… then you’ll also think that this suggested ending for the Harry Potter series shows artistic flair as well:
Each time the bell rang and another wizard walked into the pub, Harry looked up warily. Voldemort may have been dead, but there were still plenty of people who’d be thrilled if Harry was the victim of a Bat-Bogey Hex, or worse. Was that man in the corner booth, stirring sugar into his tea, from the Ministry of Magic? Or a Death Eater, burning for revenge? Or was he just some bystander who couldn’t help noticing the famous scar on Harry’s forehead?
Ron, his red hair cut short and a thin beard running along his jaw, came through the door and sat down. Harry took his hand for a second, a little overwhelmed. After the depression, and the suicide attempt in the fifth-floor prefects’ bathroom, it was good to see Ron happy again; his new office job with the Chudley Cannons quidditch club—and the German-made sports broom Harry had bought him—seemed to be improving his spirits.
Someone approached the table. Harry looked up, hoping it might be Hermione, but instead it was a pale, sneering young man who for a moment reminded Harry of Draco Malfoy. The man walked past Harry’s booth and entered the bathroom. Across the pub, a man with dark eyes laughed with a woman who reminded Harry of Bellatrix Lestrange.
Outside, a frustrated Hermione tried to tether Buckbeak the hippogriff to a street lamp, but Buckbeak was having none of it. He shook his eagle head angrily and pawed at the ground. Hermione sighed; she’d have to start with the bowing all over again.
Dan Kois does a good job of skewering David Chase in this satire. He even captures the one thing we know about the ending of the final Harry Potter book: the last word is scar, although in this instance, it means a lot less than one might have presumed.
This shows clearly why the ending to the Sopranos finale was so unsatisfying. When telling a story, people expect a fairly clear conclusion. Giving them a series of teases, and very obvious teases, without supplying any kind of payoff at all not only wastes the time of the reader/viewer, it also insults them for caring about what happens.
People have defended Chase’s decision by claiming that “real life has no endings”. True, but the Sopranos wasn’t about real life. It was a brilliant and maddening fiction, and since Chase was given the opportunity to actually conclude the series — most get cancelled without such an chance — the teases and the abrupt cut to black was a waste of that opportunity.
I still love The Sopranos, and still think Chase is brilliant. He’s not perfect, though, and he’s made some strange choices in the series. It’s unfortunate that his last stumble comes at the end of perhaps the best television series ever.