Another delayed Fandom Friday post, I’m afraid (someday I’ll actually post one on a Friday)! I had no intention to write anything relating to Valentine’s Day for my next post, but then I couldn’t pass up on such a perfect prompt thought up by The Nerdy Girlie & Super Space Chick.
First things first. What is ‘shipping’, you may ask? Class is in session, attend…
Fandom 101: Lesson 1, Shipping
Ship(n): Slang term stemming from the word ‘relationship’. In fandom, the term most often refers to a romantic relationship (or, pairing), between characters, but not always. Ex: This ship is my current otp (one true pairing).
Can also be used as a verb as in, ‘I will always ship Sherlock & Molly.’ A ship is often denoted by placing a “/” or “x” between two character’s names, or by use of a portmanteau. A shipper, then, is a supporter of a particular ship.
Now some of you may be thinking, ‘Hang on, people actually devote time and energy into the relationships of imaginary characters?‘ Well, YES. Here’s the thing, you can’t just turn ‘shipping’ on and off; it simply happens, and then it inspires, entertains, or overwhelms you with feels.
Now, how’s your ship doing?
Are there rules to shipping?
There is really only one rule to shipping in fandom: respect. A respectful fandom is a happy fandom, people, and although what one fan ships may not (wait for it) float your boat, everyone has as much right as anyone else to ship their ship. So long as no one’s hating on ships, instigating ship wars, ruining others enjoyment of the show/book/movie/game/fandom, then (one more time) welcome aboard!
Then let’s get right down to it; my five favorite fandom ships (or more like five of my favorite ships). I’ve discovered that I’m either drawn to a more sorrowful type of pairing – the unrequited/sacrifice myself for you kind of tragic -, or the ‘either I’m gonna kill her or I’m beginning to like her’ stubborn bickering ship. But, you know, both is good.
“You could use a good kiss!”
This is where it all began for me, my very first fandom ship. I was about 13, sitting in the dark in my parents room as I watched Empire for the first time, and probably literally holding my breath as Han and Leia kissed on the Millennium Falcon when I first fell down the rabbit hole that is your first invested ship. I plunged fully into the universe of Star Wars after that ESB viewing. One thing led to another and here I am today, a full-fledged geekling – and just look at all the ships I’ve collected now!
They also kind of set up a comparison for romances in my mind as well, like ‘on a scale of 1 to Han & Leia, how playful is their banter?’
“You do count, you’ve always counted and I’ve always trusted you.”
All of the feels. (Also see artbylexie for Sherlolly goodness.) My current otp, I feel I have to preface with a kind of a weird, convoluted explanation, so apologies in advance. I love both characters on their own, and I love the possibilities and potential of them together with their complementarily contrasting characteristics. And yet, I wouldn’t want them to become an official item on the show unless it was at the very end. As in, ‘Molly, I propose we move to Sussex and keep bees together.’
*Quick Aside: This is actually how I feel about most of my ships, canon or otherwise. I much prefer dwelling in the land of pre-establishment (i.e. Han & Leia pre-ROTJ) as I think you get much more interesting interaction at that stage in character dynamics. After all, an official romantic relationship is the end game – a ship’s cathartic moment – so the lead up is where it’s at!
For the Sherlolly ship in particular, it would be very difficult to maintain within the confines of the show itself and be satisfying. If it were an AU rom-com, then totally, but since Sherlock Holmes is an adventure/mystery genre, the focus has to be elsewhere or the show wouldn’t be Sherlock.
…Which brings us to why fanfic/vids/art, etc. can be brilliant as it lets us happily imagine what can’t be included in the script due to the nature of the narrative. And, when nothing is official, everything is open for us to interpret how and what we do (and don’t) see onscreen! So I’m perfectly happy with them continuing to weave in the small moments between Sherlock & Molly, adding depth to their relationship and allow my brain to speculate to my heart’s content.
3. Naruto/Hinata + Ichigo/Rukia
“I nearly went the wrong way…but you, you showed me the right way. You changed me! Your smile saved me!”
Yup, I’m going to cheat again. I wanted to include a manga/anime ship and couldn’t pick between my two current favorites in this genre. See? Torn between the more sorrowful & the more stubborn. I love the way Hinata’s confession was dealt with, it spot on in terms of her character, in my opinion (and may or may not have inspired a bit of dialogue in a Sherlolly piece I may or may not have written…yeah, nerd alert). Then what’s not to love about Ichigo and Rukia as the pair that childishly tease each other, but when it gets right down to it, see each other more completely than anyone else? Absolutely nothing.
“Of my friend, I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most…human.”
Is this not the most adorable thing ever? The reboot introduced me to this ship and I do need to sit down and watch more of TOS, but I already know one thing: Friendship? Bromance? Romance? Doesn’t matter. What’s so appealing about these two is that however you ship Kirk and Spock, a deep love will always exist between them and that is a beautiful thing. One without the other is incomplete, and having a companion like that is enviable indeed. Come on, just look at how happy that Kirk is!
Are there are shades of the Holmes & Watson dynamic reflected in Kirk & Spock? Definitely. How many shades? I couldn’t say.
“Yes, what’s on your mind?”
And just to switch it up (sort of), Revan/Carth is hands down my favorite video game ship I’ve come across. Romances on this medium don’t always come across as well, but I have fond memories of the exchanges between these two when playing/replaying Knights of the Old Republic – they’re so dang snarky and hilarious! Their relationship is engaging without feeling forced, and perfectly emulates the elements that make the Han/Leia dynamic work so well without being a boring carbon(ite) copy. (Canonical Revan should have been female, but that’s a rant for another time.)
Whew, how’d I do? I tried my best not to go overboard, but that was surprisingly hard to narrow down. Elizabeth/Darcy, for instance? Right up there. I mean, they kind of wrote the book…
Despite not intentionally searching for one, I almost always end up finding a ship in whatever I’m watching or reading to root for or at least contemplate on the side. It’s like having a radar that just keeps scanning until ping!, it finds the pairing that makes your feels hone in on. So what ships are on your radar?
Thanks for bearing this shipper’s long-winded love fest, I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day weekend, cheers! Until then…