An Anti-Valentine’s Opinion
On this, the most romantic day of the year, you are probably expecting a thousand posts of happy endings, gooey romances, sweet kisses, and every other imaginable thing you can find in Kissing Town. Yes, this is a 10th Kingdom reference, and I highly suggest you go find a copy of this miniseries from 2000 and watch it. All 7 hours of it in one sitting is preferable. But this post, my dear friends, is not going to be a happy one. No, on this day, the most romantic day of the world, I am not going to devote this post to sappy happily ever afters. Because those are boring. Nope, I am going to dedicate this post to sad, crying-worthy romances and some really starkly portrayed loves. The hard breakups, the deaths, the sadly ever afters that we forget among all the goo and sloppy kisses.
And yes, there will be spoilers here for several books/movies/plays. You have been warned.
1.) STONES FROM THE RIVER by Ursula Hegi (book)
I read this one during my Oprah’s Book Club phase, when I wanted to be surrounded with literature and sobbing and Oprah’s ethereal glory. If she approved a book, I had to have it, so I snatched up STONES FROM THE RIVER and proceeded to devour this book in two sittings. The story of a young little person in Nazi Germany, it chronicles her evolution as a person and the lives of the people in her village – from average Germans to the Jews they hide.
THE ROMANCE: Trudi and Max
THE SADLY EVER AFTER ENDING: After their relationship turns from friendship to pure romantic love, Max leaves to search for someone in the city of Dresden – and then he disappears when the Americans firebomb the city two days later.
2.) CHILDREN OF MEN (movie/book by PD James)
This is more so the movie. After women suddenly become infertile, a desolate London in the near future harbors a chaotic community of people slowly going insane as humanity desperately clings to life. Rebel-turned-bureaucrat Theo is drawn into the chaos by his ex-wife, who is taking a young pregnant girl to the safety of a ship off the coast where they can find a cure.
THE ROMANCE: Theo and Julian
THE SADLY EVER AFTER ENDING: Even though they’ve been divorced for years after the death of their young child, as Theo and Julian begin to look past their differences and see their happiness together… seconds before she is shot in the neck and dies. Then it’s implied Theo dies at the end. This isn’t a very happy movie, LOL.
3.) UP (movie)
The BEGINNING of the movie is really the saddest part, but this movie makes me cry and cry and cry some more when I watch it. UP is mostly the story of Carl Fredricksen as he decides to live the life he always dreamed of with his wife, who recently passed away. Trust me, this is a sweet, fun movie – once you get past the 8 minutes of crying your eyes out.
THE ROMANCE: Carl and Ellie
THE SADLY EVER AFTER ENDING: After 8 minutes of a montage describing their extremely hard life – little money, a crushing fertility blow, and saving everything to buy tickets to South America – Ellie dies.
4.) A WALK TO REMEMBER by Nicholas Sparks (book)
A WALK TO REMEMBER is a classic Nicholas Sparks book. These rarely end happily, people, but A WALK TO REMEMBER always sticks with me. That might be because it takes place in Beaufort, NC and everyone knows that Beaufort is one of my favorite places in my home state. Go to Clawson’s, order a bowl of the lobster bisque, and then go see Blackbeard’s house. Fun times for all.
THE ROMANCE: Clay and Jamie
THE SADLY EVER AFTER ENDING: Jamie, as it turns out, has leukemia. She dies.
5.) ATONEMENT by Ian McEwan (book)
Although I haven’t read this one, my mother assures me that the ending is indeed sad. So I have decided to put this one in here on her suggestion as well as the suggestion of the lovely Kate at Literary Explorations. This is also a film!
THE ROMANCE: Robbie and Cecelia
THE SADLY EVER AFTER ENDING: After being implicated in a rape by Cecelia’s jealous sister Briony, Robbie is sent to jail and then to France during World War II. Briony never actually apologizes – she simply does so on paper in a novel while Robbie dies of infection and Cecelia dies in a flooded tube station/bomb shelter.
7.) TEMPEST by Julie Cross (book)
Although my opinion of this book varies from day to day (it was good, but far from great), I have to admit the ending was quite sad. TEMPEST is the first book in a series about time traveler Jackson, who witnesses his girlfriend Holly get killed before he travels two years back in time and finds her all over again.
THE ROMANCE: Jackson and Holly
THE SADLY EVER AFTER ENDING: Although this will probably change, Jackson decides to end things will Holly and makes sure he never meets her, sparing her another inevitable death.
8.) FARSCAPE (tv series)
Okay, fine, this isn’t a REAL sadly ever after. More so a kinda/sorta sadly for a little while. But I want to put it on here because my love for Farscape knows no bounds and this show deserves 1000000 times more love even though it was canceled 9 years ago.
THE ROMANCE: John Crichton and Aeryn Sun — End of Season Two/Beginning of Season Three (and end of season 4 while we’re at it)
THE SADLY EVER AFTER ENDING NUMBER ONE: After Scorpius installs a neural chip that controls Crichton’s brain, Crichton leaves in order to save the rest of the gang – and of course Aeryn stupidly follows vowing her love for Crichton. Unable to control his body, Crichton crashes Aeryn’s ship. She ejects and ends up drowning. After her funeral, she is revived next season. It makes sense if you watch the show.
THE SADLY EVER AFTER ENDING NUMBER TWO: After the show is canceled abruptly after season 4 has been filmed, Crichton and Aeryn, after finding out Aeryn is pregnant and deciding to get married, are making out in a boat in the ocean when they’re turned into crystals and killed by the villains. Once again, don’t worry – God was grateful and gave us a four hour miniseries and a bunch of comic books. And then they killed off more characters. Bitches. But it’s a mostly happily ever after ending in the end. You should really watch this show.
9.) FIREFLY (tv series)
I’m not going to go into detail about this one, but the bitches killed Wash and I’m still pissed.
So that’s about it. Or as many as I could think of that aren’t just romances I despise or romances where I feel that the girl ruined her life by hooking up with the guy (I’m looking at you, Juliet Capulet). So, on Valentine’s Day 2012, remember those Sadly Ever Afters. Romance isn’t all kissy kissy after all.