Veronica Roth Responds to Fandom Anger about Allegiant

I confess I’ve never sen anything like it, though I’ve never met or known of an author quite as open as Veronica Roth, whose Divergent trilogy closed last month with a novel, Allegiant, that disappointed many of her fans. As in, they-sent-death-threats disappointment. We’re pretty serious at HogwartsProfessor about all things Divergent, so let’s take a closer look at four of the points she makes in her blog post ‘About the End of Allegiant.

And, yes, if you make the jump, the discussion will be, surprise!, about the end of Allegiant. If you haven’t read it yet — and what’s up with that? — and don’t want to be spoiled, scroll down and re-read some other non-Divergent posts, right?

What she wants and doesn’t want to happen in offering her opinion:

I don’t want to tell you how to read these books or even to tell you there’s one right way to read them. I just want to offer you some insight into how I personally found my way to this ending, if you’re interested in hearing it.

On the audience she tries to please :

I’ve said before that this ending was always a part of the plan, but one thing I want to make clear is that I didn’t choose it to shock anyone, or to upset anyone, or because I’m ruthless with my characters—no, no, no. I may have been ruthless with other characters, in the past, but not with her, never with her. And I wasn’t thinking about any readers when I wrote this book; I was thinking about the story, because trying to meet the expectations of so many readers would be paralyzing. There’s no way to please everyone, because that mythical book with the ending that every single person wants can’t exist—you want different things, each one of you. The only thing I can do, in light of that fact, is write an honest story as best I can.

On Tris’ identity struggle with what ‘selfless’ means — and how it leads to her sacrifice in Allegiant:

For me, Tris’s parents’ deaths made me realize that though Tris had tangibly abandoned her parents’ faction, she was never quite able to separate herself from them, never quite wanted to; that the true struggle of her character, the one she had never been able to let go of, was to figure out how to honor her parents while still maintaining her distinct identity. That was her struggle in Divergent in a more subtle way, but it was also her struggle in a far more obvious way in Insurgent.

Tris spent Insurgent warring with grief and guilt in light of her parents’ deaths and of her hasty actions in shooting Will to save her own life (which is the opposite of what she does for Tobias, further showing that Tris hadn’t quite figured out how to be selfless at that point). The “selfless” acts she thought she was performing in Insurgent—charging upstairs during the Erudite-Dauntless attack unarmed, spying on Max’s conversation with Jack Kang without a weapon, and then handing herself over at Erudite headquarters even when she’s asked not to—were more self-destructive than anything. She rationalized those self-destructive acts by calling them selfless, but when she was about to be executed, she realized that her parents didn’t give their lives for her just so that she could die when it wasn’t necessary. She realized that she wanted to live.

She emerged from that near-execution with new maturity: she valued her own life, she wanted to solve problems without resorting to violence, she sought truth over destruction. That Tris had not quite figured out what selflessness was to her, but she had discovered what it wasn’t: self-annihilation.

That was how Tris was at the beginning of Allegiant. She was no longer risking her life for no reason. She was still struggling with her beliefs about selflessness—but this time, she was wondering whether Caleb, when he volunteered to go on the one-way mission to the Weapons Lab, was motivated by love or guilt. She struggled with whether it was ethical to let Caleb’s sacrifice happen throughout the rest of the book. And while she was struggling with his decision, she was also struggling with her own identity; her constant questioning about what selflessness is was inextricably linked to her sense of self, as it had been for the past two books. This struggle finally came to a head when she and Caleb were running toward the Weapons Lab, and she said this: “He is a part of me, always will be, and I am a part of him, too. I don’t belong to Abnegation, or Dauntless, or even the Divergent. I don’t belong to the Bureau or the experiment or the fringe. I belong to the people I love, and they belong to me—they, and the love and loyalty I give them, form my identity far more than any word or group ever could.” (455)

After that, Tris entered the same role her parents played when they died for her. She loved and gave her life for Caleb even after he betrayed her, the same way her parents loved and gave their lives for her after she left them for Dauntless.

On the meaning of her surviving the Death Serum:

But this time, unlike in Insurgent, the act wasn’t self-destructive. Tris’s peculiar relationship to the serums was that she was able to overcome them (like the Dauntless fear simulations and the Candor truth serum) unless on some level she wanted them to work (like with the Amity peace serum). So when she passed through the death serum outside the Weapons Lab and it didn’t kill her, that suggested she wasn’t seeking her own destruction. She was truly acting out of love for Caleb.

At the end, she had a conversation with David where she told him her beliefs about sacrifice, that it should come from love, strength, and necessity. That was a Tris who knew what she believed about selflessness. [Red letters are John’s emphasis] Who knew who she was. Who knew what she wanted to do. In each book she tried to emulate her parents’ sacrifice, and in each book she didn’t seem to understand what that sacrifice really was, until Allegiant. And it’s only in Allegiant, when she had a strong sense of identity, when she had a keen understanding of what she (and her parents) believed about selflessness, that her journey was over.

Why she didn’t write the ‘Happily Ever After’ ending:

I thought about reaching out with my authorial hand and snatching her from that awful situation. I thought about it and I agonized over it. But to me, that felt dishonest and emotionally manipulative. This was the end she had chosen, and I felt she had earned an ending that was as powerful as she was.

In Insurgent, before she’s “executed,” she screams into nothingness, “I’m not done yet!”

In Allegiant, she asks her mother, “Am I done yet?”

And her mother says, “Yes. My dear child, you’ve done so well.”

I understand being upset about the loss of a character you care about, and I’m so glad you care about her, because I do, too. I am proud of the way this ending mirrors those of the other books, of the way it reflects the realistic (given the dystopian, dangerous setting) losses of those books, the way it shows what Tris is truly made of, and the way it concludes her hard-earned transformation. I think her love for her brother is beautiful, powerful.

I have heard a wide range of reactions to the book, and I accept and respect all of those reactions as valid. But my personal feelings about the ending haven’t changed. I will miss her, that Tris voice in my head. But I’m so, so proud of her strength.

Three quick comments before I ask for your reaction to this remarkable opening of the writer’s play book. Please do read the whole thing before commenting, of course.

