Saturday, November 21, 2015

Top Ten Stories that Disappointed Me

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Note:  This is not one of them.

There are many, many stories out there- books, movies, tv shows, comics, oral tradition, and even songs!  I am a lover of stories, as you all know.  I eat them up and rarely ever get tired of it.  And there are so many wonderful stories out there, it's sometimes hard to pick a favorite (though Tolkien wins most of the time).
Still, for every good story out there, there are three or four bad ones.  Usually I avoid coming across such stories by putting a little research in before I dive headfirst into it.  But every now and then, anybody who loves a good story will be blindsided by a disappointing ending.

The following is a list of the stories that stand out to me as being the most disappointing ones I've ever experienced.  Keep in mind that not all of them are bad, so to say, just disappointing.  Some of them are meant to be that way, and others just fell flat.  Most of these I actually still enjoy, which makes it even more heartbreaking to me when they fail to meet my expectations.  
Some of you may disagree with me, and others may want to cry with me.  Whatever the case, I submit for your entertainment...


(MAJOR Spoilers Abound!)

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10: Once Upon A Time

The popular television show Once Upon a Time started out with great potential, and lived up to it for the first season.  It was a very interesting twist on all of our favorite fairy tales, their characters now trapped in the modern world as the result of a curse cast by the Evil Queen.  It was interwoven with flashbacks explaining the character's back stories, which weren't always what you might expect.
However, after season two, it started going donwhill, fast.  It seemed like the writers had no clear idea of where they wanted to go.  Character development was established, then erased, then grown back once more.  Back stories came into conflict with each other as more and more events were crammed into the "past" in order to explain the new story lines developing in the present times.  Then when Elsa and Anna showed up, it just fell flat on it's face.  I have to admit, I burst out laughing hard Elsa first showed up, shouting "Too Soon!"

The show hasn't ended yet, but I've stopped watching.  I can't take the stupidity anymore.  My apologies to the writers- I mean you no offense, it just isn't working for me.  *shrug*

9:  The Princess Curse

Image result for The Princess Curse

I've reviewed The Princess Curse before, and it was one of my few negative reviews.  This book is a fascinating mix of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Beauty & the Beast, and Hades & Persephone.  It had a lot of potential to be really cool, but it left me feeling rather disappointed by the end.  The beginning was interesting, but once the middle hit it got pretty slow.  There was no chemistry in the romance, which was silly anyway since the girl was only 12 or 13 years old, and her "love interest" was an adult man.  Possibly even more than that,  since he's implied to be immortal.  Even he admitted it was weird in the book.  In the end, they don't even end up together (whew!), and the conflict of the dying underworld is never fully solved.

8:  The Inheritance Cycle

Image result for the inheritance cycle

Now, I actually really like Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle.  It's what helped be believe that I too could become an author at my age.  But what disappointed me about this series was the main character, Eragon's romance.  All four books were building up for some super awesome interracial romance between him and Arya, an elf.  She had already lost a love, and he was much younger than her elven years,  But there was still an undeniable spark between them... or so we thought.  When the final book came to an end, they decided that it was better for them to stay apart.  That's right!  Everything that's happened between us has been for nothing!  Goodbye!

I don't know... maybe they'll get together in another hundred years or so.  Still, after all that romantic build up, I would have loved to see a wedding.  :(

7:  Romeo x Juliet

Image result for Romeo x Juliet

Juliet Fiamata Ars de Capulet is the last heir to the Capulet throne after her family is brutally murdered by Leontes de Montague, who then takes over the kingdom of Neo Verona, a floating island in the sky.  After years of disguising herself as a boy, Juliet and her followers are ready to take back her kindom and free the people from the cruel reign of Montague.  There's only one problem- Juliet has fallen in love with Romeo, Montague's tenderhearted son.

Okay, I think that everybody knows the ending of Romeo and Juliet- they both die.  So that's a given when you watch any retelling of the tale.  However, in this beautifully animated anime, they repeatedly teased you with the idea that maybe, just maybe they could survive and have a happy ending somewhere safe in the countryside. Unfortunately, the plot couldn't handle this idea.  In the end, they introduced the magical element Escalus, the mystical tree that keeps the island of Neo Verona floating in the sky.  Apparently it has to be kept alive through the sacrifice of female Capulet blood- and when it starts to die near the end of the show, Juliet knows she must sacrifice herself to save her world.  Romeo refuses to accept it as the only way and dies trying to save her from her fate, and then she sacrifices herself anyway!  She and Romeo are "together in death", and all of her loyal friends and followers are left to mourn her death and figure out a new form of government.

