Editor Showdown: Debating the End of Veronica Roth’s Allegiant

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Alright you guys, it's time to take on a serious issue in this week's showdown — the ending of Allegiant. Closing the literal and figurative final chapter of any YA franchise is always tough, but this one was especially bad since — SERIOUSLY, WE'RE WARNING YOU, SPOILER ALERT! — Tris, THE BOOK'S MAIN PROTAGONIST, dies at the end. *gasp* We've seen plenty of deaths throughout this series, heck, YA series in general, but this was a huge blow to Divergent fans.

While some were devastated (like my cohort, Kaitlin) by the tragic ending, there is a small minority (including myself, a.k.a. Amanda) that believes the ending completely serves the series justice. Let's discuss in detail, shall we?

Amanda, Editor: Let me start this off by saying I haven't read the book yet, but I was NOT able to stay spoiler-free. (Ugh, yes, I know. I'll read it soon; I JUST bought it!) I hate surprises, I want to know how everything ends right away, so it was my choice. With that said, when I found out the ending of the book (though, I still am not 100% clear on the circumstances around it, only that Tris essentially does it to "save" everybody), I thought, "What a poetic way to end the story." Why, do I think that, you ask? Well…

The beginning of Divergent is all about Tris being a member of Abnegation — the Selfless faction. Hello, is there anything more selfless than sacrificing yourself for the ones you love? It's what Tris' parents did in the first novel, and the idea of her doing that seems so full circle. Also, she chose to be in Dauntless in the first novel, which honors Bravery. Sacrificing yourself for the greater good? That seems to be the perfect combination of selflessness AND bravery.

One thing that really sold me on this was Veronica Roth's interview with MTV's Josh Horowitz. She explains everything so beautifully and defends her decision. In fact, she's had this ending planned out from the beginning!

Also, I know I'm not alone in thinking this, as Shailene Woodley — who will star as Tris on the big screen — recently revealed that she loved the ending, saying: "I think it's awesome, and the coolest decision that's ever happened in the young adult novel world. I'm such a fan!"

I am too, Shailene. I am too.

Kaitlin, Associate Editor: Like many other Initiates, I was counting down the days until the conclusion of the Divergent trilogy. On release day, I even went to a launch event where Veronica Roth gave miniature spoilers on the series finale (along with Ansel Elgort and Christian Madsen, squee!), yet I still was ill-prepared for what was to come…

Overall, I was disappointed by the novel's overly-political plot. The government's always been a part of the story, but the focus seemed to stray from true action, not to mention Four and Tris' love. And in the moments where the central couple was together — including the possible sex scene? Can't really tell if it happened or not. I hate that it was left to interpretation; I wanted it to be spelled out! — everything seemed like an afterthought. Lame.

But we're here to talk about the ending, right? So here we go… I get the whole full-circle thing; yes, Tris did the same thing her parents did in the first book. However, since Caleb volunteered to sacrifice himself, I don't see a legitimate enough reason why she didn't let him go through with it. He practically led his sister to her execution in Insurgent, so what the eff? I understand that she didn't know if he was motivated by love or guilt in volunteering for the task, but either way, he was totally okay with her dying for Jeanine's sake, so why should he be granted with the privilege of life, while Tris is laid to rest?

Now, there's an unmistakable void — a bit theatrical, I know — for those who were looking forward to Tris and Four, post-drama. No one said they needed to have a cookie-cutter ending and live happily ever after. But after Veronica promised that Four would make it through to the end of the franchise, for fear of teenage-girl backlash, you would think that she wouldn't kill off the story's main character for the same exact reason.

Who do YOU agree with? Did you like the ending? Or were you not a fan? Start the debate in the comments section!

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  • stephanie osler

    I really hated the ending! you never kill off a main character. it really ruins the whole story. her death was meaningless. Tris sacrificed enough already. there doesn’t have to be a “happily ever after” ending, but I do think that the fans deserve to see Tris and Four both survive to face whatever the world holds for them together. I will NOT go see the last movie or buy the dvd if they do not change the ending. they should really think about how ticket sales, repeat viewings, and dvd sales will be affected. I think changing the fact that she leaves her gun, could be a good out. just have her keep her gun, and she can save herself while still having the same willingness to sacrifice.

  • Kelsey

    I loved divergent and insurgent but when I read the allegiant book if that is how the writer is going to have it in the movie tris or even four dieing that not many people will want to watch or by the movie that’s how I feel and I’ve talked to lots off people and lots off people say if tris or four dies that it’ll ruin the series for them so I do not like the ending no. She made it so far and her and fours love was so stroung and almost seemed real as u were watching the movies… So to kill her especially for her brother who stood back and almost watched her die I didn’t like

  • Darlene

    Also, there’s no real closure.

