Monday, July 1, 2013

The Absolute Terror of the Final Book in the Series

There is nothing better, and there is nothing worse, than finishing a series you've loved for ages. There's just so much EXCITEMENT and INTENSITY, because OMG YOU'LL KNOW HOW IT ENDS! But at the same time... it will end.

I am, and always have been, a diehard Harry Potter fan. I read each book pretty much the day it came out, except for the first two, because I was about six and eight, respectively, and didn't know things yet. But for those of you in the HP generation, do you REMEMBER what it was like waiting for The Deathly Hallows to come out? I wanted it soso bad. So badly I thought I was going to go insane with wanting it. Like any day I'd snap, charge over to the nearest bookstore, and be all


I was so excited I felt sick, but I was also filled with so much dread. I mean, that would be it. There would be NO NEW HARRY POTTERS EVER. And what if something AWFUL happened? (A LOT of awful things happened, but we won't get into that now.) What if the book itself was no good? You've invested so many years and so much of your soul into a series, and you always want the last installment to do all that investment justice.

But what if it doesn't? How do you cope?

This post was actually inspired by a conversation I had with another blogger I love (who shall remain nameless). I discovered that, while she has read all the Harry Potter books when they came out, she has YET THE READ THE LAST ONE. She has it. BUT SHE HASN'T READ IT. I love you, oh nameless blogger, and I understand why. I mean, it's terrifying to finish a series you love. I'm anxious for The Bitter Kingdom, the last book in The Girl of Fire and Thorns series--anxious in the good way AND anxious in the bad way. I can understand why you haven't been able to take that leap yet.

But I also think you're kind of crazy because HELLO THAT BOOK CAME OUT IN 2007 AND IT'S HARRY FREAKING POTTER okay I'm okay now

So many great series are ending this year, like the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, the Legend series by Marie Lu, the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter, the Watersong series by Amanda Hokcing, the Razorland series by Ann Aguire, and the Croak series by Gina Damico, among many others. Many already ended, such as The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, the Shadow Falls series by C.C. hunter, the Revenants series by Amy Plum, the Unearthly trilogy by Cynthia Hand, and the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver.

Basically, 2013 has been nothing but a biG angst-fest for the series-addicted.

I know your pain so well, little cartoon girl. There are some books I just can't bring myself to read because I know I'll love them so much (logic: not my strong suit).

But then there are the times where you do take the plunge, where you do rip the Amazon package containing that last Harry Potter book right out of the UPS guy's hands, and then you tear the package open and start reading it right then and there. And the book is SO GOOD that it's just like

and the series goes out in this blaze of Bon Jovi glory and awesomeness, and you're so happy-sad and it's just... ugh. BOOKS.

 So yes, it's totally terrifying when a series you love comes to an end. But when the end goes right, there's nothing better. There's payoff for beloved characters, and payoff for you for those years of investment. So I'm thinking, somehow, we'll survive all these series ending. Because there's always a NEW series just around the corner. Hey, we addicts have got to get our fixes somehow. Ending a series just gives us room for a NEW obsession!

 What about you? Do you have a panic attack every time a series you love ended? Or are you totally cool about it? Which series ender are you dreading, or have you dreaded in the past?


  1. Frankly, the last two series I finished were such a massive disappointment--REQUIEM by Lauren Oliver made me so bitter. RAE CARSON I AM DEPENDING ON YOU TO RESTORE MY FAITH IN TRILOGIES.

    1. I've heard it's mind-blowingly amazing. I have so much faith. I MEAN IT HAS HECTOR IT CAN'T POSSIBLY BE BAD

  2. I know this EXACT feeling oh-so-well. While it doesn't make me hesitate when it comes to reading that "last" book (except in the case of Inheritance, the last of the Inheritance cycle by Christopher Paolini), I do feel a bit of heartbreak. You only get to experience that last book for the first time JUST THIS ONCE. And you don't know if you'll love it or hate it, if it will make you happy or sad or angry or all those things, and how all these characters will be at the very END. There's also that looming sense of finality that KILLS me. But, I will always want to know what happens - and so, will continue to cherish/read my series enders ;)

  3. I think you've summed up all of our fears/hopes/feelings to a tee, Gillian. It's not like you're just reading another book, it's the end of an EXPERIENCE.

    There's so much anxiousness involved because there are a number of possiblities for how it could all end and we've spent so much time imagining it, that the anticipation is just killer. We invest ourselves wholeheartedly into reading a series, so it's quite cathartic by the time it comes to an end. We develop relationships with these books and it's always bittersweet to see them end.

    It's almost like an addiction that needs to be fed and once you're done with it, you get riddled with withdrawl. I very much felt that way at the end of The Hunger Games series anyway and it took me a long time before I was able to dive headfirst into another series and truly enjoy it again.

  4. Confession: I haven't read the last HP either. I'm so torn on series enders, because I can't think of a single one that was as good or even better than the previous book(s). I always imagine them to be absolutely epic but they often read as the author trying to tie things up (or not - Lauren Oliver style) and I always come out disappointed.

