And since I can't discuss this at all without spoilers, I'm just going to say: spoilers in the post for Buffy, Star Trek: TOS, Stargate: SG-1, Star Wars. No spoilers in the post for anything that has aired in, say, the last five years.
ETA: Spoilers in the comments for everything. No, seriously: everything in the WORLD. Television! Movies! Books! Anime! Manga! Horror movies from the 1930s! The Fifth World War! The heat death of the universe! It's pretty awesome, but if you don't like spoilers, maybe the comments section isn't the place for you.
So, like, I remember when I first saw the Angelus arc - specifically, when Buffy and Angel got into bed, and then Angelus got back out again. (Or, okay, I guess technically it was Angel who staggered out, but you know what I mean.) And then again when Jenny Calendar died. I remember thinking what an unimaginable experience this must have been for true believer fans when it was first run. (And for Buffy/Angel shippers, oh my god. Your fondest wish! Followed immediately by your worst nightmare! And this, my friends, is why I would rather my OTPs never ever become canon: canon writers make 'em and break 'em, and then they're harder for us to put back together again.) And then I tried to imagine what my friends list or circle would have looked like if I had a) been in fandom and b) fandom had been on LJ or DW at the time.
I can picture the endless roster of cut-tagged posts - I was there for the last episode of Angel, and I remember being stunned by the reaction - but I can't imagine what would be inside those cut tags. Aside, I assume, from a lot of screaming.
And last night, for various reasons (Spock Spock Spock Spock Spock), I watched Killa's incredible vid Dante's Prayer. Now, let me share with you my progression with that vid:
The first time I watched it, Best Beloved had to narrate the whole thing, including telling me who Spock and Kirk were, precisely. (I had sort of vaguely thought, up to that point, that Leonard Nimoy pretty much played, like, Elrond in Space.) And there's a lot of terrain covered in that vid, including people at different ages, and worse (for me), different outfits. I think it took her about fifteen minutes to give me the shortest possible summary. (Very short version that leaves a lot out: Spock dies tragically. His friends are sad. Kirk looks like someone pithed him. Later, chronologically speaking, they go and get him back.)
I remember being surprised that she teared up at Spock's death scene, largely because if someone in this relationship is going to cry, it's going to be me. (I think that people have a default reaction to emotional excess. Mine is tears.) I cry at the funerals of people I don't know. I cry at death scenes in movies. I cried so hard at Theoden's scene outside his son's grave that Best Beloved asked me if the son was a major character in the book. ("No," I sobbed. She stared at me blankly. "Then why are you crying?" "Theoden is saaaaaad," I said, unable to explain more completely because I was, you know, weeping helplessly. Keep in mind that this was not the first - or the third - time we'd seen the movie.)
So it was a little weird, I thought, that I was the one saying, "Oh. Well, that's sad," and Best Beloved was the one surreptitiously wiping her eyes.
The next time I watched Dante's Prayer, I'd been in fandom longer, so I knew a little more. I'd also had time to process BB's explanations. So I was a little sadder. And so it went.
But this last time - well, in addition to tearing up and sniffling emotionally for some ten minutes after the vid was over (and yet being really kind of touched - OMG, Spock knew Kirk's name), I found myself wondering for the first time what Spock's death was like for the Star Trek fandom. I mean, seriously, that is painful now, and I know what's coming. Then? I think it must have hurt rather a lot. And I wondered what fannish reaction would look like if this was a current fandom - I mean, imagine if, say, Sam died with Dean pressed against the other side of the glass, helpless and bereft, and then - did people even know there would be another movie? I mean, imagine if they didn't. Imagine if that happened with Sam and Dean and everyone thought, hey, maybe that's it; if there's another season, maybe it will just be Dean Gets Revenge. Maybe Sam is gone for good. (Or Rodney. Or Merlin. Or whoever. Insert Very Important Person of your choosing.)
And I guess that did happen with SG1. (I was actually surprised, on my latest viewing, to realize how similar Daniel's temporary death was to Spock's temporary death.) But I wasn't around for it. Was there wailing? Was there gnashing of teeth? Did people go to sleep that night with a hollow pit in their hearts? If fandom had been primarily on LJ at that time (uh, was it?), would every post for days been cut-tagged with just punctuation and contain a lot of incoherent wailing?
And what about the whole "Darth Vader, Luke, and Leia: there's not enough family therapy in the universe for this one" reveal? What was that like? I mean, I can kind of imagine it now - I bet Luke and Leia shippers, should there have been any, would at minimum go off and write an alternate second movie where Darth Vader is Han's father or something. (I...would like to see that, actually. And, no, I don't ship Luke and Leia.) But I can't help but wonder what it was like then.
Does anyone else think like this? What is the big fannish event you wish you could have seen? (Seen the live reaction to, anyway.) But even more important, to help me in my fantasizing - what are the big fannish events you'll never forget? What were they like to live through?