The problem is toxic fandom.
Now calm down, fans of anything. I'm not saying that everyone who is a fan of something is toxic, but you cannot deny that there is a very loud faction of fans who are extremely destructive. I mean destructive - sending death threats kind of destructive. Here is an article about it. And another here. These things always happen in threes, so here is another one.
Do you have the point, yet?
I've written about this problem rather strongly before, and I feel I need to again. Though really, you can go ahead and just read the first time I wrote about it here. My opinion has not changed at all.
That opinion is this:
Fans, the story does not belong to us. It is not ours to demand anything from. We were granted entry into a world, a look into something wonderful and magical. This was a privilege denied to far too many. We should all be grateful.
Even if a character we love dies.
Even if the series draws to a close.
Even if the bad guy gets away, or the hero loses, or the world ends.
We, dear fans, are the spectators, not the originators. We are not entitled to the thing we desire out of the show, or book, or computer game other than to be entertained, to be transported, to be enthralled.
That is the task of the movie/television series, book or video game. They are not there to cater to my personal OTPs or ships, or your personal theories, or even our idea of a good ending.
The last time I wrote of this, I wrote specifically about books, but it holds true for every entertainment medium; they can be some of life's biggest, most effective teachers.
I learned about empathy, about courage and, yes, about grief from my years as a reader. It's not different for me now that I've taken up gaming... well, except that I can restart if I lose a companion I don't want gone. That's a minor detail, though. I also learned that sometimes terrible things happen, and they are entirely beyond our control.
That seems to be a lesson many fans have missed.
Look, I, too am a fan (ahem MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN). I suppose the difference between myself and toxic fans is that I understand that I am not the creator of the work I am a fan of. I am a spectator, a shadow wraith that follows the characters through their struggles, and though I might scream, the character will not hear me. I can affect nothing.
Sorry, Clara, it's a fixed point in time.
I understand that though I am witness to it all, I cannot affect it one whit. I am merely that: the witness.
I have been swallowed whole by stories. I have stood beside the protagonists as they wrestled the enemy. I have grieved keenly when people I loved died, despite them being fictional. Sometimes, I was left so bereft I could not function for days.
But still, despite that, I was, and am, supremely grateful. I held in my hand a kind of magic. It took me, mind and soul, to another place and showed me wondrous sights and incredible deeds I would never have seen otherwise. There is a sort of sad farewell that happens every time I finish a really good book and place it back on the shelf. In that sadness, there was and is always a profound sense of gratitude.
I am so, so grateful I got to experience these worlds from the safety of my chair, wrapped in a warm blanket and holding a hot cup of tea (or a glass of wine... or whiskey. Whatever, I'm flexible).
I guess I have difficulty understanding how fans can send death threats to the creators of the things they love so dearly. It makes absolutely no sense to me at all. They created the thing you love so very much. That thing would not exist without them... and you're sending death threats? Are your lives not richer for that thing you are such a fan of? Is your life not improved for having known it, for experiencing the incredible magic of it? You should be sending thank-you letters!
I don't understand.
It's a problem, fandom. It's a huge, huge problem. And we need to start fixing it.