Discussion and news from the Stephen Perse 6th Form College
After finishing Champion, the final instalment of Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy, I wanted to cry and hide in a corner whilst eating an entire box of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. When I ended up doing exactly that, I started to question not only my mental state but also whether being emotionally attached to a character was detrimental to my health. I had read about the struggles of the two main characters and the pain that they had endured, so was it so wrong of me to relinquish my feelings when their story came to an end?
You come across certain extreme cases where people claim that a fictional character is their best friend or who truly go on to believe that some fictional characters and even some fictional worlds actually exist. This, I admit, is a bit excessive, but simply feeling raw emotion or mourning over a character or even a character’s dog, surely there is no crime in that?
Personally I believe that being able to feel that type of emotion demonstrates how relatable and well written that character truly is. For a start, being emotionally attached to a character will encourage the reader to continue to read in the hope that that character will experience something good. But does it worry you that we care for something or someone that doesn’t even exist? Most of the time, emotional attachment occurs when you are personally able to relate to a character, and although my brother and my mother hadn’t been murdered, I still felt emotionally bound to these characters and was compelled to read on in the hopes of a happy ending.
And what about the authors themselves? Sometimes, the love that they hold for their own characters must be contained to ensure that the characters endure the cruellest things in order to keep the story interesting. Being emotionally attached to a character is hard enough, but having control over that character is even harder without letting your personal feelings interfere. Personally, I think that being emotionally attached to a character is not an entirely negative prospect. Not only does it demonstrate the successful skills of the author but it just shows what a love for reading can accomplish and how the best response from reading a text can be generated. However, it is important not to lose perspective and to remind yourself that it is, after all, only a fictional character, however hard that may be.