There’s an incredible, indescribable moment when you first witness yourself represented in fiction. It’s a curious validation of your existence—that your image, personality, and gestures could spring forth from someone else’s imagination. That someone found you worthy of thinking up. Then there’s a sibling moment, one just as incredible and indescribable, when you first witness a loved one represented in fiction. It’s a cathartic Ah-ha! Someone you love is also in multiple dimensions at once. They too have a phantasmagorical reflection worthy of someone else’s imagination, along with their breathing, physical body right next to you.
I experienced the latter moment when my father took me to see Star Wars: Attack of the Clones a few weeks after its release in 2002. I was newly eleven, and immeasurably ecstatic. He was forty-five, and hated almost every second.