Where the Crawdads Sing book ending explained


Where the Crawdads Sing has arrived in theatres and its twist ending has left fans with various reactions. Here it is explained.

The movie, starring Daisy Edgar Jones and featuring a song by Taylor Swift, only dropped in cinemas today, July 22, and has received a whole host of mixed reviews.

*Warning: contains spoilers for Where the Crawdads Sing*

Where the Crawdads Sing ending

Where the Crawdads Sing is another classic book-to-movie adaptation and those familiar with the book will already know the shocking twist that comes at the end.

  • TRENDING: Elvis star Shonka Dukureh found dead by one of her children in her apartment
Where the Crawdads Sing official trailer, Sony Pictures Entertainment

At the end of the book – which was written by Delia Owens in 2018 and has sold over 15 million copies, according to Rolling Stones Magazine – Kya is released from jail, after previously being charged with the murder of Chase Andrews, and people in the town realize the case against her was unfair because she was just an ‘easy target’ for being the ‘Marsh Girl’. Due to a weak case against her, she’s found to be not guilty.

When the book skips to the future, Kya and Tate get married and grow old together before she dies in her 60s. But fans are still left with the question who killed Chase?

Where the Crawdads Sing movie

The movie largely follows the same narrative as the book with the core characters and situations running parallel, but one striking difference that was noted by fans is the ending.

The movie doesn’t precisely tell audiences who actually killed Chase and this is because they’re able to give viewers a slight piece of doubt with visuals without going into detail, whereas the book can only explain the situation via Tate’s thoughts.

This content could not be loaded

Saw where the crawdads sing today, it was disappointing especially in comparison to the book. Kya’s romance with Tate feels unearned to me and the ending did not live up to the way the book ended things. It only hints at what the book confirms and the book handles the mystery bet

— Blinkwave and friends reviews (@Blinkwave21) July 15, 2022

View Tweet

This is where people got so many questions, even the Guardian reviewer wanted to see more, but the book explains the ending much more clearly.

Where the Crawdads Sing ending explained

In the book, the ending is explained further with the truth behind the whole mystery being revealed. After Kya’s death, Tate discovers a shell necklace and a poem written by Kya, ‘The Firefly’, which actually reveals Kya did kill Chase.

It’s then explained to the reader that Kya only acted the way she did after Chase attempted to rape Kya and she knew she’d only ever be safe from him if he was gone.

So she planned to kill him and make it look like an accident, then to separate herself from it she took back the necklace she’d once given to him.

The real identity of Amanda Hamilton, the poetry writer for Barkley Cove’s local newspaper, is also revealed to be Kya all along using a pseudonym.

In other news, Relive Patrick Stewart roasting James Corden amid Balthazar ban

Have something to tell us about this article? Let us know

Where the Crawdads Sing book ending explained

Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Tom (David Strathairn) in Columbia Pictures' WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING.

Note: The following contains “Where the Crawdads Sing” spoilers. If you haven’t seen the movie or want to read the book, steer clear!

A central question of “Where the Crawdads Sing,” adapted to film from Delia Owen’s popular novel through Lucy Alibar’s screenplay, is: Who killed Chase Andrews (Harris Dickinson)? At first, it seems the answer might elude viewers — until the final moments of the story subtly reveal what happened to him.

First, some backstory: “Where the Crawdads Sing” recounts the life story of Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones). Kya’s earliest memories of her family are loving ones, but as she tells her story from a dank jail cell after getting arrested for her suspected killing of Chase Andrews, she reveals that her family left her all alone to fend for herself in the marsh where they lived.

The Sheriff tracks down Kya because she used to be in a relationship with Chase, before she found out that he was engaged to another woman. But before Chase, Kya fell in love with Tate Walker (Taylor John Smith). Tate introduces Kya to poetry in Owens’ book, and poetry helps Tate uncover a shocking revelation at the end of the story, but the film does not include this element at the end.

