Sometimes, Authors are CruelSometimes, authors are cruel.
That is ultimately the fundamental lesson here, as fangirls wail, forums explode, and parents rub their temples in exasperation at the girls that were once calm children.
Sometimes the tears fall and will not stop. Sometimes the books turn sad and will not return. Sometimes the feels rise and smack the reader in the face. Sometimes the writer bullies the characters. And sometimes, the heart shakes and heaves and splits itself in two.
Sometimes, authors are cruel. And always, when they are, we do the same thing. We put the book down. We weep and mourn, we collapse and scream about the deaths, we rebuild our hearts. And we go on. This is the price of being a fangirl. And also, arguably, the most honorable expression.
Sometimes, authors are cruel, and you have no choice but to accept that as part of the agreement called fandomship. And when it is your turn to deal with it, you do.
But what if it's always your turn?
Surely some shell-chocked, tear-streaked demigod can be forgiven for thinking it is always the Percy Jackson fandom's turn, just hours after the trolly author known as Rick Riordan saw his son of Hephaestus Leo dying in the biggest explosion the series had ever known, enough to destroy Gaia's physical form. Surely, the mortals reading from around the globe, experiencing tradgedy and devastation from the futile attempt at comfort of armchairs and bedroom pillows, are tempted to believe the same thing.
Bad enough, Percy Jackson is wretchedly torturous. Bad enough it has a history of unexpected cliffhangers and twists, of being pun-filled when it is not being parodied by them. Bad enough, all that, yet at the end of the day, those are disasters authored by Rick's hands, by Rick's mind, Rick's evilness, Rick's "loved characters predation."
Sometimes, though, you have to wonder if the creators themselves are not conspiring against these enchanting little stories.
After 1887, when Black Beauty lived his unstable life, after 1997, when J.K. Rowling introduced sad Harry Potter, after 2009, when Luke Castellan sacrificed himself to save the world, after 2010, when Eren Yaegar was forced to watch his own mother get killed and eaten and lost his entire city, followed by Mockingjay, which pained thousands, after the double whammy of The Red Pyramid and The Lost Hero killed millions of feels and destroyed thousands of hearts, after all that, comes this latest insult -- and a raging fire that Uncle Rick cannot even begin to imagine. Perhaps as many as 4,000,000, I would estimate from experience.
Sometimes, authors are cruel. To magnify the pages' surfaces, scanning for hints of fates between the lines, charting ship lists in notebooks, runnning from puns in chapters, is to understand this in a personal, primal way. It is to breathe a prayer that begins, "Please, by the grace of the gods..." It is to write alternate universe fanfiction, donate tissues, volunteer skills ad time and to fear, even in the doing, that these gestures are small against the need, inconsequential against the heartaches of a fandom whose turn never seems to end.
But what else are you going to do? As the person writing this puts it, your writings are too short to compare with Ricky's. Even less have we the ability to answer the question: Why are the most pained repeatedly assaulted at the most sore points?
We are hamstrung by our own limitations, so we can only do what we always do, only send chocolates and hugs. And watch, staggered by the courage it takes, as demigods do what readers always do, the thing at which they have become so terribly practiced.
Put the book down. Weep and mourn. Panic at the deaths. Rebuild the heart. Go on. And show the world once again a stubborn insistence on reading, despite all the cruelties of the authors.