Friday, February 14, 2014

I Ship It

Happy Valentine's Day!!! On this day of "luv...twoo luv" I felt it only appropriate that we talk some more about shipping, this time digging into some of the ships I actually ship! So enjoy!

Nine times out of ten, when I say "I ship it" what I'm saying is "I could see that" or "that makes sense." (Heck, I've used the phrase "I ship it" to mean "that makes sense" in situations where shipping was not actually being discussed.) So when I say "I ship it" it's not exactly a resounding level of "YES THIS IS TRUE LOVE THESE PEOPLE MUST GET TOGETHER." That doesn't mean I don't have fictional couples I feel that way about, it just means there are levels to this shipping business.

Your levels of shipping may vary, but these are mine.

I'm going to use examples to explain these levels, so please remember my rules of discussing ships. Keep it civil people.

First of all, just to be clear by "canon" I mean the stories (whether they be books, movies, or radio broadcasts) that are considered "official." Canon is a whole discussion in and of itself, and maybe one day I'll write a blog post on it, but if you have any questions about it, feel free to shoot them my way.

by Airinn (source)
I ship almost all of canon. Not necessarily with a passion, not necessarily with strong feelings, but on some level I ship it. A lot of the times it's just quiet acceptance (who am I to say Harry and Ginny couldn't be together) and sometimes it's with a stronger passion (CECILOS) but if two people end up together forever in canon, I probably ship it. There are a few exceptions--there always are--but in any geeky conversation or discussion of fan fiction, canon ships are in my mind and real.

These are ships that I'm not heavily emotionally invested in, but I legitimately forget that they're not canon. And when I read/watch/discuss the stories they are a part of, in my mind they were/are in a relationship. The perfect example of this is Sirius Black/Remus Lupin.

I've legitimately had this conversation:

Me: When Sirius and Lupin dated during the Marauders era...
Friend: What?
Me: What?
Friend: Sirius and Lupin dated? In what book did JKR say that?
Me: ....oh bad....

I don't remember who first pointed this ship out to me, but it is a very common Harry Potter ship. In my headcanon, it's not that they are in a relationship during the events of the Harry Potter series, but that they were when they were students at Hogwarts. I'm not emotionally invested in this idea. Disagreeing with it isn't going to upset me. I'm completely willing to entertain other ships. But every time I read the books or discuss the series, it's colored by this head canon, my mental knowledge that these two characters totally dated at some point.

Other examples of headcanon ships: Dean Winchester/Castiel (Destiel)

OTP means One True Pair in shipper terms, and basically these are the couples I am extremely emotionally invested in the idea of. When I think about these two people together I'm just like "BUT HOW COULD IT BE ANY OTHER WAY! THEY'RE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER." Sometimes my OTP is canon (or becomes canon, as was the case for Ron/Hermoine) and sometimes it's not (PHLINT).

by flatbear (source)
Clint Barton/Phil Coulson (aka Phlint) was probably the most insidious ship I've ever been introduced to. The first time someone mentioned it, I was like "What? Huh? How does that make sense?" Then they explained themselves, and I was like "huh, okay, I see that." It was not an OTP, just a nod to the logic of it. But the more it came up (on tumblr and in fan fiction and in conversations), the more I realized it made COMPLETE sense. And the more I realized they would be PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER. And then suddenly, I was reading every piece of Clint/Coulson fan fiction I could find.*

by xxjust-a-nobodyxx (source)
So yes, Clint Barton (aka Hawkeye) and Agent Phil Coulson are my OTP. Clint is a somewhat bad boy, but more of a person who just makes terrible life choices. Not because he's a bad guy, but because his entire life has been awful. (Abusive parents who then died in a car crash, so he and his brother went to live at the orphanage, which sucked, so they ran away to the circus, where Clint learned all his archery skills but also learned some more...nefarious skills, and then his brother left him, and Clint was a bad guy for a while, and then he became the Avenger we all know and love. So yeah, tragic backstory.) Phil Coulson is a stable, straight laced kind of guy, who always makes the right decision, but could use some loosening up. THESE TWO ARE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER, I TELL YOU. PERFECT.

And that level of vehemence is pretty much the definition of an OTP.

My other OTPs**: Tenel Ka Djo/Jacen Solo, Mara Jade/Luke Skywalker, Ron Weasley/Hermione Granger, Oliver Queen/Felicity Smoak

This is OTP but bromance variety. These are characters that I think are perfect for each other--but as best friends, friends with an epic bromance. We're talking JD & Turk (Scrubs) levels of bromance.

By the lovely and wonderful flatbear
I have a lot of BroTPs but I think the one I feel most fervently about is Clint Barton & Natasha Romanoff. (A brief note: "/" is used to denote romance and "&" is used to denote friendship. So Clint/Natasha is a very different thing from Clint & Natasha.)

In mainstream Marvel comics (616, for the comic savvy), Clint and Natasha were totally an item at one time. The two are intrinsically entwined in their back story. Even the MCU was sure to tie them together. (What's the one thing that brings Widow in from a mission? Name dropping Clint. And it's heavily implied that Clint is the one who brought her into SHIELD.) These are two broken people with nefarious pasts, it's easy to see why they would be soulmates.
From Loki: Agent of Asgard Issue #1

But I much prefer my Clint and Natasha as platonic soul mates. Sure, it's easy to say that's just me writing off Nat romantically so I can have my OTP, but I honestly think that with her backstory, Natasha is the sort of woman who has used romance and sex as a weapon. She needs someone in her life who doesn't want anything from her--sex or otherwise--and I think that person is Clint. I like to think they have such a deep level of understanding and trust that they can just cuddle up on the couch without expectations. 

