How to Get Over a Fictional Death

YOUR FAVOURITE CHARACTER JUST DIED. Now what? How are you meant to keep on living without them gracing this planet with their presence (well, on the pages of books or on screen at least)? How can you ever get over such an emotional experience that’s ripped someone away from you too soon? And most importantly, how are you expected to keep going about your regular life when you just feel like staring at a blank wall for 39 hours and listening to sad songs on repeat?

WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE. There are just times when your favourite character dies and it feels like your heart has been ripped in two. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE HEARTBREAK A FEW WORDS ON A PAGE CAN CAUSE. So today I’m going to offer up all my tips and tricks for overcoming a fictional death! Hopefully these five step will give you a little bit of solace in these dark times. My deepest condolences.

Step 1: Cry. And then cry some more.

Sometimes you just have to let it all out. There, there. Seriously, there’s times like these when you just have to sit on your bed — or public transport, or at work… deaths could hit you anywhere — and just let the tears stream down your face. People might stare. Once you start, you might not be able to stop. Give yourself the permission to take some time off work / school / adulting and just CRY. Better out than in, as Shrek always says. Holding in your tears and trying to get on with your life might result to breaking down in the middle of a supermarket (trust me, we’ve all been there). So just… sob to your heart’s content. 

Cup of Coffee

Step 2: Rant to someone who understands your pain.

Double texting — who is she? THIS IS AN EMERGENCY. Seriously, if your friends don’t have to mute their phones because you’re not texting so much it’s about the fall off the table, you’re not doing it right. Just pour all your anger and frustration into messages that miiiiight make you feel a little better after the 6237th text. Here are some sample messages to get you started: “WHYYYYYY!??!”, “HOW DARE THEY.”, “I’M SUING. THIS IS NOT OKAY.” and “I NEED TO GET OFF THIS PLANET. LIFE IS MEANINGLESS. HOW AM I EVER GOING TO BE HAPPY AGAIN.”

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Step 3: Reminisce about when the characters were happy and alive while shoving chocolate in your mouth.

Look back on all the good times where the characters were happy, and, erm, alive? ANY TIME IS BETTER THAN RIGHT NOW, OKAY. Reread the scenes that made all your insides feel warm and fuzzy, or rewatch the moments where you squealed with happiness when they finally kissed the person you were shipping them with. No… NO — don’t think about when they died! They’re happy right now! Look at the— oh no. You’re crying again. *passes you a tissue* Sigh… back to step one.

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Step 4: Buy some fandom merch. You deserve it.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the only thing that makes me feel happy in the darkest of times is BUYING THINGS with the money I… erm… definitely don’t have. I’M SURE YOU CAN RELATE. So a character death is definitely the opportune time to comfort-buy some merch from the fandom, or if there isn’t any… just buy more books. That always helps. JUST DON’T LOOK AT YOUR BANK ACCOUNT, OKAY?! Retail therapy is important and valid, and I support your decisions. Yes, you totally need that shirt with your OTP on it. Yes, you totally need that bookish candle. Yes, you definitely need that one-way ticket to Switzerland to start a new life now that everything you love here is gone. It’s fine. People will understand.

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Step 5: Read all the fanfic you can find, then maybe even write some yourself.

Fanfic makes EVERYTHING BETTER. Trust me. In fanfic (or at least the fluff I read) everyone is fine. Everyone is happy. And that’s the kind of good content you need in your life right now. And if you can’t find any fanfic — WRITE YOUR OWN. I’ve had so much fun writing silly scenes that no one is ever going to read, and it’s very soothing for my soul. Even if you’re not a writer, give it a go. The least it will do is take your mind off the pain — the TORMENT — for an hour or two. Good luck. 

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How do you manage to get over fictional deaths? Which series or fandoms really hit you hard? HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU SOBBED ALONE IN YOUR BEDROOM TO “I’M NOT OKAY” BY MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE?! Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

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16 thoughts on “How to Get Over a Fictional Death

  1. “DON’T LOOK AT YOUR BANK ACCOUNT” made me snort. If I impulsively bought something every time a character in my book died I would not be eating this week 😂 I’m not sure what that says about the kind of books I read but I’M STILL NOT OVER THEM. Thank you for this hilarious, relatable post. Now to go source chocolate and double text everybody I know… c;

  2. LOVE this and these tips! I’m sure it’ll come in handy for me seeing as every character I get attached to ends up dying – DO NOT RECOMMEND!

  3. Loved the post! Fictional deaths are sooooo painful sometimes. Even when characters don’t die but the ending is just so upsetting I’m?? Emotionally unstable. So, I usually just repeat step one over, and over, and over again. Great post!

  4. Ahah I love this post so much, Sarah! It’s so hard to get over it when it’s some characters we adored with all of our hearts. It always helps me when I have a friend that has read the book and went through this, too so we can support each other haha. ❤

  5. This post is amazing ❤ I have definitely cried over a book in public and at some point you just can't care what everyone else thinks! I love the idea of buying a one-way ticket to Switzerland to start a new life, but now that the idea is out in the open Switzerland is going to be overrun by depressed booklovers mourning the loss of their favorite characters! Tho if thats the case it will make Step 2 a lot easier!

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