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Endings and Fan Ownership

Ever since the finale of Game of Thrones (and to a lesser extent Avengers: Endgame), I’ve been thinking about endings.  About what makes a satisfying one – and also whether it is even possible for a franchise that built itself around the shocking and unexpected to have a satisfying ending. 

See, here’s the thing.  To me, what made Game of Thrones so compelling, what had people talking about it so much that you HAD to watch it live or you risked spoilers, was not the fact that it was perfect or satisfying.  It was the unanswered questions everyone was speculating about – and the fact that it flew straight in the face of what the “rules” of the genre said would happen.  When Ned Stark lost his head and the Red Wedding decimated the cast, the viewers (at least those who hadn’t read the books) were stunned.  People couldn’t stop talking about it because characters we loved weren’t safe.  Anything could happen.  Those were the new rules.  And so the bar had been raised.  Anything had to happen, because we were no longer satisfied with the expected.  But when you build a story around shock value, breaking conventions, and unanswered questions, how can you possibly craft an emotionally satisfying ending?  Those are two completely different skill sets.

Calculated Risk

First off, let me start of by saying that as I am writing this I have not yet seen Avengers: Endgame – so there will be NO SPOILERS. (Though I may spoil Infinity War somewhat.)  I’m not here to talk about Endgame plot wise.  I’m here to talk about it’s impact.  It’s effect.  And the calculated risk that the Russo brothers took when they or Kevin Feige or whoever first pitched it came up with the combined Infinity War/Endgame gambit.

And I do think it was a gambit.  A risk they knew they were taking, but they also knew the reward would be the insane box office numbers we’ve seen this weekend if they could pull it off.  

See, Infinity War broke the rules.

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