Let’s Talk Bookish – Should all Romances have Happily Ever Afters?

Aria @ Book Nook Bits will be the new host for Let’s Talk Bookish! If you aren’t following her yet, good check out her blog and give her a follow!

July 8: Should all Romances have Happily Ever Afters (HEAs)? (Dedra @ A Book Wanderer)

Prompts: Do you like romances with happy endings? Do you think that all romances should have happy endings? Why or why not? What are some of your favorite romances with Happily Ever Afters?

Welcome to another wonderful week of LTB here at DTRH everyone! Actually, crazy problem around the country here, as one of the major phone/internet providers is down this morning and it is causing major chaos! Nevertheless, I am here for the discussion and today’s topic is certainly something that I’ve thought of cursorily, but never sat down to actually consider. Would love to hear what you all think about this topic!

I think generally I would say that I do like romances with happy endings. I mean, there’s only so many sad (or bittersweet) endings that I can take before just wanting to see something work out. It does have a lot to do with our expectations of how an ending should be, but especially if you get attached to the characters it’s hard to ignore that you want the happiest ending for them.

Do I think all romances should have happy endings? Certainly not. I think playing with people’s expectations is one of the clever things that authors can do to really make a book exciting. And while it doesn’t have to be the opposite of happily ever after, it is precisely our fairytale expectations being unwound that can lead to a very exciting or heartbreaking ending! Sometimes I really wonder what it would be like if we didn’t grow up on fairytales (especially Disney) that all have that cheesy-kissy happy endings. Of course I liked them as a child but I bet it shapes our expectations a lot. For those of you out there who didn’t grow up with these classic HEAs, do you also expect happy endings to romances?

I think if there’s ever romances with toxic characters or perhaps just a toxic relationship, I think I’d prefer that not to be the ending, in order not to encourage or glorify the behaviour. But I don’t think in general there’s a reason as to whether or not there must be a happy ending. This is best left as a literary and artistic choice by the author. It could be a message they want to send, but I mean it could also just be the story they imagined in their heads and I think I’d respect them for that.

Rom Coms often have some manner of happy endings, so I think those are generally quite fun! Though I don’t want to give the endings away to any of these books just in case people are still looking to read them. Certainly in both books and movies, I enjoy the occasional rom coms just for its lighthearted nature.

What do you all expect from romances? HEAs all the way? Or only in moderation? Let me know in the comments below!


5 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish – Should all Romances have Happily Ever Afters?”

  1. Whew! You don’t know how happy I am to see you agree with me that all romances don’t have to have a happy ending. I completely agree with everything you said. About our expectations and limiting the author. I was starting to think I was the only one who felt this way. 😉 Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think with Romance as a genre, it makes sense to expect happy endings…from my understanding it’s one of the unspoken “rules” of the Romance genre.
    I think the issue these days is that romance, as a subplot, gets thrown into pretty much everything (usually to my great annoyance when it gets more focus than the story I thought I was reading). In these cases, I agree that there should absolutely be no expectation of a happily ever after especially when it seems forced or might undermine the growth the character went through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the insight, Sara! I guess I haven’t read enough Romance as a genre to really know for sure. But I guess in that sense, the ones I have read are all happy endings and I don’t mind it. After all, if it’s to be expected then one really can’t complain.


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