When we talk about ECR, we're really talking about being dragged out of our comfort zones.
If you guys don't mind humouring me: What's made this third one so emotionally different from the two before?
I am also asking because this is honestly not the general tenor of the reaction I anticipated.
I've got... yeah, ECR. There is a fourth wall, sort of, between me and these characters, but it's nothing like any other fourth wall I've experienced, coming from the audience side. These characters are so much more real to me than, for example, a character on an actual TV show. This is even more so with those characters who have LiveJournals, and whose characters have friended us/me; we've carried on conversations with them. I've got, at one remove, the shoggoth that Chaz sent MG. I've cared about these people, far more than I ever have in other fandoms.
(My first fandom was the Terry Pratchett fandom, from early 1995 through 2001, though I'm still involved peripherally. My other fandom was the Callahans stuff, people who'd read Spider Robinson's Callahan's Cross-time Saloon
, et seq. In both cases, though, I (and others) got involved with other fans
, rather than seeing the characters as three-dimensional characters in this world - so, in both cases, fourth wall very firmly in place. In the IRC and Usenet versions, Callahan is behind the bar, serving you your beverage of choice - but his interactions are coded in, he doesn't feel as though there's a real person there, and contact takes place between the rest of us who *aren't* characters in the stories.)
For me, as txanne already said, Daphne is the team's heart. And... two weeks ago, she was worrying about Chaz, who was out BASE jumping - off a bridge. Last Thursday, she was teasing Sol, "You call the Maenad your mistress
?". Sunday morning, she was grousing a bit about getting called in, but at least she and T had a chance to sleep in on two mornings. (And there's
some nice dark delicious irony, if irony is delicious to you: Harpy posts "...And there goes the weekend"; Sol replies with "Sorry 'bout that, Ma'am.", and Harpy tells him "You can't even go out for coffee without things getting weird!" Foreshadowing, we can haz it.)
And then, this. All of this. My friend-brain is spending a lot of time looking for missing pens in the restroom.
What will this do to Chaz, losing his big sister? It breaks my heart; he has no family now, except Hafs, in her Faraday cage in Idlewood. It hurts to think of him shutting down, closing off. I suspect that's pretty much how he got himself through school and through life as a foster kid. He's now been part of a family of choice, and losing that? What sort of stressor or crack will *that* do to him?
So friend-brain is very much in charge here; I've come to feel I know these guys. (Yes, I know, they're fictional characters, written by one or several of you PTBs. But they're a hell of a lot more real to me than some people I've lived or worked next to.)
Every reader, being different, brings something different to the material they're reading. I don't expect that my reactions would necessarily track well with those of someone else. When Chaz told T: ""She's gone." - that triggered something that happened to me 27 1/4 years ago. It really isn't something I think of that often; people heal, we move past; but that "She's gone" took me right back there, to the scents and sounds of the Cardiac ICU up at Scripps. After coming through a quad bypass and (unexpected) aortic valve replacement just fine, there were complications, and all of a sudden things were not fine at all. And I went into that Cardiac ICU, and saw the body hooked up to all the monitors and ghods know what else was there; the body was that of my mother, but She. Was. No. Longer. There.
(Had to wait for the neuro to confirm, but... yeah.)
(And then there was trying to cope with some of my friends and co-workers, and some of her friends, who insisted
I shouldn't let them take her off life support, that there had to be
a chance she'd recover. And there I was, knowing she just wasn't there any more.
Anyway, enough of this, bleeding this all over everyone, but...yeah, major ECR.
major ECR. I can't say that enough.
I'm not angry over this; I can't imagine our PTBs playing with our minds, in the frivolous sense, by having someone we care about die without it being necessary
. I'm not angry about the story-from-the-author's-mind taking us into such a sad place. But then that fourth wall shatters, and my friend-brain is sincerely mourning a fictional character.