Polarizing Author Thought for your Thursday:
While there are exceptions to every rule, and I’ve definitely read a few in-the-dawn-of-time narratives that didn’t need to exist, prologues contain valuable information that enriches the reader experience but could not be obtained through the prescribed narrative perspective of the rest of the book/series. You don’t HAVE to read them—no one is forcing you—but you are missing out if you don’t. Full stop. You are missing out.
EPILOGUES, on the other hand, are useless, pointless, and unnecessary. Yes, I know that was redundant; I feel that strongly about it. I don’t want to be given a tidy, satisfying ending, then be slingshot ahead five years to A. have that rug ripped out from under me or B. overdo the “happily ever after” by giving us Albus Severus Potter, named after the two most toxic people in the parents’ lives (after Umbridge, of course).
And I think, that is the problem, more than anything, is putting information into an epilogue that either changes or dictates the reader’s overall experience of the story. If you are of the belief that Dumbledore and Snape were villains in Harry Potter’s story—and an overwhelming number of people believe that—it might make you angry to find out he then named a child after them. Showing us that glimpse into their future takes away our choice as readers to decide for ourselves how we feel about those characters, when he could have named him Ronald Neville. Even naming a child after Draco would have been less polarizing to the fandom. Draco Cedric.
That got a little off-track, but I really, really hate epilogues.
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