  • Darlene

    I’m with kaitlin. The ending was VERY disappointing. This was not the ending this series deserved.. I really did NOT see it coming. I thought ms. Roth would continue to tell us about life beyond the fence. It seemed Tris did EVERYTHING she could to save the world in Insurgent, inclu ding willingly turning herself in. Why, oh why does the author insist on killing her off?

  • Atgier

    It kind of reminds me of what Kevin Smith said before he scrapped the first ending of “Clerks”. “I did it because I did not know how to write a proper ending. The death meant nothing. Literally, the girl learned 100% of the lesson Roth prats on about before her death, moments before even. Roth cannot write an ending, could not.

  • Linda

    I strongly believe after what Tris has gone through in the first 2 movies, she should not be killed off. She should live happily with Four. You just cant do this after all the
    hope you gave to your fans. It is not fair. Please re-think your ending.

  • Rachel

    I really wish that she had Caleb come in at the last minute wearing the clean suit that Tris left behind. He shoots David and kills him. Tris types in the code, then her and Caleb have a last teary moment, everyone truly forgives him. skip skip skip. Tobias comes back and Tris runs into his arms, We’re all happy!!

  • Mika

    I totally agree. Like I love the novels, but yeah it kinda sucks that Tris dies. I agree Four and Tris didnt have to have a sweet romantic fairytale ending, but it just sucks that they go through so much and at the end they lose each other. I really jope that the movie – Allegiant ends on a way better note!

  • Benjammin

    I found the two books after Divergent to be poorly written. I was told about Tis’s demise before reading the story, but was still deeply affected by her useless death.
    I find interesting that such a contrived plot could make me feel so miserable about the main characters death.
    The plot lines leading to an experimental society with no real historical background made the whole story line boring and tangled.
    I bought the other two books because I wanted to find out what the fences were keeping out. Curiosity killed the cat; satisfaction did not bring it back.
    As other readers have echoed; I should have left these books on the shelf.

  • TheGeekyBunny

    When Tris wants to Die she is tortured and then when she wants to live she gets killed off.
    and what about tobias he found true love then they kill Tris off

    • an author

      Roth should find it in her heart to relent and bring Tris back.

  • Ashley

    I thought the ending was terrible , I’m so sad and upset . What happened to love ? Just kill that off the movie. That’s what everybody wants the whole twilight , hunger games kind of love . Where the protagonist actually makes it to the end & they live happily ever after.

  • Rachel

    The Hunger Games Mockingjay > Allegiant

    ( Even though Mockingjay was BOOORING, Allegiant was WORSE than that!)

  • Shay Walker

    The last book seemed lazy to me. It did not feel carefully thought through. There didn’t seem to be any reason for Tris or Tori or Uriah’s death other than to exploit them to find an ending. The first person writings written for Tobias felt the same as the writing for Tris – so much so that I had to keep turning back to the beginning of the chapter. I hated the ending. It seemed self- serving to create controversy and lazy to avoid actually writing a book and an ending worthy of the first two books. I probably won’t read anything else she writes. I don’t trust her.

  • Shay Walker

    The last book seemed lazy to me. It did not feel carefully thought through. There didn’t seem to be any reason for arts or Uriah’s death other than to exploit them to find an ending. The first person writings written for Tobias felt the same as the writing for Tris – so much so that I had to keep turning back to the beginning of the chapter. I hated the ending. It seemed self- serving to create controversy and lazy to avoid actually writing a book and an ending worthy of the first two books. I probably won’t read anything else she writes. I don’t trust her.

  • Tammy

    I watched Divergent and loved it so I was going to read the series before Insurgent came out. But after reading the summary and ending for the last book, I won’t even waste my time. Also, if Tris is divergent, how come she’s supposed to die in a true act of selflessness. Wouldn’t that make her abnegation? (Not sure if the books explained that).

  • Lisa

    I hated the ending,I felt like Tris and Tobias had been trough enough suffering,I wanted them to save everyone and to both live.Tris was supposed to be this amazing girl who could get through everything and then she gets killed.When I read a trilogy with so much death and unhappiness I can’t wait to get to the end and a have a happy ending and Tobias’s heart getting ripped out wasn’t happy.

  • Lunanie

    To be honest, I’ve heard about this series pretty late, actually just two weeks back when I watched a “Everything wrong with Divergent”-video on youtube. The movie seemed pretty cool, so I decided to get the books and read them all in two days. I’ve been reading a lot of books throughout my life, and I do understand that sometimes some characters have to die. It’s sad, but most of the time I’m okay with that, because it actually saves a purpose. Killing off your own characters is never easy. I get that.

    That’s why I was so shocked when I read “Allegiant”. Not only did Veronica Roth kill off a LOT of characters, she even killed off her main protagonist – and for NO REASON AT ALL. The internet is full of people gibbering on about how it served a purpose and had a deeper meaning because the author said so. And all I do is sit here and shake my head back and forth.

    It wasn’t necessary at all, and it was deeply illogical. It wasn’t like there was no other choice. She could still have saved the day if Caleb had failed, but… sacrificing herself for her brother, who betrayed her in a way I have no words for? Sacrificing herself after realizing how much she wanted to LIVE, how much she wanted, needed to be with Tobias because they completed each other? Sacrificing herself after all she had done to him already? This completely contradicts her whole character development!

    Some of you will say “Hey, she couldn’t know David would be there.” – and I’ll say RUBBISH. Because David being there was so predictable it’s not even funny anymore. On top of that, she couldn’t have known she would survive the Death Serum either. So she willingly sacrificed herself. She knew she was never going to make it and she didn’t even want to, or else she would’ve taken her gun after she blasted the door.

    Veronica Roth claimed Tris had to die because she finally realized the true meaning of selflessness. And either that’s just a lame excuse for her “I didn’t know how to finish my series”-ending, or she has a twisted sense of what selflessness is about.

    What Tris did was nothing but selfish. She hated Marcus for hurting Tobias when he was a child and did nothing but hurt him herself. Not physically, but emotional. After she killed Will she was so devastated, so full of guilt, she tried to sacrifice herself over and over again, despite his pleas.
    What Tris did was evil, in a way. Because Caleb has to live with his guilt now – betraying his family and letting his sister sacrifice herself. Leaving Tobias behind, the one she knew she had redeemed so much. The one she knew loved her more than anything. The one she promised to she would never leave again. Leaving Christina behind, who had lost so many friends already. Leaving behind everyone who needed her so bad, including the society, which she could’ve – SHOULD have – helped to rebuild.

    Quite frankly, in these final moments, neither Caleb nor Tris strictly HAD to die. Even if I do accept her urge to save her brother, Tris could’ve taken her gun with her. Veronica Roth could’ve resolved the whole problem without killing Tris or Caleb off, instead she decided to erase all the character development Tris made, decided to turn Tris into the martyr she had decided NOT TO BECOME, decided to turn her into a saint – and nobody even mentions how little sense that makes. Not just the act itself, but… it doesn’t change anything. Her death doesn’t magically resolve a huge conflict. Her death doesn’t make Tobias realize how precious life is or anything. It just served NO PURPOSE AT ALL. Caleb’s death would’ve made more sense, not because he deserved it, but because it would’ve affected Tris so deeply. There was so much potential.

    With all due respect, but I hate this ending from the bottom of my heart. I sincerely hope there will be a fourth book in which we’ll learn that Tobias – somehow – was under simulation or dreamed the whole thing. Or Tris. Or both. I sincerely hope she writes another book which contradicts at least half of “Allegiant”… Please, at least let the movies end differently… this ending was just unworthy, unnecessary and illogical.

    • Dora

      This is the best argument I have found on the internet! Everyone who says is ok with Tris’ death, should get to read this. Just because Veronica Roth thought she would break away from the usual YA series with such an ending and awe everyone, doesn’t mean it was the right thing to do! I also think she had no idea how to end her book and just thought of the biggest shocker – to kill off the protagonist. It was a bad decision and I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that the screen writers will have an open mind and change the ending..

  • Megan

    Im not sad she died but it’s just the way she died that got to me the fact that just
    Seconds before it was accually important to you that you live and make a great
    Life with Tobias and when she saw David it didn’t even cross her kind to fake
    The fact you were still working for him seeing how he copletely trusted you
    Then to top it off she got shot in the back a few times sees a hallucination of
    Her mother and just obbediantly agrees with everything what about Tobias
    And caleb was I the only one who thought it was a “girl-power”selfish ending that forgot about Tobias…

  • Mandy

    I really hated the ending and it made me wish that I hadn’t wasted my time and emotions for such an unfulfilling ending. I started to dislike Tris in Insurrgent when she kept putting herself in terrible situations despite the pleas of Tobias. She seemed to always be trying to prove her bravery when it wasn’t always necessary. Tris was notorious for breaking Tobias’ heart every chance that she got. In Allegiant, I hoped that she would redeem herself and finally try to put Tobias first since putting herself first was something that she supposedly never wanted to do. When it came down to the end, once again she put herself in an impossible situation when it wasn’t necessary and broke his heart again. This time she broke his heart in the most awful way by not being able to take it back. She died a martyr which is how I started to see her in Insurrgent, but I had hoped that she would stop that at the end of Allegiant. She didn’t need to be a martyr. I don’t understand what the point of that was. Again, I really feel like I wasted my time to be disappointed with such a sad ending.

  • Otaku

    I thought the ending was hilarious. When I read it I burst out laughing. I enjoyed the first book because Four was mysterious and Tris actually seemed like a relatable protagonist. Then the author ruined that by trying to balance a half-baked romance story on top of an action series – which then quickly became a metaphor for how bad the government is. In the last book, I started to really dislike Tris (and Four, she ruined him completely!) and I was happy that she died. I thought the bit at the very end with Four ‘facing his fears, oooh’ was a bit iffy, but other than that the ending was the only redeemable thing about the whole book.