Main Only The Leads Get A Happy Ending Discussion

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10:42:54 AM Aug 17th 2015
edited by JoieDeCombat
Just removed two examples that seemed to miss the point of the trope:

  • Avi's 1990 Newbery Medal-winning children's novel The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle has a very happy ending for the main character, Charlotte Doyle. The villain Captain Jaggery frames her for murder and tries to get her executed but drowns before he can, and Charlotte runs away from her sexist 1832 life to work on the ship. What a happy ending. But not for the man Jaggery murdered, who was shown to be a very kind, good man who was killed so painfully Charlotte heard him screaming from high above in the rigging. And not for Mr. Cranick who was beaten by Capt. Jaggery to the point that his arm had to be amputated for not tying a rope properly, and then rose the crew up in mutiny only to be promptly murdered by Capt. Jaggery. But those don't matter, because everything goes perfectly for Charlotte and Zachariah!

The trope as described does not seem to indicate any case of any individual minor character not getting a happy ending. Yes, two men died, but the remaining crew members are free of Captain Jaggery's abuses and better off for it. The example exaggerates two specific examples of minor characters who were wronged to argue that only Charlotte and Zachariah are happy at the end, which is not the case.

  • The Hunger Games: Katniss and Peeta get a happy ending, nearly everyone else gets killed.

This example, meanwhile, exaggerates how "happy" an ending Katniss and Peeta get. They're alive, yes, but traumatized by their experiences and still trapped in a society that forces children to fight to the death once a year. They have earned the personal enmity of the man in charge of that society, and although Peeta is in love with Katniss, Katniss has only been playing the role to earn the sympathy of the public, and must continue to do so indefinitely; Peeta, who thought her feelings were genuine, has only just discovered this at the end of the first book.
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