Sugarscape recently sat down with Veronica Roth to talk about the ending of ALLEGIANT. It was a very controversial ending and Veronica gives us her thoughts on the ending. The interview contains many spoilers however so if you haven’t read Allegiant yet, you might want to stay away from this interview:
Hey Veronica. So how does it feel for Allegiant to be out there finally?
It’s kind of a relief but it’s a little scary you know at the same time, it’s been a little controversial I’ve found!
The ending definitely wasn’t what a lot of fans were expecting – how have you found the reaction?
I mean, I think there was always going to be a mixed reaction no matter what the ending was so I was expecting that, but I guess I wasn’t anticipating the intensity with which some people would react. I’ve found that in person at events it’s entirely positive and then on the internet there’s been quite a lot of negative, so it’s kind of balancing out for me.
From a personal point of view, because we are so attached to Tris and Four and what they have together it was a massive emotional wrench, but at the same time you can totally see why it happened…
It seemed a little like people were processing it like a death, just because their first reaction is anger and then there’s like depression and then acceptance or something, like the proper grieving process of getting through it.
When you first sat down and started writing Divergent, did you always have that kind of end point in mind or was it something thait came later?
Well, I wrote Divergent totally blind without any planning so I didn’t plan it from the very first page that it would even be a trilogy because I didn’t know what the book would be. But after I wrote the first draft of Divergent and when the book sold I do remember talking to my editor about how I wanted the rest of them to go because the publisher said, ‘You know, do you have other books planned?” I said, ‘This is how I’m thinking of ending it,” and she said ‘Don’t tell anyone about that!’
That was her reaction. So it was definitely a part of the plan although I wasn’t sure if I would stick to it because I try not to stick so closely to my outlines that I have sacrifice the story. But then I was inching closer and closer to the end I was like this is the right option, this is the only option.
We totally got it, but MAN it must have been so hard for you to do that to characters you obviously adore.
Oh yeah, it was really hard for me too. I kept being like, well how can I save her? You know, like how can I fix it? And every time I tried it was like oh this is such a lie, this is just maybe not giving my readers enough credit or giving my characters enough credit.
In terms of YA, it’s quite untraditional to end things in that kind of way. Quite often things end happily and things come together as it were. Did you feel like it was important to do that, to break away from that or that was just the way it had to be?
No, I mean, I definitely wasn’t trying to make some kind of point or to be different or anything like that, I just had set up each book with the same structure, which is why it ends with a near sacrifice by Tris trying to make her way back to Abnegations and then each time it doesn’t work because she doesn’t quite get it. But then in the third book when she finally got it and I felt she was mature and that her whole struggle was kind of at an end, like her internal struggle, I was just like the only way to make this work for her or to do justice to how hard she’s fought is to have this happen.
Well exactly, because being who she is, she would never let Caleb sacrifice himself – no matter what he’s done in the past. Especially after Will and how she felt after that.
Exactly, it’s so wrong! The scenes leading up to it I was like ‘Is she going to do it?’ I was like ‘No she can’t! There’s no way.’ Like, that’s not at all in line with her character to let that happen.
In terms of the series, the whole idea of genetically pure vs. genetically damaged and the perfection of human nature is a really interesting theme. Was that something that you consciously set out to explore?
I just fell on it really. I was writing the Outside World and it just kind of appeared out of nowhere. What I really found appealing was throughout the whole series I was trying to figure out what Divergence really is, just like everybody else. By the time I got to the 3rd book I didn’t really like that I had elevated Tris as being like this special one so I was like, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if Divergence really isn’t anything?’ Like, if it was just what people believe it is and people put this importance into this thing that doesn’t really exist, because I think people would do that.
I liked that Tris is very insistent that everyone is equal because it felt right to me that she would come to that conclusion immediately when she finds Tobias is not Divergent material – whatever that means anymore – that she was just like, ‘Well no, it doesn’t mean that anything has changed.’
So which character was your favourite to write?
Tris is my favourite! I can’t help it but I really started to love Caleb and Evelyn in the last book a lot. They just brought the pages to life every time they walked in and I was excited to see what they would do so I grew to love them. I also loved Tobias but I struggled a lot with making his voice distinct, I kind of write in a certain way and I tried to push myself but it was very hard, it was a big challenge for me.
Evelyn is such a great character. We really liked that her reaction to life in Abnegation and how she was treated by Marcus was almost to turn into him a little bit. Sort of going towards sort of the tyrannical side of things.
Well, it’s like when you react to something with the opposite, it’s still controlling you. so you’re still organising their entire world in relation to that thing. I think that’s Marcus for her.
If you were going to take one character from the series and write about them again in kind of a different story, who would you like to write about?
Oh I don’t know, I mean I kind of am doing that I guess with the Four stories, which has been really fun, like very fun. So I don’t know, I guess I would go with a parent or something because I find that generation very interesting. But I don’t know if I’m gonna do anything else.
If you were in a faction, which faction would you be in?
None of them sound appealing anymore, but Abnegation is probably the one I would choose although I feel like I’d probably flunk out eventually, maybe after a year or two.
End up factionless?
Yes, that’s right. I mean they have kind of a crappy existence, but at least they get to do whatever they want and be who ever they want, so there’s something cool about them.
So what do you make of all that then? Still heartbroken over Allegiant or reckon Veronica made the right choice?
Let us know below and don’t forget to check back for the second part of our interview that’s coming to the Bookclub very soon. In the mean time, why not have a watch of what happened when we chatted with Veronica and Shailene about the upcoming Divergent movie?