I have consumed more media than I like to admit, and with every single show I watch, game I play or book I read I always end up getting attached to someone. Everyone has a favorite character! It’s the reason people choose to create so many. It allows the audience to become absorbed into the story and plot line. That attachment is useful to the creator to keep their audience following along. We all want to know what’s going to happen to our precious love.
But sometimes, that attachment can go too far. We start making theories, conspiring, talking with friends in all caps because “Oh my god if he dies I'm dead,” and so on. Fictional characters can become an obsession, something we value because they aren’t real. They have the ability to be whoever they want, because they don’t actually exist. Personality traits and actions are all determined by someone else, and they can be crafted and shaped into something we all desire. It’s those characteristics that we want.
When an author creates a tall, attractive male that’s compassionate, intelligent and ultimately fighting for someone, it’s an instant winner. Fictional characters are compelling because they are accessible to us in the way that what they present isn’t. We get these perfect creations that don’t actually exist and we can’t help but fall in love. We become entangled in their story lines, their romances and every single little detail while we read, watch or play. The next chapter, episode or mission can’t come fast enough in our minds.
I recently fell in love with a character who didn’t speak. I didn’t initially like her because she presents conflict with the characters that already existed in the story line. Soon, though, I was endeared. Her ability to ignore what others thought of her, her perseverance through everything and the little quirks she had were adorable. I was attached to her, always waiting for her next appearance in the game.
But she befell the fate of many others, something that we all dread.
My sisters really love "Grey’s Anatomy." And I won’t spoil anything—I’ve never watched the show, so I can’t, really—but they’ve cried to me many times before. Things happen for a reason, however untimely and unwanted they may be. Television characters often fall whim to events that happen due to their actors and drama behind the scenes. Book characters can often be used as a plot device or maybe they’re no longer needed. Video games are the same way. It’s always different, and it’s always unexpected.
My girl was captured, attacked and disappeared from the rest of the game, presumably considered dead due to a plot point that had been created earlier. I was heartbroken and dumbfounded—why would such an essential character be subjected to such a fate, particularly one she definitely did not deserve? I don’t think I’ll ever know the reason, but I know that I’ll always love her.
Ultimately, we will never be able to avoid the force that drives the act of attaching ourselves to a character. We will suffer the consequences for our actions and swear off it ever happening again. It will, don’t worry. Your feelings are valid, though. You’re totally allowed to do this, no matter how silly it may be.
The best advice I can give to avoid such heartbreak? Don’t do it. Don’t let it happen. Be strong, fight on and try not to cry when someone gets shot.