Where the Crawdads Sing book ending explained

“There’s so many amazing parts of Delia’s book and it was a very hard and painful decision of what to include in the movie and what we had to leave out,” director Olivia Newman said in an interview with TheWrap. “We hope that [Kya’s] poetry comes through in the visual language and in the way that she talks and the way that she observes the world. We didn’t feel we were losing too much of telling her character’s story if we couldn’t fit that into the movie.”

In the book, Kya recites poetry to herself when she is alone. Most of the poems are by Amanda Hamilton, a local poet who gets published in regional outlets. At the end of the book, Tate realizes that Kya used Amanda Hamilton as a pen name and that she wrote those poems. The book concludes with a poem by Amanda Hamilton aka Kya called “The Firefly,” which draws on the symbolism Kya finds in how female fireflies attract male mates through false signals only to lure them to their deaths.

“We never considered changing the ending. For me, the ending is the story. That ending is everything to understand who Kaya is and the choices that she was faced with,” Newman said. “You have to have that ending. That was always incredibly important to me.” 

The Firefly poem gives Tate the first clue that Kya might have actually been responsible for Chase’s death. Then he finds a shell necklace that Kya made for Chase hidden in her shack. Chase never took the necklace off after Kya gave it to him, but when his dead body was discovered, the necklace was gone. In the film, a detailed painting of a firefly as well as one of Chase in a journal visually hinted at what Kya had actually done.

Where the Crawdads Sing book ending explained

“We did discuss shooting a slightly more explicit version of the ending,” Newman added. “The book leaves so much to the imagination, and you get to understand who Kaya is, but never fully. That’s part of what’s mysterious about her. We wanted to maintain that there’s a mystery to it.”

Kya’s trial paints a picture of what could have happened the fateful night Chase Andrews fell out of the fire tower, especially when his family’s attorney tries to speculate based on evidence. Newman suggests there are other scenes available out there for those who miss certain parts of the book. 

“The first cut of the movie was three hours long, so there are a lot of deleted scenes,” she said. “But a lot of them will be available on the DVD – extras so the fans can see.”

The shocking ending realization that Kya did actually kill Chase leads to Taylor Swift’s original song “Carolina,” which accompanies the end credits that contain illustrations by art director Kirby Feagan. “Crawdads” is far from the ending of Newman’s career — as she has signed on to direct another Hello Sunshine adaptation of a best-selling book, “The Last Thing He Told Me,” which sounds as suspenseful as “Where the Crawdads Sing.”

“It is such a fantastic project. It’s a seven-episode limited series starring Jennifer Garner, who’s just wonderful,” Newman said. “It’s adapted from Laura Dave’s novel ‘The Last Thing He Told Me’ and it’s a story of a woman whose husband works for a tech company that is busted for fraud and he goes missing. So she sets out to figure out if he’s involved and what happened to him and why he disappeared and she’s left with his 16-year-old daughter who can’t stand her. So it’s really this incredible, you know, suspenseful mystery. But also a mother sort of a mother, stepdaughter love story in the end. It’s great to be working with Hello Sunshine again and Laura Dave and Josh Singer, the showrunners are fantastic.” 

Note: This article was originally published in July 2022 but has been refreshed now that the film is on Netflix.

Where the Crawdads Sing book ending explained

Who was the killer in Where the Crawdads Sing?

Kya is named as the prime suspect in Chase's murder after his body is found at the base of an abandoned fire tower.

How did the book Where the Crawdads Sing end?

At the end of the film (and the book), Kya is finally released from jail and acquitted of the murder of Chase Andrews. The people in the town realize that this case was brought against the 'Marsh Girl' unfairly and she was simply an easy target because the townsfolk hated her.

Why did Kya keep the shell necklace?

What's interesting, though, is that Kya takes the shell necklace off of Chase's dead body after killing him, thereby symbolically reclaiming her power over their relationship by taking back the very thing that represents both her own acquiescence to Chase and the danger that he posed to her wellbeing.

How did Kya get Chase to the fire tower?

Though, there is a short window of time when she could have committed the murder. As shown in court, Kya chose a motel very close to a bus stop and after having dinner with her publishers, she must have taken the last bus ride home and lured Chase to the top of a tall lookout and pushed him off.