Why I Don’t Like Fairytale Endings
I’m not sure when this change happened, maybe it happened after I became a fan of The Wire years ago, but for years now I just can’t stand the fairytale ending. Any time it’s a “happily ever after” bit, in any story, no matter how much I like the characters, I find myself getting turned off and a little disgusted. Mainly because, as I get older, I realize that this never happens.
It’s called a fairytale because it’s make believe. And those aren’t the kinds of stories I’d like to tell.
On some level, every fairy tale is, really, a lie. Oh, that’s not why we tell these stories. I mean, would you want to tell a little kid that yes, Snow White and her Prince may enjoy a happy marriage, but there will be ups and downs, there will be fights, and making that marriage last is gonna take a lot of work? I don’t think most kids under the age of 10 could handle that. “Happily ever after” is the phrase we use instead.
And, sometimes, we just need to escape from the drudgery of life. We’ve seen too much misery, work is getting us down, a relationship with someone important in our lives is deteriorating, for a whole bunch of reasons we just need to forget about things for a little while. Sometimes, a well told fairy tale does that.
But the morality of these stories is universally simplistic. Most things are black and white, you’ve got the good guys and the bad guys, and the good guys always win without really suffering. And I don’t mean they are put in danger, I mean what the good guys have to do doesn’t change them, scar them, there’s no sacrifice.