6:  Merlin

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In this fresh look at Camelot, Merlin is a young man who is forced to hide his magical powers in a world where magic is scorned and feared.  He is a servant of Prince Arthur, an arrogant but well-meaning pig of a hero.   For five seasons, we are teased with the promise of Albion, a Utopian world where magical folk live in harmony with the rest of the world, free of persecution.  It is said that together, Merlin and Arthur will usher in this new age for the good of all.  Unfortunately, when the end of season five rolled around, Merlin unintentionally set events in motion that would destroy all of his hopes.  Arthur dies too soon, Merlin reveals his magic too late, the kingdom is damaged, and the promise of Albion is all for naught.

I actually really like this show, and I still rewatch it from time to time, but that ending... oi.  What a downer!

5:  Robin Hood (2006)

Image result for robin hood 2006

This anachronistic retelling of Robin Hood is fun and exciting.  It is loosely based on the old legends, but with many, many differences, one of the main ones being that Marion is caught up in a love triangle between Robin and Guy of Gisbourne. 
I really liked this show... until the end of season two.  There are many, many things you can do with a Robin Hood story, but killing Marion off midway through the story is not one of them.  After that, season three wasn't nearly as interesting.  Without Marion, all the life was gone from the show... and her replacement, Kate, was an atrocity.  There were still some good moments, but overall, it lost it's appeal.  And then the final episode came around and all my favorite characters died.  :(

4:  A Curse as Dark as Gold

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This is another book that I've reviewed here.  A riveting retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin story, this book was masterfully written and incredibly engaging.  It was not, however a fairy tale- but more of a ghost story.   It was creepy and had me on the edge of my seat.
Unfortunately, the ghosts and magic in this story came too close to the real life witchcraft in our world.  It had a dark, tainted feeling, and left me feeling uncomfortable.  I wanted to love that book, but I just couldn't tolerate the spiritual elements.  It was too real- and in that godless world, it made me feel that there was no way to combat the intense spiritual darkness.  I did finish the book, but I wouldn't recommend it to any of my readers.

3:  The Ram

This little known French fairy tale is like a combination of Snow White and Beauty and the Beast, but significantly darker.  When the princess is sent out to the woods to be killed, the huntsman lets her go, but he still needs a tongue and a heart to bring back to the king as proof of her death.  Now the princess has with her a little dog, a little monkey, and a little Moorish servant girl- all of whom end up committing suicide to provide the necessary body parts.  0_0
Then the princess flees and meets her true love- a prince trapped in the form of a ram.  If she stays with him for a certain amount of time and remains faithful, he will return to his human form and they can be married.
Unfortunately, when the princess hears word of her sister's wedding, she wants to go and attend the ceremony.  The ram gives his consent on the condition that she return to him by sunset.  Once at the palace, the princess finds out that her father wants to reconcile with her, and she gets so caught up in the celebration that she forgets her promise.  
The next morning, the guards find the ram dead at the gates, having sat waiting for the princess all night in the rain.

2:  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Image result for Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

In this Asian fairy tale, martial artists can fly and one sword can defeat all others.  A headstrong young girl seeks to become the most powerful warrior in the land, no matter how many lives she destroys in the process.  Her two heroes, a man and a woman team, try to stop her from continuing on her reckless path, but in return she ruins their lives as well, and in the end, receives no comeuppance for her misdeeds.  

I really enjoyed the way this movie was filmed.  The scenery and costumes were beautiful, and the fight scenes were great, if a little violent at times.  The way that they had the warriors fly was very interesting, and is just how I've always imagined flying to be in my dreams.  But the ending just made me feel ill with disappointment.

Of course, that's the style of this kind of story, so it's not a failure on the writer's part- in fact, they succeeded very well.

1:  The Legend of Korra (Book 4)

Image result for the legend of korra book 4 poster

The sequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender exceeded my expectations in Book 1, and totally earned my respect.  Then season two came along with all of its Eastern Theology and weirdness and I stopped watching for a while.  But then season three arrived and won me back.  Season four was really cool, and I loved it until--

the last minute in a half, where it was heavily implied that Korra and Asami, two of my favorite characters, were in fact bisexual and in love.  
Now I know the rest of the world applauds this and calls the series brilliant for being the first animated children's show to promote homosexuality, but I as a Christian cannot condone this.  Regardless of the world's insistance that it is right, God says that homosexuality is a sin, and I will abide by His law.  Understand that I do not hate homosexuals or bisexuals (I have some friends who identify as such), but I do not approve of their lifestyle.  

Not to mention, from a writer's point of view, this came out of no where.  Asami and Korra were best friends, and it was not in their personalities to make the change that they did.  There were other characters who would have been far more believable love interests for them, and it seemed like that was what the writers were working up to.  The ending that they chose seemed to me like a shameless move to gain the political approval of the nation, rather than an act faithful to the story and the world in which it was set.  

Too bad, I really did like that show until the end.  And I will forever love the first season, regardless.

Honorable Menions:

The Sons of Hurin
North and South (1985)
Aldarion and Erendis
Queen's Arrow

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So what do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  What stories disappointed you most (regardless of whether you actually like them)?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.  I look forward to hearing from you!

