Good Epilogues – The Hunger Games vs Harry Potter

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.



20 thoughts on “Good Epilogues – The Hunger Games vs Harry Potter

  1. I’m posting now to remember to post later after I finish Mockingjay.

    In all fairness, and bear with me it’s been a long time since I finished the HP series, I think J.K.’s ending represented a pie-slice of how her HP world went back to normal after the “derp, wrong wand” vanquishing of he-who-shall-not-be-out-acted. Whether fanservice or simply her desired ending to the story, I don’t know. Has she commented on it from her end?

    • I’m not sure–that’s worth checking out, though. I see what you’re saying and that certainly makes sense, I just had the feeling that the microcosm she shows is so limited, it loses its appeal. (Also, burning question…do they still need Aurors? Is there a Ministry of Magic? Aargh.)

      • Do “loose ends” erode the sense of sastisfaction? Of course. I completely agree that a few more pages of light exposition would have gone miles for readers like us. Someone once said, and I dubiously quote, “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. ‘Nuff said.”

      • Oooh…any video game reference has me interested. 😀

        Haha, what’s the other kind of reader? Or, to put it differently, who would be satisfied with the way HP ended?

      • Readers who don’t ask for much, who’s bar may not be artificially high, or dislike over-analyzing a fun-time read. I know two people off the top of my head who’s only requirement for a movie or book is that it have a happy ending. If it does, they enjoy it.

        In Link to the Past, once you complete the game it goes through a slide-show of sorts revisiting almost every major and secondary character you come across the and revitilization of their environment, purpose, loved ones, etc… As silly as it sounds for an older video game of that type, it adds closure for almost every aspect of your time playing through it.

      • Oooh…I’ve seen that kind of ending for video games, and I agree, it’s nice to have!

        Oh, the simple enjoyment of books. I miss that…I blame college for overanalysis of everything.

      • Like you said, Rowling was making up justice for all the deaths she has caused. She doesnt want to be hated by her readers does she? LOL.

      • Ooh, that’s true. I know she modified at least one of the people who was going to die because of input, but I still feel like she reneged on what she was originally going to do. (My friend says the last word was supposed to be ‘scar’…it definitely was not.)

  2. **SPOILERS**

    So, I finished the Mockingjay (remember, I posted my first comment in anticipation of this event). I’m not a fan. There were no changes in character, no characters arcs, no climax worthy of the series, just a terminal case of react to events and whine about it.

    I think I would have been more sastified if Haymitch had some crisis of character and changed, for better or worse, if Katniss had martyred herself, and Prim taken up her cause. Or something along those lines, rather than “Oh hey, I’m back and relatively unchanged in character, but scarred so deeply I’m hardly functional as a human being.” I mean, she even votes yes for new Hunger Games before suddenly capitulating to Snow’s information at the very second she’s suppose to shoot him. Then a border-line throw away character gets voted into the most powerful position representing the manipulation of Katniss her entire way through the series, the powerplay between Coin and Snow.

    Also, the epilogue was lean. “I had babies and we’re not in immediate danger” isn’t enough for me to walk away sastified. Characters were dismissed with single sentences (Gayle gets a big-wig job in District 2, oh boy!), and the rest are in the same boat has Harry Potter. What the hell happened to them? Is Panem really changed for the better? Neither the rebels nor the capital citizens seemed like the type to make a better world and we don’t know enough about Paylor to believe she would send the country in the right direction.

    Le sigh.

    • I know, right?! D: …it just really, really was not about Katniss and keeping it in her perspective did not work. Prim does more than Katniss….

      I think I inferred more from what she says in the epilogue. It seems like they figured out the right punishment for her, which suggests they figured out other things as well. At the least it seems like she found some peace, which was like…about time.

      I’m sure they had a ton of issues, though. No way a system like that is getting fixed with one revolution.

  3. Exactly, nothing really changed. Maybe Collin’s intended that to be part of the message, I don’t know. But Panem exchanged hands and that’s that.

    • I’d think so. Although I guess pointing out that humans are generally evil is a bit dark for a YA novel…. I’m thinking the idea was that Coin and Snow were supposed to be the big problems.

      On the other hand, could that series really have a successful happy ending? It’d be hard to believe.

    • Hear, hear.

      Not that everything needs to be wrapped up, it just has to end appropriately. The one book that I’ve thought had too much closure is ‘The World According to Garp.’

      • I haven’t read that one. Does it dwell overly long on a conveyor belt of aftermaths?

      • That’s one way of putting it for sure. The time span for the ending is just really long, so there’s a bit of hey, I didn’t want to know that happened!

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