The Imaginary (2024) Ending Explained – What happens to Rudger at the end?

The Imaginary Plot Summary

The Imaginary revolves around a little girl named Amanda, who, like most children, is exceptionally imaginative. Her ‘Imaginary’ friend, Rudger, is a central figure in her world. In this story, imagination is as real as reality, and imaginary friends like Rudger are common among children. These imaginary friends, visible only to their human creators, are called “Imaginaries”.

Despite their significance, they are prone to being forgotten by their creators and vanish into oblivion. Amanda and Rudger have been inseparable since they met three months ago when Amanda created Rudger. However, their bond is threatened when an Imaginary-eating man named Mr. Bunting crosses paths with them, and Amanda finds herself on the doorstep of death. Rudger embarks on an unusual and perilous adventure to help Amanda while trying to escape Mr. Bunting’s clutches.

Does Rudger disappear?

Amanda and Rudger’s playful adventures are interrupted when Mr. Bunting, a human who consumes Imaginaries, arrives at Amanda’s doorstep with his decaying Imaginary friend. He attempts to devour Rudger at Amanda’s family bookstore but fails. The next encounter occurs when Amanda, her mother, and Rudger are out running errands. Amanda gets into a car accident, and Rudger barely escapes from Mr. Bunting’s grasp. Since Amanda is unconscious, she no longer remembers Rudger. As Imaginaries exist solely in the imagination of their creators, Rudger begins to fade away until a fellow Imaginary, a cat named Jinzan, helps him survive by transporting him to a library.

What does Rudger find at the library?

At the library, Rudger is surprised to see numerous Imaginaries. He meets Emily, a human-like Imaginary; Snowflake, a hippopotamus; and Cruncher-of-Bones, an adorable mini-skeleton. Emily explains that the library, being a hub of imagination housing thousands of books, allows Imaginaries forgotten by their creators to survive within its bounds.

Every weekend, the Imaginaries take on temporary roles for children who have the potential to make them permanent Imaginaries. They play with the children and return to the library after playtime, allowing them to survive and thrive even without their creators’ memories.

How did Emily disappear?

During one of the encounters with Mr. Bunting, Emily, Snowflake, and Rudger try to reach the library. Mr. Bunting imagines a bullet and shoots Emily. Since Mr. Bunting possesses the power of imagination, the imaginary bullet works and kills Emily. After her death, Snowflake and the other Imaginaries do not remember her.

Does Amanda die?

Since Rudger hasn’t reunited with Amanda, everyone else assumes that Amanda has died. Everyone except Rudger. He decides to “tell her to wake up and fight for her life” at the hospital. In one of his temporary Imaginary jobs with Amanda’s friend Julia, Rudger leaves the library and follows an ambulance to the hospital where Amanda is admitted.

At the same time, Mr. Bunting finds his way to Amanda’s room to catch and consume Rudger. Amidst the struggle between Rudger and Mr. Bunting, Amanda wakes up and recalls Rudger. Through Amanda’s imagination, they escape Mr. Bunting, but only briefly before Mr. Bunting ensnares Amanda with an Imaginary snake.

How is Lizzie able to see the Imaginaries?

Amanda reminds Lizzie about Fridge, a dog and her childhood Imaginary friend. This realization enables her to see the Imaginary snake coiled around Amanda and also Rudger. She recalls Fridge, summoning the dog from the library, who helps free Amanda from the snake’s grasp.

What happens to Mr. Bunting?

Mr. Bunting’s Imaginary, who has been watching this heartfelt exchange, undergoes a change of heart. She has decayed over the years as Mr. Bunting sustained his imagination by consuming Imaginary children. Instead of helping Mr. Bunting eat Rudger, she lets herself be consumed by him. As his Imaginary friend disappears, so does Mr. Bunting, as she was his life source and the source of his imagination, which kept him alive for thousands of years.

How does The Imaginary end and what happens to Rudger?

The Imaginary concludes with a bittersweet ending. Amanda recovers, but Rudger disappears after fulfilling his purpose as Amanda’s Imaginary. Since all Imaginaries have a purpose for their existence, they must disappear once it is fulfilled. Rudger’s purpose was to help Amanda become happier and cope with her father’s death. With a joyful conclusion, the two friends embark on their final adventure before parting ways.


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