'Little Fires Everywhere' Ending Explained: What Happened at the End and How It Differs From the Book

Hulu has now released the season (and probably series) finale of Little Fires Everywhere, its adaptation of the Celeste Ng book of the same name, starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. In Episode 8 of the Hulu limited series, titled "Find A Way," viewers learned exactly who started the "little fires everywhere" that burned down Elena Richardson's (played by Witherspoon) house.

However, the version of the ending that Hulu viewers saw differed from the novel's account of events. In the book, it is Elena's daughter Izzy (Megan Stott) who commits the act of arson. However, in the show, Izzy intends to set the fires herself, but in the end the remaining Richardson children work together to set the house ablaze after she runs away from home.

Speaking to the New York Times, Little Fires Everywhere showrunner Liz Tigelaar explained this change: "While we certainly didn't want to rule out the possibility that it could be Izzy, we had an opportunity to create this mystery—that it could have been anybody.

"So then I kicked around different ideas about the siblings: Could it be Lexie [Jade Pettyjohn]? Could it be Moody [Gavin Lewis]? Could it be Trip [Jordan Elsass]? And then I thought, "What if it didn't have to be one person? What if it was all three?"

little fires everywhere ending
The ending of 'Little Fires Everywhere' on Hulu saw the Richardson kids burn down their house Hulu

She continued: "Arson is a big deal. Even if someone wants to start over, most people would find a different way, which is why in the book it makes so much more sense that a misguided teenager does it. So for all of them to do it, it becomes a pack mentality, to finish what Izzy started.

"I loved that the rest of the siblings were really sending up this kind of smoke signal to Izzy, that if she came back to their scorched earth, things would be different."

In the book, readers know that Izzy is the arsonist from the start. Asked by the LA Times why she changed this, Tigelaar said: "We liked the idea of doing more of an over-arching mystery, so that we didn't really have the answer to the end at the beginning."

In the show finale, the Richardsons burn the house down after Elena decides to evict the Mia (Washington) and the rest of the Warrens. Seeing Mia and Pearl (Lexi Underwood) leave in the middle of the night, Izzy is distraught and grabs a can of gasoline. After a vicious fight with her mother, Izzy runs away from home.

Though the show ends with Izzy on a bus after running away from home, Tigelaar told Vulture she imagines that Izzy would probably return home (or to what is left of it). She said: "We...talked about the reality of the moment—that she probably would turn around after a few days and come home."

In the book, Izzy heads to Mia's Pittsburgh childhood home to find her, but this was changed into a fantasy sequence in the Hulu series that saw Izzy dreaming of meeting the Warrens while hitchhiking.

Little Fires Everywhere is streaming now on Hulu.