So everyone seems to have enjoyed reading Wild Swans, but what’s really got people talking is the two endings bit where you can choose which guy Elise ends up with. I’ve gotten quite a few messages from people who both liked it or didn’t like it, and I have gotten a lot of pleads for me to voice who I was cheering for.
Before I dive into that, I want to explain why I did it. It’s mostly because I hate love triangles. No, seriously. I hate love triangles. Not only do I find that they rarely happen outside of high school (When was the last time you ran into a 26 year-old guy who confided to you that he and one of his buddies love the same girl? Or have you ever run into a woman in her 40’s who has two handsome men pursuing her?) but it also irks me is that I always end up cheering for the losing side! No joke, I don’t know if it’s just bad luck or what, but if there is a book with a love triangle I always end up picking the guy that the girl does not fall in love with.
It drives me CRAZY!! Whhhhhhy? Why is it that the guy I pick never gets the girl!?! Being that I am apparently bad at picking the “proper” hero/romantic interest, I had a very bad feeling about how The Wild Swans was going to go down. Typically I don’t give readers the choice because, as I mentioned, I don’t like love triangles and I am reluctant to put them in a book, so everyone cheers for the obvious love interest. But I knew The Wild Swans needed the two princes dueling for Elise’s love to make the book more interesting, and I had serious worries that everyone would be upset with me for matching Elise with the “wrong guy.”
I’ll come out and say it: I am a Rune fangirl. As I wrote the book Falk totally grew on me so much so that if I hadn’t been planning the two endings I think I would have had a mid-life crisis and would have quit writing and moved to the hills to become a hermit. But as I was planning out characters and such I knew I wanted Elise to end up with Rune… but I had a feeling most readers would cheer for Falk. Falk tries harder, after all. Being loving comes easily to Rune, not so with Falk. Plus there’s something endearing about his poor communication skills and clumsy compliments.
What was I to do? I adored Rune, but I didn’t want to throw Falk and 3/4 of the readers who probably ship Elise x Falk out the door. The two endings solved this problem. Also, I will admit I wanted to use the brothers to drive home a point: Elise was happy with either man.
A lot of times Fairy Tales portray romance as “You have ONE true love in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD!” To which I would like to say: “If that is true, we’re screwed because if one person marries the wrong person we’re all thrown off track forever.” What I’m trying to say is that love is a choice. Whoever Elise decided she loved would become the one person she should spend the rest of her life with. I know the thought is a little upsetting considering fairy tales are a genre that center around the true love thing, but some trees are meant to be shaken.
That, and just once I wanted to reward all of the people who, like me, pick the losing side every time. Where’s the losing side of the love triangle now? Buwahahah!
Having said all of this, I doubt I will repeat this experiment in the future. I really want to avoid love triangles. I’m all for making a little tension, but I don’t like breaking the spirit of the poor guy who gets left out. It makes me feel bad. 🙁
As a personal choice I tended to lean towards Rune more as I like the idea of someone carefree to contrast Elise’s slightly more organised and exact self, as I felt that having some one equally as intense as Elise in the politics of the country would be just a little bit to much. whereas at the same time, I was extremely touched and conflicted on the matter of Falk being the only one that seemed to remember Elise of the two princes as a swan. So in the end I was extremely conflicted on the matter and would truly feel miserable for which ever prince that she didn’t end up with.
Ahaha you are exactly like me! At the start of the book I was in Rune’s camp, but by the end I had significantly softened towards Falk. Now I view the event as a sort of Schrodinger’s cat puzzle. As long as I don’t think about it, Elise has both! 😉
I was okay with both endings, although I was leaning towards Falk. But, my question is, how does this effect the other books? Most of these books of yours have minor crossovers. So if characters in the other books meet them then what’s going to happen? Polygamy?
LOL, good question! I get around it simply by means of timing. If you look at the timeline presented by the different endings, you’ll see that the final epilogues take place well after what will be the climax of the series.
As a result, Elise and all the Arcainian princes will still appear in the series, I’ll merely never confirm who she ends up with. (Indeed, the royals in other countries won’t care until she’s married, and as I already mentioned that happens after the final book, so her ending truly is up to the reader.)
Though I loved both, I guess I was the rare Rune fan. It helps that Rune is my type even though Falk tends to be the bias in the story. I can see her with both and still be happy though.
Hahah, Rune is my personal pick as well, but Falk–with his awkward compliments–has won the majority of the readers. (I will confess that he won me over as I wrote the story as well, but Rune is still who I would pick!) You nailed the issue, though. Elise would be happy with either guy!
