The ending of the Maze Runner book series is a bittersweet journey that leaves the readers with mixed feelings. On the one hand, Thomas and his friends finally escape from WICKED and find a safe haven. On the other hand, they have lost many friends along the way, and the world they once knew is gone forever. It would pain to many even reminding of what happened on page 250 of the third book, The Death Cure.
“With his heart falling into a black abyss, Thomas pulled the trigger.”
Thomas was forced to kill his best friend, Newt.
No moment in the whole series was more painful and heart breaking than that.
However, despite the poignant climax, the Maze Runner book series is a story of hope and resilience. Thomas and the other survivors (Gladers) never give up, even when faced with the most difficult challenges. They show us that anything is possible if we work together.
It is also worth noting that the ending of the Maze Runner book series is different from the ending of the movie series. In the movie series, Thomas and the other survivors find a true safe haven, where they can finally live in peace. However, in the book series, the safe haven is not perfect, but it is a place where they can start to rebuild their lives.
The ending of the The Maze Runner and other installments of the series left many readers perplexed with unanswered questions. Needless to mention the huge cliffhanger that James Dashner uses at the end of the books to raise the stakes, leaning audience drooling for more.
In this article, I’ll delve into the endings of all the three books of Maze Runner series and explain it.
The Maze Runner
James Dashner’s Maze Runner series is an exhilarating blend of action and post-apocalyptic dystopia that has enchanted the young minds with its breakneck pace and captivating characters. Critics praised the series for its thought-provoking themes, such as the nature of memory, the importance of teamwork, and the dangers of totalitarianism. While other criticized it for its under developed characters, and predictable plot.
The Maze Runner series has three books and two prequels. The trilogy was later adapted into a successful movie franchise, broadening its reach even further.
Let’s explore how the Maze Runner trilogy ends by taking a quick dive into each book, providing a seamless understanding of their respective plots, overall story arc, and endings.
Book One Summary: “The Maze Runner” Explained
Surrounded by towering walls and grassy area, amnesia-stricken Thomas wakes up in a mysterious metal elevator. He has no memory of who he is or how he got there, except his name.
He is greeted by a group of boys, known as Gladers, who also have no memory of how they got to the maze. The Gladers have established a society in the Glade, and they have created a set of rules and traditions to help them survive.
Thomas quickly becomes one of the Runners, a group of Gladers who explore the maze in search of an exit. He also learns more about the maze, including the fact that it is filled with deadly traps and creatures.
One day, Thomas and the other Runners find Teresa in the middle of the maze. She is the first girl to ever enter the maze. She carries a note with her that says, “Thomas is the only one who can save us.”
“The Maze Runner” Ending Explained
In the climactic ending, Thomas with some other Gladers managed to escape by using a code that Teresa got from her telepathic connection with Thomas. They find a computer room where they are greeted by a woman named Ava Paige, who claims to be the leader of the World In Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department (WICKED).
She tells them that they are part of an experiment to test their brain patterns and find a cure for a deadly virus called the Flare, which has infected most of the world’s population. She also says that the Maze was only the first phase of the trial, and that there are more to come. As she finishes her speech, she shoots herself in the head.
The Gladers are then rescued by a group of armed men who take them to a “safe haven” where they hope to find answers and eventually bring an end to the experiments. On the way, they see the ruins of a city and learn that the world has been devastated by solar flares and the Flare virus.
The bus arrives at a dormitory where the Gladers are told to rest and prepare for the next day. However, Thomas finds a note in his room that says that WICKED is good and that everything is not what it seems.
At the end, it is revealed that the rescue was staged by the creators and that the Gladers will be subject to the next level of experiments, after having one night of peace and quiet, apparently.
The ending suggests that the Gladers are not truly free, even though they have escaped the maze. They are still trapped in WICKED’s experiment, and they can’t trust anyone.
“The Maze Runner”: Book vs Film Differences
Here are some of the major differences between “The Maze Runner” book and film adaptation:
- The Gladers have been in the Glade for two years, including Thomas.
- The Grievers are more organic and biological in appearance.
- The ending of the book is more open-ended, with the Gladers being rescued by a group of rebels and taken to a safe haven.
- Thomas being lifted up in an elevator to the Glade.
- The Grievers are more mechanical and robotic in appearance.
- The ending of the film is more conclusive, with the Gladers being rescued by a helicopter and taken to safety.
- The film changes some of the details of the maze and the Glade, such as the number of doors and the layout of the Glade.
Book Two Summary: “The Scorch Trials” Explained
The Scorch Trials is the second book in the Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner. It follows the story of Thomas and the other Gladers as they are forced to participate in a second Trial, having to complete the task of reaching the other side of the Scorch, a desolate, post-apocalyptic landscape filled with dangerous obstacles and Cranks (flare virus infected humans).
The story picks up where the first book left off, with Thomas and the other Gladers having rescued from the Maze by by a group of people who claim to be from WICKED, a scientific organization that is trying to find a cure for the Flare. They are placed in a large facility, but they soon learn that this is just the beginning of their trials.
