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Friday, February 6, 2015

No longer appreciating noble sacrifice

I just finished reading the Divergent trilogy. I hated the third book. (Note-spoilers ahead)

First, I hated the general plot of the third book. It was just bad. The allure of the first book, for me, was a relatively normal girl surviving. It was small. She didn't take on the world (too much) or society or much of anything else. It was more about her identity than about major sweeping political movements. Book two pushed the envelope on that. Book three was painful. Suddenly we're starting a revolution and taking on the post-apocalyptic government and challenging widespread social norms? Reign it in dude. She's a teenager.

More importantly, I struggled with the ending. I embraced the ending of the Hunger Games. I appreciated the broken symbol learning to survive in the new world with the logical relationship choice given her experiences. The ending of Divergent I couldn't get behind. It hinged on the concept of noble sacrifice. I used to get behind that. I used to find the romance and the bravery alluring. The scene in Man in the Iron Mask when they charge the line, accepting their deaths and showing such bravery, used to be beautiful and honorable to me.

Yeah, sorry, but fuck noble sacrifice.

Watching a main character learn to live with the loss of the love of his life isn't romantic. His symbolic goodbye is not liberating, as I think was the intention. I know this series couldn't really end with a happily ever after, but...I have a hard time appreciating a book in which a character in which I invested three books of my time just dies. She's dead. You killed off the protagonist.  No. Nope. Not ok.

See...there's no nobility in grief. When we view the new, improved world through the eyes of a grief-stricken man, I can't really appreciate it. I wonder if that was the point? Every major shift in the world is viewed, of necessity,  through the eyes of grief. Real life rarely even has happy endings....even if it is happy.

But I want that from a book. I want a happy ending or a cathartic crying jag. I don't want a reality where the main character...goes on. Deals with life and death and grief. I know what that feels like, and it's hard. It's more bleak sometimes than the post-apocalyptic world in which it was set, especially at the start. I don't need fiction for that.

I'm mad about her sacrifice. Death is not noble. ..or at least, I've lost perspective to see it as such.

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