Without being too heavy on the spoilers…I mean, really, I’ll avoid specifics but if you somehow haven’t yet read—and intend to read—’Deathly Hallows’ or ‘Mockingjay’, you may want to tread lightly.
Anyway, J.K. Rowling’s extremely fanfiction-friendly ending (do you know what slash is? I know what slash is) made it seem like the only thing that mattered were the main characters, or at least the ones who were near Harry at the end of the book–nothing much on the wizarding world at large, absolutely no mention of the poor nonmagical types…and some very unfortunate name choices that the slash writers found very, very convenient.
It seemed like an apology for knocking off all the good characters…I’m sure some people did enjoy it, and you can feel free to point out why I’m wrong, especially since I haven’t touched that book since reading it once when it came out, but in general it seems like the ending was not popular with most of the fans. Not that it slowed sales, I’m sure, but when you go through seven books and faithfully fork over the money you want to walk away satisfied, not feeling like you need to go read some Oliver Sacks in a desperate attempt to try and understand what exactly is up with the human race.
Anyway…. I actually rather liked the epilogue to ‘Mockingjay’. As I’ve said, I didn’t like the book so much, but the epilogue somehow brought things back together for me. After the chaos and Katniss’ increasingly sidelined role, it seemed like that extra chapter refocused. And the ending wasn’t perfect–it is the world of the Hunger Games, after all–but it was far more satisfying because of that. (I even think it made up for the rather literal bombshell near the end.)
So what’s the big difference between these two epilogues? Both were additions to books that I felt concluded the series on a disappointing note (although with Suzanne Collins, it was more so the presentation than the actual events). Both epilogues take place a fair bit in the future, at a point where the characters in those scenes have matured and had an opportunity to get married, have children–have a domestic life that’s way different from the adventuring described throughout the series.
I think that the reason is how much of the world was encompassed. The ‘Mockingjay’ epilogue gave enough hints about the political/social situation to satisfy–and, more so, I think there was a sense of completeness to the way things worked out. Whereas the Rowling ending was like, hey by the way slap this on really quickly, blah blah everything has somehow worked out perfectly. The mood was too different, especially considering how increasingly dark the books get, whereas there is still that sense of foreboding and loss in Collins’ epilogue.