So. Given that we’ve established what it takes to defeat the forces of evil and let love conquer all, do we automatically assume our story has a happy ending?
Okay, not always. Just because the hero managed to vanquish the evil villain doesn’t mean they automatically ride off into the sunset with his/her prince/princess and live happily ever after. What about the loose ends? What about the consequences of the battle? What about the sacrifices made by everyone involved? What happens to the other characters in the story?
Just because the hero solved his/her own problem doesn’t mean the world has been saved and everyone is happy. No. I think a true happy ending is usually somewhat bittersweet. There is some loss, some heartache and pain. Establishing a happy ending should require rebuilding of broken ideals, foundations, or…windows (whatever). It might even require an apology. *gasps*
Whenever one of life’s battles ensues, there’s a fallout that seems to be remarkably absent in fairy tale stories. And guilt. What about guilt? Does the hero ever feel guilty for his/her part in the death or destruction of the villain? Even if they deserved it?
These are things to be considered before jumping on that noble steed to ride off into the sunset. So. Just because the battle is over and the good guys won, never forget that there is always more around the corner. Another battle to fight, another city to rebuild, another consequence to face.
Don’t fear it, just remember it. Acknowledge it. And then, when it comes, hopefully, you—ahem, I mean, your hero—will be ready to face it.