Yes, it’s hard when someone you love dies, but sometimes it’s even harder when a beloved fictional character dies. If written right, the death of a fictional character can punch you in the gut, and throw you for a loop. That’s the mark of a good writer. However, how do you deal and get over an emotional fictional death?
Step 1 – You finish the whole book/series.
Closure is always a good option. Read the rest of the book, push past the sadness until you finish it. You never know; the character could end up not dead in the end. Plus, even if they don’t, you will still feel a sense of satisfaction at having finished the book, despite the tragic deaths that may happen. Trust me, I’ve pushed through enough books to know what I’m talking about here.
Step 2 – Give Yourself Time.
No matter how stoic and firm you think you are, eventually there will be a book that will just get to you, and a character whom you fall in love with right before they bite the dust, so to speak. That’s when you just sit there, motionless for a few moments as you try to absorb what you’ve just read. Feeling it? You’re experiencing the worst kind of book hangover. The one where you cry and obsess over the book and the dead character, probably almost living in the character’s tag on Tumblr.
Depending on how into the character you are, the period for grieving can take perhaps a few months – or you may never fully get over the death *cough-Dobby-cough*.
Step 3 – Fandom Is The Best Medicine.
Delve into the fascinating treasure trove that is the fandom of whatever book it is. Go onto whatever social media you use, and you can talk to other book nerds who have likely went through the same earth-shattering heartbreak that you are going through. Cope together, as one huge family.
Also, it has been discovered in very official scientific research (not really) that writing or reading fanfiction can help. Seriously. Write an AU where the character doesn’t die. Give them a different, happier ending. You’ll feel a lot better afterwards, and just think – your fic could help some other fan who has to deal with this death. The character may have died in canon, but screw that. They live in your fic.
Step 5 – Move On.
When you’ve gotten to the stage where you can look at the book in question, and not be emoting all over it, it’s time to move on. You pick up a fluffy, cute book – I wholly recommend ‘Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda’ to anyone interested – and you immerse yourself in a whole new world of characters to love and become emotionally invested in. Thus the cycle begins again.
Not every book you read will have a dying character – unless you’re really morbid and enjoy reading about death, but if you were, you wouldn’t be reading this tutorial post on getting over a dead character, so whatever. I digress.
Anyway, you should move on from these characters – some jerks would say “They’re just fictional, they’re not real,” – but to many book lovers such as myself, from the second you open the book to the second you put it back on the shelf, those characters are as real as you or me, and those extra-special characters are the ones who stick with us for long after we turn the final page. They’re the ones you never really get over, the ones you’ll love even when you’re ancient and decrepit.
Thank you so much for reading this post – if you have any suggestions for book-themed tutorials I could do, please let me know in a comment, or tweet me @shihtzureviews.