(1) I confess to being floored and wonderfully impressed that this uber successful author says, “Don’t take my interpretation and understanding of my work as the last word.” Here is a writer who respects her readers and their experience of her work, who has the humility to think she may not have achieved what she set out to do (and welcomes feedback), and yet one with the confidence in herself and her readers to think they may have missed what she was after in their first reading, probably in a rush, and shock at Tris’ death. Whatever one thinks about Allegiant, this blog post from the author is new territory for reader-writer exchange and, forgive me, a delightful blessing to serious conversation about artistry and meaning.

(2) I highlighted the “mirroring endings” comment to note that she will have to walk that back, if you will, or finally give up her previous comments that she does not “plan” her novels. The selflessness theme and how it works through Tris’ understanding of herself as an Abnegation faction member is a thread that is anything but arbitrary; it’s the story scaffolding fleshed out in her choices, especially her last one for Caleb, the brother and enemy she is obliged to love.

(3) If that wasn’t implicit enough a token of the Christian content implicit in Tris’ death, Ms Roth emphasizes it again in her calling up why Tris is not killed by the Death Serum. She doesn’t want to die, it’s not self-destruction or a hollow martyrdom, but an act of self-less love, which is to say, an act in conformity with Love, the fabric of reality which is not subject to death. This resurrection doesn’t lead to a happy Deathly Hallows ending after a meeting with the Head Master (mom?) at King’s Cross (the top of Sears Tower?); instead it echoes wonderfully, even acts as a gloss on, the sacrificial death of Lily Potter. Her death did not save her life; it saved Harry’s, and, through him, the World.

Comments and corrections, please! Any one surprised that she chose to talk about Dead Tris rather than the criticism about two voices and the genetics backdrop?

Comments

  1. John, thank you for your respectful and discerning post. I am one of those who was disappointed with Allegiant but remain a great admirer of Veronica Roth’s. It feels to me as though Divergent was written from an inspired and intuitive place – that it was Roth’s truth and that it resonated with a greater truth. But Insurgent and even more so Allegiant feel as if they come from somewhere else – perhaps the intellect trying to fill in the blanks, or a rush to end something before it had fully ripened. I hope though that Roth is not discouraged by the book’s reception and that she keeps on writing! Like you, I am astounded by and appreciative of how generous she is in sharing about her creative process and in connecting with her readers.

  2. I think the problem is her blog post is more eloquent and moving than what she gave us in Allegiant. I think there are lots of her readers who would have been on board with her and not challenged Tris’ death if the rest of the book had lived up to that promise. I read a book of John Green’s in which the protagonist dies, and there was a substantial pay-off in that death that was tragic and ironic and brought a richness to the rest of the book.

    Moreover, the death of Tris needed to make sense with the rest of the book (beginning and end) as well as tie together the series as a whole. The last point is possible if you accept everything said in the blog, but you would almost need her post to read alongside the series to get there on your own.

    I think one of the problems is we saw Tris undergo a death and resurrection in the preceding book Insurgent. I was expecting it to be Tobias, Caleb or Peter’s turn in this concluding novel. Why was Caleb denied the opportunity to offer his life to expiate the guilt of being involved with the murderers of his parents and hundreds of his fellow citizens? It felt like Tris stole Caleb’s opportunity for redemption rather than earning her own.

    Why did the author abandon the love story to have both members of the couple back with their mothers at the end? It’s inherently unsatisfying and feels like the characters have regressed to childhood rather than moving forward.

  3. I call absolute bull on this author. I firmly believe she was hoping to make this dramatic move with her character that would place her in the likes of J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, Suzanne Collins, and others whose literary works have won favor in words and movie reels. The problem is her move of martyrdom with Tris was not a favorable or wise one. She should have looked to her predecessors and learned from them, rather than try and top them. For example, Hunger Games we find Prim, the life Katniss volunteered for, ultimately taken. Katniss lives on. Harry Potter loses many, yet he prevails as is the same in many other successful series books. Roth made her move foolishly. Why say something was always planned, then say the novels aren’t planned. Roth sacrificed her art by gambling for riches, wealth, and her name beside the other greats. This sacrifice backfired. First rule in writing… Consider your audience. Young adults are not going to accept their hero as a Martyr. It doesn’t matter how great your first book was or is, when your last one ruins them all! I was disgusted by the final book, and more so disappointed with having wasted my time waiting for and then reading it. I will not recommend it to anyone and intend to rid myself of the whole series to make room for fulfilling enlightening works.

  4. caroline leach says

    I too at first was upset when I learned that Tris was going to die. See my crush said ” I was disapointed when she died” I said yeah me too im re-reading the book though so yeah… after i got through the whole first part i have to say i was really impressed with the way she did it i mean come on “Am i done yet” amazing i love it i have to say i kinda wanted tris to die but not on her own accord…. I have to say i think the gennetically damaged stuff and all that was a little boring but near the end i realized how important it was… LOVED THE BOOK

  5. I agree with Sam

  6. great points, Mary.

    I posted this on another post, but think it belongs better here: I too felt like the book was very rushed… too many layers and revolutions that suddenly resolve. I think that was partly the point, though– to show that revolution doesn’t create easy answers. I think the scene between Tobias & Evelyn was beautiful– as he explains why the Factions were inadequate (as is enforced “factionless-ism”): they gave an illusion of choice without any true choice. What bothered me with it, though, is that simultaneously Tris was dying for everyone.

    I’m bothered with her death not *just* bc she died, but *how* she died… I realized as I read Roth’s own blogpost on the topic that Tris’ survival was totally possible: serums don’t work on Tris unless she WANTS them to in some way. So, it was set up so that by being rightly motivated — with no desire to just die– but to sacrifice purely for love, she could and did survive. She remembered when everyoje forgot. … and then, after surviving incredible odds, she died. Simple gunshot wound. At the hands of the political head, hoping she’s “done enough” to merit some kind of Heaven? Not exactly a hopeful message. And YA dystopian lit is at it’s core about hope. As readers we are supposed to journey with Tris and when she dies so abruptly, so needlessly & finally, we die, too. Thence the fan backlash, I think.

