It’s something every reader has to face every time they finish a book or series. Saying goodbye to a story and its characters is something that occurs each and every time you close over the final page on a book. You’re not just closing the physical item, you’re also closing the door on yet another fictional world. I know anyone reading this post who isn’t a bookworm like me will probably consider me overly sentimental and slightly crazy; but if you love reading as much as I do, you’ll understand exactly what I mean.
The thought for this particular post has been popping in and out of my mind for a month or so now, but tonight felt like the right night to write about it. I’m currently nearing the end of the penultimate novel in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. I’ve waited for this moment for quite some time now: to finally discover how such a massive epic will be finished. The stories of its many characters have dominated my reading attention for quite some time now, longer than any series before it. A part of me is dying to find out how it will all end, but another part of me feels saddened knowing that in a few weeks the world of The Wheel of Time will no longer be laid out before me. It will be yet another world I have to leave behind.
Because when you’re reading a novel or series, the world and characters within it become part of who you are. Other readers will understand what I mean when I say that the characters in their favourite stories are more than just a figment of some author’s imagination. They become like friends to the reader. It’s why developing the right characters is so very important when you’re writing a novel. They carry and guide a reader through their story, so they need to be appealing. Readers look up their favourite characters, often aspiring to be like them.
I think finishing a book is similar to the feelings you get on Christmas morning – that initial anticipation of wondering what waited for you under the tree. The rush of excitement while opening them, and then the quiet, satisfied atmosphere that settled over the house, the one that’s always tinged with a little bit of sadness that it’s all over.
To me, closing the door is always that little bit more difficult when you’re reading a series. I’m a massive fan of book series, preferring them over single novels. But the downside is that finishing them is even more bittersweet. It was why finishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was wonderful and difficult for me in equal measure. It’s why I eagerly and impatiently await the next book in A Song of Ice and Fire, while feeling upset that when I do read it, I will be closer to being finished with a world I have loved to fall into. Saying goodbye to beloved characters becomes more and more difficult the longer the story goes on, because of the fact that you had more time to develop a relationship. It seems foolish, in a way, to mourn a book character, but people latch on to fictional characters every single day. Some choose to idolise television characters, I choose to become fascinated by the lives of book characters.
It’s difficult saying goodbye to a story. Every time you read a new book, you take on another world, you bond with it – no two readers see a story in the exact same way. If it’s a good story, then its characters and places will stick to you and become part of you as a reader. I think you become moulded by what you read in a way. It is an inevitable part of being a reader, saying goodbye to a beloved journey. The only good thing is that there will always be another, new world waiting for you.