Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Great Unknown

If we could board a train into our favorite character's future, would we like what we see?

Do you ever wonder what happens to characters when the final page ends?
Especially characters that you've come to care about. Characters that are among your favorites.
Do you ever spend, like, a lot of time wondering what happens to them?
Because I do, and it kind of unnerves me that I do.
I wonder if couples that I watched grow to love each other over the course of a story are still together. I wonder if they're happy. I wonder if, because they're characters and ultimately *not real*, they get to have what it seems a lot of people don't get: that happily ever after.
No, I don't mean in a riding off into the sunset with singing animals and sunrays from heaven...
I just mean peace. I mean togetherness and loyalty and all the stuff that really, truly matters.
I wonder if characters stay friends, or if they drift apart.
Who's to say?
The author's to say.
But what if the author doesn't give you any clues? What if there is no sequel. What if the author doesn't think that there's such a thing as real, exclusive love?
I used to have this policy where I assigned my own ending to the characters after the 'official' ending. But I'm a simpleton who likes love stories to stay happy and cultivated. Then I started thinking, 'What would the author actually do? Remember, she broke up So-and-So in the companion book. She turned Whosit into a drug addict and Whatsit into a pleasure-seeker...'

See, this is what happens when I ingest too much drama, too much heavy-fiction. I start expecting tragedy and sadness at every turn, for every character. It's like a fiction-themed Worse Case Scenario (and if you're thinking, "what the #@!$&* is she talking about?", I'm thinking specifically about Melina Marchetta's books, particularly Saving Francesca, The Piper's Son, and Jellicoe Road. I love JR, and am currently reading SF, but I think I may have OD'd a little on Marchetta fiction, because I'm too the point now where I expect tragedy and heartache for everyone, around every corner). you think about what happens to your favorite characters? Does the uncertainty ever bother you?

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