Can You Really Fall In Love With a Fictional Character?

The word “love” has a variety of meanings. A person can say “I love my mom,” “I love my sister,” “I love my fiancé,” and “I love my cat” and mean something different each time. Merriam-Webster also has a separate definition for affection for impersonal things like music, food, or favorite places to be.

Fans of fiction (including books, movies, television shows, etc.) take that last definition even further. They say “I love Kaylee Frye (from Firefly and Serenity),” “I love Mr. Darcy (from Pride & Prejudice),” or “I love Hiccup (from How to Train Your Dragon 2).” These fictional characters are technically impersonal things because they are only ideas, but people’s affections for them can feel very personal. Is this an impersonal love? Is it any different from love for the story? If it can’t be reciprocated, can it be anything like the “real” love people feel for family, friends, and significant others? And what would the implications be if it were real?

Hiccup in How To Train Your Dragon 2 is considered an attractive cartoon character.

How Many Ways to Say I Love You?

To determine if love for fictional characters can be real, it helps to determine what “love” means. The Greeks went even further than Merriam-Webster. They had at least seven different words that translate to love in English, each with different applications.

Philautia is self-love; that definitely does not apply to love between real people and fictional characters. Pragma is love based on reason and external factors like arranged marriages or public appearances. Real people aren’t put in arranged relationships with fictional characters, so that term is out, too. Ludus is the version of love people feel in “no strings attached” relationships. As Psychology Today puts it, “ludus works best when both parties are self-sufficient.” Fictional characters do not meet that criterion (they are dependent on writers for their existence), so their real-world lovers probably don’t feel ludus.

Eros is close enough to ludus that the latter is sometimes mistaken for the former. It is the Greek term for physical attraction that drives people to make love and sometimes more eccentric demonstrations of their passion.

When fans speak of their love for fictional characters, a common assumption is they are physically attracted to the actors portraying them in movies or television shows. It’s not Sherlock Holmes, Loki, and the Doctor they love, for example, but Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, and David Tennant.

The Doctor, especially David Tennant’s incarnation, is the object of many crushes.

Even when the character originally comes from a book, if an adaptation exists, that is the version that appears in the posters and life-size cardboard cutouts. Thus, say the observers, fans feel eros for the actors, not the characters. However, some fans describe feeling physically attracted to animated characters. The voices provided by real people may be part of the reason, but they cannot account for all of the flattering fan art.

Which characters become the objects of a fan’s eros is largely determined by subjective taste, just like who finds whom attractive in real life. However, a character can be cast, costumed, and/or animated in specific ways to elicit physical attraction. This is sometimes called fan service. It draws attention to the shallowness of eros and calls into question how genuine this kind of love is.

Philia is also known as platonic friend-love. Eros is physical lust, whereas philia is a desire for understanding. As Aristotle described it, philia is based on the belief that the one you love is useful, likable, or virtuous. Real people can seek to better understand their favorite fictional characters by reading more, watching more, or coming up with their own ideas. Authors and show-runners give their characters development for that very purpose.

As Aristotle described it, philia is based on the belief that the person you love is useful, likable, or virtuous. This description is especially appropriate because fictional characters often have many distinct qualities worthy of platonic admiration. In a similar way, fans say they hate the characters they find distinctly non-virtuous or unlikable. If a fan’s significant other is abusive or otherwise unpleasant, that fan may be particularly drawn to heroes with kind hearts. This situation and many others like it are philia at work. 

Storge is familial love. People develop it for other real people through familiarity; young children learn to love their families not because of physical attraction (despite what Freud might say), but because they grow up together. Admiration (philia) is often part of it, but it usually comes after storge. Fans may develop storge for fictional characters that they “grew up with” or otherwise spent a lot of time reading about or watching. Psychology Today points out that storge can be “unilateral or asymmetrical,” so it seems a good fit for what fans call love of characters that cannot reciprocate.

Storge is most relevant when a character dies or otherwise leaves the story. Fans may feel levels of loss “normally” reserved for family members and very close friends. Authors even have this feeling for characters they create; J.K. Rowling has admitted to crying when she found herself forced to kill her characters in the Harry Potter series.

J.K. Rowling cried over killing her own character.