    (Maybe she means “done enough” as in “lived out my full days ordained for me,” not “merited enough for my good to outweigh my bad.” which we Christians know can NEVER happen)

    Anyway the soul craves resurretion. And there is none here. Not even a child surviving his mother or a younger sibling. There’s just a boyfriend and an older brother– both of whom should have been protecting, not protected.

    The casual allowance for homosexual relationships without any negative comment (since the point of sexual/romantic relationships isn’t just proctreation, who cares, in Tris’ mind) as well as the indication that Tris & Tobias did finally sleep together outside the confines of any sort of marriage also bother me, especially coming from a “Christian” author.

  7. I too am disappointed and agree whole heartily with Mary. It feels like the author needed to rush to get this book out.

  8. I think the problem is that she didn’t have the whole series worked out ahead of time…She knew where it would go eventually but the execution wasn’t there. We can only imagine the pressure she was under to deliver once a contract had been signed.

    V. Roth is incredibly talented to have been able to write Divergent at such a young age…what she lacked was the experience to be able to pull a 3-book series out of that wonderful opening novel. What were minor criticisms in world building that we saw in the first novel snowballed by the time we got to Allegiant. I think ideas she wanted for the final book made their way prematurely into Insurgent and then she had nowhere to go with Allegiant. She needed a new direction to finish the series but held on to tightly to her previous vision.

  9. I agree with many of the comments, especially Mary’s, Chaya’s and Christina’s.

    Roth’s writing talent shows in Divergent and in her various blog posts, which are always very well thought out and well-written. That precision isn’t there in Insurgent or Allegiant, though. In Divergent we have a fairly straightforward story – a girl discovering her own strength, values and identity – and various episodes (Tris helping Edward after his eye, Al’s death, the zipline where Tris realizes she fits in) reinforce that. Then she’s put through a final test of strength when she loses her parents and has to stop the attacks. The story follows a coherent theme, builds a convincing world and resolves Tris’s own conflict between dauntless values and abnegation values as she draws on both to stop the simulation.

    In Insurgent, and especially Allegiant, though, I found that too many new ideas are introduced, giving us many beautiful and meaningful moments, but so many unresolved or abruptly resolved conflicts. There was just so much going on: In Insurgent, we have Tobias’s troubled relationship with his parents, Tris’ guilt over Will, grief over her parents’ death and suicidal impulses, Caleb’s abrupt betrayal, the war between Erudite and the factionless, each of those are pretty big themes to develop. What held it together in Insurgent, for me, was that I primarily saw it as a story of Tris and Tobias learning to trust each other with their secrets, finally coming together at the end to form their own family with the foot-washing scene after escaping Erudite.

    In Allegiant we have a whole new set of problems, GP vs. GD etc., and once again the only through-line for me was Tris and Tobias trying to love and trust each other regardless of what society says. So it seems to come out of the blue to me that sacrifice is the overarching goal: while Tris’s sacrifice makes sense after Roth points it out on her blog (although I still disagree that Tris needed to sacrifice herself), more time could’ve been given to Tris (perhaps with Caleb) really working through memories of their parents’ love, and of their childhood (where from Divergent we know that Caleb seemed to fit in much better in Abnegation and Tris used to be envious, so I feel like there are still many unanswered questions about Caleb and Tris’s sibling relationship) in order for Tris’s final actions to feel grounded. The theme just seems underdeveloped in a sea of so many other plot lines.

  10. I also have trouble drawing parallels between Lily Potter’s death and Tris’s death. Lily Potter died out of a mother’s instinct to save her child, Natalie Prior does the same thing. Tris, on the other hand, dies trying to execute a plan of her own creation and of what seems to me contradictory moral standards – essentially wiping the memories of those in the bureau to preserve the memories of those in the city. What gives her the right to judge whose memories to erase? She does saves her brother out of love, but didn’t she put him up to it in the first place? Lily and Natalie (figuratively) both flung out their arms to protect their loved ones; Tris wasn’t protecting, she was counter-attacking in defense.

  11. I think V. Roth missed the boat on sacrifice…The point of self-sacrifice isn’t to be selfless. The point of self-sacrifice is the salvation of another. If you look at Christ figures in literature, there is always a salvation as the result of sacrifice. Tris’ sacrifice did spare her brother’s life, but there is no salvation as a result. Going on living is not enough…this is not transformative for him.

  12. I just started the trilogy a little over a week ago and finished Allegiant yesterday. I’m so glad you have discussion of these books on here, John, because I feel the need to process these books in a thoughtful way. On the one hand, as a reader who loves Tris, and Tobias and the others that she left behind (and sat weeping over the last few chapters of the book), I feel anger and grief at her fate, but on the other hand, I also understand and appreciate what Roth was trying to say, and I respect her for, at the moment, at least, standing by her work without telling us how we should interpret it.

  13. Thank you for this blog. I, like many others, also felt the need to reflect on the ending of this book. I totally agree with Mary 1’s comments regarding self-sacrifice. I also think that Ms Roth made a choice and I sense this choice was dictated by her need to distinguish herself from other authors. While I appreciate the fact that she provided us with more information to understand Tris journey, those comments are not going to convince me that this is the best ending for Tris.

  14. Roth’s explanation is rubbish. I personally don’t approve of burning books and especially not hers because that would me wasting the money on her books. She is a cold, cruel individual with no respect for her readers or her characters, coldly killing characters after she gets the readers to care about them. This should never have been in the YA section but in the adult horror/bad ending section. I wonder how many teens were thrown into deep depression over this ending. To some readers, characters in their books have merit and meaning and to those who are already depressed, the ending could push them over the edge. Roth appears to lack any kind of social conscience or she would never had listed this as YA. At least I know which author I would never trust to watch my dog.

