You know those characters you can't get enough of? I'm talking about fictional characters. People in movies and books that you get into so much, you feel like you actually know them. I blogged about Harry Potter earlier this week, and I would definitely include Hermione, Ron and Harry in my list of "fictional friends". These are people I wish I could know in real life. They are so well written, you feel that they must actually exist somewhere.
My favorite TV show of all time is Sex & The City. Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda became my friends over the course of the six years they were on TV. Carrie and Charlotte especially for me. I signed up for HBO and scrimped and saved just to afford it through the hard times simply because I wanted to see my friends on Sunday night. And every week w
hen I would sit down to a new episode, I would just sigh and relish the joy of spending more time with them and catching up on what they were up to these days. When the series ended, it was like losing a friendship. It was like suddenly being cut off from people I had come to consider a part of my life.
Of course, I still had a life outside of the show. I didn't sit around and obsess over it during the week when it wasn't on, but even to this day, when I'm flipping channels and I see an episode, I have to stop and watch it. These women are fictional, but they resonated with me. Harry Potter was the same. Katniss Everdeen, too. I rooted for her in the Hunger Games. Cried for her. Wanted desperately to help her find a way out. Dagny Taggert in Atlas Shrugged was my friend for months as I read that book during a very dark time in my life. Stu Redman and Frances Goldsmith from The Stand are another two characters I rooted for so hard, I loved them. I felt what they felt and experienced the loss and hope of the end of the world through their eyes.
The sad thing about fictional friends is that once their story is over, it's over. Once the author or creator has said what they wanted to say, that character's story has been told. We don't get to see their life past a certain point. We miss them. We saw the world through them for a while and possibly had a piece of their perspective rub off on us. I know Dagny's perspective rubbed off on me big time. It changed my entire world view. I wish I had more of her story. I wish I could sit and talk to her from time to time. But she's already said all she can ever say.
Of course, the flip side to that is that those fictional characters are, in a way, immortal. Ayn Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged more than fifty years ago, but Dagny herself is timeless. She'll be changing people's views and affecting the world until the end of time. She'll never grow old. And anytime I want to be inspired by her again, she'll be there on the pages of that book, exactly the same as she always was. Our fictional friends are forever. We can always count on them. It's part of the magic of fiction and imagination and creation. It's part of the amazing miracle of stories.
What characters in fiction do you consider your friends? Have there been people in books or movies or TV that have shaped your world view? I would love to hear your stories and know that I am not alone!