The Ending of WARRIOR WITCH

I’m going to talk about the ending of WARRIOR WITCH in a bit of detail, so if you haven’t read the novel and don’t like spoilers, don’t continue reading. I’m even sticking a giant image of the cover below so that you don’t accidentally see anything you don’t want to.

 

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The ending of WARRIOR WITCH was firmly fixed in my mind for about three years before I wrote the novel. I described the ending in detail in the synopsis provided to my publisher when the trilogy sold in 2013. I felt extremely passionately about how this series needed to end, and I still do. My biggest hope for the ending was that it would make readers FEEL. I wanted big emotions, though I knew my choices would have a polarizing reaction amongst readers. And call me crazy, but I’d rather have that than everyone closing the book and never giving it another thought.

In STOLEN SONGBIRD during the scene on the lake, the following conversation occurs:

He took my hands in his. “We are too powerful for this world – it is better that we remain caged.”

“Too powerful for this world because you don’t belong here,” I said, pulling out of his grasp. “Maybe you should go back where you belong.”

Tristan grew very still. “We can’t. Otherwise I would send them all back in an instant.”

Sending ALL the trolls back to Arcadia was the only real solution to the dilemma of how to have peace between the races. All the other solutions were flawed*. So it was what I worked towards, including developing a way to bring Cécile through to the fey realm once her mortal life was over.

Could I have made an exception for Tristan, like having the Winter King allow him to stay under the same restrictions as the half-bloods? Of course, but that would’ve felt contrived and trite to me.

And also undeserved.

Why, given that Tristan and Cécile (Yes, both of them. Anyone who believes that Tristan didn’t want the trolls freed at the end of HIDDEN HUNTRESS needs to drive that thought from their minds) made a decision that cost hundreds, if not thousands, of people their lives, families, and homes, did they deserve a happy ending without cost? I don’t write with an agenda in mind, but I do have strong feelings that if characters make choices that harm others that they need to pay for them in some fashion.

Tristan and Cécile did not need to kill Anushka. They could’ve followed through with Aiden’s plan and released Cécile from her promise to the King, and then done everything in their power to protect Anushka from those who knew her identity. While Anushka’s curse would’ve only lasted the rest of her mortal life, they certainly could’ve used that time to come up with another solution to keep the trolls contained. Instead, they chose to break the curse. Tristan, because he realized his people’s plight would grow dramatically worse if he didn’t, and Cécile, because she believed that everyone living in Trollus should not have to suffer for the sins of a few. Both of them knew that people would die as a result, but still, they made that choice. Together. And the Isle burned for it.

Which meant they had to pay up.

The loss of their mortal life together was the price I made them pay, because it reflected what all those innocent people who died as a result of their actions gave up. Those victims lost their chance for love and friendship. They lost their chance to see the world, and to watch their children grow. They lost their happily ever after.

So do I think WARRIOR WITCH has a happily ever after? Yes, after spending their mortal life apart, I reunited Cécile and Tristan using the bond that was so integral to the plot of all three novels. I left them together with a future free of the limitations and barriers that had afflicted them throughout their time together. But just because it’s a happily ever after doesn’t mean it’s the happily ever after that readers expected or, in some cases, wanted. But I believe in my heart, having been so close to these fictional people for many years, that it was fitting.

It has been an enormous privilege to have so many readers connect with Tristan and Cécile over the years, and I hope you enjoyed their story right up to the bittersweet end.

XO

D

I’m leaving the comments open for anyone who has questions or comments.

May 24: I’m going to be writing a series of posts discussing several of the other characters over the next few weeks, so stay tuned.

14 thoughts on “The Ending of WARRIOR WITCH”

  1. The ending was perfect for the story and had me doing that weird cry smile thing that I only do on really good emotional works. So great job and can’t wait to see what you write next.

  2. You haver earned your ranking as one of only 3 books that have ever ever made me cry. As an aspiring writer your breadth of talent for invoking emotion is inspiring. -your newest fan for life. Ps is there a new series with the half bloods and Alex on the way maybe!!!!?? If not I’m sure whatever you write will be fantastic and I can’t wait!

    1. Thank you so much! No plans for a series about Alex as he is 30 when you meet him (so not YA!), but who knows what the future will bring. Right now, I’m focused on projects that take place in new worlds 🙂

  3. Firstly, thank you for gracing us with this lovely book. It’s been a heart-wrenching, roller coaster ride. I love every bit of it. When we found out that the trolls can be cured and can go back to Arcadia, I knew that the only happy end for Cecile and Tristan would be to live in Arcadia together forever. I never foresaw the separation they have to endure first, however. It tore me apart to read those last few pages, and it’s been a long time since I’ve sobbed and felt so much while reading. But I completely agree with you, the separation was their atonement. They have always carried the world on their shoulders and their sacrifice doesn’t stop when the war ended. They have to carry it the rest of their lives. That’s what makes them heroes, what makes them the characters we love and admire. If you skipped that part and just went straight to the happy ending, it wouldn’t have felt worth it. It wouldn’t have felt right. Thank you so much again. You and your series have inspired me immensely. I can only hope that someday, I can write about a world as unforgettable as this one. 🙂

  4. I loved the ending!! It made me cry. I was upset but only in the way that you wanted the reader to be when you wrote it. Thank you for writing this article. I think it makes perfect sense that they should have to pay a price so even though I was upset because I wanted them to have that time together, it was a good upset that made me feel so much more about the book and story in general. But thank you for giving them a happily ever after, after they paid a price for their choices 🙂 this is one of my most favorite book series!!

  5. I’m so excited for the posts on the other characters. I really would love to know more about how they spent their lives too!
    I feel like the ending to Warrior Witch was perfect. It just… fit. I DID feel a whole bunch of emotions, and I was sad that Tristan didn’t get to spend time with his son or Cecile, but it was still a good, happy ending, and I really appreciate that 🙂

  6. The ending brought on the tears, but it did seem amazingly fitting. I could totally see the whole story as movies. It was a fitting end and it didn’t feel like you gave them a happy ending for the sake of it. Even Marc’s story seemed fitting even if I wished for a different end for him. I loved it!

  7. Having been on a reading binge for months now besides Sarah J Maas series ACOTAR I have not been so intertwined in a fictional world like I was with Trollus.

    I read all three books within days of receiving them and COULD NOT PUT THEM DOWN. And those last chapters of Warrior Witch had me ugly girl crying. Tears of heartbreak and WHY WHY WHY they’ve endured so much!! And then tears of joy and happiness and understanding and still screaming WHY I wanted the traditional happy ending. But, that’s not real life and even in a fictional world to have characters “pay up” for their actions resonates on such a deep level.
    Thank you for such an emotional ride of life loss and love. This series will forever stay with me in a way only a truly soul reaching book(s) can do.

  8. I think the ending was amazing. That doesn’t mean it didn’t make me suffer: it was completely heartbreaking reading about Tristan watching Cécile living a life without him. But if the book had finished with a “normal” happy ending, I would feel happy, but a bit disappointed with how cliché it would have been. I think you were brilliant to finish the story this way, as there was a happy ending, but not what everyone was expecting, and it was happy but bittersweet, like life realistically is!

  9. Dear Danielle, I was reading stolen songbird in Indonesian version few years back. Right after finished it I went to bookstore in my hometown finding the second series with no result until today. I think I would just have to rely on an english e-book to complete the amazing journey and lovely story of Tristan and Cecile. Thank you for completing the series.

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