This study focuses on the meanings fans ascribe to the death of fictional characters. Previous research on this topic has been predominantly quantitative in nature, concerned with correlations between the consumption of fictional narratives and people’s coping mechanisms and attitudes. In contrast this paper provides a contextualized account of how the mourning of fictional characters works in practice by revealing the underlying meaning making process of this kind of grief and exploring how this is related to people’s everyday lives. By analysing 15 in-depth interviews, this article concludes that these respondents actively utilise fictional narratives of death for reflecting on personal loss; contemplating unexperienced situations and feelings, and more generally, coping with the prospect of death.

Fiction, mourning, death, parasocial relationship, everyday life
Participations, Journal of Audience and Reception Studies (online)
Arts & Culture Studies

Schiavone, R.N., Reijnders, S.L, & Balazs, B. (2019). Losing an imagined friend: Fictional character bereavement in everyday life. Participations, Journal of Audience and Reception Studies (online), 16(2), 118–134. Retrieved from