Last but not least, agape is the word for the altruistic or selfless love people have for strangers. Not everyone embodies agape for their fellow non-fictional people, but fans may feel a genuine desire for their favorite fictional characters’ best interests. If it is love, it is indeed a selfless love, as the object of the fans’ affection cannot do anything in return.

Again, which fictional characters receive agape is up to the individual fan. The seemingly random connection some fans feel for short-lived characters in horror stories may not feel like love, but it is technically agape. Perhaps it is the relatable characters or simply the tragic, sympathetic ones we develop this altruistic love for. Some fans develop agape for fictional characters specifically because they enjoy the story containing those characters; maybe it’s a chicken-egg question of which affectionate feelings came first.

So there are four possible meanings for a fan saying “I love Aladdin.” It could mean “I am physically attracted to this cartoon drawing” (Eros), “I find this person likable and virtuous and I want to learn more about him” (Philia), “I have developed a fondness for this person over the years” (Storge), or “I have altruistic concern for the best interests of this person” (Agape). Most likely it is some combination of these feelings. It seems there is much more to be explored simply in defining what love means in this context, not even considering the implications.

Everybody loves Aladdin.

If Loving You is Wrong…

The author of “Ask Anne” says this about feeling love for fictional characters: “People do this all the time. Love at first sight is love of the visual appearance of a person combined with love of a fiction.” This is what makes eros work in general. This fact can lessen the concern that fictional characters cannot return the affections of their fans. It should be no more concerning than a celebrity crush. Affection for real-life famous people is based on their visual appearance (eros) and what fans imagine their personalities to be. The only difference with fictional characters is fans are told what to imagine about their personalities by the writers and sometimes the actors behind the characters.

As Anne goes on to say, affection for fictional characters becomes problematic when we prefer our chosen fiction to relationships with real people. It seems similar to the problem with pornography; porn is made specifically for people to feel eros for a fantasy, a fictitious person, and those who fall for its allure run the risk of dampening their affection for real people. It is easier to avoid this danger with movies and television shows that aren’t porn, but fans should still beware that their reason for “loving” a fictional character may really be lust. In this way, feelings of eros for fictional characters can put strain on romantic relationships between real people. A fan may develop unreasonable standards for their real-life significant other, hoping he/she will look or act more like the object of a fictional crush. These fans may struggle to keep or find significant others. Feelings of storge for fictional characters may lead to a similar problem; fans risk losing affection for the real people they should feel familiarity and love for.

The good news is, despite the worries of many fans, there does not seem to be evidence that feeling overly attached to fictional characters is a sign of a mental disorder (assuming fans understand that fictional characters are, in fact, fictional). If it were a symptom of something, it would be especially difficult to stop, and real-life relationships would be in big trouble. But fans can rest easy knowing that affection for characters will not irrevocably damage their ability to feel things for real people.

Meanwhile, agape and philia are actually admirable in this circumstance. Caring for a character’s best interests and wanting to learn more about them can be constructive. This is good practice for empathy. For example, authors often make the love interests of their protagonists and narrators attractive, drawing attention to their admirable characteristics to make it clear why the main characters are falling in love with them. When fans feel similar affection for these characters, they can empathize.

Some people struggle with connecting to people and empathy in general. Well-told stories help fans understand and connect with characters through means other than familiarity and attraction to visual appearance. This can be surprisingly helpful for people with “emotional deficits.” The additional advantage of practicing emotional connection on fictional characters is there are less strings attached. As Will Grayson said in the John Green/David Levithan novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson, “You like someone who can’t like you back because unrequited love can be survived in a way that once-requited love cannot.” Again, as long as the fans understand that their fictional crushes are fictional, they won’t be badly hurt when nothing comes of these feelings. 

Many real-life relationships start with attraction to physical apperance (eros). Over time, hopefully, the lover will develop philia (admiration for the other person’s good qualities) and agape (selfless caring for their well-being). It is certainly possible to feel these kinds of love for fictional characters. These pseudo-relationships can become fond memories when fans move on to a real-life love story. And the characters will always be there when they need them.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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  1. Smyth

    I’ve been in love with fictional characters in the past… I started back around 4th or 5th grade, I think, and went straight on until I got close to hitting twenty. Nowadays I just ‘ship’ characters in a story together, and am pretty content with that… but man, I could get obsessed with a character when I wanted to, haha.

