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Sliding Scale of Endings

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Originally, the word "comedy" meant that the story ended on a positive note, and the word "tragedy" meant a Downer Ending (or, at the very least, a Bittersweet Ending). The meanings of these words have evolved over time, but the concept remains: Some stories end happily, and others...not so much. This is a scale of how happily a given story is bound to end. See Multiple Endings when a work has more than one possible outcome (good, bad, AND neutral).


Good Ending


Neutral Ending

  • Ambiguous Ending: The ending is left purposely vague in some way, so that one or more outcomes are unknown.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The good guys win, but due to terrible tragedies, they will not be able to fully enjoy the victory. Alternatively, the heroes die, but everyone else good is happy.
  • Happy Ending Override: It's a happy ending, but something happens in the period afterwards and before the sequel to ruin it; the sequel is a chance to start again.
  • Multiple Endings: A character's actions in the game decide how the ending turns out.
  • No Ending: The ending is ambiguous. Did the heroes win, or did they all die horribly? The author or creator ain't talking, so it's up to the viewer to decide. Bolivian Army Ending is a subtrope.
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  • Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending: All well and good if you have the protagonist ball. Anyone else? Sucks to be you!
  • Gainax Ending: The ending is confusing and full of Mind Screw; differing interpretations can lead it to being placed in any of these three categories.

Bad Ending