Sailing Away

Ships. They pull in and sail off, come and go.

And some of them make absolutely no sense.

I’m not talking about your average boat. I’m talking about relationships, specifically in books, TV shows, and movies. People see two characters who they feel should be together, and boom! A ship is born. It’s the biggest thing in fandoms lately, and it shows no sign of stopping.

The ships don’t even have to be characters that are in a scripted relationship. Sometimes they’re between characters that don’t have any romantic chemistry. Sometimes they’re even incestuous.

Why do we ship? Why do some fans rabidly defend their ships, often to the point of full-on fan wars? I mean slur-slinging, trash-talking, hate-mailing wars, all over fictional characters that may never have been in a relationship to begin with.

It’s a strange phenomenon, one that I don’t fully understand. At times I can see the chemistry that creates a fanborne ship, but for the most part it’s beyond my comprehension. Why invest so much energy in a fantasy world, especially one in which the thing you fantasize about doesn’t exist? Some fans even write fanfic (fan-authored fiction–a topic for another day, perhaps) or fanart (fanfic for the artist set) depicting their favorite ship.

I suppose I’m something of a purist. If the characters are written as being in a relationship, fine. If they’re written/played as having chemistry, okay. But non-canonical, non-romantic couplings that don’t make any sense? That just doesn’t jive with me. I don’t even like canon relationships without some sort of romantic vibe there to spark a ship.

The rabid nature of shipping also baffles me. You take a relationship that isn’t established and defend it to your dying breath. Friendships can be made or lost due to fandom ships. Is a fictional relationship really worth that kind of cost?

I, for one, don’t think so. I think shipping could theoretically be fun, if taken as the make believe that they are, but certainly not to the extent at which people are willing to go lately.

If your ship leaves the dock and sets sail, for the love of all that’s holy, just let it go. Don’t get in heated fights with someone you don’t even know over a fantasy. It’s not worth it.

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