Firefly grief

I really miss Firefly, I mean it was really good. Hell it’s considered a modern classic. It’s not fair, it shouldn’t have happened and damn it there’s no recourse to change it. I can scream on the internet, but that wont help. I could pray, but i don’t believe. I suppose i could start believing and cut a deal in prayer. That might bring it back. I got angry. I got sad, but much like a lot of tv before i eventually came to terms with it. I remember it sometimes with fondness and little things bring back those memories.

I miss my Rabbit and my Grandfather too.

Grief is a funny thing, and i was reminded about it when my friend and mentors body was found a couple of months back after he went missing a couple of years ago. Now the idea that i’m going to use this for an blog about LARP may seem a little weird and inappropriate, but it’s my blog and i want to talk about it. On many levels we deal with grief in our own ways and i like to talk about stuff. In many ways this is quite personal, but i think sometimes we have to fall back on ourselves a little to portray emotions.

LARP death is weird. You get two lots of grief. The grief of losing your character and the grief you should be feeling ’cause someone died damn it. So i’m going to go through some of my experiences of LARP grief. I’m not touching you lost your character grief, thats for another time, probably when one of my characters dies. I’m looking at the grief you play act when another character dies in a fictional world and how you deal with it.

Empress Britta, she died before time in and was a much loved leader in Empire. She got killed fighting like a hero with all her aids at her side. There was out cry, gnashing of teeth, wailing and trailing her body through the camps. What a hero.

What an enormous tit. ‘Oh but she was rebuilding the empire.’ Was she? No she bloody wasn’t. The civil service and various imperial bodies were. Also who wears their bloody crown into battle so if it gets lost your going to have a bitch of a time replacing it and who takes all their advisers into battle with them so that if they are all wiped out you got no one to run stuff? Just sayin’ seems to me the grief is more important than the person. Fear of a rudderless empire wrapped up in grief?

It reminded me of Diana. I remember where i was when i heard the news, i was in Loughborough uni carpark waiting to go home from GENCON (yes i am that old, now fuck off). I think i said something glib and moved on. When i got back i couldn’t get the public out cry, i felt guilty because I couldn’t feel it. I mean she meant absolutely nothing to me. Yet at some level I felt i should be beating myself in the street like everyone else. I didn’t even like her when she was alive. Damn i am the only person in the country who doesn’t care. They are going to come for me. They will know. I will be judged and dammit everyone will know that i’m a heartless in human for not tearing my hair out for this deity who walked among us. They will claw at my doors, pull me through the windows and hang me from a lamp post. Then i got over it and just watched this weird drama play out. It’s still playing out even now. I’m sure there’s books about this national guilt and stuff, but i’d rather eat popcorn and watch.

In LARP when someone dies who is important we kind of have to make it up. Our reference points are the celebs that die around us, but we never really knew them. Hell we may have interacted with them a couple of times a few weekends a year. It’s tough to go with that. Harriata however, the ex-leader of the Vipers. When he died he left a massive void. I wasn’t at the event, however i remember being at my mates house when i got told. It was the weirdest experience ever. As a real person i was sad that i wouldn’t see that character again. There are times when i feel there maybe something wrong with me, then i remember everyone else is wrong.

There seems to also be a competition to be that little bit more up set than everyone else, almost as if your role-playing a little bit harder than the person next to you. I guess when it’s a LARP celeb it’s easier than that fella you knew kicking it.

Now at a recent event i stood over a dead fella who i didn’t know and said some appropriate words. I got a real sense however that i was letting the dead player down by not being cut up over it. Hmm i seem a theme here developing, i may actually be an uncaring sociopath. Yet before the same battle i actually felt sick at the thought of a few of the people my character knew dying out there so i can’t be that bad.

I think the point is everyone wants to be remembered, even your character and the idea that death means very little because of that lack of real emotional attachment makes that difficult. On the plus point the fella i said those words over got one final pub crawl from his striding and a wheel barrow. I still felt really bad though that i hadn’t some how made him feel that his lose had meant something to the nation, that his character had mattered to mine.

The thing is grief hits people in different ways. Unfortunately due to bad choices in my early life i have buried a lot of people and held a few hands. Most of the time i feel guilty that all i feel is emptiness. I think i have been polaxed by it once in my life total, actually dropped to the floor with that i can’t breath or think feeling. But it’s always the same shock and emptiness followed slowly by the realisation it’s real. The thing is LARP grief tends to be either shouty anger of the sort you would laugh at in the movies or the full on wailing and a screaming usually reserved for heads of state. Partly that’s because tears are actually difficult and partly because we almost feel like we have to go over the top because death is important even in make believe. We all have a frame of reference for death but often because it’s pixies and goblins we see it as the loss of a character rather than the loss of a person.

It’s an ending of a story, a loss of someone you knew and probably scuppered some roleplay/plot/stuff you were doing. But intrinsically it’s the loss of a relationship. So yes we should make sure peoples characters deaths should be important, but maybe the shoutyness and wailing might make it have less impact if that’s where we go every time when we really din’t know them.

For example just this once i’ll use one of my characters as an example. Someone dies on the battlefield he hardly knows he will get over it, might want to make sure that the generals acknowledge it and would want to talk their loved ones, but that’s it.  A colleague might raise a serious face and a drink, where as a friend would probably get some words and an evening of introspection. Family and loved ones however is i think where waily waily starts. For example his daughter would probably screw him up in ways where Graham the barbarian spod wouldn’t. If he was to gnash his teeth with every death it would remove the impact of that loss of a character and death in general Obviously Graham probably mattered to his striding and his mum, unless he was a tosser, but that’s for his social circle to sort.

Maybe i’m cynical, but i really feel that if everyone gets their sack cloth and ashes on it cheapens a death and the relationships that person had in life with the characters that mattered to them. Almost back to Dianna eh?

I think i should have a TL:DR, but you know what screw it, i can’t be arsed.

Now i know this is a depressing subject so i will leave you with a toast i made at a Wolf wake in CP. I made a beautiful speech about a dead character and raised a toast to the honored dead….unfortunately what came out was a toast to the Grateful dead. Yeah i still cringe even now!

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2 Responses to Firefly grief

  1. starblayde says:

    I think the main thing with Britta was that she’s a *canon* awesome person, and that in every instance where she’s mentioned (except her final battle, duh) it’s for super-cool-wonderful-yay-isn’t-she-brill things. Other than “well, that was a bit silly at the end”, there’s nothing else to play on. So, we’re told she’s ace, and we act like it – and it’s not like we’ve only been told by the Empire’s version of The Sun that she’s ace, the actual encyclopaedia says so.

    If there’s anyone who deserves a proper ‘state’ funeral, it’s the recovered, mutilated body of the most powerful person in the land – whether they were a bit of a twat at the end or otherwise.

    Also, temper death in Empire with the fact that they’ll largely get re-incarnated at some point anyway, so it doesn’t always have to be all terrible wailing and gouging of eyes.

    Playing a Highguard Steward of the Dead, who takes awesome stories from living and dead heroes of the Empire, may have given me a slightly different perspective. Being one of the priests who paraded her remains, having personally stripped her of her relics/armour/etc, without gnashing of teeth or wringing of hands, also gives me a slightly different viewpoint, too.

    • jesusjohn says:

      Ah i was merely using her as an example of how public LARP figures are seen and using the Diana analogy to bring the whole thing home. Trust me when i say Britta was quite low key in comparison to some dead LARP notables. 😉

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