“The Shining” has a very different ending in the book

The big picture

  • Stephen King hated Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation The glowincluding casting Jack Nicholson, so much so that he decided to create his own miniseries adaptation.
  • The film and the novel have different endings, with the film’s iconic hedge maze sequence leading to Jack’s death, while the novel ends with a dramatic explosion that destroys the hotel.
  • The sequel to The glow, Doctor Sleepfinally gave King the ending he wanted when the Overlook Hotel burned down and Danny sacrificed himself to save Abra from possession.

That’s actually no secret Stephen King Absolutely hates it Stanley Kubrickis the film adaptation of The glowsomething he repeated back in 2020 an interview with the New York Times. In fact, he hated it so much that he made his own adaptation of it in the form of a three-part miniseries in 1997. His biggest problem with the film was the casting Jack Nicholson, as he felt that Nicholson failed to grasp Jack’s slow descent into madness and was seemingly insane from the jump. But there’s a bigger and more understandable reason to dislike the famous adaptation. Aside from the terrible treatment of Shelley DuvallStanley Kubrick also changed the ending when adapting the novel – and not in the slightest.

How does the book “The Shining” end?

The glow
Image via Warner Bros.

Both the ending of the book and the ending of the film begin similarly, with some minor changes. Wendy and Danny (Danny Lloyd) flees from Jack, causing Wendy to lock herself in a bathroom. Jack tries to break down the door – in what has now become one of the most famous and influential scenes – while Wendy fights him off with a knife. She manages to hurt him enough to scare him off, just like Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers) arrives back at the Overlook after receiving a psychic distress call from Danny. In the lobby he meets Jack, who seriously injures him in the book, unlike in the film where he kills him. But that’s not the big change we’re talking about here, although it was a noticeable change between the two. This is the last moment in which the two pieces resemble each other, as they take completely different paths towards the climax of the story.

In the film adaptation, Jack chases Danny into the hotel’s hedge maze, while Wendy desperately searches for her son in the hotel. Danny manages to mislead Jack and hides behind a snowbank as he watches Jack take the bait and head in the opposite direction. He then leaves the labyrinth, where he meets up with his mother again, and the two manage to escape in Hallorann’s snowcat, while Jack freezes to death in the labyrinth. Jack’s frozen body in the maze has become an iconic shot of the film, and the entire hedge maze sequence is truly brilliant. It’s tense and scary, and it leaves you on the edge of your seat. It’s truly a great climax to the film – but it’s not the ending Stephen King wrote.

The end of the novel takes a completely different path. Jack chases Danny through the hotel and manages to corner him on the top floor. For a moment he manages to break his possession and is himself enough to urge Danny to run before the hotel takes control of him again. He then injures his face with a mallet and is officially under the control of the hotel. Danny suddenly remembers that Jack hasn’t relieved the pressure in the hotel’s boiler and tells him that the hotel is going to explode. When the possessed Jack goes into the basement in a last-ditch attempt to save the hotel from the inevitable, Danny, Wendy and Hallorann manage to get to safety. The cauldron actually explodes, just like Danny said, instantly killing Jack and destroying the Overlook Hotel.

The end of the novel is a much larger climax that may not be as action-heavy, but rather concludes the story dramatically and fittingly, destroying Jack and the hotel that has taken over him. Yes, the ending of the film is now iconic, but one has to wonder how well the ending of the book would have fit into the already impressive film depiction. However, there is no need to be too surprised about this as this was the case in 2019.

RELATED: The Ending of ‘The Shining’ We’ll Never See

How does “Doctor Sleep” fit in with “The Shining”?

Doctor Sleep (2019)
Image via Warner Bros.

In 2013, Stephen King released a sequel The glow titled Doctor Sleep. Doctor Sleep follows Danny (Ewan McGregor) decades after the events of The glow. Since then, Danny has become an alcoholic in an attempt to maintain his psychic abilities (described as “shining”). He eventually gives up drinking, which causes his shine to resurface, and he takes a job at a hospice, where he uses his skills to comfort dying patients, earning him the nickname “Doctor Sleep.” He soon meets a young girl named Abra (Kyliegh Curran), who has the brightest glow he’s ever seen, and learns that a cult of quasi-immortals who feed on the glow of those who have the gift are targeting them. He decides to do everything in his power to protect Abra, which inevitably leads him back to the Overlook Hotel. It’s a great sequel to The glow and was made into a film in 2019 Mike Flanaganand luckily for Stephen King, Flanagan finally gave him an ending The glow he always wanted that. In the novel the big fight is against Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) takes place at the campground where the Overlook Hotel was once located. However, the film changes this a bit and instead follows the Kubrick ending and leaves the Overlook still standing so they can stage the battle in the hotel. This also gave Flanagan an opportunity to perform The glowThe end of the novel.

As a final attempt to save Abra and defeat Rose the Hat, Danny lures her to the Overlook Hotel, knowing that it is still full of ghosts and ghouls. He opens the boxes in his head that contain the ghosts of the Overlook Hotel and they come to life to kill Rose the Hat once and for all. But then Danny is taken over by the same ghosts he had imprisoned for years and soon assumes the same role his father had decades before. This is when the film pays homage The glow Novel. Danny finds Abra and even though his possessed self wants to kill her, he manages to break free long enough to tell her to run away. He knows what he must do and that the only way to free himself from the ghosts and possession and save Abra is for the Overlook to cease to exist. And so he goes into the boiler room and violently fights back against the hotel’s obsession to get him to turn off the boiler. Instead, he sits and watches as the boiler breaks and flames engulf the room blocking his exit, killing him and burning down the Overlook Hotel in the process. This is the ending King originally intended The glow, except apparently Jack died instead of Danny. While it may not have happened in the Kubrick version, it’s still great that we (and King himself) finally got to see a big-budget version of his original ending.

Dustin Huang

Dustin Huang is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Dustin Huang joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: dustinhuang@24ssports.com.

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