Fictional deaths destroy real lives

As eight year old me sat in the plush, red, velvet seat with a box of Buncha Crunch in one hand and a Diet Coke in the other I could hardly contain my excitement as I waited to view Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince for the first time.

Prior to walking into the movie theater I bragged to my mother and sister about how I had never shed a tear while watching a movie. I told them they were babies for getting so attached to fictional characters.

Little did I know I would leave the theater with a blotchy face and red eyes trying to hide the fact that I just sobbed, because of the death of a character, for the first time.

Ever since the death of Dumbledore, I have shed many tears for the killed off characters in books, movies, and TV shows. However, this was the first time I felt the sadness that overcame me when one of my favorite characters died.

Seven years later, I still remember the day that Dumbledore died because it was the first time I realized how much books, movies, or TV shows have an effect on me. My favorite fictional characters have sadly left me on many occasions, but each time they’ve made their mark on me and left me with something to think about.

More recently, I was hit with the death of Derek Shepherd on one of my favorite TV shows, Grey’s Anatomy. Although I feel that TV shows have excessively played out the whole “car crash ending,” I wasn’t bothered by this horrible cliche. Instead I was angry. Derek had finally made some good choices and was getting his life back on track, when BAM, they just killed him off.

After this I realized that this same thing could totally happen to me. Not the getting plowed by an 18-wheeler part- that’s a little unlikely- but I’m trying to prove that once an opportunity is missed it can be hard to get that chance again.

I’m not saying that immediately after I saw this episode I reevaluated my life and made some huge, dramatic changes, but I do think that subconsciously a little part of me will always remember the death of Derek Shepherd when I need a little shot of courage.

After losing a main character, it’s necessary to take time to mourn, and some people don’t understand this. These people may be faces on a television screen but we see these faces weekly. I looked forward to seeing Derek every Thursday, and one week he was gone. Characters become apart of us, or even on some level our friends. I can say with certainty that there have been weekends where I’ve seen the characters on Grey’s Anatomy more than my own family.

I’ve always felt an unspoken bond between an author and myself when it comes to taking care of my favorite characters. I read and enjoy their books, and they ensure a safe yet suspenseful journey for the character throughout the novel.

The books we read, shows we watch, and movies we view build our own character and help us discover who we are. If I can’t learn at least one thing from a fictional character dying then honestly, my Netflix binges have been an utter waste of time.

At least if I find some inspiration from TV shows and movies I can come up with a few excuses for my extensive “recently watched by Bella” list on Netflix, right?

Image by Michael Hellard/Prowler

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