If our lives, as some psychologists and philosophers would argue, are stories that we construct, if our brains create order in the form of fictions to help us make sense of the world, then are completely made-belief people less real than flesh-and-blood-people? If Inspector Morse, or Elisabeth Bennet, or Tintin and Captain Haddock, and their stories live in millions of peoples minds and hearts and affect them deeply and permanently, are they less alive than ordinary folks who live and die and never make it into a "bigger" story than a private family one that dies with those few who have known them? If life, society, history, is a construction in the form of a story, then does it matter if the hero of the story is born into the real world or onto the pages of a book? Are we more influenced by a real historical figure like Buddha or Abraham Lincoln than a fictional one like Yoda or King Arthur?
If we are all living in some great consciousness, more or less available to us in our human form, will we, if that consciousness is somehow our ticket to immortality or "afterlife", be as likely to meet our fictional friends "on the other side" as we are likely to meet our friends and family?
One thing is for sure, many of us spend more time with, and are more emotionally involved with, fictional characters than real people. Is that a weakness, or a strength?