When Harry Potter first came out, I refused to read it. I refused to read the next book too, and every book after that. In fact, my fingers did not so much as brush the cover of a Harry Potter related item (book or DVD) until the very last one was in stores and Harry Potter’s happy ending was common internet knowledge.

You can blame Animorphs for that. I read every single book in that series, including every one of the megamorphs, right up to the very last book. I invested hours, probably days, of my reading time into those characters, into that author.

She betrayed me.

In short, my favorite character died, my second favorite character decided to spend the rest of his (vastly shortened) life trapped in the body of a bird, and the only one happy was the one character I didn’t really like. -.-

I gave every last one of those books to the library the very next day after reading that book. Except the one I burned in my BBQ pit, because I couldn’t burn it on the author’s lawn. I’d allowed myself to slip into this other person’s world, and she slapped me in the face with it. It’s something I’ll never forget, and it has completely altered how I read a series.

Now I won’t read a series unless it is complete. I will then read the last few pages of the last book in the series. If it seems promising, I will buy and read the last book. If that’s not totally crushing, I’ll read the series.

My question, I suppose, is how much do you owe your readers? The author of the Animorph’s series was well within her rights to end the series as she saw fit. She wanted a realistic ending, and she got it. Big time. That is how it would have happened if it had really happened.

But I didn’t want it to end that way.

Do you owe your readers a satisfying ending? Is there a way to make such a miserable, horrible, awful, ending acceptable in the readers mind?

I don’t know. You tell me.