  15. I wish I could have the last week back. I wasted hours on this trilogy.

  16. Sandra, I think you took it a bit far. I still respect V. Roth for 2 amazing books. While I feel extremely disappointed by Allegiant, she still wrote 2 really great books. I do feel like she wrote Allegiant in a rush with a hard-to-follow plot. She also had too MANY plot twists- four not being divergent, GD’s and GP’s, Nita coming and going, love triangle, Caleb’s continuous rejection to make up with tris…ect. There was also barely any difference between Tris and Fours POV. I found myself automatically reading Fours POV in Tris’s voice. The end was also rushed and not carefully planned. So basically Tris’s reply to the Beaureu’s plan to use the memory serum, she decides to use the memory serum on them? Doesn’t that completely defeat the purpose of selflessness? She also died so abruptly, and without much meaning. For her to survive impossible odds and then die from something so simple as a gunshot wound was kind of a disrespect to Tris’s whole character. Also, the epilogue. I understand VR not wanting to have a happily-ever-after ending, but instead she created an unsatisfactory cap to the series. It basically was Four and how he and Caleb and everyone else were just living happily again, and the world was all back to normal without factions and gp/gd. It really just made me upset about the whole story-line. Mainly, the whole story was kind of bland and uneventful. I liked the beginning, but as soon as they got to the bureau, it was really boring. The whole Nita thing was not something Four would normally do, and it surprised me how Nita barely ever came up again. After the whole Nita thing it was pretty uneventful until Tris’s rushed death. I still loved the first 2 books, but the last one was dissapointing

  17. i think the ending of alligent was just poor! like really no right minded author would write that kind of ending even i could write better than that! and she was just lazy when she wrote that like honestly!

  18. I agree with Mary L. and many other posters here. I feel that Tris’s death deprived Caleb of a much needed atonement for his actions concerning his sister. Because it is YA there should have been a scene in which Caleb finally shows some backbone, instead of being the weasel he is, and maneuvers Tris away from him to complete his job of getting to the weapons lab.

    While I understand Roth’s intention to fulfill the cycle of self-sacrifice started by Tris and Caleb’s parents, the real sacrifice/redemption cycle should have concluded with Caleb’s death not Tris’s.

    Roth does represent what happens in real life in a situation of sacrifice. So often those who have learned to love unconditionally die early because they have finished what they needed to learn while in the earth. The others who have not learned this need to remain here. But this is fiction in a genre that is more acceptable with the heroine intact and alive.

    Philip Pullman wrote an emotionally wrenching scene in his final novel of “The Golden Compass” trilogy with the last book, “The Amber Spyglass” in which Will and Lyra must separate for their entire lives. This caused enormous depression for many readers as well as the final novel from Roth with her series.

  19. The author loves death and hates sex.

  20. I read the books so crazy in like 5 days all of them… , but at the end it just fell apart. I think that it’s too good story to make so big dissapointment. I don’t know why she died like a 100 pages from the end, and then 100 pages about Tobias … how he strugles with it, it just made me so upset … When she was resisting the death serum, she was thinking about the survive, she wantoed to survive … and then it all fell apart. When I started the read the books it was supposed to be a sci-fi romance … and it eneded like a drama. It just made me so upset. And yes it is true about the sacrifice … but at the end of the books, I think it is just not right. To let Tobias alone. Strugling all by himself. She was supposed to be with him, as they earned it trough all the wars and problems and hurt … After all of that the readers are waiting for a peacefull end, and Tobiass zipline made me just more upset. Because she was not with him. It was ruined I think. But The story is magnificent to me !! Really is. But the end dissapointed me so much …like I feel that I don’t want to see it anymore. I am sorry 🙁

  21. While painful Tris’ death too k me exactly where VR intended, based on some of her comments, this one in particular;

    “After that, Tris entered the same role her parents played when they died for her. She loved and gave her life for Caleb even after he betrayed her, the same way her parents loved and gave their lives for her after she left them for Dauntless.”

    When Tris died and she heard her mom say “Yes. My dear child, you’ve done so well.” I immediately went to the verse “well done good and faithful servant”. Being a devout Christian, that make sense for me. When VR states “she gave her life for Caleb even after he betrayed her” I immediately think of Jesus sacrifice on the cross; “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. Even though I betray Him daily, He still chooses to love me. VR was true to what she believes.

  22. I think VR could have written a story that justified Tris’ death….I just don’t think the vision was executed well enough to give that book or the series as a whole meaning…nor did we see adequate redemption on the part of Caleb either before or after Tris’ sacrifice.

    If you’re going to incorporate a Christ-like sacrificial death into a story, there needs to be resurrection and redemption that follows. In Allegiant, VR has left us with a broken metaphor, the most important one in all of life.

  23. Totally disappointed makes me definitely not want to see the movies.

  24. I have debated about adding comments and feel that I need to chime in. Personally I don’t fit into the YA category by at least a couple of decades, but I love reading dystopian books and last week read through the last two in the series.

    To say that I feel gutted by this is an understatement, after ready VR’s blog I understand it better, but still feel as though it could have been handled differently. This seems to have given Tobias’ mother the win and the strong Tris a loss in their battle over Tobias, something that I feel went against what I came to understand as the character of Tris. Don’t get me wrong, I totally get the path which VR took her down and understood the sacrifice she made for her brother, knowing that she had the ability to survive the death serum, but to die was a cruel twist to the readers and I can’t think of too many other books I have read where the main character bites it in the end, supporting character yes, but Tris (and Tobias) were the whole three books. I think the constant battles that Tobias and Tris fought and the victories that they had in an effort to be together and free of their circumstances should have resulted in a happier outcome with them both together – I think the characters earned it.

    I think the whole ending and epilogue could have still come about as it was written if Tris was badly injured and in a coma, with her coming out of it near the end of the epilogue and Tobias and Tris zip lining together. Or failing that, Tris’ death was staged, taken by the government due to her GP status and ability to circumvent the serums if she chose to, and then at the end of the book she wakes up in a room unsure of how she got there, giving us the reader a hope that she could still be reunited with Tobias and finally at the end of epilogue Tobias finds out she was still alive – just another battle and adventure that this couple has to work through (just like all three books). This could have opened up a new set of books for VR :).

    Anyway, that is my two cents worth – even after a week I am still in mourning and can’t believe it ended that way.

  25. It’s not tris’s death which disappoints me, it’s the fact that her and Tobias are separated.

  26. I agree, had they even had one final battle together and both died in each others arms, I would have been happier than I am with the way it has actually ended.

  27. CandorHonesty says

    I agree with almost all of you guys. I don’t think its fair that Tris should die after everything. She saves a lot of people. She is brave and then what? She Freakin Dies! She should have let Caleb die, Caleb should have stopped her, but did he? No of course not because he wouldn’t sacrifice himself for her. Yet she would.

