are people too with legitimate desires, but I don't have any examples right now.
  • October 14, 2012
    Sackett
    I'd prefer the name Happy Endings For Everyone
  • October 14, 2012
    NimmerStill
    • 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.
  • October 14, 2012
    MattStriker
    I think that was one of the possible endings for the Time of Judgement plot in Mage The Ascension. Reality got split up, everybody got their own version where things were perfect from their point of view.
  • October 15, 2012
    Arivne
    Western Animation
    • 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.
  • November 24, 2012
    Stratadrake
    I also think Happy Endings For Everyone (or Happy Endings All Around) is better in the titles front.
  • November 24, 2012
    KingZeal
    • The DS rerelease of Dragon Quest IV ends this way, with everyone getting what they wanted, including the Big Bad and the lover he was trying to protect.

    This is probably the goal of an Ethical Hedonist.
  • November 25, 2012
    TBTabby
    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.
  • November 25, 2012
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Played straight with Shrek2, when Fairy Godmother tricks Fiona into thinking Prince Charming is Shrek transformed after drinking the Happily Ever After potion. Later at the Poison Apple Bar, Shrek sadly remarks, "Mom and Dad approve. Fiona gets the man she's always dreamed of. Everybody wins".
  • November 25, 2012
    KarjamP
    This looks similar to Win Win Ending.
  • November 26, 2012
    Arivne
    ^ Yes, this is Win Win Ending.

    Interestingly, as far as I can tell none of the examples given here are on that page.

    OP/Grigor II, are you still around? Do you want to move the examples over?
  • November 30, 2012
    MorganWick
    5 intrawiki inbound links, and this entry seems to emphasize the villain more, while that one seems to emphasize both hero and villain equally, as though they reached a mutually beneficial agreement, while this seems to emphasize more "everything working out for the best". That's just based on their descriptions.

    Also, there are no anime examples in the OP, while on Win Win Ending anime and manga is the only medium with more than two examples.
  • December 1, 2012
    SKJAM
    Yeah, the anime fans were more prevalent back when Win Win Ending went through YKTTW.
  • December 1, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    Win Win Ending is not a thriving trope. Also, I like this title better - Win Win Ending suggests a limitation to only two factions, which Everybody Gets Their Happy Ending / Happy Endings For Everyone does not.
  • December 1, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    Proposing a merge stuff from pre-existing Win Win Ending to here.

    Largely conjecture (don't use as an example yet), but Once Upon A Time seems to be shaping up this way, at least with the main heroes and main villains.

    Oh, wait I got one.

    • Shakugan No Shana ends with the villains of the series harnessing the endless power source Mc Guffin and solving their problem. The heroes arrange a rule patch that keeps the villains from being able to eat humans, meaning both parties can now live normal lives in peace.
  • December 1, 2012
    Omeganian
  • December 1, 2012
    Desertopa
    The ending of Exit Fate turns out this way, thanks to the machinations of the Anti Villain antagonist, who deliberately maneuvered his own son into forging multiple countries into a single state out of the necessity of war, followed by the conquest of his own country, in order to establish a lasting peace by uniting the long warring factions under a stable government by a charismatic leader. His last words are "All my wishes have come true. My only regret is that I was unable to be a better father to you and your sister."

    ....Damn, it feels really uncomfortable writing that outside spoiler tags.
  • December 1, 2012
    MorganWick
    @SKJAM: What happened to make the anime fans less prevalent, or is it just fans of other media becoming more prominent?
  • December 2, 2012
    SKJAM
    Fans of other media flooded in as the website became better known. (And I suspect a few of the anime uber alles types have quit or been banned over time.)
  • December 2, 2012
    robinjohnson
    Happy Endings All Round is a little more concise
  • November 21, 2013
    Ryusui
    You mean Happy Endings All Around, I think.
  • November 21, 2013
    KarjamP
    ^Nice bumping this abandoned thread. :P

    Anyway, if this were to be merged, I think it needs to go through the Trope Repair shop first.
  • November 21, 2013
    DAN004
    All of the examples here can be put in Win Win Ending as suggested. =P

    Pretty much an Idealism Trope. Often happens when your villain isn't that bad/wants to achieve good means.
  • November 21, 2013
    SafariMonkey
    I'd add: Western Animation
    • In Doctor Who, at the end of The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances, the nanogenes repair everyone (their programmed purpose), everyone initially disfigured by them lives (and even some who were already disfigured), and Jack (who thought he would die with the bomb) is saved by the Doctor and taken on the TARDIS.

    (My writing could use some cleanup, but that's the essence of it.)
  • November 21, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Seconding Happy Endings All Around for the title.
  • November 21, 2013
    Statalyzer
    Really, this *is* Win Win Ending, but the name should probably be changed to emphasize it doesn't just have to involve 2 factions only.
  • November 22, 2013
    Arivne
    As DAN004 said above, before this YKTTW is discarded all of its examples should be moved over to Win Win Ending.
  • December 2, 2013
    robinjohnson
    For what it's worth, I did mean Happy Endings All Round, not Around. I thought "all around" meant "all over the place" ("the green grass grows all around"), and "all round" meant everybody gets one ("beer all round!") Is this a UK/US thing?
  • September 25, 2014
    NemuruMaeNi
    More or less salvaged the contents into Main.WinWinEnding, therefore discarding this.
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