real life

Still grieving for Jon Snow? Apparently, you're normal.


Why, TV Gods? Why?

Just like everyone else in the known universe, Monday was an emotional night for me.

Someone very dear to me was betrayed by his colleagues, AND THEN STABBED. To death.

In case I’ve been too subtle here, I’m talking about Game of Thrones‘ Jon Snow (Oh God, just typing his name hurts).

At first, I felt numb with shock. I couldn’t process the depths of my devastation. Then came the anger – I HATE YOU, HBO. Then: Denial. It was all a mistake, right? Right? Now, I’m still firmly in the grief stage.

But it’s not the first time this has happened to me.

After Mel died on Packed to the Rafters, I never watched another episode.

My teenage self could not handle life when Marissa died on The OC.

And don’t even get me started about how I felt when Buffy’s mum died…

I used to think I was the only one to be so affected by my favourite characters’ deaths – but it turns out that grieving for fictional characters is an actual Thing. Remember all those heartbroken fans posting on social media when Dr McDreamy died on Grey’s Anatomy? See, I’m not alone.

Me, when I read that Primrose Everdeen died.

According to clinical psychologist and The Positivity Institute founder Dr Suzy Green, a healthy degree of grief for a favourite character is completely normal. Phew.

“We form attachments to these characters, particularly if they become part of our daily or weekly lives. If we positively relate to them (particularly as heroes, rather than villains) we want to see them win, to overcome the odds, to live out the happy ending we all grow up believing is possible and desire for ourselves,” she says.


“When our heroes die, we experience the same grief or sadness that we would feel if the same event happened to us and we simultaneously grieve the possibility of our own hopes and dreams. As with normal human grief, we can experience a range of emotions including sadness, anger and disbelief.”

Speaking of agonising fictional deaths, this one pretty much tops the lot… Post continues after video.

Video via “Warner

Christiane Manzella, the clinical director of the Seleni Institute for Women, agrees – this year, she told TIME:

“Human beings love stories and making connections, even if it’s to fictional people. We create meaning and then experience actual grief when that connection is broken.”

It makes sense – we saw J-Snow every Monday. He was the classic Good Guy, who was going to save the world. Plus, he was really, really, ridiculously good looking (and could rock furs and snowflakes like no one’s business – see evidence below).

But Dr Green says that feeling too much grief for a TV character could be a red flag.

“The degree to which the grief takes place will depend on the strength of the attachment. This might be particularly strong for someone that lacks intimate relationships in their own life, or lacks a full and engaging life and may be living a virtual life through the TV drama. Engaging in these dramas in a healthy way means being not overly invested in the characters – so you may feel some disappointment at their death, but not feel totally devastated – and if you did, it would be wise to seek professional assistance.”

So as long as you grieve in a healthy way (ie, you can still function in your daily life, even though you know Jon is still out there, bleeding in the snow…) then there’s no need to worry.


But brace yourselves: Game of Thrones season six is coming… (so try not to get too attached to, well, anyone).

What TV death were you most devastated by?

While we’re on the topic, here are some of the most iconic TV deaths of all time…

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