‘School for Good and Evil’ Author Soman Chainani on the Ending’s “Ambiguity” (EXCLUSIVE)
'The School for Good and Evil' released on Netflix in October 2022. Here's what the book series' author Soman Chainani told us about the film's end.
Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for The School for Good and Evil.
In May 2013, the first book in The School for Good and Evil series debuted in bookstores worldwide. The 560-page piece follows best friends Agatha and Sophie, who accidentally wind up at the center of the two schools that make fairy tales come true.
The girls eventually discover that they mistakenly enrolled in separate schools, with Agatha, an aspiring witch, going to the School for Good and Sophie, a hopeful princess, attending the School for Evil. The School for Good and Evil book series’ hexology ended in June 2020. However, soon after the final book, Netflix and author Soman Chainani enlisted director Paul Feig for the film adaptation.
The School for Good and Evil movie was released on Wednesday, Oct. 19, and fans of the book have already shared their opinions on how the two compare. One significant plot difference was the two-hour-and-28-minute movie’s end. In an exclusive interview with Distractify, Soman Chainani explains The School for Good and Evil's ending and how it correlates with plans for the series.
Soman Chainani explained why the ‘School for Good and Evil’ ending happened the way it did.
In the School for Good and Evil movie, Agatha (Sofia Wylie) and Sophie’s (Sophia Anne Caruso) friendship shifted. While at the schools for “Evers” (Good) and “Nevers” (Evil), a Prince Charming-in-training, Tedros (Jamie Flatters), falls for Agatha instead of Sophie. Sophie has more significant problems toward the movie’s end when the School Master’s (Laurence Fishburne) brother tells her that he’s always been her true love. Rafal (Kit Young) then kisses Sophie, which ultimately dooms both schools.
Fortunately, Agatha and Tedros come to Sophie’s rescue, and Agatha seemingly kills Rafal with one final strike. She also saved her BFF with a kiss on her forehead, proving that platonic love can be just as valid. Then, Agatha further proves her loyalty to Sophie when she chooses to leave the magical school and leave Tedros behind with nothing but a kiss to remember her by.
While narrator Cate Blanchett deemed Agatha’s decision “the end of the story,” Tedros proved there was still more to tell. In the final scene, one of Tedros’s arrows pierces the vortex between Agatha and Sophie’s worlds in Galvaldon, the schools’ worlds, with the message, “I need you, Agatha!”
The message is a pivotal plot point for Soman’s second book in the School for Good and Evil series, A World Without Princes. However, in the book, Tedros asks Sophie to return to the school instead of Agatha. Soman said the movie’s ending accurately followed the books but adding Agatha’s name added to the “ambiguity” of Tedros’ plan to plot revenge on Sophie for taking his love away.
“The difference is in the second book, you know, Tedros is angry at Sophie because he really wanted Agatha,” Soman explains of the ending. “So it was just a matter of getting to the heart of the matter, which is what he really wants is Agatha back, so the question is how you play it at the beginning of a second movie.”
The author adds: “To me, it’s sort of the same point basically being that when the arrow comes at the end of the movie, we don't really know who that arrow is for, is it a message to Agatha being like ‘come back’ or is it directed at Sophie like, ‘get out of the way so I can have Agatha back’? So that ambiguity still leaves you willing to do exactly what you need to do from book two.”
Soman Chainani shares his thoughts on his ‘School for Good and Evil’ characters coming to life.
Soman says production on The School for Good and Evil began when he finished the last book of the series, One True King. Despite ending the hexology, the Harvard graduate released Rise of the School for Good and Evil, which follows twin brothers Rhian and Rafal 200 years before the School for Good and Evil opened.
The prequel is based on Agatha and Sophie’s schools, but the two of them won’t appear in the books. While he’s no longer writing for these famous characters, Soman says he enjoyed seeing Sofia and Sophia bring them to life for the big screen. Soman explains that it was important for the actresses to have plenty of “chemistry” to make their friendship believable and says they did a “fantastic job” of achieving his vision.
“I think that's the love story in the movie,” Soman tells us of Agatha and Sophie, adding their casting “needs to be right.”
The School for Good and Evil is available to stream on Netflix.