    I guess it was because loving a character was so much ‘safer’ than dealing with the potential drama of crushing over someone in real life. After all, the character wouldn’t push you to do anything you felt uncomfortable with- they’re in your imagination, for crying out loud.

  2. Carroll

    I’ve been waiting for an article to this topic for the longest time. You handled it so well!

    • Thank you so much. It’s my first “real” published work, so it makes me glad to get such nice feedback.

  3. Ashby

    As a teenager I was in love with Aragorn (Lord of the Rings) and much later I crushed on the vampires Louis de Pointe du Lac and Marius (the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice). At the moment I like Sherlock Holmes very much for it seems that he is asexual himself!

    • Hmm. That is something I hadn’t considered: how people who identify as aromantic or asexual relate to this topic. Do they feel things for fictional characters that they don’t feel for real people? And how do we classify those feelings? Not actually enough for a sequel to this article, but worth considering. Thanks.

  4. Cantu

    Great piece you have here. 99.9% of my crushes have been on fictional characters, and even more specifically, animated characters. My Mum thought it was cute when I was a kid and figured I’d grow out of it, but I haven’t done and I get the feeling she wouldn’t appreciate it these days, haha. Sonic the Hedgehog was the first one I ever had anything resembling a crush on when I was really little, and that hasn’t really diminished… >.> I don’t identify as ‘furry’ or anything of the sorts, but there’s just always been something about his personality that really draws me in. Because I find that, even with fictional characters, I don’t feel attracted to them just because of their appearance.

  5. ogle

    By definition, love is a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties. A fictional character is “another”. Personal ties may be obsession with the character, as it is personal, and it ties you to the fictional being. It is possible, and I have proven so.

    • Well said. Just the sort of thing I might have put in the article if I didn’t have about ten other definitions.

    • Sid Deleon

      Can you really love someone who’s only MADE OUT OF FANTASY?

  6. Stephanie M.

    I used to think having crushes on fictional characters was ridiculous, at least once you were past the age of about six. Then I read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and got a little crush on Lupin – made worse when I saw his actor, because he’s hot! Like most Jane Austen fans, I also admit to an appreciation for men like Tilney and Brandon, if not full-on crushes. So, not so ridiculous after all.

    Beyond crushes though, I think the best parts of falling “in love” with fictional characters is when they become your friends and you feel friendship love or philia for them. This has been and sometimes still is the case for me with a lot of characters, esp. females with whom I identify. They feel more like my family than my real family does at times, and they are as real to me as any people in the “real world.”

  7. I think that this is an excellent analysis on the all-too-common phenomenon of falling in love with fictional characters. I’ve been in love with plenty of fictional characters. The added appeal of falling in love with these characters (for me at least) was creating a fictional version of myself to interact with them within in the universes of their stories-a version of myself that has all of the virtues and charms that I admittedly lack in real life.

    • You’re very right. There’s an awful lot of Doctor Who fan fiction about fans getting to meet the Doctor and fall in love with him in person. But considering how Mary-Sue-like they become (as you say, the virtues and charms the real people lack), that love is probably only as real as the girl falling in love with the Doctor, whether she’s a “self-insert” or not.
      Aren’t feelings weird?

  8. I’ve been in love with plenty of fictional characters. The added appeal of falling in love with these characters (for me at least) was creating a fictional version of myself to interact with them within in the universes of their stories-a version of myself that has all of the virtues and charms that I admittedly lack in real life.

  9. Jenette

    If I were to have a religious affiliation it would be books.

    They are more or less my life to be honest 😛 I think of the characters as real, I mean after all someone poured years of their life into creating a whole world. if that’s not real then what is right? so yes, I most definitely can say that I have fallen in love with characters in books. I actually hope one day that I can meet someone who I can feel the same way I do about books :P…

    It’s unfortunate though, because I always fall for the characters who are taken. 🙁

  10. christ

    I sort of crush on a lot of female characters, but I think it’s more of a sense of deep admiration. My current one is Green Arrow.

    • Sounds like philia, in your case. Then again, I can understand Shirtless Stephen Amell causing some eros.

  11. Skye

    Fictional characters are not to be loved. THEY ARENT REAL!

    • That is certainly a point to be considered. Thank you. My article simply sought to suggest that as long as the crush doesn’t harm people or their real relationships, it’s not that bad after all.

