Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Ship, Therefore, I Am

DISCLAIMER: This post is inspired by this.

If you're a fan of a work of fiction, say, a book, movie, TV show or videogame and have searched the Internet for communities of other such fans, then you may have stumbled upon the word "ship" or "shipper" or "shipping." Smaller than the community (referred to as fandoms), shippers are people who believe that "two fictional characters, typically from the same series, are in an intimate relationship, or have romantic feelings that could potentially lead to a relationship." (Wikipedia)

Take for example the lively debate between Twilight's Team Edward and Team Jacob. On the one hand, you've got the Edward/Bella shippers and on the other you've got the Jacob/Bella shippers, hence, the names of their respective teams. Or if you hate that fandom, take as another example The Hunger Games' Team Peeta and Team Gale. The list goes on actually, especially because the phenomenon that is shipping is not new and not limited to movies. It encompasses all media and goes way back -- even back in the day when "shipping" as it means in this context wasn't coined yet.

When you're reading a work of fiction, especially (but not necessarily) one with compelling characters, it seems only natural to get emotionally invested in them. And if you're a romance addict, like myself, then you're going to make leaps of the imagination with certain characters' interactions with each other. At least, in my experience, that's usually how a ship gets started. Yet, sometimes, the characters don't even have to interact and it's just that they happen to look good together, and just like that, another ship is born.

Likewise, the ship doesn't have to be het. That's short by the way for heterosexual. In fandom, there's a ship for everything. If it's a homosexual ship, it's typically called "slash." And a ship may also be that between a human and an inanimate object -- e.g. Ned Stark and his greatsword Ice, but this is mainly for laughs (or are they? o.0). In extreme cases, ships can also be incestuous, e.g. the brothers Sam and Dean from the TV series, Supernatural. This alternative side to shipping is perhaps the reason why some people consider shipping as something only weird fans do. That's a misconception, by the way. Just because something is unconventional doesn't mean it's automatically weird.

Part of the joy (and bane) of shipping is that it isn't necessarily reflected in the storyline intended by the author. (This is referred to as "canon." Anything that contradicts canon is collectively referred to as "alternate universe.") Authors, of course, have their own ideas about their stories and their characters and these ideas don't always coincide with those of the fans. Still, shipping isn't necessarily a pure product of the imagination, whim and fancy of the shippers. The ship may in fact be canon, which can be all kinds of fulfilling for the shipper concerned but frustrating for the non-canon shippers.
Now, I know what you're thinking. Why do shippers ship? The answer is different for every shipper, I'm sure, but I've observed that shippers are commonly romance fans. This shouldn't be so strange. Most works of fiction contain this element, if they're not completely centered on it. And, of course, when talking about romance, that means pairings -- or ships. But this doesn't mean that shippers are unable to appreciate the wider scope of that particular work. Shippers are just ordinary fans with a slightly more focused pair of goggles on the romance part. Of course, there are shippers who aren't in the least bit interested in the romance angle but find the friend"ship" aspect more to their taste but that deserves another post.

Now, for a confession, I'm a shipper. I have been a shipper even before I knew it was called shipping. I love romance, see, and some of the earliest novels I read were romances, so that partly explains it. Below are some of my favorite ships, not in order of like, arranged according to media.


  • Jo/Laurie - Little Women [Louisa May Alcott] (This was heartbreaking. I think I cried when Jo rejected Laurie and they ended up marrying other people.)
  • Persephone/Hades - Greek Mythology
  • Cathy Linton/Hareton Earnshaw - Wuthering Heights [Charlotte Bronte]
  • Wendy/Peter Pan - Neverland [J.M. Barrie]
  • Elizabeth Bennet/Mr. Darcy - Pride and Prejudice [Jane Austen]
  • Buckingham/Queen Anne - The Three Musketeers [Alexander Dumas]
  • Scarlett O'Hara/Rhett Butler - Gone With The Wind [Margaret Mitchell]
  • Yang Guo/Xiao Long Nuu - Shen Diao Xia Lu [Jin Yong]
  • Katniss/Peeta The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay [Suzanne Collins]
  • Lily/Selden - The House of Mirth [Edith Wharton]
  • Jaime/Brienne - A Song of Ice and Fire [George R.R. Martin]
  • Maria Clara/Crisostomo Ibarra - Noli Me Tangere [Jose P. Rizal]


  • Hermione/Harry - Harry Potter (Clearly, the actors had more chemistry with each other than with their supposed pairs.)
  • Eowyn/Faramir - The Two Towers, The Return of the King (I was so happy to find out in the Director's Cut that they were canon.)

** It appears that movies are too short for me to form a ship. Except if the movies are part of a series.


  • Trip/T'Pol - Star Trek: Enterprise (This is the fandom that introduced me to shipping.)
  • Joey/Pacey - Dawson's Creek (In the beginning I was a hard Dawson/Joey and Pacey/Andie shipper but then this relationship arc came along and now I believe this one's my One True Pairing (OTP), which is doubly fulfilling because Joey, after about twenty boyfriends, did end up with Pacey.)
  • Phoebe/Cole - Charmed
  • Sara/Grisshom - C.S.I.
  • Athena/Heelo - Battlestar Galactica
  • Starbuck/Apollo - Battlestar Galactica
  • Jax/Tara - Sons of Anarchy (The great thing about this ship is that the characters have been together for four seasons now and yet the writers still find ways to make their pairing interesting.)
  • Billy/Alison - Melrose Place (The show was a little racy for a kid my age at the time but these two were really exciting at first but then our local station didn't buy the rights of the later seasons and stopped airing the show altogether.)
  • Summer/Matt - Baywatch
  • Dao Mengzi/Sian Cai Meteor Garden
  • Kalinda/Lana - The Good Wife (I keep forgetting about this ship because I watch this series for the story actually but every time this pair's storyline comes up, I'd fall head over heels again.)
  • Han Ji-eun/Lee Young-jae - Full House (For some reason, I find Korean names particularly difficult to spell.)
  • Jiro/Tomomi - Engine (Jiro has a Peter Pan complex. Tomomi is a teacher with a stick up her ass. Think about it.)
  • Arya Stark/Gendry - Game of Thrones (Because this show is so dark. It needs love and not the twincest kind between Jaime and Cersei.)


  • Rogue/Gambit - X-men The Animation (I was an elementary kid, LOL, and already a hard shipper without even knowing.)
  • Hiei/Mukuro - Yu Yu Hakusho
  • Yukino/Arima - Kare Kano [Masami Tsuda]
  • Otono-tachibana Makie/Anotsu Kagehisa - Blade of the Immortal [Hiroaki Samura]
  • Sei/Youko - Maria-sama ga Miteru
  • Lady Amalthea/Prince Lir - The Last Unicorn
  • Simba/Nala - The Lion King
  • Sanosuke/Megumi - Rurouni Kenshin
  • Jill Valentine/Chris Redfield - Resident Evil
  • Kerrigan/Raynor - Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty
  • Lara Croft/her guns - Tomb Raider

What about you? Are you a shipper? Who do you ship?

x-posted here.


ish said...

Lara Croft/her guns - Tomb Raider

choked on my drink, thanks a lot!