Via wikipedia: Beasts of battle:
The Beasts of battle is a poetic trope in Old English and Old Norse literature. It consists of the wolf, the raven, and the eagle, traditional animals accompanying the warriors to feast on the bodies of the slain. It occurs in eight Old English poems and in the Old Norse Poetic Edda.
The term originates with Francis Peabody Magoun, who first used it in 1955, although the combination of the three animals was first considered a theme by Maurice Bowra, in 1952.
The beasts of battle presumably date from an earlier, Germanic tradition; the animals are well known for eating carrion. A mythological connection may be presumed as well, though it is clear that at the time that the Old English manuscripts were produced, in a Christianized England, there was no connection between for instance the raven and Huginn and Muninn or the wolf and Geri and Freki. This mythological and/or religious connection survived for much longer in Scandinavia.
Kottke does a nice round-up of sites’s comments on the Lost finale. Many of them express what I’ve heard as a common theme among fans – it’s okay that all of the questions weren’t answered, because most of them were. The major storylines were wrapped up.
io9, on the other hand, came up a with a list of 50 questions that they felt Lost really did need to answer with their series ending show, and a tally of what was actually covered and what was left open (more questions than not, unfortunately).
I’m with io9 on this one. Sure, red herrings are a mystery tradition. But they’re always exposed as red herrings in the end. That’s just good storytelling to wrap up the loose ends. Lost left way too many of them. Writing them off as unimportant is just yanking people’s chains. People who don’t think much may be okay without all the mind-benders solved. But thoughtful people want real closure in their storytelling. I wonder how many of the “it’s okay, they don’t have to explain everything” folks read novels regularly.
And I’m really dissatisfied with the ending as well. If you’re going to sell me a series of religious programming, label it as such so I can watch the sci-fi channel instead. Don’t disguise your religious blah blah blah as science fiction for 5 and a half seasons and then zing me with mysticism at the end. It’s pretty clear that the writers very much wrote themselves into a corner. They didn’t have an end in mind when they started, and they got a giant kick out people’s excitement at the layer-upon-layer of mysterious events, so they kept laying it on thick even after they had laid out so much they couldn’t explain it all. I cry deus ex machina foul. My fierce belief in free will over fate leaves me feeling this series was ultimately a giant turd.
I’m hoping that with on-demand technologies, television writing will start moving in the direction of series treated as long mini-series – with a completely plotted story line from beginning to end and more tightly written detail, rather that completely open-ended affairs that peter off after awhile. Television programs do have a predictable end point, no matter how popular they are. Using that to create a real story that holds together throughout would be much more satisfying.