    Tobias and Tris would have been perfect. Roth should have let Tris live with Tobias. If Tobias moves on…Its like Tris is gone. Roth should have just made a freakin Happy Ending. Its not even her death thats sad, to me its that Tobias is all alone. Personally Roth should have killed both of them so they could be together forever instead of him alone. If she wanted to make money she should have actually written Allegiant with a happy ending. I hope Tobias doesn’t move on because that means that he didn’t love Tris as much. He does love her but she fades away and that would suck considering she “sacrificed” herself.

    Tris’s death was definitely rushed. Allegiant was just confusing. First the GD thing which was boring, then the truth about her mother. Didn’t Tris’s mother say that her mother was originally from Dauntless? Idk Just A Random Question. But then after the boredom Tris wants to take the Bureau’s Memories? Revenge.

    I think that the end was very vague and it was “inconclusive”. It would have been easier if Roth had just said that Tobias and Tris were happily ever after and that Caleb is dead. Tobias and Tris were meant to be and if. Tobias replaces her…Tris is gone. He death is gone. His memories of her are gone. The whole point of sacrifice is gone. And the whole series is gone.

    Sorry I know its all over the place but I was thinking about so many things at one time.

  28. CandorHonesty says

    As I said before my conclusion to V.Roth’s book is all over the place. So Uh just some things that I wanted to add: I agree with Damien’s conclusion. If they died together it would have been happy they would have been together in afterlife or wherever, but together. I can see it as a clear win for Evelyn. She told Tris she didn’t want her near Tobias and now Tris is dead. She won and Tris lost because she died.

    I sort of understand the sacrifice part but seriosuly? She died for someone who didnt care. I like the coma idea instead of Tris dying forever. The coma could have resulted in another book which I think would be good. And all this “pain” would be gone. I respected Tris until she dies for Caleb. But I cant be mad at Tris after all, V.Roth controlled Tris even though she was Divergent. Ha-ha .Lame I. Know. But my conclusion is that Roth had endless possibilities but she didn’t take them. Honestly I didn’t exactly see the “sacrifice” moral.

    I would feel better if she had just said ” Oh Tris dies and Tobias dies too so that he can be with Tris in afterlife. What happened to ” If you die, I die too”? Is that somehow forgotten? She should have either taken them both out or kept them both in. A package deal. To Veronica Roth I would personally say that she has a remarkable skill in writing, especially being so young and she has a lot of possibilities in her literature career, but if she wants to be a favored/favorite author she needs to draw a smart ending to a story.

    I know this sounds really stupid but I am happy that Roth created a character like Tris who is brave. In some ways “Tris” has made me brave and hopeful. I think that there might be someone like Tris in the world and that gives me hope. I would hope that Roth continues writing because she has a talent in creating people, except that she doesn’t know how to end them. I think she should learn from this “mistake”, she probably wouldn’t consider it as a mistake but I do and I am sure others would as well. To make me “forgive” Roth she should write the epilogue of Tobias and make it happy with no one else but Tris and Tobias in it. And even though I know that I am pointing out faults no one can exactly blame me since Roth created Candor which created honesty so that was in my defense.

    Side Question: What do You Think Will Happen To Us In The Future?
    – Like Suzanne Collins wrote about the Hunger Games, Panem, Capitol, and districts which resulted in starvation. Roth wrote about factions which led to some starvation. They both made a trilogy about the future..which had districts/ factions that separated them. That were both starving. Is that what might happen? I doubt that I would live to see that day considering that I am 13 but its a possibility. Idk I was just wondering about this…These books could be the future. Thats just scary to me. I was just wondering if anyone has been wondering the same thing…

    ~My Improvement to Roth’s trilogy would have been that Tobias and Tris both live together Happily Ever After, rewarded by the wars they have been in. They deserved it. Doesn’t every hero deserve an award after? Harry Potter did. Katniss Everdeen did. They did. Big Mistake there Roth. Oh and To think about it..Tris was willing to die for Tobias but he wouldn’t die for her, so that he could be with her. If Roth had said it straight then she wouldn’t have had so many questions and discussions. So Careful next time Roth, Don’t want to make the same again or it might be critical to your “fandom”.

  29. I just finished a trilogy written by Marie Lu and the hero and heroine in the end also have a crushing separation, but not by death, one is, like Tris, shot at the end of the book, but unlike Tris he survived and was in a Coma. When he finally woke up 5 months later he had no recollection of recent events and the heroine decided to let him go and she moved on, saving him pain. BUT then 10 years later they happen to bump into one another and he has regained some vague memories of an unknown person and recognizes the heroine and chases her to talk to her, the book ends with the two of them reintroducing themselves.

    What a better ending, not only are they both still alive, but now they can rebuild what was lost, and get to know one another again – even if it is 10 years later. I actually laughed when I got to this part of the book, because it was almost like what I had said previously as to what should have happened to Tris and Tobias.

    Where VR’s trilogy left me totally gutted and angry at the ending, ML’s trilogy left me feeling good, hopeful and uplifted as the two now have a future together. After the couple fought for it for so long, they (and the readers) deserved it.

    Just my additional two cents worth 🙂

    D

  30. This was just horrible I just started reading all three books in the last week and the ending has scarred me for life in my opinion you don’t kill the lead character especially after triumph like she has then rest the end of the story on a lesser character no offense to Four the whole book was hard to follow sometimes as I never really could follow everything going on. I know she was going to let caleb go in but killing her for the sake of killing her is a little shallow. hurt her lots of recovery time but you don’t kill her

  31. Travis Theron says

    No matter what we read in books, there is always a hollywood director that is willing to change the fate of characters to appeal to the audiences wants. So there is a possibility that the director of the movies will alter the movies to the point that there is a way for Tris to live on

  32. I have to agree with everyone and most especially Travis. The hollywood director has to save VR. Although i understand VRs point of view, i absolutely do not agree that she took the right turn on Allegiant. There needs to be hope in people’s lives because the mind is a vulnerable thing.

    While grieving with Tobia, i put the book in a real life situaiton (my life). I couldnt survive without my partner. My first instint would be to go with him or forget the last 10 years with him because i couldnt deal with it. And we all know life is unfair but i wouldnt consciouly agree that Caleb staying back is useful to anyone really. Tris dying the way she did creates a gab in a lot of people’s like. She is the center of the whole. Though VR tries to make it seem like all eventually move on, they really dont because they are always pulled back by the memory of Tris.

