I had managed to avoid having a favorite character die on me for about a year when "Infinity War" came out last month. Which is surprising, considering the fact that the favorites I usually tend to go for are the young, impressionable, most-likely-death-to-pull-on-people's-heartstrings-but-don't-worry-I'm-sure-they'll-be-fine characters. But still, I'd managed to avoid it.
Everything changed when the fire nation attacked. Except the fire nation was the Russo brothers, and they killed everyone I loved.
If you haven't read the first two articles in my four-part "Infinity War" rant series, I highly recommend you check them out: a play-by-play of my very loud commentary during the film, and a brief overview of the seven stages of grief as told by dead Avengers. If you read these, it'll probably be pretty obvious I'm a bit of a Spider-Man girl. Hence, this film wrecked me.
I should warn you, in all of these articles, there are massive spoilers. But I wish you to not be caught unprepared, as I was, to deal with the death of the favorite character. There are several practical steps you can take to cope healthily.
1. Forget the various murders you're planning.
If we murder the writers/directors/anybody else who might be vaguely blameable, there will be no way of fixing it - ever! Revenge killings are unacceptable.
2. Remember your journey with this character isn't over.
There's always rewatching and rereading. And, if that fails, fan fiction is a reality. (Of course, if you're reading this in the wake of "Infinity War," remember...Dr. Strange, the Guardians, Spider-Man, Black Panther... they've all got sequels coming out. Insert winky face emoji here.
3. Don't blame your friends if this is their reaction.
Perhaps their favorite character survived. In which case, there is no way for them to know your pain and they cannot be expected to understand. I suggest you find others who will. (Any Bucky fans out there? Please, come commiserate with me! We are like kin.)
4. Please, give vent to your frustrations somehow.
Most likely the best way to do this will be angry fanfiction...or, you know, planning a series of angsty movie rants. But really, who does that? Insert nervous laughter here.
5. Remember the good times.
I literally watched "Spider-Man: Homecoming" the day after I saw "Infinity War" just for this purpose. Remember that there was, in fact, once a time when your baby's biggest concern was something minor like his girlfriend's dad being a supervillain, and not something major like, you know, crumbling into a pile of dust.
6. Form your own support group.
I could call mine Avengers, Anonymous, but I'm pretty sure A.A.'s patented or something. Therefore, I'll keep it informal. Meaning I'll rant when I'm in a group of friends who have also felt my pain.
7. Do not apologize for your anger.
So your mom gets a little freaked out when you're chopping firewood and you split it in two while screaming, "THANNNOOOSSSSS!!!" in typical "Wrath of Khan" style. She'll get over it eventually when you are able to interact like a normal human being at the dinner table later because the image of Groot disintegrating is no longer haunting you.
8. Bear any dissensions on the merits of your favorite well.
Believe me, I know this. I'm a Tom Holland fan in a generation that grew up on Toby McGuire - and is remarkably stubborn about accepting anything new. One of whom sat directly next to me during "Infinity War." Just smile and nod, friends. And do not - repeat, do NOT - picture the death scene. It will only fuel your hate fire.
9. When someone offers you the opportunity to rant...
...THIS is always the proper response.
10. Beware the person who hasn't seen the film yet.
They are always, always most likely to murder you if you give them spoilers. No matter how much you want them to share in your grief, DON'T. DO IT.
11. Brace yourselves for the random attacks.
They will come in the midst of a Walmart aisle and you will be tempted to double over. This is the one time I advocate the Elsa of Arendelle approach: Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know. They'll never know.
12. Carry on as usual.
Go to Comic-Con. Cosplay. Remember that there are usually sequels coming. And remember, no matter what it is, it's just a flesh wound. Your character has probably had worse.
13. Bear all the ridiculous fan theories with dignity.
Yes, that character is really dead. Yes, so is that one. No, there is no plausible way they are coming back. Stop looking above at the chosen GIF. It's far too painful. Give up on Loki and Vision and hope for those who were killed by the Infinity Stones themselves.
14. Remember you only have to wait a year for the sequel...
I know, I know. The wait's endless, right?
And now, a very specific one for my fellow Spider-Man girls out there...
15. Do not EVEN think about Aunt May.
Unless it's about her murdering Tony in "Avengers 4." That's honestly kind of entertaining. Otherwise, DO. NOT. GO THERE. Right in the feels, my friends.
Tune in next week for my final "Infinity War" post. It's been fun, friends.