I like the way that you showed the sides of Elise that each man would have won by reaching. I think it was the popular choice that Rune would win. I actually was secretly rooting for Falk and the reason is probably slightly odd, while I contemplated who I would choose I recalled the lecture Elle got on true love in Beauty and the Beast. When I read that I remember thinking love isn’t always a burning passion, but I believe that when you have real love the passion is there. I felt that she had poison with Rune but that F s ok’s heart was truer. After all Stephen could remember Gabi as as swan, just as Falk could always remember Elise, always watched out for her, always tried to protect her. If Runes love was as strong how come he could never remember Elise while he was a swan?
This is somewhat unofficial, but actually Falk was the crowd favorite! Rune was my pick–although Falk nearly won me over–but in general Falk was the guy readers thought Elise should pick. I’m confident Elise would be happy with either of them as there are extreme pros to both princes. For example, Falk would better understand Elise’s nerd-like tendencies and long-term goals. (In example, her desire to make Arcainia filthy rich.) He would also be in a position that would better aid her in reaching those goals. Rune, on the other hand, would have a better understanding of Elise’s powers and her trauma from the story, and the trauma she will receive in the future. You are absolutely right when you mentioned the line from B&B in which love isn’t all passion–it’s about a partnership. The point of the double endings was to show Elise would be happy with either partnership, even though they would be very different. That, however, is why the choice is up to the reader–so they can choose what kind of every-day-life they want for Elise.
I loved this aspect of the two endings: the pros for Falk were not the same as the pros for rune. Although substantial pros they were! Just like in real life. Thank you for highlighting this.
Yeeeesss! Thank you for seeing this! To be frank the double-ending didn’t go over well because most people like to think there is only ever one person in the world who they could ever love, but I thought it was fun to highlight Falk’s and Rune’s strengths!
OK. I completely understand this, I always wish for the loosing side. In the end I did like Falk better. In almost every SINGLE BOOK I’ve ever read my favourites are always characters who are either minor or nobody really likes. And I always find the anti-social ones more interesting and I DON’T KNOW WHY! When I read books where the heroine had to love interests she ALWAYS goes for the strong, handsome one and I’m always rooting for the other one and end up screaming at the book or throwing it across the room. Because reading is sooo relaxing. I think it’s great how you did the two ending, and I love both of them.
Cyber-high-five for being book buddies! I can sympathize–I always want the girl to go for the sweet guy who actually listens, or the fun-loving prankster, or the quiet-intelligent lad, or anyone besides the most handsome guy in the book who you know is going to get the girl merely because he is the most handsome guy in the book! Frusteratiooooon! 🙂 So yes, I’m glad to find someone else who feels my pain.
I am glad you originally choose Rune! Their relationship just made more sense to me. I also enjoy that the love in your books are more realistic than most. Lasting love, when it comes down to marriage– making a life-long commitment to someone–it’s a choice to make it work. If you rely only on the mushy, tingly feelings that often come at the beginning, then your marriage isn’t going to last long. So, thank you for that.
I’m glad you see my books’ version of love as the lasting kind! I agree that a lot of stories present us with couples that fit the mushy image and they don’t seem to take the time to think about what happens AFTER the happy ending. It has been a challenge adapting the typical fairy tale love set up (Guy and girl fall in love in a matter of minutes or, at best, a day or two) and stretching it out to make it a more reasonable love. Either way, I’m glad you enjoyed Wild Swans!
Erin Thomas says
I was cheering for Rune before the transformation but completely went to the “Falk Side” after. Falk was loyal all the way through and stood by Elise’s side even as a swan. I enjoyed the two endings because I would’ve had a conniption fit if the only option was Rune. I liked Rune’s character-a lot, but I have a gift for these things, and Falk was her man 🙂
Leona Schurig says
I agree. I HATE l love triangles. Why do writers think it is every girls to dream to crush the hearts of good guys. Especially since it seems the jerk always wins (oh but he is not really a jerk just misunderstood *insert eye roll*). I do have to say though that I loved Falk from the very beginning. Probably because I am that awkward and he tries so hard. So thank you for the two ending. But please never again. I love your books. They aren’t painful to read, filled with angst and make out scenes, but REAL romance and love. And I don’t mind my daughters reading them!
I agree about the jerk/misunderstood part. They ALWAYS win, and it’s not fair! I’m glad you liked the double endings, but I can assure you I probably won’t repeat the experiment. (I don’t think my soul can take another love triangle.) 😉
Is it strange that I was kind of rooting for Mikk at the end. Either way I really enjoyed both Falk and Runes endings
OOOOOOHHH a Mikk fan! 😀 I liked him a lot too. Now that you mention it, he would be a good match for Elise as well. I’m pretty sure the Falk fans would scalp me if I made another ending for Mikk, though. 😉
Avid reader says
I am so glad it was rune!