    I hope directors read this and give us a different version to make this trilogy more meaningful or else Tris dies twice (worse kind of death).

  33. Travis Theron says

    Thank you chinwe

    All the complaining in the world can’t change the out come of the book. What happenend happened and yes it is very heartbreaking but visual experience is abit more acceptable or appealing to people so the best we can hope for is the movie to be changed in a positive way.

  34. I am not happy with the ending of the book series, the death of Tris. She was the main character and to she her go through all those struggles and overcome each obstacle thrown at her, her dying seems like a massive fail! Why couldn’t she live and overcome that last obstacle thrown at her after everything she has been through. With that said, it’s too late and the ending in the book can no longer be changed, Veronica Roth made her choice. However, the movie can always offer the audience a second chance by giving us an alternate ending by letting Tris live n giving her a second chance at life with Tobias as well. Movie adaptations of book series don’t always follow the books storylines. IN the twilight series, in Breaking Dawn, they offered an alternate ending which still kinda followed the happy ending in the book. We thought charters were being killed off….n then all of a sudden it’s Alice’s vision that we were seeing. They can do something similar with the allegiant movie. Maybe her death is more of a dream or vision she see’s as a side effect of the death syrum stimulation, n then she comes through it and survies. Her words play over n over in my head through all three books, her struggles, her will to live after the second book “I want to live.” Then her n to Bian can ziploc together showing how she helped him overcome his fear of heights, as he helped her with her will to finally live instead of giving up and dying. Together they were strong, alone they were weak and struggled with themselves. Also in the cw series of the vampire diaries, they don’t follow the books at all, but yet they’ve managed to keep a good fan base and have lived 5-6 seasons on the TV series. Her death didn’t justify anything, it felt more like it was rushed and unnecessary. I’m hoping they change the ending in the movie, or the franchise will continue to lose more of their fans.

  35. To start with i am angry no actually i am beyond angry I am totally Pissed off… To me this should have ended the other way around. Caleb should have proved he loved Tris and died for her to live. I loved these books so much but the ending ruined it for me. I have read Twilight and Harry Potter more times then i can count because they endings were good and ended in the way you hoped it would from the moment you started reading them. I wont read these books again, I know i am only 1 fan, but 90% of posts i have read are people stating how angry they are with the ending. I just dont understand why you would end a book that is about pain and loss with more pain and loss. I hope they change the ending in the movie, thats all i can say.

  36. I feel that this decision of ending the book this way has its pros and cons. It may make all the fans sad and heart-broken, but it opens more ways for fans to write fan-fiction. I m planning on writing a fan-fiction of a way that Tobias “resurrects” her, although it isn’t very realistic. Veronica could’t have written a right or wrong ending, but this one seems to suit Tris.

  37. I agree with a majority of you. I did not like that ending at all.

    For her and Tobias to survive all the things that they’ve been through only for her to die? That’s complete and utter BULLSHIT! If VR wanted to go with the whole sacrifice thing, then Caleb’s sorry ass should have taken a bullet, not Tris.

    How the hell can the characters move on? Christina lost her best friend. Caleb has to live with the fact that his inaction got his baby sister killed. He missed his chance at redemption for everything he’s done, his betrayal, but that’s okay right? Because the main character gets a martyr complex, the big bads are defeated, and everyone gets to be safe and sound.

    And Tobias?! You’re going to make his entire life a seemingly never ending chain of suffering and then take away the only good thing he has? That was cold and cruel. How can Roth do that to him? It’s like she killed Tris off then looked at Tobias, said “Sorry ’bout your luck.” and shrugged it off.

    And Evelyn wins! What the hell?! As far as I’m concerned, Roth killed off Tobias’ happy ending when she killed Tris, and left him with a mother who abandoned him (I don’t care that she thought Marcus wouldn’t hurt Tobias. Abusers don’t stop because their punching bag is gone, they just find a new target. Case in point) and then spent her time trying to manipulate him. I believe forgiveness is important, but that doesn’t change the fact that some people just aren’t good parents. It’s not that they can’t, they just aren’t. And neither is Evelyn.

    It’s not just Tris’ death that people aren’t happy about, it’s how it left all the other characters as well. And despite saying that she respects and understands why her fans are upset, I really don’t think Veronica Roth got that.

    Some writers can pull off doing something like that, but Roth is not one of them (at least not yet – she is a relatively young writer so there’s still hope). I enjoyed her first two books but that last one was unacceptable for me. I was thoroughly dissatisfied and utterly disappointed. I’ve luckily found some exceptionally well written alternate endings on fanfiction (LolaBleu’s fanfiction ‘Three Parts Dead” is amazing! It starts after Insurgent and it’s pretty great). And I kid you not, I’ve been so tempted to rip those last pages out and just stick with the fanfic. Like my psyche CANNOT accept that Tris is gone. Seriously, screw this noise.

    I hope Hollywood diverts from that ending. Otherwise, there’s going to be a lot of pissed off people. Cuz not everyone has read the book, so they don’t know what’s coming, and I hope they don’t have to.

  38. “(I don’t care that she thought Marcus wouldn’t hurt Tobias. Abusers don’t stop because their punching bag is gone, they just find a new target. Case in point) and then spent her time trying to manipulate him. I believe forgiveness is important, but that doesn’t change the fact that some people just aren’t good parents. It’s not that they can’t, they just aren’t. And neither is Evelyn. ”

    I think that’s a really good point.

    Something about this ending sends the wrong message about what should / should not be acceptable in society. It’s nice the Tobias forgives Evelyn but she’s always been a horrible person, a manipulative mother, she really hasn’t tried much to have a better relationship with her son (plus she straight out hates Tris) so why should she get rewarded just for admitting that she loves him? On the other hand Tris and Tobias have worked SO hard to overcome all the misunderstandings in their relationship, both Tris and Tobias became better people because they’re a couple, so I can’t really get over the fact that they did that for nothing. Plus, killing Tris off just seems to be a cop-out instead of trying to resolving her issues with Evelyn. I also think Tobias would just be better off with Tris sticking up for him, guarding him against whatever Evelyn’s manipulations (whether she thinks she loves her son or not) might be.

