Discussion: Shipping the Wrong Ships

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Shipping: (verb) To completely lose your shit via emotional investment in a fictional character’s romantic relationship(s).

An essential part for me in many fandom experiences is, perhaps predictably, the romance.  A true fangirl’s gotta have her OTP.  Until quite recently, I had successfully endorsed the ‘right’ ship.  I would preen to myself: Oh, how well I understand authorial intent, how could opposers be so blind and obtuse.  I sneered when Harmony sank (then pretended not to see when JKR revised her opinion). I rolled my eyes when my friends shipped Gale/Katniss, he barely had 10 pages of page time! Instead I clung to Peeta/Katniss and its god awful ship name.  I was young and arrogant. Please forgive my past-self!

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Then karma bit me in the ass and I got knocked off my high horse.  Here are a few instances where I have been thwarted:

  • The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo:  Mal is so boring.  Sorry not sorry.  Alina isn’t much better, but her character certainly improves when she is around the Darkling.  When I realised that the Darkling was never going to amount to more than the resident baddie, I bailed and never looked back.
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas:  Rhysand >>> Tamlin.  I based this on my engagement in the book: when Tamlin was at the foreground during the first half: snooze central.  But when Rhysand appeared and played a prominent role, I woke up and bumped this read from a 2 to a 3.5 stars rating.  I need the other half of the pairing to make one another interesting!
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir:  To be perfectly frank, Helene is the reason I am writing this post.  Elias had a history with her, she understands him, would sacrifice her entire life for him… but destiny seems to be pushing hard for Elias/Laia.  Helene doesn’t even get a PoV, but I adore her from what I saw through Elias’ eyes: always strong, always underestimated.  She has to make difficult decisions in this book, but she walks away keeping her heart in the end.  How could I not love that?  How could I not ship it?  So I was shocked when I was asked point blank by someone who disliked Helene why I liked her -it’s one of the first instances I’ve felt so strongly about a secondary character.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire by GRRM:  I disrupt this primarily YA book blog to mention one of my all time OTP:  Jaime/Brienne. I love them because they’re the classic Beauty and the Beast narrative: Jaime is physically beautiful but a monster by most accounts.  Brienne is no Belle, but she’s one of the only fundamentally good characters in the series.  When they collide, there’s chemistry, banter, they change one another’s way of thinking.  They’re on a mutual path of redemption. He entrusts her with Oathkeeper.  They’re the best when they’re together, the reason why I love A Storm of Swords so much.  But since GRRM’s favourite pairing is Character/Death-or-Permanent-Maiming, plus the last scene Jaime had with Brienne does not look promising, I am headed for a world of pain. WHY MUST YOU TRAMPLE ON MY HEART GRRM?!
We don't get to choose the pairing we ship, either *cries*
We don’t get to choose which pairing we ship, either *cries*

The problem with shipping the non-endgame pairing (aside from the fact that you’re never gonna be pleased with the ending), is all the painful reading in between the line.  Was that interaction intended to be romantic, or am I just a delusional fangirl?  Is there hope for the couple, or am I just lying to myself?  You’re always doubting, and it’s a horrible feeling to have.  I am only human, I just want to be right, OK! But sometimes, when the shipping gets started – right and wrong does not matter – you just feel those feels and hope that you can find like-minded friends to join you.  So, I’m sorry Team Gale, Team Cloti, Harmony, and all the others I have laughed at in my folly.  I understand how you feel now.


Are you shipping any doomed pairings?  Share the pain!

14 thoughts on “Discussion: Shipping the Wrong Ships

  1. I think that for ASOIAF, if one or both of the characters is severely maimed and/or killed after developing some semblance of emotion, you can consider that ship sailed XD I never knew JKR changed her mind on who Hermione should be with! To be honest, I would’ve been happy if she just ended up being the smartass single aunt of Harry’s kids. And yes! Rhysand was the saving grace of ACOTAR.

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    • Hahaha this is very true. I will go ahead and call Jaime/Brienne canon then.

      Yes she did and Emma Watson agreed. My inner 13 yr old does not want a bar of it though haha. I concur that Hermione would have been just fine single.

