Friday Fascination

A Fine Tragedy

Friday Fascination is a day early, joining up with Thursday’s Children.  Don’t miss these other fine Thursday’s Children blogs.

Tragedy inspires me.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not one of those psychos who gets off on other people’s suffering.  I demand happy endings.  So when tragedy strikes, I want to rewrite it, change one little thing, one simple decision, pave the way to a happily ever after.

OG 2

I love Phantom of the Opera, and I know part of that love stems from the pain, but I so OGwanted Christine to dump Raoul for Erik.  Sure, the OG had a dark side, but give the guy a break.  No one had ever loved him or cared for him.  He drowned in his loneliness.  He didn’t know any other method besides manipulation.  His face was seriously messed up.  You can’t blame the dude for using his enchanting voice and musical skills to try to coerce…er…woo his woman.

RaoulI bet Raoul couldn’t write an opera to save his life.  A spoiled viscount who had everything, he would have found someone else to love him.  It wasn’t fair.  Raoul got his happy ending while damaged Erik spent his days alone in the darkness, longing only for Christine.



OG BoatYep, I’d rewrite Phantom, no question.  Erik’s solitude and heartache would end, he’d win over the love of his life, and they’d skip off (or row away, depending) into the sunset together.

Is there a tragic story you love that you’ve imagined an alternate ending for, a HEA?


  1. I’ve had fun just now reimagining Romeo and Juliet, as exhausted, suburban forty-somethings with a litter of annoying and overly dramatic teens of their own. lol.

    1. coleenjb says:

      Awww…and wouldn’t that be a sweet happy ending?

  2. Hi CJ, I was never satisfied with the ending to The Little Mermaid. In part, that is what inspired me to write Between Land and Sea. I wanted to introduce a different kind of mermaid, one who would create a more fulfilling life for herself and get her man.

    1. coleenjb says:

      Hi Joanne – me too! Those Grimm brothers were harsh on their characters. Come on, what kid wants to read about a mermaid who shoots for a dream and instead loses everything–and then gets turned into sea foam? Disney’s version is easier on the heart.

  3. I’m definitely with you on this – I’m a stickler for a happy ending. Not sure what sad story I’d change the end of so it has a happy ending. I could say Romeo and Juliet but that feels like sacrilege. Though you just think if only their families had made up before they killed themselves…

    1. coleenjb says:

      Yep, don’t mess with Shakespeare! He’s the tragedy king…but I prefer his comedies. Less painful.

  4. Oh, yes! Romeo and Juliet. Romeo drops the bottle of poison, it shatters, and while he laments his fumbled suicide attempt, Juliet awakens. But would I really love the story as much if it had a happy ending? Great post!

    1. coleenjb says:

      Exactly! And at the last second, a tragedy turns into HEA. But you’re right – it’s hard to gauge if the story would affect you as much if it wasn’t a tragedy. I suppose the pain is part of the beauty of it.

  5. I’m with you. I’d rewrite Phantom, too. I’m fond of brooding, dark but creative heroes and I think Christina could have tried to understand and reform her dear Opera Ghost, but then I’m a sucker for second chances and stories of redemption.

    1. coleenjb says:

      We’re kindred spirits, Mia. Give me dark, brooding, and messed up any day over the bright and shiny good guy. I think Christina would have fallen for Erik if Raoul hadn’t shown up, but then there probably wouldn’t be much a story, huh? Sigh…a double-edged sword there.

  6. I do sympathize with the Phantom, but I wouldn’t wish him on Christine either. (Creep alert!) On a side note, I also find myself drawn to stories of tragedy, but I don’t necessarily need the happy ending, just some kind of redemption worked within the plot (not tragedy just for the sake of making me feel depressed)

    1. coleenjb says:

      Okay, I admit the OG has his creepy moments, but that’s part of his charm, right? 🙂 He was WAY creepier in the book than in the movie, at least the 1984 version…the older 1925 version probably is a better depiction, but he’s not nearly as glamorous.

  7. Definitely need an HEA. Life is hard enough. My books should end in a happy place. 🙂

    1. coleenjb says:

      Which is the beauty of writing, right?

  8. Oh, yes, I’m a sucker for the HEA too. I can’t think of any story off the top of my head that I would change…Although I do remember being very upset watching Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame when I was a kid. That Esmeralda didn’t love Quasimodo back. Although, I realized when I got older that the original was a lot more depressing…

    1. coleenjb says:

      I think it must partly be rooting for the underdog that gets me too. I want the beauty to fall in love with the beast…sheez, I’m getting all Disneyed-up!

  9. I’m inspired by tragedy too (have written my own TC post on the subject). My fave will always be Romeo and Juliet – as cliché as that might be. Great post!

    1. coleenjb says:

      As far as tragedies go, R&J is hard to beat. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Lately the endings I’ve wanted to rewrite have been tragedies of the writing variety. So disappointed by series finales lately! I’m getting ready to read When You Were Mine which is a YA Romeo and Juliet retelling except from Rosaline’s POV. Supposed to be really good.

    1. coleenjb says:

      Ooh – that sounds really good! I’ll have to check that out. Thanks for stopping by!

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