  39. Everyone needs to chill I thought the book ending was awesome its what Tris wanted so I totally I’m for it veronica Roth is awesome

  40. Cynthia Cooper says

    My heart and body is experiencing grief first hand as i just closed the book a minute ago. It is probably way to subjective to be writing a comment right now about the book but I needed answers and after reading Veronica Roth’s blog i can’t say i am anymore relieved. I understand the point she is trying to make about selflessness and what it truly means versus self-destruction. However, I think there is more to the way Tris dies and this may be somewhat of an obvious point. Veronica is obviously a Christian woman thanking God in all of her acknowledgments and not just any God, Jesus. Maybe subconsciously ( or just far less obvious to me at the time if anyone else picked up on it) When Tris died it was Roth’s intentions to make note of an afterlife in Tris conversation with her mother obviously dead. Although in the book it may have been a delusion in Tris head right before life leaving her eyes, death always bring the questions of soul’s and afterlives automatically. Veronica maybe could have been notifying us of the sacrificial death Jesus died and how it bettered humanity as a result just as she had succeeded in bettering humanity finally! Just a thought as a fellow believer in Jesus. Although i still wanted death to be defeated for Tris, because this is a piece of fiction that captured my whole entire soul in reality that would not happen! one out of every one person dies after all! i will someday and so will you!

  41. I was deeply disappointed in the ending of Allegiant. I am angry at Roth for ending Tris and Tobias in the way that she did. Though she speaks in her blog about the self-sacrifice element to Tris’s journey, her ending did not fulfill. I am an avid reader, and this story captured me to the point that I read all three books and Four’s story in two days. I have read many stories where the main character dies, but most of them, while shocking, don’t leave me empty and angry like this one did because there was a reason for the death. In this story all that is left is emptiness, for Tobias, for Caleb, for Christina, and for so many others. I agree with previous comments, Tris and Tbias were the common thread throughout these books. Their story and how they kept working to fix themselves and their relationship was what made all of the other stuff bearable. Allegiant seemed rushed. The story was disjointed and there were too many story lines, themes, and situations to bring to a close. As a reader, I have found myself picturing a different ending to this story. One that is more fitting to Divergent. An ending that doesn’t leave me feeling like I’ve wasted my time caring about these characters. I feel like she robbed Tobias of having a complete story because while he came from being so broken, he was allowing the healing process to happen because of Tris. He became better and opened to a whole different him. Her death leaves him merely surviving in grief again, only a part of what the character could have developed into should she have lived. That would have been Tris’s true self-sacrifice.

  42. So glad everyone else felt the same way about the ending of this trilogy – I was beyond disappointed. I’m just hoping the screenwriters take matters into their own hands and create an alternate storyline for the movies – maybe we’ll get an ending for Tris we can live with there!

    Thank-you to Damien for mentioning the Marie Lu trilogy – just bought it and I’m looking forward to diving into it! 🙂

  43. Lauralee H. says

    Alright guys listen

    Tris’ death is a surprise your first read through, I agree. At first, I was so mad and sad about the death because I didn’t quite follow through why it had to happen. Think about it: Tris has an almost death encounter at the end of every book and luckily Veronica Roth gives her another chance after the first two near death experiences because they were out of snap judgemens and what she thought was a selfless act for other people. Tris dies in a selfless way. She dies because she realizes that she does lobe Caleb even though he betrayed her. He is the only family that Tris has left and she didn’t want to lose him. Also, there was a chance that Tris could resist the death serum as she could any other one if she chose. She didn’t want to die because she realized that her life was worth living. Tris didn’t want to hurt Christina, Caleb, especially not Tobias or even Matthew. Her whole life she wants to please her parents because they died for her and she wants to somehow repay them. If you really think about it, I promis you will feel 100x better about the ending.

    Honestly, this is the hardest character death I have ever had to get over and every single time I think about Divergent or Tris or anything related I get this awful butterfly feeling in my stomach. It was a hard death and not something that people may have expected first read. I’m not saying that that Tris deserved to die but the story was always giving hints and clues that it was coming and that it was sort of destined to happen. Everyone has to die eventually don’t they?

    Away from the ending of Allegiant and back to the beginning. Trilogys are really popular and there was a lot of great contemt behind the Divergent trilogy but the only complaint I have is that Allegiant was a bit rushed. I just wish the new information came slower and a bit more spread out and intertwined with the story more. I support V. Roth’s story and ending a lot; even though I cried my heart out about it.

    I love this trilogy and may never recover from Tris’ death but I will always recommend this book to everyone I meet!
    Thanks for the amazing story!!!!

  44. I wish Veronica Roth would make a version with what would happen if Tris lived. That way people could choose which ending they wanted, but it’ll probably never happen 🙁

  45. I am probably going to get in trouble for this so I will beg forgiveness in advance. I am not meaning to ruffle anyone’s feathers.

    As a non-Christian I am baffled by the comments I have read (here and elsewhere) concerning Roth’s writing as a Christian. Was Tris Christ? And her mother calling her home in the final moments in the Weapons Lab like God calling to Jesus to return to heaven? Were her friends apostles, including Caleb as Judas?

    Even allowing for this, I don’t see the point of leaving Tobias, still damaged, with both his parents alive and the only person who was working to heal him dead. What was the point? Is there an allegory I am unaware of due to my not being a Christian? Are parents more important than the self? Is it ok to have sex before marriage if you think you’re going to die? (I find this wholly disingenuous from a religious standpoint.) Is the lifelong pain and suffering concept (which pretty much defines Tobias) one we are supposed to take away from religion, then?

    I am not a young adult, and haven’t been for some time, so I found much of the inner conflict tedious, but for young adults, uncertainty, sense of self, fear of emotional intimacy and the feeling of not being good enough is a way of life. I completely get that. But what I do not get was the final “takeaway”, the final resolution and what that means to those who survived. More importantly, what were *young adult readers* supposed to take away from the resolution of the final book, because the only thing I take away from it is the ideal of Too Bad, So Sad life sucks, get over it.

