I will admit: I have never been a happy endings kind of gal. At least not in the traditional sense. Yes, I want the hero to win. Yes, I want the villain to go down. Yes, I want true love to conquer all. I’m just more attracted to the story when everyone comes out with some scars, some loss, maybe a little PTSD. I find when I’m involved with a book (or a movie or TV show), I am easily lost if the protagonist’s end goals come too easily. Would we cheered as loudly to see the ring finally fall into the depths of Mt. Doom had Frodo not suffered and fought—nearly died—to make it happen? Would Katniss’ triumph over the Capitol have been so meaningful had she not sacrificed so much to get there?
Think about the people you know in real life who just seem to get EVERYTHING without even trying? Don’t we just loathe them? But those friends of ours who have risen from ashes, pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, kept calm and carried on, THOSE are the people we admire most. Am I right?
There is just something so much sweeter about a victory we thought we had already lost—or one we never thought attainable in the first place. I think the best stories are the ones where the protag would likely need a little trauma counseling before settling into their happily ever after.
Thinking about my favorite protagonists in books and film who’ve come to their victory through loss, sacrifice and courage:
Frodo Baggins, LOTR
Katniss Everdeen, Hunger Games
Hawkeye & Cora Monroe, Last of the Mohicans
Celie, The Color Purple
Robert Roy MacGregor, Rob Roy
Bruce Wayne, Batman
Who are your favorite suffering, sacrificing, protagonists?