  12. Logue

    Love is just a series of chemical reactions in the brain, creating a feeling of strong affection that we call love. If this happens in somebody’s brain and If they feel that then they are in love, regardless of whether that love is returned.

  13. Chaffin

    I was just telling my friend this morning that I think I actually fell in love with Ian O’Shea from the book, The Host.

    I really don’t see how it’s NOT possible, as long as you READ about the fictional character. Something about reading just makes you feel so connected to them. I don’t think you can fall in love with a fictional character by a movie.

    • I know what you mean. One point in the books vs movies debate is many fans find dissonance between how the characters look and act in their head and the portrayal of those characters in movies. Thus the idea that love for a movie character is just Eros for the actor, not real love for the person being portrayed.

  14. Qiana

    I’ve always thought Korra from Avatar was pretty attractive, and a badass.

  15. Rodger

    The human mind is weirder than fiction. That’s why I prefer to deal with computers. They don’t do weird things like fall in love with fictional characters

    • Ay, there’s the rub. If you prefer computers to people, there’s a reasonable chance you’ll find a fictional character who’s more appealing to you than most real people for some of the same reasons. Then maybe you won’t find it so weird.

  16. Amyus

    A great article and obviously very well researched. I’m pleased to see it’s encouraged feedback and discussion. A fascinating subject, by the way and one that touches many a heart. I have to confess to having a soft spot for Yuki Nagato from the Haruhi anime series, so even this old wooden heart isn’t immune to a touch of agape 🙂 Nicely done.

  17. SaraiMW

    An interesting discussion, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Love is a powerful driving force and one that we also respond very strongly to within the development of such characters. One aspect I am always interested in is the love for characters that reject love (to a narrative extent) such as Sherlock in the BBC version and Snape – I often wonder if we are drawn to loving the perceived “unloveable” on TV, but in real life would never even consider such people as potential for a love interest.

    • Good point. I think the love you’re referring to is agape, a selfless love for everyone. If you met someone with Sherlock or Snape’s “personality defects” in real life, maybe you would find it harder to love them or even like them, or maybe it would be easy enough because of this “practice” you’ve had.

  18. marle

    I do roleplaying (freeform style) and I often find myself becoming incredibly attached to my characters, to the point that I find it very difficult to roleplay them in any kind of relationship. I’m not sure if it’s like a mother’s ‘don’t touch my babies!’ protectiveness or a ‘they’re MINE’ posessiveness. I’ve never had a crush on a real person.

    • Seems similar to the storge an author feels for their fictional characters. Hank Green tweeted recently, “Don’t mind me, just revising my novel and crying because the people I invented are having relationship drama.”

  19. ryantte

    I’m in love with L from Death Note. I can’t help it…. I just am. 🙂

  20. KIRBY

    Lovely read. I’ve had crushes on loads of fictional characters. I remember my first crush was on Bruno from Strangers on a Train. Yeah, him. I guess that just started a cycle that hasn’t quite stopped. Since then I’ve had crushes on characters ranging from Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet (Is he not the best character?) to Adenoid Hynkle in The Great Dictator to a mild crush on Roger from I Dream of Jeannie. (And occasionally Tony Nelson, but only when the mood strikes me. And do I have a squish on Dr. Bellows? You bet I do. Poor guy.) (Oh, and I would love to have lunch sometime with Abner from Bewitched. He rocked like nobody’s business.) (Oh, and OK so I did have a crush on Rorschach from Watchmen. I avoid saying it because people act like I’m kooky when I do.)

  21. Mozella

    Falling in love with a hero or heroine in a book is nutty enough but nuttier still are those who fall in love with movie stars or band members! Oh well, dream on…!

    • That’s eros. Nutty, yes, but the brain chemicals and hormones want what the brain chemicals and hormones want.

  22. Yael

    I have been in love with a character which does not exist in the real world. And I don’t just mean in the obsessive infatuation sense; this has gone on for well over a year, and I’ve watched my feelings develop and change from infatuation to a deeper love, in the exact same way as my feelings did for my ex-partner of five years.

    It’s hard to make someone understand, but the close friends who have watched the entire process agree that what I am feeling is no different than any other ‘true’ romantic love. For me, it was possible because a.) I wrote character-centric fanfiction, which got me in my character’s head for months and b.) he was an unpopular character (I became universally recognized in the fandom as /his/ guardian), which gave me a very personal sense of emotional intimacy with him.

