Heroic BSOD

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    "Well, lad, the brain be a funny thing. Sometimes, it just stops workin' right when ye've been through a bad scene."


    Heroic Blue Screen of Death: An earth-shattering revelation or horrible event affects the hero or someone he cares deeply about, leaving him flummoxed or shocked to the point of mentally shutting down for a while, like a Despair Event Horizon, except temporary instead of permanent. Alternatively, if this occurs during a fight with one of the Big Bad's minions, the hero may have a violent outburst, with the ensuing catastrophe killing Evil Minions and knocking his companions in different directions. In the latter case, the hero may disappear into the fog of war and have to be tracked down by his friends and given a heaping helping of Epiphany Therapy.

    Reasons for the BSOD vary, but usually involves something that shakes the very core of the character's being. Classic examples include losing a loved one (especially one that the character failed to protect or save); discovering that the character is not who he thought he was; being betrayed by someone the character cared about; being forced to go against a personal code, core belief, or deep abiding reason to live; being delivered a nasty Hannibal Lecture by a particularly crafty villain; or failing miserably at something that everything was riding on.

    The result is a form of involuntary Ten-Minute Retirement. The aftermath may cause the hero to become emotionally comatose, obsessive and guilt-ridden, mute, or in really bad cases, a jaded violent amnesiac. The most literal BSOD effect would be catatonia. Such personality changes may also scare the hell out of people who are now worried the hero is as much a danger as the villain was. If the incident happened before the story takes place, it provides a rationale for him to be the Shell Shocked Senior. Compare Freak-Out. In Real Life psychology, this is known as an acute stress reaction.

    The best thing that can happen to a person suffering from a Heroic BSOD is meeting a friendly Warrior Therapist, or for an extra layer of awesome, getting rebooted with percussive force. Meeting a hostile Warrior Therapist, on the other hand, is the worst thing that can happen to them, as they'd make damn sure that the character crashes completely.

    Hope Is Scary is a frequent reaction to the beginning of recovery.

    The villain version of a Heroic BSOD is a Villainous Breakdown, which often involves the villain going completely crazy instead of shutting down, or Villainous BSOD, where the villain grows a conscience and reacts accordingly.

    A subtrope of Heroic BSOD is the Angst Coma, which specifically refers to entering a comatose or catatonic state as opposed to other forms of mental breakdown. A related trope is Heroic Safe Mode, where the hero "defaults" to a fight or flight mindset before rebooting in safety.

    A particularly literal version would include a character (preferably a supercomputer or such AIs) literally getting the infamous Blue Screen Of Death, and if it is something further ridiculous. Like your logic-spouting fridge or lampshade-factory toaster.

    Named in honor of the infamous Blue Screen of Death, common term for the Microsoft Windows error that indicates that the system has screwed itself big time and must be rebooted.

    He's Back is what happens when the character recovers from a Heroic BSOD and returns to being the person he or she used to be. It is usually accompanied by a World of Cardboard Speech. If the character never recovers from the Heroic BSOD or abandons his cause or moral outlook because of it, however, they've fallen over the Despair Event Horizon. Alone in a Crowd typically requires a milder form of Heroic BSOD.

    See also Thousand-Yard Stare, one of the visible symptoms. Often becomes synonymous with Go Mad from the Revelation, but in that trope it's more of a BSOD caused by Things Man Was Not Meant to Know. Compare Heroic RROD (the physical equivalent). Sometimes inflicted by Mind Rape. One common reaction is I Think You Broke Him. Characters can attempt to reboot the affected character by performing a Get a Hold of Yourself, Man! or telling them to Quit Your Whining. Compare Deer in the Headlights

    Examples of Heroic BSOD are listed on these subpages: