by Beth Cronk, head librarian
Part of the journey is the end. Two major science fiction/fantasy series are coming to an end for viewers within a month of each other. Avengers: Endgame just hit movie theaters, wrapping up Marvel’s Avengers series of movies (but not all of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) after eleven years. The television series Game of Thrones comes to an end on May 19 with its eighth season.
Readers are still looking forward to the last two books in the Song of Ice and Fire series that Game of Thrones is based on. Provided George R.R. Martin gets over his writer’s block, there’s still more of that world coming. And Marvel comic books and graphic novels may never end.
If you feel a sense of loss with these series endings, you’re not alone. A quick internet search turns up “Empty feeling after finishing a book/series” on the Goodreads website, “Why it’s healthy to cry over TV shows” in Time magazine, and “The 5 stages of grief for the TV show you just finished binge-watching” in Huffpost (some are tongue-in-cheek). There’s even a name that some people use for this uncomfortable feeling: “post-series depression.”
Some avid readers I know go through this quite often, whether they read mysteries, historical fiction, or anything that comes in a series – or sometimes just after a long, immersive novel.
The Time article says that we form parasocial, or one-directional, relationships with fictional characters, whether on the page or screen. Professor Jennifer Barnes is quoted in the February 23, 2017, article as saying, “The interesting thing is that our brains aren’t really built to distinguish between whether a relationship is real or fictional… So these friendships can convey a lot of real-world benefits.” She also says it’s completely normal to feel upset when a character we’ve come to know dies or when a series comes to an end.
It may help to turn your attention to another activity for a while (exercise, go out with friends, be creative and make something), to discuss the books or movies or TV show with other fans, or to pick up a new book or DVD.
While we don’t have an Avengers or Game of Thrones support group here at the library (hmm, there’s a fun thought…), we do have many science fiction and fantasy books and DVDs here to help you find something new.
Mark Lawrence’s trilogy Book of the Ancestor has just come to a conclusion with Holy Sister. This epic fantasy series tells the story of a young girl, trained by an arcane order of nuns, who grows into a fierce warrior. One reviewer after another has praised the world building Lawrence did in this series. The first two books are Red Sister and Grey Sister. We have all three at the library.
Myke Cole is two novels into his Sacred Throne trilogy. Our library has both: The Armored Saint and The Queen of Crows. The third will be published this fall. Another epic fantasy series, this one features Heloise, a young girl who opposes the tyrannical Order after witnessing their slaughter of innocent people. Although this sounds like a familiar formula, reviews say the author goes in inventive directions.
The Litchfield Library also has these new sci fi/fantasy novels:
- a new novel in the Planetfall series by Emma Newman, Atlas Alone;
- a new Invisible Library novel by Genevieve Cogman, The Mortal Word;
- the first novel in the Chronicles of Ghadid series by K.A. Doore, The Perfect Assassin; and
- the second novel of the Ascendant series by K. Arsenault Rivera, The Phoenix Empress.
In addition, our library always has superhero, fantasy, and science fiction movies. Some of the newest are Aquaman, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, The Kid Who Would Be King, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and Mary Poppins Returns.
As Mary Poppins would say, “With every job when it’s complete, there is a sense of bittersweet.” If the magic of a story has worked on you, be glad that it had the power to capture your heart and your imagination.