    I’ve also used self-insert fantasies to literally create a life with him, with simple routines (5:20 PM every day, when he would get home from work had he actually been real, I sit down with ‘him’ to watch a show and share a cup of tea together, among other daily shared routines). Nor do I idealize him or ignore his faults; I’ve written out exactly what arguments we’d have (some lasting months and never have a total solution), and write 128K fanfiction that capitalizes on his weaknesses. His weaknesses and faults are as important to me as anything else.

    As for the question of whether or not this is healthy: I engage in this, understanding that it prevents me from wanting to cultivate romantic relationships with other people BECAUSE I am in a position in my life where cultivating longterm romantic relationships is infeasible anyway (I move countries every year). But moving countries every year also means that I cut myself off from all my real life social support annually, friends and all, and imagining this relationship and indulging in these emotions gives me a sense of social support and connection even when I keep moving. Further, I’m a health psychologist, and the hormones associated with such emotions are related to positive health outcomes and better immune function, etc., so by allowing myself to feel those emotions and to flood my system in those hormones does actually improve my health!

    • Some people use a book, movie, or TV show to fill a need for support, connection, and healthy emotional release. Using a particular character is certainly an alternative, as long as it’s healthy. Good for you. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Chrystal

    I don’t think constantly thinking about this cartoon character, worshipping him, wishing he really exists, drawing him, writing about him, and collecting images of him constitutes as love……well maybe a little.

    I love VEGETA! Vegeta Prince of the Saiyajins!!

    In fact, I’ve only ever loved fictional guy characters. Even fictional characters in movies and shows. Never been sexually attracted to them, but I’ve definitely been obsessed with many.

  24. tuuuune

    I think it’s a pretty normal thing for people who read a lot or something. I mean, I’ve had fictional crushes since childhood, and know so many people, sexual included, who also do.

  25. Aaron

    I’ve found myself being attracted to a fictional character from animes. For me I can find alot of them to seem too good to be true and more emotional and passionate then real people can be..

    • PARK

      When watching anime, since I was 13, I would think stuff like how I wish this girl end up with this guy and how I wish that girl had a guy and so on. I hate seeing a series and some girl stayed alone.

  26. Chieko

    Fictional characters are far beyond just a smiley face on a piece of paper. They have personalities, appearances, and are purposefully better than real people. They don’t have physical genetic flaws and they can’t break your heart or deny you. Fanfictions and such sometimes include “OCs” and get the reader involved which simulates real life with this character. Just because they “aren’t real” (which they are real to some people who have different concepts of real) doesn’t mean you can’t feel an attraction to them. It’s like seeing a movie actor or actress on TV. You know you’ll never be able to be with them or even meet them but that doesn’t matter because you admire and love them so much. You dedicate a part of your life to them by checking news about them, their history, other movies they’ve done, etc. If a fictional character has a personality, events in their lives, family & friends, an appearance, a voice, a life, isn’t that about the same as a real person? But they can’t dump you or cheat on you after getting you pregnant… that was both the truth and a joke.

    • LANG

      “If a fictional character has a personality, events in their lives, family & friends, an appearance, a voice, a life, isn’t that about the same as a real person?”

      No, it isn’t, because the entity is MADE OUT OF MAKE-BELIEVE, not flesh, and has no substance.

      • Online dating, long-distance relationships, and friendships on Facebook and other social media all lack physical contact – “flesh,” as you say. The feelings, love or otherwise, romantic or platonic, are no less real. The difference, of course, is there will never be physical contact with fictional characters, so they won’t be your lifelong true love.

  27. H0mer

    I have a tendency to become extremely emotionally invested in my D&D characters. One of my long-time adored characters is a half-elf rogue/fighter named Qi (she’s taken on several different surnames appropriate to her situation in life), who’s highly intelligent but not so good at expressing herself. I’ve created a ridiculously extensive character background for her, and have drafted character sheets for her parents and her contacts before she joined the party (though they’ve disappeared somewhere), drawn preliminary maps of her hometown, attempted to write small drabbles of her story, and drawn tons and TONS of pictures of her throughout all of her various outfit-appearances evolutions. I’m especially happy that she’s managed to find a life-long companion (not so much in a romantic/sexual manner, but a friend of AWESOME) that she can rely on and who can rely on her in return (my best friend’s character from the campaign, a gnome sorcerer 83).

    • That sounds like storge, born out of familiarizing yourself with the characters. It seems to happen a lot with writers and actors.

  28. octave

    I’ll always have a thing for fictional guys. They’re just so easy to fall in love with.

    • 0DA

      I have fallen in love with fictional characters many-a-time in my long life!

  29. kIck

    There are characters throughout my life that I’ve wanted to meet, who I wanted to give a hug to (usually because they needed one badly), and even some I thought I’d have a lot in common with. There have also been characters from stories that I have a lot of sympathy/empathy for and relate to, but I wouldn’t know how to deal with them, or even want to, in real life. However, when I think about it in retrospect, I think the affections I have or have had toward characters have been more along the lines of “squish” than “crush,” let alone all-out romantic love. Even that description, I don’t know if it’s accurate.

  30. Lack

    Masterful article! Real people can make fictional people pretty appealing!

    • wlekek

      I was ‘in love’ with many fictional characters for years!

  31. Shante

    It’s certainly possible to become enchanted with fictional characters, but not to be in love with them.

    The main problem with loving fictional characters isn’t that it’s only a one-way love, because love can be one-sided and unrequited. Instead, the problem is that fictional characters are limited to what their creators make. They are thus smaller personalities than any real person would be, and there’s too little there to provide the basis for love.

    • Fair point, but I might argue childhood and high school sweethearts don’t have much more of a basis for love. If you believe each person can only fall in love once, then yeah, fictional characters don’t make the cut. But depending on your definition of love…well, that’s what my article tried to explore.

  32. Mark Cecil

    My first ever crush, when I was a kid, was Diana from V. An evil genocidal murderess, and I was in love. Then there’s Lady Death and Purgatori, of Chaos Comics. One’s a necrophiliac bitch, the other’s a bloodsucking slut. I loved them both.

  33. Leesa

    REALLY interesting study.

  34. Carnahan

    I believe you can fall in love with fictional characters and are more susceptible to when you are young. When you fantasise about someone that you have a crush on and imagine them to be all these different things. You build them up to be this perfect piece of fiction. But then if you have the privilege of making that fantasy a reality, you become let down, as that person can never match up to the fantasy character that you have made up of them in your head. The reason some people become so infatuated with movie stars and famous people is that they create a whole view on what they believe that person would be like, even making excuses for them when they see something stupid that they have done in the mags, just like they would a lover. So I do believe it is possible to fall in love (in a sense) with a fictional character.

    • rivercan

      Although it’s not the same as having a real human partner. You can’t hug a fantasy.

  35. Hogg

    I have had unadulterated obsessions with many, MANY fictional characters over the years, from animated movies/shows and animes and books and video games…plus the innumerable characters of my own that I draw and write about.

  36. Genevive Fitzsimmons

    There are some of my own fictional characters that I’m a bit in love with; in fact all my characters are a lot like real people to me (and I have plenty that were borrowed from anime or video games). If I draw or write about characters I haven’t worked with in a while, it’s like being reunited with old friends I’ve really missed, and I have a lot of feelings in my heart for each of them.

  37. you can fall in love with the idea that the character is real. we all have a fantasy of what we would like our ideal partner to be.

  38. Britt

    Thank you for writing this. I wouldn’t say that I fall in love with characters so much as I come to love them, as real people. I care deeply and emotionally about my favorite characters, but even if I could I don’t think I’d want to be involved with any of them romantically. I just put a lot of emotional investment into stories with strong characters. Although I do tend to call that my “love life” because, weird or not, it’s incredibly fulfilling to me.

  39. I’ve had a lot of fictional lovers. And honestly, I’m so glad that our love has ended after reading. Now I can calmly move forward and avoid such types in my real life)

  40. Retha

    I’d say that most of my crushes have been on fictional characters (or the actors who play them) rather than real guys.

  41. This was amazing. The title is certainly a question many people have wondered at least once. The Greeks had these great words and distinctions for love which, while not part of our vocabulary, still influence how we see love. This was a great approach to understanding the affection and grief we feel for fictional characters.

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