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Playing With: Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending
Basic Trope: Main cast has their Happy Endings; minor characters don't.
  • Straight: After Saving the World, Ace and Bianca get married, neglecting her Unlucky Childhood Friend Paulie, who ends up alone. Princess Carol is crowned Queen, but only because her dying father arbitrarily selected her over her older sister, Princess Helen, whose only apparent failing was not being one of the heroes' True Companions. Dirk becomes her new captain of the guards, but the position is only open because the likable old captain gave up his life to buy them time.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Only the heroes end up happy; everyone else ends up miserable.
    • Alternatively, only the protagonist gets a happy ending, everyone else is dead.
  • Downplayed: The hero and his love become the rulers of the land, while everyone else goes on with their lives in a "neutral" ending.
  • Justified:
    • Due to the characters' goals conflicting with each other, it would be impossible for everyone to win out.
    • Sadly, it's a fact of life that not everyone gets what they want or a "happy ending"; the narrator notes this.
    • The heroes were clearly depicted to have earned their happiness through hard work and personal sacrifice, while the minor characters either Missed the Call or didn't know what was happening.
    • The protagonists wanted revenge on all the minor characters. So a sad ending for them is a happy ending for the protagonists, unfortunately.
  • Inverted: The world is saved, but the heroes had to sacrifice everything they cared about in order to accomplish it, while the minor characters live happily.
  • Subverted:
    • The author briefly notes that "Paulie, Helen, and the others also managed to find their happiness in due course".
    • It looks like the minor characters were denied their happy ending, but the author notes that not everything's as happy as it would first appear for the main characters: Bianca begins having an affair with Paulie behind Ace's back, and Ace is furious when he finds out. Carol becomes isolated and lonely, and is unaware that her mother, Massive Numbered Siblings, and a few cousins are all separately plotting against her for the throne. Dirk's men don't respect him because they preferred the old captain and view him as an interloper.
    • The book's last chapter addresses the minor characters' endings: Paulie finds love, Carol's family no longer cares that she is the Queen, and the old captain is brought Back from the Dead.
    • The minor characters' happy endings are addressed in a sequel.
  • Double Subverted:
    • The side characters (except Paulie, who ends up alone yet again) are killed as part of a Sequel Hook.
    • A sequel addresses the main characters' happy endings, but no one else's.
    • The last chapter is RetConned in a sequel.
    • The new characters introduced in the sequel still don't get happy endings.
  • Parodied: The minor characters bewail their fate, being unappreciative of what they did get, though they actually ended up better than the heroes.
  • Zig Zagged: The epilogue shows some minor characters happy, some miserable, and recounts how some, but not all, switched from one to the other.
  • Averted:
  • Enforced:
    • "We've only got a limited page count here, guys. We can't explain everyone's happy ending; it would take up a whole other book! Just focus on the main characters."
    • The way the character's goals are set up, the writer cannot easily have everyone win out. He gives the main characters happy endings, since they're the ones everyone cares about.
    • The writer plans to address the minor characters' happy endings in a sequel, but dies without completing it.
  • Lampshaded: "What happened with Carol?" "Forget about her, Bianca. Just be thankful everything worked out for us."
  • Invoked: The main characters decide that they want revenge on everyone else, in a case of Evil Versus Evil.
  • Exploited: Dirk is a minor character at first, but becomes more involved in the plot in the hope of earning a happy ending.
  • Defied: The main characters, upon getting their happy endings, tie up loose ends and make a sincere effort to ensure the happiness and comfort of everyone they care about: Bianca devotes herself to helping Paulie find love, Carol makes her family a part of her running the kingdom (or gives Helen the crown against their father's wishes), and Dirk never forgets the sacrifice of the man who came before him and wins the respect of his men by following his predecessor's example.
  • Discussed: "Please come with us, Ed." "Sorry, pal. Minor characters finish last, and I don't want to take that risk." "What risk? Even if you don't get a happy ending, you'll be no worse off than you are now."
  • Conversed: "This is a great book, but it doesn't say what happened to Paulie." "Who was Paulie again?"
  • Implied: The lead characters' happy endings are thoroughly explained in the final chapter, while the minor characters' endings are not even mentioned.
  • Deconstructed: A reader writes a Fix Fic which leaves Ace single and pairs Bianca with Paula.
  • Plotted A Good Waste: The original plan was to have every non-evil character win out. However, the author deliberately leaves out the side characters to make the ending bittersweet; the more the audience thought about it, the more they would realize how the "happy" ending wasn't all that happy.
  • Played For Laughs: Rouge, Skippy and countless other minor characters are sacrificed in the name of plot, and yet Ace's catchphrase is "And nothing of value was lost," to which Bianca replies, "I don't know about that."
  • Played For Drama: The selfish heroes knew from the start that others would suffer and/or die for their personal happiness; they just didn't care. At the end, Bianca says, "I can't believe everything worked out for everyone we cared about," to which Ace replies, "That's right, baby. Everything worked out for you and I."

You're the lead in your story. Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending. So go get it!

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