Happily Ever After, Coincidentally

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The most irritating thing in the universe is to be blissfully lost in a story, hundreds of pages down the road- and then, alas! – the last chapter reveals some shocking information that turns the whole thing ultimately cheesy and exasperatedly predictable.

There you are, reading a wonderful story. Among the action and adventure, romance blossoms. This romance is between two people of very different classes or groups categorized by society. You are under the perception nothing can tear them apart. They are so right for each other, you see it even more than the character themselves. It’s obviously going to work out, they made it this far in the novel!

And then?

Before the book ends, they realize it is best to go about their separate ways, for life can truly be unfair and they cannot control their destinies after all. Your heart aches for them.

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(But wait, there’s more!)

  • A few paragraphs before the novel ends, it is suddenly revealed to the prince that the poor orphan girl who has taken his heart is, coincidentally, also a princess! An ancient letter buried in the dirt or a blusterous corrupt uncle of her blurts it out somehow in a most timely manner. (PHEW!)
  • It becomes apparent to the haughty rich young lady that the poor gardener, whom she had been developing feelings for her, coincidentally also has noble blood coursing through his veins. (PHEW!)
  • It becomes apparent to the man of a certain tribe, that the girl he likes from ‘the others’, coincidentally actually has some of their blood in her veins, through her grandfather. PHEW!

Each time, coincidentally, fate reveals an astonishing fact at a most perfect timing to make a happily ever after ending that is so overused and predictable that the cheesiness is simply on overload.

Cheesy is not bad… if the whole story were so. But why put the reader under the serious perception that this story has something new, something special, something original… that it is different than the rest, when in fact, it is not?

And then?

BAM! Everything will be alright, because things will fall always into place according to social customs and norms. Both the protagonists will get what they wish for, while society gives them its blessings.

You see, that is what I find irritating: you think the heroes are going to go against social standards for true principles (I’ve been using love as an example but it can be for anything really, such as justice), but the final pages disappoints you because at the end, nothing really changes: Things work out in favor for the characters, coincidentally so, and nothing is challenged or put under the microscope. If the reader for a moment wonders if social class privileges is a bad thing, that thinking is immediately gone to rest when it all ends happily ever after.

After all, such is life: you want something, you fight half-heartedly for it, you give up because the fight is too great, and then right when you surrender, life gives it to you on a silver platter, without changing the status quo. Purely on a matter of… what’s the right word… coincidence.

(At least, that’s the life that is presented to us all too often in the media. I don’t buy it.)

Please. One can’t bet their entire life’s happiness on a series of coincidences.

OK, rant over. Time to read another book 🙂

 –A.S.

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