While the vast majority of the internet has been coping with the aftermath of the Breaking Bad finale, a far smaller but no less emotional group of fans is reeling from another loss — that of Bridget Jones' Mark Darcy.
In excerpts published in the U.K.'s Sunday Times magazine from Helen Fielding's third and latest installment of the Bridget Jones series, Mad About the Boy, it is revealed that Mark Darcy has been dead five years, leaving Bridget a widow with two children.
For those unacquainted, Mark Darcy is (was) a handsome, stodgy, but ultimately loving lawyer loosely modeled on the Mr. Darcy of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Delivering a line as memorable to chick-lit fans as "You complete me," he revealed his true feelings to Bridget Jones with, "I like you, very much. Just as you are."
Cue all of the emotions.
Fans did not take the news of his death lightly, to say the least. Twitter expressed a range of responses from shock to horror, as well as some existential crises over love's ability to survive in the modern world. One fan tweeted: "Marc Darcy's death just proves that the idea of true love is well and truly doomed."
But these Bridget-philes are not only devastated — they're pretty darn angry and vocal about it to boot.
In a somewhat unprecedented move for the literary world, fans have taken to Twitter to not only mourn the loss of Darcy, but to attack Helen Fielding for her decision to kill him off. As Tom Phillips at BuzzFeed showcases, people are not holding back. One Darcy-lover went so far as to tweet: "If Mark Darcy is dead then I hate Helen Fielding forever. FOREVER."
Readers eagerly awaiting this third installment, nearly 15 years after the second was published, feel betrayed and even cheated. As Antoinette Bueno at ET Online writes, "Fans have been following Bridget and Mark's journey for two beloved books now (and two insanely popular films), so to kill him off in the third one reads like a seriously bad move just to get Bridget to be single again."
But others think such a drastic cut might have been necessary to save the Bridget Jones series from being too sappy for its own good. Katherine Butler at The Independent writes that when the character Bridget Jones first appeared as a weekly column in that publication, she was "satire and social commentary as insightful as Swift." However, by the time Bridget Jones became an international movie franchise, "she'd become just a slapstick rom-com caricature."
Now that Bridget is returning once again to the single life, with the very real responsibilities of children by her side, she can show us "how much we need satirical fictional heroines to shed light on the absurdities of our condition," writes Butler.
Fans will probably disagree, preferring their literary hero to insightful sarcasm. But one thing is for sure. Even if he is longer with us, readers like Mark Darcy very much. Just the way he is.