Daily Archives: June 12, 2007

Those Unhappy Families: the Sopranos, the Baudelaires, and the Potters

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Leo Tolstoy

I tried a couple of times to watch “The Sopranos” but it was too violent for me. However, I did vaguely attend to the discussion about it, especially as it came to its full-of-unresolved-threads-final this past Sunday. And now I’ve just read Susan Lempke’s take on it, “Tolerance for ambiguity” which made me think of another vague final — Lemony Snicket’s The End. In both cases, the writers purposefully left threads dangling. I haven’t heard too many complaints about the Baudelaires’ story being left too open (but then I am of the opinion that we haven’t heard or read the last of them), but it seems that some (or many) were left gaping at the open-endedness of the final episode of “The Sopranos.”

Interesting. I’ve written about the need to tolerate ambiguity when learning and thinking about history, but hadn’t thought about it so much when thinking about story and fiction. Susan wonders what we will discover next month about Harry Potter. Will threads be left dangling in his story too? Somehow, I think not as Rowling’s series seems to be more traditional than either Chase’s or Snicket’s. But who knows? While Snicket’s ending didn’t surprise me at all, Chases’s seems to have for many. Perhaps there will indeed more ambiguity to tolerate when Harry’s final book appears.


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Filed under Harry Potter, Historical Fiction, Reading