(Warning: major spoilers ahead)
We see bad guys (or good guys), or heck, even the main characters in movies come and go. Quentin Tarantino isn’t afraid to leave his leads in the dust with a final showdown, Hitchcock famously killed off his female star in the middle of Psycho and one of my favourite films, American Beauty, wasn’t afraid to finish off its distressed protagonist with a poignant final scene. And somehow, such deaths don’t hurt as much as a television ones, particularly when it comes to your favourite character. It seems that when it comes to television, fictional death is a whole other ballgame.
With TV, characters grow; they develop across episodes and seasons. The more engrossed you are with the show, the more you fall in love (or hate) the characters. It’s also not always the lead that you end up having a soft spot for. You invest precious time in watching Chris from Skins becoming some sort of a lovely boyfriend to Jal, you’ve grown attached to Rita being absolutely precious on Dexter, you spend hours busily wikipedia-ing more about the extremely short life story of Game of Throne‘s Eddard Stark. That’s why when a TV character that we’ve grown so accustomed to is cruelly taken away from the fictional world, it can be pretty hard to deal with.
Whether it was inevitable or not, a television’s character death, especially one that you love(d), always comes as a crushing blow. Honest.
As a TV fanatic for most of my life, I have dealt with my fair share of TV deaths. The most recent one was Lady Sybil Crawley from Downton Abbey. She was my favourite Crawley sister – Mary at times could be quite obnoxious and Edith was well…Edith. I loved her fierce, rebellious spirit and her inner feminist was so refreshing against the stuffy Downton ways. She was so modern for someone from in the 1920s. Any Downton fan would tell you that her death was Just. So. Shocking. It was entirely unforeseen, and it just came down to the last five minutes of the show and she was gone. We were given no hints or clues that she was leaving, and now I feel there’s a missing piece in the Crawley family.
I can’t help screaming “No, take Bates instead! He’s useless!” whenever Downton is on now. She was such a gem.
On top of that, there was Amy and Rory Pond’s death of Doctor Who to deal with as well. In this case, I knew that death was inevitable, it was previously announced that they were leaving yet, this death was hard. The way the scene played out was just so terribly heartbreaking. Gosh, like every character on that scene was just bawling their eyes out – how could I not do the same?
And of course, there’s the most recent of death of Lori from The Walking Dead. No matter what you think of Lori, you must admit her death was awfully painful to watch. This is one where for me, the remaining characters’ reactions were the one that got me the most rather than the loss of Lori. It’s impossible to fathom what Carl was going through and Rick Grimes was pretty much an emotional wreck.
I must admit, I’m still no expert in dealing with TV deaths. They can get pretty terrible. Such deaths can never be put to rest (thank you, thank you very much)…they will live on in your TV fangirl/boy memory. I suppose feeling so much for TV characters is pretty crazy, but then again, doesn’t everyone once in a while have feelings for any fictional character of a kind? Yes, I saw you swooning over Rochester while reading Jane Eyre and yes, you too – you pumped your fist into the air as you passed the finished line in Mario Kart. Isn’t fawning / sympathising / having any sort feelings for a TV character any different? It’s just a different form of pop culture.
Like many forms of art (yes it is an art), television is meant to evoke emotions out of you. You laugh when it’s a comedy, you feel down when it’s a drama or tragedy. It’s meant to be personal, you’re meant to have feelings. Sometimes, they’re greatly exaggerated over Tumblr with crazy gifs or Twitter cries of pain – but that’s the magic of tv and why I admire it so much. Good television draws the viewer in it through its story lines but a great show truly captivates you with its plot and characters. You might get excited when he/she gives the best lines, you might fawn over his/her cheekbones/hair/smile, and you might feel sad/ecstatic over his/her mishappenings. No matter what, television does play with your feelings and that pretty much makes it the best and worst (perhaps) invention at the same time.