I read today’s Booking Through Thursday question shortly after I woke up this morning and immediately knew what my answer was. I took a picture for the post, opened a draft on my phone, and was on my way. Until I re-read the prompt after drinking some coffee.
Which non-series book would you most like to read the sequel to? Do you have any wishes for what might happen in it?
Oh, non-series. That’s a problem, because my instant, from-the-gut answer was this:
Yes, despite being somewhere north of 3,000 pages long, I want there to be one more book in Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles. Why? Because I want to know what happens after happily ever after. The series covers swashbuckling adventures, tragic misfortunes, and cruel twists of fate in back alleys and royal courts across Europe and the Mediterranean (Paris! Malta! Aleppo! St. Petersburg!). The denouement, however – when our hero Francis finally arrives back his Scottish homeland, gains his birthright, and reunites with his true love Phillipa – gets all of five pages.
And if I learned nothing from Stephen Sondheim, it’s that happily ever after is just the beginning. (Also: don’t eat meat pies in London.) I can’t imagine Lymond and Phillipa finish out their days staying contentedly in the lowlands, drinking wine and growing fat while watching their children play. I mean, come on. These are a couple of profoundly complicated people with a hell of a lot of life experience between them – what does that look like?
I’ve read enough books (and watched enough tv, and heard enough songs, and been to enough movies) to know that I’m supposed to be satisfied with the happy couple finding their way to each other, close the book, stop the record, cue the credits – that true love prevailing is supposed to be the point. But, well, it’s not for me. For any story I’ve truly loved, I always want to see how the mundane compares to the magic. How the mundane, in fact, becomes magic.