R.J. Anderson (rj_anderson) wrote,
R.J. Anderson

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My HP shipping manifesto

Actually, it's not nearly as sophisticated (or even as important to me) as the title suggests. But a couple of nights ago lizbee and I were chatting about HP in general and my latest fic in particular, and these thoughts just sort of crystallized...

I have no emotional investment in who ends up with whom. If JKR wants to do Ron/Luna or Hermione/Neville or Harry/Susan Bones, that's her lookout as far as I'm concerned. I won't be as satisfied with that arrangement as I would with some others that make more sense to me, but I'm not going to hate JKR over it. She never pretended that the HP books were romances, or that romance was even going to be a major component of the series. In fact, so far it's been used primarily for comic relief, which suggests to me that some of the more intense shippers in HP fandom really need to loosen up.

What I do see is JKR setting us up, at least temporarily and perhaps in the longer term, for Ron/Hermione and probably Harry/Ginny as well. That's not to say she has to go that route, but I think her comments in interviews indicate pretty strongly that R/H, at least, is her intention and that she plans to do more with it at some point in the next two books. This seems evident enough to me that I'll genuinely be surprised (though not hurt) if she doesn't.

That being said, R/H is really not very interesting to me. They remind me of a couple from a black-and-white screwball comedy film -- always bickering, but secretly attracted to each other, and you know they'll get together in the end even if only to go on driving each other crazy. We're always being reminded of their quirks, their youth, their basic humanity. They're cute and sweet and a little bit corny -- what they definitely aren't is deep. For this reason, I've never sought out any R/H fics for their own sake -- I only read them if they're widely and heavily recced, written by authors I like and trust, and less than two chapters in length. Any longer, my interest wanes and I go on to something else.

Then, of course, there's H/H. Harry/Hermione seems to be the ship of choice for those who like their heroes and heroines larger than life. Their romance is seldom treated lightly or with humour -- instead it's Terribly Serious and Complicated (probably because there's always that awkward issue of what to do about Ron). Harry possesses extra-canonical Powers and/or nifty magical items, and frequently gets to be buff and gorgeous as well. Hermione isn't just smart, she's a genius, and if she doesn't get to grow up divinely beautiful, she at least gets to be stylish and have a great body. There are many tragic misunderstandings and complications before their Epic Love can bloom. Frankly, all the self-importance and overwrought emotion that seems to dominate the most celebrated H/H fics drives me absolutely bughouse. And if the fic isn't heavy on plot and action, I can't be bothered to read it at all, because I just don't see Harry and Hermione as a viable or interesting match in canon, and I've yet to meet a fic that made me think otherwise.

Which leaves us with H/G. The Harry/Ginny ship has a really bad reputation, mostly because of the immaturity of some H/G shippers and the silly, saccharine nature of a lot of H/G fics. It didn't help, of course, that it was difficult to get a handle on Ginny's character before OotP, and that there was widespread disagreement on how to portray her. Now that we have more information, however, it appears that she has a lot more strength of character than many people previously suspected (so much so, in fact, that some complain that Ginny is a different person in Book 5 than she was in any of the earlier books -- but I don't think that's at all true, myself: the clues are all there if you're willing to see them). There's a lot of room now for more thoughtful exploration of both Harry and Ginny's characters, particularly in light of the fact that both of them have suffered at Voldemort's hands, and have experienced his dark influence in a painful and unforgettable way. Neither Ron nor Hermione has any personal understanding of what it's like to battle Voldemort face to face, but Harry and Ginny share that knowledge and it's interesting (to me) to speculate about how that might affect them, singly and together.

So yes, I've come to recognize that if I have a ship at all, it's H/G. And I'd welcome some recs for mature, thoughtful H/G fics written post-OotP, if there are any out there (I'm sure there must be, by now). Where are the H/G fics being archived these days (besides the general archives like FA and FF.net, I mean), anyway?
Tags: harry/ginny, hp, love, romance, shipping
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