-Emmarayn Redding

(DISCLAIMER:  I do not own any of the images used within this post.  All credit for the images goes to their proper owners with my thanks.)


  1. I haven't watched/read a lot of these . . . though I've heard a good bit about them.
    The one that I have read- The Inheritance Cycle- I definitely agree with you on. :P
    Stories that disappointed me . . . I'm sure there are plenty. I've mentioned some of them in my "least favorite endings" list, so I won't go over that rant again. :P
    One series that I do like but which has disappointed me is Melanie Dickerson's series of fairytale retellings. I loved the first two-ish- they were fluff-ish romance, yes, but they were fun and sweet and were in many ways about more than the romance. But then after The Fairest Beauty, they lost something . . . and so now they're kind of predictable (at least to me) and though there's technically suspense there isn't really. :P

    1. Melanie Dickerson's fairy tale retellings, huh? I've never read them- but I do love fairy tale retellings. It's always disappointing when a series looses its charm, or inspiration. As much as I love Redwall books, I feel they lost their magic after the first few. They became cookie-cutter plots with cookie-cutter characters, so much so that I could predect the whole plot of the book after reading the first chapter. :(

      Still read all 20, though. :)

  2. Do you mean The Children of Hurin? Turin was his only son...

    Anyway, that's the only book/movie I've read that was in your lists. I don't think it really disappointed me, though - it was quite close to what I was expecting.

    1. Yes, the Children of Hurin, my mistake. I want to say it used to be called The Sons of Hurin at one point... maybe an older version. I don't know for sure. Thanks for pointing it out!

      *SPOILERS* I had hoped that Turin would see sense at some point, or that he and his mother would be reunited, or that Beleg would survive. Hoped is the key word, you understand. I knew deep down that it could never have a happy ending, especially when Turin married Niniel. The only way out of that one was to die. *END SPOILERS*

  3. YES! Yes, YES, YES. Especially on Legend of Korra and Curse as Dark as Gold. We mirror each other's thoughts on those. And on Children of Hurin. (Tolkien, you always had alternate bout one where Beleg lives? he does live again in Valinor.)

    1. Yes, I believe Beleg lives on in Valinor. *sniff* *blow* I'm okay, really...

      In my opinion, Legend of Korra should have ended with Korra unattached. That would have been more faithful to her established character, not to mention it would have defied the cliche of the hero being required to be in a relationship by the end of the series. Not to mention, it would have left me free to imagine young general Iroh falling for her. (Or Asami. I could never decide which was better for him.)

      Just a note- I was recently reading some comments on You Tube, and I was RELIEVED to see that I wasn't the only one who thought the ending of LoK was out of place. Even secular people were remarking that the writers forced that ending in the spirit of the times. At least they see the technical faux pas.

    2. Yeah, you were by far not the only one. There were a lot of people complaining about the poor storytelling, and that they would have preferred Korra to remain single, which as you say was more fitting at least for the time being. The loudest voices were probably the applauders, but there were plenty of complainers, believe me. :)

    3. Well, that's good. On the bright side, Kuvera was a pretty interesting antagonist. If I were going to be a villain, she's pretty much how I would end up.

  4. The Children of Hurin. With you all the way. :P Although apparently Turin is going to kill Morgoth at the end of the world, which would be a much more fitting ending.

    1. Really? How interesting! I think I remember something about that, now that you say it. Guess it's time to re-read those books again. ^_^

  5. WHAT. The Children of Hurin was incredible. How dare you??? O_O

    Sort of just kidding. :P But I loved the Children of Hurin; I can't decide whether it or the Horse and His Boy is my favorite book that I have ever read. Granted, it's a depressing story, but it's weight is what made me love it so. In the end I think it comes to a brilliant conclusion, even if it leaves you wishing something else had happened.

    1. Oh, don't get me wrong- The Children of Hurin is among my favorite works of Tolkien, and I re-read it frequently. I've actually hyped about it on this blog before. But, like the ending of Romeo and Juliet, leaves one with a sickened, desperate longing, thinking of all the places you might have been able to help, had you been in the world at the time. :'(

    2. I love tragic stories! It seems odd, but to quote Tolkien:
      "The world is indeed full of peril
      And in it there are many dark places.
      But still there is much that is fair.
      And though in all lands, love
      Is now mingled with grief,
      It still grows,
      The greater."

      That's why The Children of Húrin is (probably) my third favorite story in Middle-earth. It's heartbreaking, but I know Túrin and all of them are beyond Morgoth's sway with Eru at the end.

      I have to say that I agree with you on Aldarion and Erendis. *SPOILERS* I was just waiting for something to happen and them to get over their differences, but...they...didn' sad. And poor Ancalimë, their daughter!

    3. Ah... yes... that is the beauty of tragedy. I love that poem, by the way.

      Aldarion and Erendis made me feel depressed. Just so sad, for all people involved. Seeing the effects it had on Ancalime was one of the saddest parts, if you ask me.