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3

The way I see it: It's not about whether the the protagonist(s) are happy or unhappy at the end; it's about whether they've succeeded or failed. Most stories involve the protagonist(s) having difficulties to overcome, problems to solve, situations to deal with, goals to be achieved (whether those are becoming king, becoming wiser and more mature, staying ...


9

A happy ending is one in which the world is configured in accordance with the values of the protagonist (and their companions and other sympathetic characters). The more the state of the world matches the values of the protagonist (etc.), the happier the ending. Maybe the ending is also happier the greater the value difference between initial and final ...


5

The protagonist(s) win/s, the antagonist(s) is/are defeated (even temporarily), and the reader can imagine the protagonists continuing on to other adventures, or with their lives, in some positive way. I would argue that Endgame is a mixed ending, not a happy one, specifically because not all the protagonists win and get to continue on (Tony, Natasha, ...


4

The pragmatic "Hollywood" answer is a film has a happy ending if it leaves room for a sequel. Although Tony Stark dies, they did have sequels with him, and in this particular case, another Iron Man could arise (just like when 007 gets tired), or a prequel, etc. I get that "satisfied" is a squishy term, but probably because it can depend on the genre. A ...


12

A happy ending is about the emotional response the work as a whole evokes in the reader (or viewer). A sad ending or any other type would be the same. It's the state you've reduced the audience to at the end. There are no quantitative measures because no one's journey involves ticking boxes. Every story, no matter how simplified, will have good and bad ...


2

I'm by no means an expert, so take this answer as opinion. But here's my take all the same. The way I view this is: what does the ending achieve? If in the case of Cinderella she marries the prince, has the life she deserves (since she was the 'true heiress' of her father's land and titles), but she's a lesbian? This isn't a happy ending, but merely not a ...


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