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The Ending Of The Woman In Black Explained

Daniel Radcliffe may be widely known for portraying the bespectacled Boy Who Lived in the eight-part "Harry Potter" film series, but there's more on the actor's resume than battling Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).

In 2012, Radcliffe fans saw the actor in his first post-Wizarding World project (via IMDb) — "The Woman in Black." Dark, creepy, and gothic, the film follows Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe), a widower, single father, and lawyer who must journey to the abandoned Eel Marsh House to sort through the papers of the late Alice Drablow. However, this is easier said than done.

Arthur soon learns of a dark entity feared by the townsfolk of Crythin Gifford. The ghost of Alice's sister, Jennet Humfrye (Liz White) aka the Woman in Black, appears to local children, forcing them to cause their own demise. In life, Jennet was mentally unfit to care for her young son Nathaniel (Ashley Foster), who was taken into custody by his aunt. But a horrible carriage accident on the marsh occurred, taking Nathaniel's life. The pain was too much for Jennet, who blamed Alice for the loss. Before exiting this world, Jennet vowed to "never forgive." Ever since, Jennet has made it her mission to ensure that, if she couldn't have a child, neither can anyone else.

While the main plotline of "The Woman in Black" is pretty straightforward, the twist of events at the conclusion can leave some viewers scratching their heads. Let's take a look at how Arthur's journey in Crythin Gifford ends and what it all means.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

The Woman in Black ends in tragedy

Upon discovering Jennet's reason for claiming the lives of innocent kids, Arthur concocts a plan: if he can reunite mother with son, she'll stop her vengeance. Arthur, along with his new acquaintance Sam Daily (Ciarán Hinds), trek through the marsh to retrieve Nathaniel's body from the sunken carriage. After doing so, he brings Nathaniel inside Eel Marsh House, places him on a bed, and surrounds him with toys. A few moments pass before Jennet's spirit comes whipping through the room, an occurrence that Arthur mistakenly sees as a good sign.

Following a stressful few days, Arthur's own little boy Joseph (Misha Handley) arrives in Crythin Gifford by train, with a caretaker at his side. As they're are standing on the platform, Joseph spots none other than the Woman in Black. Stuck under her deadly spell, he walks onto the tracks just as a train is approaching at high speed.

When Arthur sees what's unfolding before his eyes, he dives onto the tracks to save Joseph, but it's an impossible feat. Moments after the collision, they're surrounded by a glowing, white light, which turns out to be Arthur's late wife Stella (Sophie Stuckey) there to greet them. As the reunited family walks toward the light together, Jennet stands nearby watching and looking as menacing as ever.

Arthur saves his son's soul

During Arthur's overnight stay at Eel Marsh House to sort through Alice's papers, he's greeted by a disturbing sight — all of the children taken by Jennet over the years are trapped on the island, forced to haunt any unwelcome visitors. Yet when the Woman in Black casts her spell over Joseph, he isn't destined to an eternity at the marshland. Rather, he's able to leave this life arm-in-arm with his beloved parents.

There's a major difference between the demise of Joseph and the unfortunate kids of Crythin Gifford. Arthur sacrificed himself in an effort to save his son, whereas the other children were alone and vulnerable when they died. Though Joseph does lose his life because of Jennet's power, he's able to avoid such a dark fate because of his father's love and protection.

The ending of "The Woman in Black" also begs the question: did Arthur's plan to reunite mother and son fail? Ultimately, it did. Jennet vowed to "never forgive," and she is a woman of her word. She's filled with so much hatred that getting Nathaniel back years later is too little, too late. Her personality in life, one of instability and jealousy, carried over into this vicious afterlife, which means nothing will ever appease her. At this point, the residents of Crythin Gifford would be smart to simply relocate.