    Arbitrary death is not strength, and that was something specifically disavowed (at least by Tris and Four) when Al died. They found cheering him as a hero disgusting. Yet I feel that Roth was trying to show that suicide is in fact noble and something to cheer in Tris’s final moments – for a cause that was not noble at all, and was morally…dubious. Is suicide acceptable if you feel your cause is just? I find that terrifying as a takeaway. To simply show that she forgave her brother? There was no redemption there. Again, I ask, what point am I missing?

    While I liked Allegiant in general, I found the ending disappointing and baffling. I also find myself hoping that Hollywood does indeed take a different approach, which is possibly why the trailer for Insurgent resonated with me so much.

  46. I started to read Divergent last Thursday and yeasterday I finished Allegiant. Now I am broken. The relationship between Tris and Tobias is written so perfect, they overcame so many difficulties and then… What I miss most in the end, is something like hope and comfort (perhaps hope that they will live together for enternity, after his death or something like this). I don’t know how to handle this end.

  47. Louise Freeman says

    Thank you to both Joanne and Katya for your thoughtful comments. The Headmaster has given me the job of responding (though Christian themes are usually his domain) so I will do my best.

    I would say there is some Christian imagery in the Divergent trilogy, but would not call it a Christian allegory. I think readers of Western fiction are trained to look for Christ imagery anytime they see a self-sacrificial death (or the initials JC or the name Christ/Christian/Christina for that matter, but that’s another story) but I think that is a mistake. Giving one’s life to save another can be a beautiful and heroic thing, but it does not require a divine Messiah. Whether it is a soldier dying for his/her country, a Secret Service agent taking a bullet for the President or a professor trying to bar the door against a campus shooter to give the students time to escape through the window, it is something people can do for other people, and Christians have no monopoly on that act. You even see animals willing to die for their relatives, under certain circumstances. Under the right circumstances, as scripture says, giving your life for another it is the greatest gift a person can give. But, like anything human, self-sacrifice also can be twisted for evil. From the Crusaders to kamikaze pilots to suicide bombers, you can find people of all faiths, and no faiths, who are willing to die for people, groups and causes they are passionate about.

    For the Christian, Jesus did not simply die to save a person, or people. His death broke the power of sin, which Christians see as the cause, not the effect of evil. Jesus choosing to die defeated death itself (the wages of sin, according to the Bible) and this is illustrated by His resurrection. A true Christian allegory needs not just the voluntary, sacrificial death, but a return from the dead and a final victory over the enemy. Aslan came back to life to defeat the White Witch; Harry Potter came back to life to defeat Voldemort. Tris never does.

    For me, what Christ imagery there is for Tris comes not at the end of the series but in Insurgent, where she chooses to turn herself over to Jeanine for torture and execution. Even then, there is a twisting of the symbols. When the moment of Tris’s execution comes, she declares not “It is finished!” as Jesus did on the cross, but “I’m not done yet!” And she returns to “life” not as an act of divine grace after paying the debt of sinners, but because Peter (in an act more like Peter Pettigrew than the apostle) couldn’t stand the thought of being in *her* debt. There’s also the pesky little detail of her never actually being really truly dead, like Kirk when dueling Spock during his pon farr episode.

    There was very little that was Christ-like in Tris’s actual death in Allegiant. I don’t consider it a type of suicide; she took Caleb’s place because she knew that there was at least some chance she could survive the ordeal with her recently-discovered magic serum-resisting power,* while he could not. She went into that situation determined *not* to die if at all possible, the opposite of a Christ figure’s true surrender. In the end, she took a risk for a cause she believed in and died a very human death, giving her life for others as her parents had given theirs for her. A heroic act, of course, but her choice was to *risk* her life, not to *give* her life. Unfortunately, as is the case with many good soldiers, she was not resistant to bullets and David was a good shot. I don’t think the reunion with her mother was Jesus returning to the Father– in Christian theology the Father and the Son are one and the same– but a human going to heaven, into the arms of the Father, as Christians expect to.

    As with all human deaths, the loved ones she leaves behind grieve. Like Katya, I didn’t want the book to end that way either, but then, again, I never liked it when the dogs die in Where the Red Fern Grows. But, I do understand why the authors chose that ending. I think we are supposed to see Tris’s death (and Uriah’s and Tori’s etc.,) as tragic, and a bit senseless, as deaths often seem, even when the person dies for a good cause. But, in the end, Tris and Tobias and their allies did succeed in their mission to save Chicago, and Tobias found a reason, even in his grief, to go on with the mission and make his world just a bit better, rather than taking the coward’s way out like Peter. It’s more than “life sucks, get over it;” it’s “life sometimes sucks, but if we find the courage to do the right thing we can make it suck less, and even find joy.” Part of Tobias’s “right thing” was to overcome his fear of heights to honor Tris by spreading her ashes; another part was his work in improving the city. Remember, they were working on re-filling the lake that Tris imagined seeing from the zipline.

    That’s how I handle the end.

    Now cue John telling me how wrong I am. 😉

    *which she apparently did not know about when she was hit with the Amity Peace Serum. For that matter, how did the serum induce the hallucinations in her aptitude test and Dauntless training? Shouldn’t she have looked back at Tori on that day in school, after the injection, as said, “Ok, now what?”

  48. Lyna Ahmed says

    I’ve read this whole article and I understand why Ms. Roth wrote what she did of Tris’ death, but some part of me still wants her back alive because all Tris has been through wasn’t so she could die at the end of it. I understand the author’s perspective but I still don’t understand the reasoning to why she would die this way, being shot just seems to be a horrible death for someone who has been through worse times. Although I enjoyed the entire trilogy and I’m not hating on any part of the story, I just think that, well I guess I’m just very upset with Tris’ death since she & Tobias been through the worse times just to end up with Tris leaving the world. And also as it was remarked in the article how Ms. Roth wrote that in Insurgent Tris said, “Im not done yet.” But in Allegiant, she says to her mother, “Am I done yet?” that to me sounds to me as if she wanted this ending, it seems to be as if she wanted to die and all this time when she wanted to hold on to life she actually wanted to leave it. But you see I know Ms. Roth isn’t going to change the fact that Tris died and I respect her choice but I just wanted to express how I felt to this situation 🙁

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