I think they both need that and I think they are that for each other: platonic soulmates, bros, besties. Our in the words of Clint himself (in Hawkeye), Natasha is his "work wife."

My other BroTPs: Arthur & Merlin (from Merlin), Sherlock & Watson (specifically, but not limited to Sherlock), Harry Potter & Hermione Granger, Tony Stark & Bruce Banner (Science Bros!), Steve Rogers & Tony Stark, Steve Rogers & Clint Barton, Steve Rogers & Bucky Barnes...Steve with everyone. STEVE SHOULD BE BROS WITH EVERY AVENGER.

This level only applies to non-canon ships, and most often it applies to ships that *could have* become canon, but slowly, over the process of new canon being released, you realize your ship is not going to be the one that comes to be. And you don't care. You don't care that canon just revealed your ship is not true, because you know these two characters are MEANT TO BE. 

The perfect example of this, for me, is Harry Potter/Luna Lovegood. 

I always felt that it was obvious that JKR was going for Harry/Ginny, but I also knew that she had and did change her original designs as characters developed and the books were written, so I always had this hope that maybe she would forgo the obvious Harry/Ginny and give us Harry/Luna. I loved those two together. Luna is an intensely loyal friend, and perhaps one of the few people who can relate to Harry's feelings of being outside of society. 

And I went down with this ship. I still don't care--nearly seven years later--that Ginny/Harry is canon. If we're talking theoreticals, this is the couple I think should've happened. If I'm reading fan fiction, this is the couple I want to read about. I still ship Harry/Luna, and nothing is going to change that.

Other "I WILL GO DOWN WITH THIS SHIP": Tenel Ka Djo/Jacen Solo***

A NoTP is something that I don't ship--under any circumstances. Other people may ship them and that's their right and prerogative, but I just can't see it and /or I'm disturbed by the entire concept. Usually if I see a fan fic contains this ship--even if it's primary ship is my OTP--I will not read that piece of fan fiction.

Probably my biggest NoTP is MCU Loki/ANYONE EVER ****. Look, it's not that I'm opposed to Loki having love. It's that Loki is in a very, very, very, very, very unhealthy state of mind. He's so full of self hatred that he pretty much does everything in his power to sabotage his relationships, and even when he starts building them back up and fixing them again in Thor 2, he has to go and do something stupid once again so that no one--possibly not even Thor--will forgive him this time. (I'm not saying Loki is not redeemable, NOT AT ALL, in fact I have a whole separate post written on this subject that I'll be posting next week. I'm saying that Loki goes out of his way to do things to burn bridges between himself and other people.) 

I just can't support anyone being in a romantic relationship with someone like that. Not even a fictional character.

But as I've said, it is your right to ship Loki with whoever you please. And that's fine. Just don't expect me to read the fan fiction about it or support your side in a geeky argument.

My NoTPs: Anything to do with incest (looking at you Wincest and Thorki). I can't even support canonical incest (LOOKING AT YOU, A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE). As I said, you can ship what you want, but I just can't. I can't. 

There are a lot of ships in this world. A LOT. People ship nearly everyone with everyone else. Basically if two characters exist, they are shipped. And most of them I don't hate. They're not NoTPs. But they don't fall anywhere on my "OMG I LOVE THEM" scale and neither are they headcanons that I've just accepted.

From Avengers Prime Issue #5
The biggest example of this is probably Steve Rogers/Tony Stark. I don't really ship it. I prefer them as a BroTP. But I get why people do ship it, and I don't find the idea disturbing. And it's a very, very popular ship. So it's background in a lot of Clint/Coulson fanfiction. I'm still going to read that story--heck, I've even read Steve Rogers/Tony Stark fan fiction (the Toasterverse is amazing, you guys). I really have no feelings about it one way or the other. It can be, it doesn't have to be, and frankly, I just don't really care. 

Other examples of meh: Natasha Romanoff/Pepper Potts, Steve Rogers/Bucky Barnes, Harry Potter/Ginny Weasley, and A WHOLE LOT OF SHIPS

So those are my seven levels of shipping and some examples of my ships and NoTPs. Who do you ship? Where do they fall on this scale? Love/hate any of my ships? Just remember, keep it civil. FOLLOW THE RULES.

*I should say every piece of Clint/Coulson fan fiction that was rated PG-13 or less. I don't read the explicit stuff.  I generally stick to the "Teen" and lower tags on Archive of our Own.
**I have been very lucky that so many of my OTPs have become canon. This is not always the case. You may think Luke/Mara was always going to happen, but that is not true. There was a time where the Powers that Be in the EU that Callista was Luke's One True Love. And I never shipped that business. I was always hardcore Luke/Mara, and I'm so thankful it came to be, even if I'm not grateful for how it came to end. (Honestly, let's just pretend that everything from the New Jedi Order on didn't happen, okay?)
***You might say "but they are canon!" to which I say if that's your idea of true love coming to its fruition...we need to have a long talk. 
****We're just talking Movie Loki here. (MCU = Marvel Cinematic Universe). Comic Loki and his various incarnations are an entirely different bag of cats, as is mythological Loki. Myth Loki/Sigyn is probably one of the best relationships ever. Kid Loki/Leah are completely adorable. But MCU Loki...he needs to pull himself together.

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