Sunday, December 28, 2014

The 5 Stages of (Fangirl) Grief

It's happened again.

You've stumbled upon this series or book or film, you've gotten attached, and you've found a character that you've basically given away your heart/soul/spleen to.

And now said character has died.

Everyone's heard of the regular old stages of grief, but in this scenario, things play out a little differently. As a practiced veteran of the process, I've lost more favorites than I'd like to count (read: basically any character I've ever held dear).

After all that, the stages of fangirl grief and I aren't exactly to the old-friends phase yet, but I do know them well. They go something like this:

1) La-La-La-Can't-Hear-You

If you're like me, this is the most indulgent of all the steps: You start the movie over and rewatch till just before the character's death, or flip back to their first shining appearance in chapter four, or backtrack to last season, when the world wasn't such a shrew and said character was still in his prime.

Does this do you any good in the long run? The odds aren't pretty. But if it helps you hate the world a tiny bit less, or stop dwelling long enough to get some sleep--well, it's obviously not a win, but it's better than a total loss.

2) Righteous Fury

Denial's fun while it lasts and all, but eventually, the cold truth's going to sucker-punch you right in the gut. And when this time finally comes, you're going to be ticked the heck off--and all sorts of people will be to blame.

"It's the writers' fault!" "If Character X hadn't tripped over that rock way back when, this chain of events might've never happened!" "MOFFAT!"

The whole thing's a mess. Which leads us to the step that marks the midpoint of the process.

3) Listen, Just Hear Me Out...

Not to sound like a raging psychopath or anything, but once you hit the bargaining stage of the game, you start to understand what made Annie Wilkes of Misery tick.

Did she take things too far? Sure. Is drugging and then crippling your favorite author a good way to make friends? Signs point to no. But in an extreme way, she had this bargaining thing nailed: "Give me my favorite character back, and I won't rearrange your ankles into 90-degree angles!"

Heck, you're so desperate, you may even sign those ridiculous online petitions to bring your favorite character back--possibly even write one of those groveling letters to the author or studio.

But in the end, it never does any good. Which leads to:

4) Soul-Numbing Depression

Does this one even need an explanation? No? Cool. I'll just stay curled up in this ball of woe on my bedroom floor, cursing whoever recommended this story to me and ruing the day I was born.

This is also the time when everyday little things remind you of your character--and his death. Personally, I still can't handle the words "tuberculosis" or "lesions," or think of a character waving an unloaded gun around. Still too soon.

5) Obsession

In the classic grief cycle, this is where you accept your fate. Come to terms. Square your shoulders and move on.

But in this case, it's not quite so simple. As a fangirl, it's just not your lot to move on.

On the plus side, by this stage, you've healed enough to look back at said character and his story without flinching and/or triggering a major meltdown. Now it's time to sit back and obsess.

Have you made a board appreciating said character on Pinterest? Cobbled together a fan video or character-inspired playlist? Scoured the internet for trivia, analyses, or other fans' headcanons? Related any and every little thing to something the character said or did?

If not...what are you waiting for?

And now: Your turn. When's the last time you've spiraled into the stages of grief, and what fandom was responsible?


  1. Les Mis. I was a mess after the barricade boys. SUCH A MESS. And um season three of Sherlock... well I thought that the series ended a certain may and I spent several months in grief over it before finally getting to watch it and almost dying form joy because something else happened.

    1. Glad to hear that Sherlock worked out for you, at least! The ending of the third series kind of makes up for the ending of the second one, I think...even if that teaser scene at the end was devious. Haha.

  2. I just watched BOFA and I'm going through this right now, but I had to get through stages 1-3 a whole lot quicker because it can't be changed now... )-:

    1. Eesh. I haven't seen it yet, but I've heard it's painful. Hopefully you get through the rest of the stages faster, too...

  3. This recent ending of Doctor Who! I never saw the memory wipe coming from the other side and basically I sobbed..