      Rhysand will hopefully get more page time in the next book if it’s based off Hades and Persephone!

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  2. This post made me smile. I’ll admit, I had zero love for the Darkling. I knew deep down he would never be the one for Alina just because I foresaw Bardugo’s quaint little ending for her and Mal, setting up their homey white picket fence dream life thing going after the war ended. It kind of annoyed me too, because as much as I was ambivalent towards the Darkling, I dislike Mal even more for being a dumbass in book two.

    In Ember in the Ashes, I loved Helene too. Why Elias would pass up a smart, brave, strong and resourceful woman like her for spineless and incompetent Laia was beyond me.

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    • I knew Mal was always gonna be the author & Alina’s choice. But he’s a bit obtuse. And a fangirl can’t resist those bad boys haha!

      As much as I enjoyed most of AEITA, Elias and Laia’s instant connection and attraction felt so forced. Agreed. Can’t see what he saw in her aside from a way to rebel his mother and society. #teamhelene.

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  3. WOOT WOOT WOOT! Yes to Rhysand!!! Okay, I love Tamlin, too, because he’s a sweetie pie and who doesn’t love sweetie pies? But seriously, Rhysand just jumped from the pages – his personaity was so strong and so bright that it felt like his chemistry with Feyre was off the charts, like his vibrancy influenced her, too. I haven’t gone past the first book of the Grisha trilogy but I do kinda prefer the darkling, too. Mal seemed so flat 😦

    Not sure if I’m shipping a doomed ship at the moment, lol. Oh, Rhysand x Feyre for sure. I’d even settle with a Rhysand x Feyre x Tamlin if it came to that. HAHA.

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    • Yay team Rhysand! I felt Feyre and the plot was more alive with him in place – excited for the next book 😀
      May our ships sail haha!

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  4. OMG great post! I near spit at my tea at your definition of shipping! haha! I can’t actually think of a time where I have strongly shipped a pair that weren’t canon … in books. I get major feels (usually of torment) when watching Arrow and TVD though. They dangle Oliver x Felicity like a carrot it is so unfair!!

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    • Will they won’t they in television are the best, though! Half the reason I watch serial tv tbh haha! Thanks for commenting ❤

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  5. OMG, team Peeniss? That was a THING! *snorts*
    Rhysand. YES! I’m rooting for him to seize the day! I have a feeling we’ll see so much more of him in book two. So. Much. More. I’m ready!

    I always ship the other guy. In Snow Like Ashes, it’s Theron. Splintered, Morpheus (not elaborating because you know, spoilers) in Shatter Me… WARNER! Oh how I love a sexy villain. No character has made me swoon like Warner. I think I tend to navigate towards the second love interest more so, they are usually the ‘bad boy who’s misunderstood’ which I’m not fussed about, but they are generally so much more developed. Have opposing opinions and aren’t all over the heroine like a rash either. I love characters to have their own personas, not swallow each other up as soon as a romance blooms. Awesome post Aentee! ❤

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    • Can’t decide if Team Peenis is the worst or best thing to happen to that fandom haha.

      I agree, the other guy often have so much more depth and superior interaction with the heroine. The romance I like usually involve people who have lives outside of each other!

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  6. First off, what a hilarious Peeniss gif. It had me laughing so hard, I didn’t even know it existed! Thanks for that. I’ll be honest, most of my ships were the “right” ships you could say. But then came Maven x Mare, Rowan x Celaena, and John x Lara Jean. I can’t help it!

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    • Hee I had to mention team Peenis just so I could use the gif haha. I’m glad it made you laugh 😀 ooo Maven/Mare is def an interesting one. Can’t wait to see them interacting in the next book.

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  7. I share your love of Brienne/Jamie so much! I’m not sure there’s much hope for them in the books. If one or the other doesn’t die, then they’ll probably fall into “best bro” territory, which will suck even more. I’m hanging my hopes on the TV show. There have been some hints that they may go in that direction and I’m praying with all that I’ve got that they do.

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    • Last I heard Jaime went to Dorne in the tv show though? I’m not caught up but I hope our ship will sail in at least one media. I have a bad feeling about the books, they will probably both die horribly knowing GRRM *cries*

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