WICKED gives Thomas and the Gladers a map and a two-weeks deadline; asking them to cross the Scorch, a desolate and sweltering landscape. Along the way they battle Cranks, and deal with other dangers, including a group of mysterious mercenaries who are hunting them, in order to reach a safe haven.
Thomas also begins to recover memories of his life before the Maze, and he learns that he and Teresa were part of WICKED’s experiments on children. Thomas starts questioning WICKED’s true motives, and he wonders if they can really be trusted. He discovers that WICKED is responsible for the Flare outbreak, and that they are using the Gladers as test subjects in a desperate attempt to find a cure.
“The Scorch Trials” Ending Explained
The climax is a turning point in the story.
Thomas and the Gladers finally reach the safe haven, but they discover that it is a trap set by WICKED. Thomas is captured and taken to a WICKED facility, where he is reunited with Teresa. Teresa reveals that she was forced to betray Thomas in the Scorch, and she begs him to forgive her.
Thomas eventually escapes from the WICKED facility, but he is separated from Teresa and the Gladers. He vows to find them and to expose WICKED’s secrets to the world.
The ending of The Scorch Trial cue at a more intense and explosive sequel, leaving fans with a strong sense of anticipation.
“The Scorch Trials”: Book vs Film Differences
There are several differences between “The Scorch Trials” book and film adaptation. Here are some of the major differences:
- The Gladers are forced by WICKED to participate in a second Trial, having to complete the task of reaching the other side.
- There are multiple groups of teenagers, traversing the scorch
- Teresa is briefly taken by WICKED, and rescued by the Gladers before escaping to the Scorch with them.
- Teresa betrays Thomas by luring him in to the gas-chamber
- Cranks can look fairly normal but be experiencing different levels of insanity.
- The Right Arm doesn’t appear until the book, The Death Cure
- The Gladers are told that they are now being taken to safe dormitory, but the truth quickly becomes apparent and it seems that the maze was only the beginning. The titular trial part is missing which makes it a loose adaptation.
- The Gladers have nothing to bargain with as they are not in search of the cure.
- Teresa betrays Gladers by giving away their location to WICKED
- Cranks are all zombie-like.
The film adaptation of “The Scorch Trials” takes some liberties with the source material, but still manages to capture the essence of the book and tell an engaging story. Some changes, such as the portrayal of the Cranks, are more significant than others, but they do not detract from the overall quality of the film.
Book Three summary: “The Death Cure” Explained
Released in 2011, The Death Cure is the third and final book in the Maze Runner book series by James Dashner, and followed by the series prequels, “The Kill Order” and “The Fever Code”.
The Death Cure starts from where the book two ended, with Thomas waking up in a padded, white room, and Teresa speaking to him telepathically. She tells him that the Flare was rooted too deeply in him, and that WICKED took him away. Thomas tells Teresa to go away, and she stops all telepathy connection for good.
Well, he just completed the Scorch Trials, and word has it that he has the Flare, so WICKED has him quarantined.
After being held in solitary confinement, Thomas is eventually released by Janson, who is the assistant director of WICKED. Janson offers Thomas a deal: if he helps WICKED find a cure for the Flare, a deadly disease that has ravaged the world, they will give him his memories back.Thomas agrees to help and is reunited with his friends, who have also been experimented on by WICKED.
They embark on a mission to break into the Last City, a WICKED-controlled labyrinth that may turn out to be the deadliest maze of all, on a mission to find a cure for the Flare. Explosives are going off everywhere, and they must fight their way through the city to find the cure.
At the end of the novel, Thomas and his friends, including Newt and Minho, have escaped from the WICKED organization’s compound, where they were subjected to even more cruel experiments. They are joined by Teresa, who had previously been working for WICKED but switched sides to help them.
During their escape, Newt, who has been infected by the Flare virus, becomes increasingly ill and unstable. He asks Thomas to promise to kill him when the time comes, as he doesn’t want to succumb to the virus and become a Crank (a Flare-infected person). Thomas reluctantly agrees.
“The Death Cure” Ending Explained
The climax of the novel occurs when Thomas and the other Gladers launch a final attack on WICKED in an attempt to rescue the immune Gladers who are being held captive there.
Newt’s condition rapidly deteriorates. In a heartbreaking scene, Thomas fulfills his promise and shoots Newt to prevent him from turning into a Crank. This moment symbolizes the loss of innocence and and the harsh realities of the world they live in.
They also discover that WICKED has been experimenting on children to find a cure for the Flare, which leads to a confrontation between Thomas and Janson. In the end, Thomas strangles Janson to death, and Teresa dies from falling debris while saving Thomas’s life.
After the showdown, the remaining members of WICKED are arrested, and the world begins to rebuild. The book ends with Thomas and his friends finding a paradise where they can start civilization all over again, and WICKED ends up saving the human race despite the awful crimes they’ve committed against humanity.