Shipping outside of canon

I know that it’s a bit of a taboo in the book-blogging world, you don’t ship non-canon pairings, you don’t imagine things that are not Word of God, everything the author says is automatically true and you can’t think beyond that, you can’t think of better alternatives or better pairings. And there’s nothing wrong with that, of course. Sometimes, it’s enough to just trust the author and leave it at that, but sometimes you need more, sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes it’s needed to go farther than that.

So, that’s why I think there’s fandom, and then there’s fandom, where we write each other fanfics for our birthdays and make each other miserable by sharing sad headcanons. There’s nothing wrong with either, but guess which side I stand on.

It’s great to have a definite story to follow, a definite ending to discover, but sometimes you want to explore all the possibilities. You know, some of my favorite Harry Potter headcanons are the ones about Muggle-borns trying to sneak technology into Hogwarts : wizards being mind-blown when they find out that Muggles went on the moon, or finding out that Muggle society has developped so much more than theirs, students trying to find ways to get Wifi in their dorms (I understand J.K’s stance, but let’s be real, as much fun as it would be to be at Hogwarts, there’s no way students nowadays would agree to spend a whole year without an internet connection), Muggleborns writing on parchment with ballpoint pens … They’re just little things, but since we don’t have anything about this in the books, it’s up to us to make it up.

The same goes for shipping.

There’s a sort of beauty to it, you know. Reading between the lines, going where the author maybe didn’t dare to go, turning the little things into more. It’s really all about your interpretation of the book, not really what the author force-fed you : you can tell me all you want that Katniss and Peeta were meant to be, but I’ll always wonder what would have happened if Katniss had ended the story alone (like I imagined she would), or what would have happened to Gale’s arc if Madge had survived the bombings ; I’ll always be convinced that Sansa/Margaery could have worked, even with both of them married to random guys ; and I’ll ship Thomas/Newt/Minho if I want to, and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.

It doesn’t mean that I completely disregard canon. Actually, I usually like my ships with a little bit of canon. It means that I usually don’t pick two random characters, who never even talked to each other and go like “Kiss, now”. But even if I do, I always valid reasons, and I would defend them to the death. I like observing interactions and personalities, I like to see which characters could match each other.

Sometimes, my non-canon ships become canon,  in which case there’s no stopping the tears and the screams of joy. But, most of the time, they’re not, and it’s okay. They’re actually more precious when you get to keep them to yourself. When a ship you love becomes canon, it’s like the author is taking it away from you, he’s free to do whatever the hell he wants with it, he’s taking back all the power, and it’s a scary thought. It gives a definite aspect to something that was only a possibility to begin with.

This discussion was brought to you because of :

I know, I know, the pairing in this book is canon, but if you’ve discovered Simon Snow because of Fangirl, then you know that it started as a fanfic (a fictional fanfic, so meta), that Cather shipped the two main characters together, and that it was a non-canon ship in her universe. In the end, we don’t know if Baz and Simon got together in-canon, but it doesn’t really matter because, to us, they did, thanks to Cath. So it got me thinking about my own personal pairings, about what makes me ship two characters together, and the way “fandom culture” (yes, I’m using the term “fandom culture”, try to convince me we don’t talk a different language and don’t have different codes than other poeple, I dare you) is stigmatized, how some authors are really close to their books’ own fandoms (John Green, Maggie Stiefvater, or even Lev Grossman who keeps praising fanfic writing), and all that jazz.

What are your views on non-canon ships ? Any pairings you think would make more sense than the canon ones ?



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