I don’t think I’m alone in the feeling of falling in love with fictional characters...
…or at least I hope I’m not. I’m not just talking about falling in love romantically, either. There are so many different ways that I can fall in love with a character. Sometimes, yes, I want to be with them, but sometimes I want to be them. Sometimes I wish I could be their best friend and sometimes I wish I could be a part of their family- no matter how it happens, I fall easily for people who are nothing more than just words on a page.
Just because I want a reason to talk more about the characters I *love* and because I’m interested to know if I’m the only one who finds themselves in love with fictional entities, I decided this would be a good idea for a post. I’m expecting to fangirl a lot in this because once I start talking about my favorite characters it takes a lot for me to stop. :’)
But someone please stop me once I mention Richard Campbell Gansey III for the 1000th time.
*clears throat* But anywayyy, I’ll be discussing a lot of different types of love and I hope that it will be able to give you some recommendations of what you should read if you’re also looking to fall in love with a new character. Onto the post!
I fall in love with characters because they exceed my standards.
This is going to be an ode to Emma Mills and Maggie Stiefvater for writing boys that actually have made me cry because of how much I wish they were real. I am well aware of how much I’m living up to being a teenage girl right now by having written that sentence, but I am entirely okay with it because of Gansey and Gideon Prewitt and August Shaw and Harry Potter and- I’ll cut myself off there.
I lose pretty much of semblance of my sanity when I think of any of these three characters because I just think about how sweet, chivalrous, and intelligent all of them are, and then it makes me happy. Plus, the fact that none of them are actually *perfect* and they all have their clear flaws, and yet they STILL just continue being their unproblematic, caring, thoughtful selves. I’m sorry, but it is entirely unfair that they have the audacity to be fictional and not real.
Maybe I should blame it on the fact that most fictional boys I fall in love with are written by women. Or maybe I should blame it on how they’re written by adults who might not know how teenage boys actually act. Or (and probably the most likely) I just haven’t met enough boys to actually find one who lives up to the high standards set for me by all of these fictional characters. Whatever the reasoning, I cannot stop falling in love with these boys that are decidedly not real because they very much so surpass all the qualities of boys that are in fact real.
I fall in love with characters because I wish I could be their best friend.
I could go on and on about how much I want to be with Gansey (except I mostly just want him to be with Blue, you feel?) or anyone else, but at the end of the day, the strongest love I’ve ever felt before is the love I have for my friends. On a much smaller level, I feel a lot of that same platonic love towards characters that I just know I would be best friends with.
I think one of the fictional characters I’ve fallen platonically in love with the most is Anne Shirley. I know I’ve mentioned this many times before, but my idealistic self can imagine nothing better than to grow up alongside Anne in Avonlea. Running through flower fields, naming every animal and bush we encounter, braiding each other’s hair. Anne is such a kindred spirit. Her fiery temper and wit would balance out my wide-eyed, sweet disposition and we’d be an unstoppable pair.
My list of characters I would want a best friendship with goes on. What I wouldn’t give for study sessions with Hermione Granger, to eat a waffle with Nina Zenik, to spend a day solving puzzles with Reynie Muldoon, or even bake cupcakes with Lara Jean Covey. I’ve fallen in love with these characters because I can truly see myself being friends with them, and I would give anything to be able to dive into their worlds and live a day alongside them.
I fall in love with characters because they make me want to a be a better version of myself.
You can learn way more about yourself from a book than you might think. Reading isn’t just going on the journey of a character, you’re going on the journey with the character. I may sound like an overzealous elementary school librarian saying that, but hear me out. As a reader, you to live through the main characters and maybe even realize that you’re capable of what they’re capable of, too. At least for me, my goals always seem more attainable if I’ve seen someone else reach them, too.
Whether you watch your dreams play out directly on page, like with a character getting the scholarship they wanted or spending their time volunteering or getting the role in a play or in a more abstract sense, like watching a character learn to love themselves and their talents, you can vicariously live through the characters. For me, this helps motivate me to be a better version of myself- maybe one that my favorite character would be proud of. If they can do it, I can.
I fall in love with characters because I want to be a part of their family.
I could write a whole post on fictional families that I love (and maybe one day I will). Family relationships are something that I think most books are lacking in, so when I do find a novel that explores family relationships, I’m automatically interested. When it turns out that this family is close-knit, boom, I’ve fallen in love.
Okay but?? How am I supposed to resist a family that enjoys eating waffles together and invites all their friends over for meals and has so much for love for every single last sibling, no matter how young? Am I not supposed to instantly fall in love simultaneously with every March sister because their sister dynamics are perfect? How would I ever be able to resist a forged-together found family entangled with whimsy and magic and love?
The answer is, I definitely cannot resist any of those. Which is why I so often find myself falling in love with fictional families. Just give me the sibling relationships and parent-child bonds and found families and dare me not to fall for them.
I fall in love with characters because I get emotionally attached way too easily.
I’m really calling myself out with this one, but it couldn’t be more true. In real life and with books, it does not take a lot for me to become emotionally attached to someone or something. What can I say, I’m a sensitive enneagram type 2.
This is why I end up rating a lot of books based on how connected I felt to the characters- because if you can get me attached, I am attached. This is also why I cry a lot while reading (and while watching shows or movies) because I get very invested in my characters and whatever happens to them. Needless to say, if I get emotionally attached, I am in love and I will not stop talking about a character. I’ll probably make a Pinterest board and then make it my singular personality trait on my blog.
My peak emotional attachments belong to: the Golden Trio, the gangsey, and pretty much anyone from Percy Jackson. I would say I’m especially attached to characters if they are associated with a nostalgic book or series for me, but to be honest, Gansey is proof that I can become attached at any given moment. :’)
What I’ve learned about myself from this post is that I’m probably unhealthily in love with way too many characters at this point. Can you blame me, though? Sometimes I can’t get over how lucky we are to have so many books with so many characters in existence- even if it’s only fiction, they give me so much comfort.
Thank you so much for reading this post! I hope that you could be led in the direction of some new characters or that this provoked some thought on why you love (or don’t love) characters. I’m thinking of all of you, and hoping that you’re staying safe and healthy even with everything going on in the world right now. I’m trying my very best to not disappear off the face of the blogging community again, so it’s with true hope that I say I’ll see you all again soon. :))
Why do you love characters? Do we share any of this is common? Can anyone else not go three sentences without mentioning Gansey or is that just me? I would love to talk to you in the comments.