**spoiler alert - that means you Matt Rush!**
I've had comments here and there from readers of my first fantasy novel who say that I shouldn't lead readers on with things such as the big war against the elves that threatens to break out during the first quarter of the book only to be overcome by bigger events, or the buildup of dread toward the eventual encounter with the horrible dragon only to find that it has died of old age. They say this is a letdown for readers. For me it is history.
I know that seems irrational. For you it is fiction, and thus the writer could simply change the plot. For me, my fantasy world has existed for around a quarter of a century. I know it almost as well as I know the real world. It is real for me. Its history is real for me. And like real history, events cannot simply be changed at a whim to be more appropriate to your needs (unless you are the FOX Propaganda Channel). History is messy, so I find it unbelievable when events in fantasy books always fall like dominos along a perfect plotline. Real stories should be messy (at least to a degree), just like real history.
The war with elves is something that almost happened and then didn't. Sorry, but that's the history. The prince tried to touch off that war, because he had designs on their land. The war would have happened if my main character hadn't acted to sabotage the prince's plans along with everyone learning about an impending invasion by a never-before-heard-of race. Some readers can call that a letdown. I call it realistic.
I suppose it is because I have been a historian by nature all of my life. The first book I ever asked for, when I was five, was the Illustrated History of the World. When I got into grade school, I read every history book in the library, and when I was done I reread them. I would have majored in history in college except that I have never wanted to be a teacher and I couldn't see any good careers available otherwise. I did still minor in history, though.
I fully understand why readers would be baffled by my attitude. I should be able to change anything and everything. I get it. I just can't do it. The history of my universe is as real to me as the Silmarillion for Middle Earth is for Tolkien. I can change the details revolving about the characters, but I can't change the events that have occurred within the world. If a publisher ever came to me and said my book was close, but I need to change this one event, well then I would have to think hard about it.