On the Value of Fictional Bonds

I know, I know… I’m a bit late for National Siblings Day but here I am. But I’ve got a sibling, a sister I love dearly, so I dare say I qualify to poke my head out fashionably late on a day like today.

What I want to reflect on now is how much my sister means to me and how much fandom and story has connected us even more than we were already.

We’d always been close, my sister and me. We’d always loved stories, our literature class was one of our favorites in school. But the bright splendor of discovering a film and seeing not just you, but you and the person that means the most to you, in it just blew our minds and in many ways transformed us.

Falling in love with our fictional counterparts (in this case, Hiccup and Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon) and seeing in that relationship a solid trueness forged in us a deeper bond than simply sharing a similar interest. The love we saw on screen elevated the love we felt for one another and in so many ways we grew into the love we saw as so utterly beautiful.

Then I got into fandom (in this case, through tumblr) and realized these on-screen relationships were the major reason so many people attached themselves to these stories.

Many times I saw people wishing they had a loyal, selfless friend like John Watson is to Sherlock Holmes. Or a dogged true love like Peeta is to Katniss. Or share a bond like the Winchester brothers on Supernatural. So many times I see lonely people on the web who look up to these stories because they want those kinds of people in their lives.

I am, for one, lucky to have that dream fulfilled in my sister. But I am also grateful that these stories exist for the people, the kids, the lonely outcasts, the shy dreamers, who are still alone and who still have hope. These are the kinds of stories that tell them love is real, friendship is possible, and show them that despite the odds, despite what kind of person you are, there is always someone who can and will love you and accept you for who you are.

Stories might be fictional, but the love and hope they express is very much real. And I have seen first hand how important the relationships portrayed can be.

my sister and me
Jedi siblings: the joy of sharing fandom with my sister

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