Whenever I come to love a character, I seem to set a curse on them. By some strange twist of fate, they will always end up injured, scarred, or traumatised, before the story is finished. That is, if they don't die. That's what seems to happen to most of them.
As some of you may know, I am one of the legions of fans who adores the "Song of Ice and Fire" series by George R. R. Martin. While I have not yet watched the TV series adapted from the books, I have only just recently finished reading the last book, A Dance with Dragons. However, as much as I wanted to strangle author, editor and several characters within it by the end, it is the third book in the series, A Storm of Swords, that I think is the best in the series.
Namely because it reduced me to a sobbing lump under my pillow for the best part of twenty minutes.
That was evil, George. Even for you. Now please excuse me while I go and hug my family...
I was discussing the book with my friend earlier, and it got me thinking about something that happend earlier this year. For my first speech at a school English Symposium, I did a very quick presentation on the benefits of tragic endings over comic ones, based mostly around the idea of cathartic release. "Cathartic" here meaning "release of excessive emotion in response to fictional events", not some freaky hybrid-word meaning "arthritic felines".
I never used to cry all that much until the wonderful phenomenon of teenagerhood set in. Now, it seems, I am relatively easy to upset - and my tear ducts just love joining in the party. While many of my friends - mostly those who don't read much - will laugh and wonder how on earth something that is happening beyond a barrier of printed words, or a TV screen, can reduce me to a sniffling, cushion-hugging wreck.
What can I say. All the feels. I haz dem.
And, thankfully, I know I am not alone. Cathartic release has been utilised by playwrites, screenwriters and authors since the first cavemen picked up a lump of charcoal. Sometimes, we all need a good cry, and releasing it in an environment where it is deemed to be something at least vaguely acceptable is often a covenient time. Besides, humans are empathetic creatures, and we often recognise parts of ourselves in characters.
And sometimes their fate makes us so utterly miserable that we just want to pull them through the void and give them a hug.
I also believe that I can use my very undignified abuse of the tissue box to my advantage. If I know what makes me cry, I can remember the technique and put it to use myself. Nothing teaches you the value of good dialogue and lifelike expression and reaction like a scene that reduces you to tears. I've also developed a whole new level of respect for orchestral composers. Those evil people owe me gallons of my tears back.
But what about all of you? Do you cry easily? What sort of scene gets to you the most? Leave a comment and let me know - let's see if we can decide universally on the Greatest Tear-Jerking Scene Ever, According to Followers of the Tower of Plot!
And now I leave you with five hints. Five hints that pertain closely to five events, on TV, in books and on the silver screen, that have driven pointy things into my poor bleeding heart in recent times.
Warning: Contains feels. Lots and lots of feels.
~ "Loki ... no."
~ "My brother. My captain. My king."
~ "You were my new dream."
~ The Rains of Castamere.
~ Charley R