Top Ten Series Endings

  1. The Return of the King – J.R.R. Tolkien. Yes, technically not a series, but this is my damn list. This is a pitch-perfect ending to all the horror and sadness of the War of the Ring: the chapter “The Field of Cormallen” in particular captures a sharp mixture of untold joy and terrible sorrow that’s just the best way to send the Dark Lord Sauron off.
  2. Abhorsen – Garth Nix. I don’t know if this counts as the end of the series now Goldenhand is out, but the original series feels self-contained enough that I’m counting it. This is another one that’s very good at capturing the full impact of its stakes.
  3. The Dark Tower – Stephen King. The last four books of the Dark Tower series are baggy and self-indulgent and often unforgivably long, but I think King came up with the best and most resonant ending he could have.
  4. The Amber Spyglass – Philip Pullman. Spyglass is not perfect by a long chalk, but it’s big and bold and ambitious and aware of how stories work.
  5. Ancillary Mercy – Ann Leckie. A solid and unassuming entry in Leckie’s Ancillary series, Ancillary Mercy is a story about doing what good you can.
  6. The Arrows of Time – Greg Egan. This is admittedly a slightly glib ending to Egan’s series, with some weirdly Catholic sexual guilt, but it is nevertheless nice to see the Peerless return to its home planet.
  7. Fly Trap – Frances Hardinge. It’s not necessarily an ending, as such, in that there’s no particular closure, but Mosca, Saracen and Eponymous are such great company.
  8. Wings – Terry Pratchett. Another ender that I like more for its characters and concept than for any actual closure it offers.
  9. Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins. I think it’s the moral ambiguity of Mockingjay, the way it makes both the Capitol and the rebels complicit in atrocity, that makes this such a powerful ending to the Hunger Games series.
  10. White Gold Wielder – Stephen Donaldson. This is the ending to The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, and it’s laden with a redemptive power that’s also almost horrifying in its catharsis.

(The theme for this post was suggested by the Broke and the Bookish’s weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday.)

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