I think one of the reasons the Harry Potter Epilogue was so poorly received was because the audience was primarily made up of the Millennial generation.
We’ve walked with Harry, Ron and Hermione, through a world that we thought was great but slowly revealed itself…
Yeah I didn’t have that reaction at all.
My reaction was, “Oh thank God. THANK GOD. My babies have gone through fire and hell, they’ve lost friends and family and mentors and pets and now they’re done. It’s over. They’re okay. They won, they fought hard for a happy ending, and they’ve gotten it. You won, Harry. You won, Ron. You won, Hermione. Life is moving forward, and you all can be happy now.”
This is idealism. It’s optimism. Sure, maybe uncertainty and dark consequences would have “resonated” with us, because we all face uncertainty and dark consequences in our own lives and futures.
Sure, I would have “related to it” if it ended with the three of them wondering and worrying about what the future would hold.
But you know what?
The last three books, at the very least the last three, were all about uncertainty and dark consequences. If it had ended with more of the same, I would have thrown the book at the wall. That’s not an ending I want in my life, so why on Earth would I want it in a book series I’d grown up with?
In the last book, I could finally, finally see what JK Rowling had sort of left behind the moment Cedric Diggory died. The childlike wonder of someone’s first day at Hogwarts. New beginnings, when the most you have to fear is that you’ll get into the house you want and you’ll earn a lot of house points and do well in classes.
So no, I didn’t hate the epilogue. I loved the epilogue. I loved it because they’d earned it. Because they deserved to be happy.
And you know why we need that? Because we do, too.
Fuck the idea that bittersweet endings are more meaningful, that being realistic is inherently good. Kill it dead. Give me the sunrise after the darkest night. Give me the start of families and children born in the era of peace. Give me the beginning of friendships and the end to enmities.
Give me hope.
And the question of how they get there is fertile ground for fanfic.