With the release of “Avengers: Endgame” and the final season of “Game of Thrones,” two popular series are coming to an end, which often spells the death of favorite characters.
If you are grieving the loss of a character, film or TV series, don’t worry: You are not alone. You may be wondering why you are experiencing such sorrow over the end of a series or character — after all they aren’t real people. But grief comes in many shapes and sizes. Just as there are many types of grief, there are many ways to process. Here are some steps to take to ease the pain.
- Recognize your feelings. You might be feeling shock or denial. You might be angry at the characters’ actions that led to their death. You may be upset with writers for killing off your favorite.
You might start to rationalize or outthink the creators. Deaths in fiction aren’t always absolute; characters can return through plot devices — time travel, magic, cloning, alternate universes. You might be thinking of ways the characters could return or reasons why their deaths aren’t as final as they appear.
However, eventually you’ll probably accept that yes, your favorite characters are gone and nothing’s bringing them back.
When you’ve come to this point, there are things that can help you process the finality.
- Seek community. Surround yourself with the fandom. Find others who have watched the series, discuss it with them and go through your grief together.
Maybe you can find the closure you need with a viewing party, by writing a character’s obituary or having a funeral or party in remembrance.
- Understand the character connection. Take the time to learn from the characters. Did they have a set of morals you, too, could live by? Were their deaths a heroic sacrifice that could teach you something? Were they flawed characters that serve as a warning? Can you avoid the sort of mistakes that led to their deaths? If a character really spoke to you, live your life in a way that will honor that individual.
- Look at the big picture. In a series, the death of a character is often a chance for other characters to grow or for the story’s plot to carry on. Trusting that the creators are doing what’s best for the overall story or development of other characters can help with understanding why a character had to go. It’s not personal, it’s just storytelling.
- Continue to explore their legacy. Don’t forget that your heroes aren’t really gone, you can always rewatch the series and read about them in books, comics, articles or interviews. You also can follow the actors’ careers to always have a little bit of your favorites left.
In these ways, you can process an ending and come to a place of acceptance. Remember that is was good while it lasted and determine to move forward. When you are ready, you can begin a new series or find a new favorite character.