Valentine’s Day is almost here! And in case you guys missed it from my February posts last year, I love doing themed posts in honor of this celebration (i.e. my way of making up for my lack of celebration in real life ahem)! If you want some more V-Day posts, you could check out the ones I did last year; Valentine’s Day bookish gift guide, 7 romance tropes we love or hate, books to read for Valentine’s Day, Rip it or Ship it Book Tag, what makes a good romance, types of male love interests, and there are a couple more in my February 2016 archives. (#self-promo oops)
But amidst all of this, we’re missing something very crucial, which, hint hint, is in the title of this post. Something that’s very dear to my heart when it comes to romance in books: SHIPS. We all have them and we all recognize what it is and the feelings that come with having our bookish ship be canon and having an OTP (one true pairing)–basically over-the-moon joy and lots of excited fangirling, for me. But I don’t think we ever actually stop to think or recognize how important they can be, in terms of romance in a book. So let’s do that!
Shipping, initially derived from the word relationship, is the desire by fans for two or more people, either real-life people or fictional characters (in film or literature) to be in a relationship, romantic or otherwise.
1. It can cause you to start or continue with a series.
Not gonna lie, there were times where I was totally putting a book or series on my TBR because of a ship that everyone seemed to love, or perhaps two ships that people were conflicted about. This happens with TV shows too for me haha. When people talk about a particular couple they loved from a book, it makes me curious because it means they got invested in a book and its characters to care about them and support a relationship. And so I pick up that book. And sometimes, we can continue a series because of a ship; for example, even if I may not particularly enjoy certain aspects of the book, if there’s a couple I ship strongly, I would more often than not persevere through the rest of the series to see how they end up. The power of ships is strong!
2. Invokes passion or support for the characters.
If I have an OTP in a certain book, you can bet I love those characters to death. It’s a must, for me, in order to ship two characters, that I like them, aka see chemistry, feel their development, or the slow-burn that I love in a romance. Makes sense, right? I’m not saying without these aspects I won’t feel passion or support for the characters, but if a book does have a ship that I love, it means I’m invested in the characters in a way I might’ve not been otherwise. You know? What I’m trying to say.. imagine your favorite book that has a ship you love… and then imagine if they were no longer a ship. It would be different, you know? Having a strong ship can create a lot of passion for the characters, which can be such an important factor on whether the book is a hit or miss.
3. Can make you super emotional.
I love my happily ever afters for my ships, and fortunately most times I get them (yay!). Other times, I don’t, which basically leads me to be a huge sobbing mess. Ahem. But even in the happily ever afters, the amount of pain my poor children (my ship) has to go through can leave me a huge sobbing mess as well (aka most fantasy novels). And, naturally, this book becomes a favorite (or close) because THESE EMOTIONS ARE IMPORTANT. It means I’m super invested in the characters and the story, which is always a plus!
4. Creates hype.
Series like Throne of Glass, A Court of Thorns and Roses, The Infernal Devices (or anything Shadowhunters tbh), all have huge fandoms–and a lot of that is centered on the ships. In the case of Throne of Glass’s love pentagon-thing going on at one point, it definitely caused a lot of discussions (some bad, some good; shipping wars are terrible, but more on that later), as well as the Tamlin vs Rhys debacle for ACOTAR. I, for one, adore the ships in Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters books. And I know I’m not alone because of the amount of HYPE that is created with each of these series! Strong fandoms are be created due to ships, and that, in turn, is great publicity. The only downside is if a book just uses romance as a publicity maneuver and the ‘ship’ is just in there because it draws readers–but the romance is actually poorly developed and not very shippable at all…
5. Brings you closer to other people.
Have you ever bonded with someone over a ship? If you have, you know how amazing it can be aha. Bonding over books, in general, is so totally awesome, but I especially love it when I learn that someone has the same ship as me because I can trust that they love the book and characters as much as I do. And that’s such a great feeling! ❤ It’s also so easy to do that, in the blogging community. There are so many people passionate about the same thing as you, that it’s not a challenge at all to find a person who loves a ship as much as you and bond over ships haha. Basically, guys, you should totally hit me up in the comments to discuss ships. Ahem. Just saying. 😉
All in all: I’m a firm believer in the fact that not all YA books must have romance or a ship to be a good book/series–and in fact, I totally support there being more books without romance because we don’t have many of those in my opinion–but I do believe that ships are super super important and a very powerful addition to a book/series if written well. I’m definitely an avid shipper and could not imagine not having my ships! They can be so perfect to draw me into a series or continue one, and most importantly, get me to love the characters/story and talk to other people.
Though, side note; having shipping wars occur is definitely not something I love. A friendly debate or discussion or disagreement is perfectly fine, but having arguments over a ship is totally not warranted and when they get out of hand it can get very hurtful. Agree to disagree!! But I digress. What are your thoughts on ships? Do you love ’em? Hate ’em? Or do you prefer other non-romantic focused ships? Friendships maybe? (Gotta love those too!) What ships do you love to death? What ships do you despise? How important are ships, to you?