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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."''
-->-- '''Durkon''', ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0247.html Strip #247]].
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 DespairEventHorizon, except temporary instead of permanent. Alternatively, if this occurs during a fight with one of the BigBad's minions, the hero may have a [[FoeTossingCharge violent outburst]], with the ensuing catastrophe killing EvilMinions 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 EpiphanyTherapy. Joseph Campbell identified ''Death, Descent to the Underworld,'' and ''Rebirth'' as important stages of the HerosJourney, but in settings where it's impossible for the hero to literally die and come back to life, a Heroic BSOD is the more realistic equivalent --that is, the Descent to the Underworld is a metaphor for it.
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 [[ILetGwenStacyDie failed to protect or save]]); discovering that the character is [[TomatoInTheMirror not who he thought he was]]; being [[EtTuBrute betrayed by someone]] [[HeartbrokenBadass the character cared about]]; being forced to go against a personal code, core belief, or deep abiding reason to live; being delivered a nasty BreakingSpeech by a particularly crafty villain; [[ShellShockedVeteran being drafted into a]] [[WarIsHell war]]; [[MindRape having their mind broken]]; or [[MyGreatestFailure failing miserably at something that everything was riding on]]. First kills (intentional or otherwise) may also trigger this, especially if the character was previously depicted as innocent, though other tropes such as TheseHandsHaveKilled often overlap.
The result is a ThousandYardStare, one of the visible symptoms, or a form of non-consensual TenMinuteRetirement. The aftermath may cause the hero to become [[TheStoic emotionally]] [[AngstComa comatose]], [[OutDamnedSpot obsessive and guilt-ridden]], [[DumbStruck mute]], or in really bad cases, a [[JadeColoredGlasses jaded]] violent [[AmnesiacDissonance amnesiac]]. The most literal BSOD effect would be catatonia. GoMadFromTheRevelation is the even more severe form, where the BSOD becomes outright psychosis. Such personality changes may also scare the hell out of people who are now worried the hero is [[FallenHero 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 ShellShockedSenior.
Compare FreakOut. In RealLife psychology, this is known as an [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acute_stress_reaction acute stress reaction]], which is related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The best thing that can happen to a person suffering from a HeroicBSOD is meeting a friendly WarriorTherapist, or for an extra layer of awesome, [[GetAHoldOfYourselfMan getting]] [[HaveYouTriedRebooting rebooted]] [[GetAHoldOfYourselfMan with percussive force]]. Meeting a hostile WarriorTherapist, on the other hand, is the ''worst'' thing that can happen to them, as they'd [[BreakThemByTalking make damn sure]] that [[DespairEventHorizon the character crashes completely]]. If they don't meet either of these, they are quite likely to end up in the long-term version SafetyInIndifference where they are functional but [[EmotionSuppression emotionally cut off]].
HopeIsScary is a frequent reaction to the beginning of recovery.
The villain version of a HeroicBSOD is a VillainousBreakdown, which often involves the villain going completely crazy instead of shutting down, or VillainousBSOD, where the villain grows a conscience and reacts accordingly.
A subtrope of HeroicBSOD is the AngstComa, which specifically refers to entering a comatose or catatonic state as opposed to other forms of mental breakdown. A related trope is HeroicSafeMode, where the hero "defaults" to a fight or flight mindset before rebooting in safety.
Named in honor of the infamous [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSOD 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. A particularly literal version would include a character (preferably a supercomputer or such AIs) literally getting the infamous Blue Screen Of Death.
HesBack is what happens when the character recovers from a HeroicBSOD and returns to being the person he or she used to be. It is usually accompanied by a WorldOfCardboardSpeech. If the character never recovers from the HeroicBSOD or abandons his cause or moral outlook because of it, however, they've fallen over the DespairEventHorizon. AloneInACrowd typically requires a milder form of HeroicBSOD.
Compare HeroicRROD (the physical equivalent). One common reaction is IThinkYouBrokeHim. Characters can attempt to reboot the affected character by performing a GetAholdOfYourselfMan or telling them to QuitYourWhining. Compare DeerInTheHeadlights
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