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"There and Back again" | Epilogues

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, Nov. 1, 2019

Last week, we took a look at what a prologue was and how it could be used. Just to catch you up, a prologue is an opening of a story, or in this context, a comic, that establishes the scene, theme and/or tone of the rest of the narrative. It’s a mini story that happens before the main one unfolds but still relates to the overall events in some way.

But what about those tiny loose ends you might have after you’ve finished weaving the tapestry that is your comic? That’s where the epilogue comes in.

Taken from the greek word, epílogos, epí meaning conclusion or in addition and logos meaning word, and epilogue serves to tie up loose ends that require resolving but could not be tidied up within the actual story itself. Much like the prologue, the events in the epilogue can take place some time after the concluded events. It’s main purpose is to provide a sense of closure on the fates of your characters.

A strong epilogue doesn’t just show what happened to the character/s after the conclusion of your story, rather, it highlights how those events went on to impact them in the long run. In the final movie of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the ending is often criticized over its length, when in fact, it is not an ending; it’s an epilogue. It shows how the war over the Ring impacted each of the characters; from Gandalf, to the elves, the Hobbits and, in particular, Froddo himself. We see their fates, but more importantly, how they were affected. Yes they won, but at what cost to themselves?

This is also a good opportunity to drive home the overall theme of your comic, (if your format allows for one). Drawing on the Lord of Rings example again, the theme, whether intentional or not, is ultimately the effects of conflict on the land and the societal changes that it brings. War resulted in magic withdrawing from the land. Heroes returned home, triumphant, but unable to truly resume where they left off; forever changed by the experience. Whilst the movie has a happy ending for all intents and purposes, those who were on the frontline will never see the world the same way. It is in the epilogue that this theme is really driven home.

In the words of Frodo: “How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart, you begin to understand, there is no going back?”

Do you have a favourite epilogue? How do epilogues contribute to your understanding of a story? Let us know in the comment section below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!

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Gunwallace at 12:41AM, Nov. 4, 2019

The epilogue in the latest Margaret Atwood, The Testaments, was one of the most terrible I have ever read. It was pointless, self-serving, and achingly twee. It added nothing. In fact, it subtracted.

Ozoneocean at 8:32AM, Nov. 2, 2019

I LOVE a good epilogue! It really ties up a story nicely. It give you the freedom to play and not worry about the "conflict" anymore since it's not needed. People just want to know what your characters lives are like, they absolutely don't care about a driving conflict anymore since they already dealt with that in the climax and aftermath.

MOrgan at 1:09AM, Nov. 1, 2019

The epilogue of Animal House.

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