Once upon a time, there was an elementary school girl who didn’t know much about doing things on the Internet. In fact, there wasn’t much to do on her family’s slow connection anyway (Remember when your PHONE was connected to your internet? Lord, I do!), so she opted not to use the computer too often. And, like most–if not all–book nerds, she preferred to read during her pastime, not spend it playing computer games (though occasionally she did that, too). Now, this kind of sounds familiar, because for those of you who were slightly older than 11 when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for the UK version) came out, it may be a similar story.
But I’m not here to talk about how I fell head over heels in love with the series. I’m not here to talk about my journey reading through these books. The former is obvious, considering I’m writing this post; the latter would require several posts and more than a few weeks, hah.
I’m here to talk about the other thing that the Harry Potter series–and, indirectly, J.K. Rowling–introduced me to: shipping.
Oh, yes, as a 13-year-old at the start of her hormonal journey, I came to a realization. I had romantic preferences in fictional characters. On top of story, I was also invested in who would eventually hook up with whom. I’d discovered my preferences when I read Tamora Pierce and cheered for the man Alanna eventually chose, but it was post-Harry Potter where I had a word to connect to the preference.
I was a shipper, and a hopeless one at that.
Pretty much this was when I started going online a little more. Waiting to find out how my ship would fare further exacerbated the impatience for the next installment. And let me tell you, before Fanfiction.net even boomed, finding fanfiction for your favorite ships meant having to abuse your good ole’ search engine. Not Google, either, because hell, that wasn’t even a thing back then.
Oh, no. Fanfiction came as a rarity. When I did find ones I liked (and boy, there were fabulous writers out there), I printed them out. Pages and pages and pages of H/Hr fanfiction (ha, y’all can guess which ship I’m shipping now, right?) can still be found in one of my storage boxes somewhere, because that was how I rolled. I liked something, I printed it out. I reread it a few times. Even now I don’t have any of my favorite HP fanfiction saved on my FF.Net account, and chances are most of them have been taken off already, or are totally outdated. But hell, thank goodness I kept them somewhere, because nowadays there’s just a TON of HP fanfic out there that deal with different ships–some a bit more disturbing than others.
So why do I ship?
Top 5 Reasons Why I Ship (Explained Harry Potter-Style)
“Dumbledore would have been happier than anybody to think that there was a little more love in the world,” said Professor McGonagall curtly.
I love characters. Main fictional characters tend to get kicked down a few times before they decide they want to kick back. (I mean, how many times did Harry get a smackdown before he finally told Moldy Voldy to stuff it where the sun don’t shine?) Sometimes the road to victory is a lonely one, and friendship can only go so far before the MC will need a stronger emotional tie as a motivator (Paraphrased: “Ron, I love you, but your sister’s where it’s at.”). Love goes a long way, and a significant other can do just that. So yeah. I like my characters finding people to romance. It’s quite lovely.
I love the idea of romance. Not so much for myself, but for me, watching other romances take root is like watching somebody appreciate my baking. It’s just a reward in and of itself, and when the characters finally, FINALLY hook up, it brings out the squee in me. (I was SO HOPING Luna and Neville would eventually get together, because they were totally meant to be…and Lily&Snape? WTF ROWLING. WHY U BRING THAT POSSIBILITY UP AT THE LAST MINUTE?!). Shipping is sometimes the worst.
Declaring love is age-old cliche, but hot damn, some authors know how to write romance in so many different ways. Some use beautiful, lyrical metaphors. Some use actions. Some use blunt dialogue or, erm, interestingly muddled expressions (“Wangoballwime?” Oh, Harry, you tongue-tied boy, you). It’s always different, and that’s what makes it worthwhile.
Those romantic pickup lines, though. You cannot deny some of them are just swoonworthy and delicious. Or giggleworthy.
“Oi! Angelina! Do you want to come to the ball with me?”
“All right, then.”
Some characters are just meant to be with other characters. I don’t care about love triangles so much because often I’m already set in my thinking. This is sometimes a weakness, because there are times when my ship doesn’t make canon. (Such is the case of Harry Potter.) Most of the time, though, I can kind of call the ship at this point.
Yes. I am a shipper. I ship things shippy. And I blame the Harry Potter franchise for doing this to me.