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.
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.
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).