  5. This post speaks to my soul. Deathly Hallows was the first book I waited in line for, and I'm still sad over the fact that there will be no new HP ever. It's why it's the only fandom I occasionally read fanfic end. AND I AM SO ANXIOUS ABOUT THE BITTER KINGDOM. And of course Allegiant this fall. Requiem was such a disappointment. To be honest though, I'm more terrified of the series enders coming out in 2014-especially Into the Still Blue, Ruin and Rising, the final Shatter Me, The One, Infinite, and The Retribution of Mara Dyer. OH MAN WHY ARE SO MANY SERIES ENDING NEXT YEAR? Now I'm even more depressed.

  6. I can't not read the last book. It would probably drive me insane. But I totally get being scared. Right now I'm reading The Girl with the Iron Touch and I keep picking it up and putting it down because I'm scared it won't end well......Great post and now I need to conquer my fear!!

  7. THIS IS THE MOST ACCURATE POST ON SERIES' ENDS EVER. Seriously, though, this is exactly how I feel! I'm afraid the final book won't live up to my expectations, or that my favorite character's going to die. Or I'm so excited because I *know* it's going to be awesome, but then it will be over. Ending a series is like a book hangover times ten. So I'm completely thrilled and anxious about The Bitter Kingdom and Dreams of Gods and Monsters and the last GG book.

    Great post!

  8. HAH! I totally blogged about this earlier this year because there ARE a ton of series endings in 2013. Crazy! But. I already read THE BITTER KINGDOM and it's fantabulous and you have NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. I assure you. #HECTOR!!! :D

  9. Honest to goodness, one of the saddest moments of my life was sitting in a dark theater with my dad watching the credits roll for Return of the King. Annie Lennox was singing and the sketches were blurring because oh my gosh I've invested in this movie since I was TEN and read The Hobbit for the first time and I've seen all of these movies and tried to learn Quenya (half-heartedly) and own all the Extended Editions and now it's ooooooveeeeeeer. :(((

    I have a feeling I will have the same reaction once I finish The Bitter Kingdom. And Gallagher Girls. Sigh.

  10. I never cope very well in when a series is ending. I feel the exact same way you do. Usually I will snag the book up immediately when it comes out to read it, but there have been a few times where I put it off as long as a couple of months! (Not nearly as long as your blogger friend who put off reading HP! I wonder if the book is ruined for her now because I feel like everyone has heard about the ending. I hope not.)

    Great post as always!

  11. I like to think I handle series endings well. I mean I only cried a bucket of tears at the last Harry Potter...

    Anyway, I'm really excited for the final Veronica Roth and Ally Carter books, but the one I don't think I'll be able to handle is whenever Rick Riordan decides to end the Heroes of Olympus series.

  12. I love this post and am linking to it in my bookish rounds discussion section tomorrow. Yes, I experienced this HARDCORE with the Harry Potter books. Honestly? I think it's because of the HP series that I can no longer get THAT excited about a book. Oh, I'm excited to read, but really getting into the world, the setting, ranting about it and the characters and rereading until I can recite the scene where Harry and Voldemort face off and talk constantly of how the movie did a crap shoot with that--er, off topic. ALL THAT? Gone now.

    "So I'm thinking, somehow, we'll survive all these series ending. Because there's always a NEW series just around the corner. Hey, we addicts have got to get our fixes somehow. Ending a series just gives us room for a NEW obsession!"
    ^--- I want it to be like that again! The only other series that is close to that potential right now for me is the Grisha trilogy.

  13. SO true. I'm right there with you on the Final Book conundrum. It's such a risky thing. I agree with you completely about Harry Potter (I accidentally pre-ordered two copies in my obsessive urgency to read book 7), but I do get where your friend is coming from.

    I'm a die hard fan of Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander series, and thankfully it's a 20 book long series, so I have a good long stretch with these books. But, but the author died and so once I finish the series THAT'S IT. So I'm "saving" it. My husband doesn't understand at all why I won't just finish the series. He loves them too and has been trying to get me to read them for years and he's convinced that my reluctance to read them straight through is because I don't really like them. But it's the total opposite! I like knowing there are more books in the series that I haven't read yet and I don't want to let go of that, I don't know, safety net? I like knowing I have a guaranteed good book out there that I haven't read yet. It's like a Break Glass in Case of Emergency book.

    So, that's all to say, LOVE your post and agree 100% :)

  14. khsdfkljsdfkljsg I don't even know what to say about this post, Gillian. lmfao *hides in corner*

  15. Crazily enough, I love when the last book in a series comes out. It's like a relief. I CAN FINALLY KNOW. Also, if it's a series I loved enough to buy, I love having the set on my shelf. It makes me feel all whole and complete. I think this also speaks to my standalone preference. I like having the beginning, middle and end of a hero's journey when I start something - even if that means having anything from all 2-7 books out when I start. That way I don't forget anything or feel tortured by the wait.

    Yeah. So. I dunno. This is not something I'm scared of.


Note: comments on posts older than 90 days are automatically moderated, so they won't show up here immediately. Thanks for commenting! :)