This morning I finished reading Burial Rites which is a historical novel about Agnes Magnusdottir, the last person to be executed in Iceland. After I finished it I looked up reviews of the book at several different sites and was quite amused when I came across one review in which the reviewer said she was hoping for a happier ending and because it had a sad ending (i.e. they chopped off Agnes's head) she only gave the book one star. I don't know how she thought such a book could possibly have a happy ending. Why do so many people want happy endings for books or movies even when that happy ending is unrealistic or forced? For example, I think War of the Worlds (2005) would have been a better movie with a bittersweet ending in which the character played by Tom Cruise had turned up at his in-laws' place to break the news that he had managed to save his daughter but the son had died. It seems that American movies are the ones that have more happy endings than movies from elsewhere. Do you think this is what most Americans want or not? If Americans do prefer happy endings, why do you think they do? Can you think of any book or movie that would have been improved by having a sadder ending (or vice versa)?