Not Fade Away

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Title: Not Fade Away
Creator: The Royal Anna
Date(s): 2004?
Medium: online
Fandom: Angel
Topic: series finale
External Links: Not Fade Away, Archived version
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For works set after the episode 'Not Fade Away', see Post-NFA

Not Fade Away is an essay by The Royal Anna. It is an episode reaction to the Angel series finale, "Not Fade Away."

It is one of many at Octaves, a Buffy and Angel website.

"An eloquent and heart-breaking look at the end of an era."


Because over the years I have watched this story being told, it has been my privilege to laugh, to cry, to care, to think, to be challenged, to be moved, to be inspired. Last night, at the end, it was my privilege to be there.

It was enough.

Where to begin? Strange to talk of beginnings, here at the end of the story, except the story doesn’t end. Stories don’t, not real stories. And this story is real. It is real because real people watched it, real people cared about it, real people dared to let themselves be changed by it. The best stories are true beyond the telling of them. They are the way we make sense of the world we live in, the way we share that, and yes, they matter.

I’ve always loved Angel differently to the way I loved Buffy. Once upon a time I said that Buffy was character-driven where Angel is theme-driven, that sometimes in Angel it felt like the characters were subservient to the story. And now I start to see that that was the point of Angel; that it was about characters trying to be bigger than the story they were in. It was a battle, character versus story, and the answer was always that you could only fight your story so far. That in the end you’d have to seize your story, whichever point of that story you’d find yourself at, and make it yours. I think that’s what Angel leaves with me. It’s your story. Tell it.

I’m not big on endings. Closure is not a word I have any use for. Because it’s a strange illusion, and a sad one, I think, that tries to make us believe that life is containable, that we can tie up bits of it and put them aside. Why take something so big and make it so small?

I’ve said it before, but you can’t try and find in endings what you’ve never found previously. Don’t tell me that your character deserved a more satisfactory death. A what? So a sweetly-timed, neatly-staged death makes a pretty story sometimes, but I don’t want my fiction to tell me that death is ever satisfactory.

But ending or not, this is the point we have to step back. This is the point we let go. And it’s hard to let go of these characters, these characters so much loved, so often inspiring. I loved that they grew, that they faltered, that they fell. I loved that the journey each of them took mattered more than where they started out and wherever they might end up.