He would be brave for the princess.
Even if (reader, could it be true?) there was no such thing as happily ever after. (from The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo)
I have a confession that may horrify some of you. I don’t always trust a book all the way to the end. You see, I absolutely require happy endings in books. And movies. I do not read books to end up feeling depressed and helpless. So, if a book seems to be heading down a pretty depressing path, I just ask my husband to read the final chapter for me and tell me if it has a happy ending or not. If it doesn’t end well, I don’t finish it no matter how compelling it is.
It’s a lesson I learned the hard way from The House of Sand and Fog and other incredibly depressing reads. I will also leave the theater if a movie is not what I thought. I don’t mind if a movie makes me cry, or if it has tragedy within it. But it absolutely must end on an uplifting note. I did not enjoy The Dark Knight (I know, you’re all unsubscribing from the blog as you read that, but I’m sorry!). I left the theater about half way through I Am Legend.
Anyway, I think the reason for this happy ending rule of mine is that I started to notice in my late teens and early twenties that sometimes real life stories don’t turn out the way you want them to. Sometimes a romance ends badly or a job goes horribly wrong or a pregnancy ends in miscarriage. Sometimes it all works out so much better than you could ever have imagined–better than authors could write. But there’s no way to know that for sure when it’s real.
In real life, you have to be brave in the midst of trials even though you don’t know how that trial will end. (I am not talking about the end of life itself, of course. As a Christian, I believe that is not the end at all. I’m talking about the things we go through in life.)
So I just figure, that I need to save up my stores of bravery for real life. There’s no way I’m wasting it on fiction that doesn’t reward it in the end. No way.