(And if you knew who the fictional love of my life is, the title of this article would make you cackle hysterically)
I think one of the most common problems that book-lovers face is getting too attached to a story, and therefore, its characters. We get lost in the pages, and somehow, we fall into the stories, and start to feel like we know the characters intimately, like no one else could know or understand them, like no one has ever done before. And just like that, you’re connected.
It’s all terribly pointless, caring about fictional characters, people who don’t even exist, but I think it shows just how strong human empathy can be (and a little bit how crazy we all are).
So here is a little list of things you might relate to if you get attached to fictional characters too quickly, and if you’re forever angry that you’ll never get to meet them.
1. First, you meet them. Your eyes meet or, more accurately, your eyes scan the pages and read the words. You read their description, you imagine what they look like, you see them interact with other characters, you get a little glimpse of their personality. It’s just a first meeting, you’re still getting to know them, but already you feel like there might be something there.
2. You’ll feel a little thrill everytime they appear on the page, or anytime they’re mentioned by another character. You know that if this were real life, you’d be blushing like crazy everytime you’d see them, everytime they’d smile at you. It’s not much so far, just a little crush, nothing else, pretty harmless and innocent, really.
3. Then, they’ll say something, they’ll do something, and that’s what will seal the deal. From now on, there’s only them. No one else matters. Your heart’s been stolen.
4. You will covet any bits and pieces of information, and you’ll be greedy about it. Nothing is unimportant, and you’ll selfishly keep all you know away from prying eyes, from people who do not deserve it : “No, he’s not your baby, back off, he’s MINE !“
5. Now’s the moment you know you’d seriously start the seducing : you’d try to be extra funny, you’d wear your cutest outfits when you know there’s a chance you might see them, you’d always look at them with a smile, you’d make a point of being extra nice too, maybe throw a few careless compliments just to surprise them and maybe see them flustered. Oh, how the tables have turned ! (would have turned. This isn’t real life, this is just fantasy !)
6. You might ship them with other characters, for the sake of the story – you’re not that out of it – but you know that you two would be the ultimate power couple.
7. You’ll still feel a little bit of unhealthy jealousy if that character gets some action in the book, because “WHAT NO !”
8. You’ll defend them to the end of the world, but you have no qualms calling them a little shit, although you’ll hiss at anyone else who dares to do so, because they’re just not. allowed !
9. You close the book. If you’re lucky, they didn’t die at the end (unfortunately, I can’t say I’m part of that category). The only thing left is just staring at your walls, at the distance, wondering “What should I do now, where/when will I see you again ?” In the end, you relate a lot to this song :
10. But you know, deep down, that nothing quite beats a real person, flesh and blood and flaws and all, but you’re still hoping that you’ll find someone as great someday.