The world of fanfiction is vast, and often confusing at the least and horrifying at the most. One of the most popular ‘themes’ in fanfiction plots is the romantic aspect.
People will always have their ‘OTP’ or one true pairing. That pairing may be canon (actually an occurrence in the fandom that you’re a part of) or it could be fanon (a thing that the fandom insists on being true), or you could be the only person that supports this pairing. There are the ships that cause fandom wars and the ships that unite the fandoms.
Personally, the fandom that will always hold my heart is Harry Potter. The fanfiction in this category contains pairings that represent the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The Good: Obvious choices in the good column are the canon couples of Ginny and Harry, Remus and Tonks, and James and Lily. All three of these pairs contain well-balanced partners, and most of thefan fiction written about them is loving, fluffy, and sometimes even full of actual, well-written plot. Another fanon favourite of mine is the Next Gen pairing of Lily Luna Potter and Scorpius Malfoy, because they’re the Hogwarts equivalent of Romeo and Juliet. Nothing bad ever happens to Romeo and Juliet, right? ...right?
The Bad: Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson. Drac omay be a redeemable character, but Pansy most certainly is not. Not even Queen Rowling likes it. Another bad pairing, at least in my humble opinion, is Ron and Hermione. I don’t agree with the Harry/Hermione pairing either, but Ron and Hermione bother me because he is byno means even close to being Hermione’s intellectual equal. How can you have a happy relationship if you’re perpetually explaining yourself?
The Ugly: I’ve read fanfiction about many, many horrific pairings. Ginny and the Giant Squid, for example. Or Ginny and Hagrid. Or Dumbledore and anyone. I don’t know what the hell these writers were thinking, or if they meant for the story to be funny, but dear sweet baby llama, you need to sort out your priorities. Or at least tag your smut.
In ships that don’t involve Harry Potter, I am particularly fond of the television programmes Once Upon a Time and Gilmore Girls.
The Good: For Once Upon a Time, my ultimate OTP is Captain Swann - Emma Swann and Killian Jones, a.k.a Captain Hook. Two people who are that attractive belong together. That’s all that needs to be said. I’m also fond of Regina and Robin (Outlaw Queen). I came to the conclusion in the third season that Regina deserves a happy ending, dammit. On the Gilmore Girls’ side, there is of course the long-game canon pairing of Luke and Lorelai. As far as Rory’s love life, I will ship Rory and Logan until the day I die. I’ve seen a few well-done fanfictions written featuring Paris Gellar, Rory’s neurotic best friend, and Finn, Logan’s alcoholic bestie. I can definitely get on board with that.
The Bad: From Once, I can’t think of any ships I’m actually opposed to other than Prince Charming and Snow White. There’s nothing wrong with them as a couple, but as characters, both of them are actually kind of awful. I’m also not hugely fond of Rumplestiltskin and Belle being together, but I’m more okay with them as a couple than other pairings involving either character. On the Gilmore side, Jess and Rory were alright, and I guess I’d be okay with them getting together in a canon setting, but I would be weirded out by it - with Lorelai and Luke getting married, that would make Jess and Rory step-cousins. That’s a little bit creepy in my books. I’m also kind of on the fence about Michel and Lorelai fics - they’re a thing, and they’re weird. I’m also vehemently against Lorelai and Christopher. He’s a creep and he’s not good for her.
The Ugly: Swann Queen. I totally ship Regina and Emma platonically, but by no means do I approve of them as a romantic couple. Another I can’t get behind is Snow Queen, which I was just informed was a thing. Snow and Regina should not be a romantic ship. Snow is Regina’s stepdaughter, for crying out loud! That’s so icky! After you’re done washing your brain with bleach, go and get a second bottle: I’ve seen fics online that feature Lorelai and Rory as the primary romantic ship. Guys, that’s illegal. And morally reprehensible. It’s no Ginny and the Giant Squid, but you should still probably give your heads a shake about that one.
Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 107, Issue 22, February 14th, 2017.