Today’s Top 5 Wednesday theme is Nostalgic Ships! I am ALL OVER THAT.
I used to ship these couples hard. Like…HARD.
I had Rini/Gohan, TK/Kari, and Zuko/Katara on this list initially, but my final 5 only includes book couples.
#1. Jonathan/Alanna from The Tortall Universe
I was in a bad place in fourth grade.
I believed that if a prince expresses interest in you, you GO FOR IT and fight ANYONE who gets in your way.
(What up, The Selection series?)
When Prince Jonathan fell for scrappy, boyish Alanna – and she SAVED HIM MULTIPLE TIMES, cementing my love of Rescue Romance for YEARS to come – I swore an OATH to defend that ship.
Then Tamora Pierce TORPEDOED MY SHIP for bad boy GEORGE COOPER.
She turned Jonathan into a toxic, selfish asshole…to promote GEORGE COOPER.
WAS HE REALLY THE BETTER OPTION?
(Pierce has since expressed regret for the George/Alanna ship, so I can’t judge her too harshly.)
I HATE it authors turn love interests CARTOONISHLY awful to make the other love interest seem less awful by comparison.
MORE ON THAT LATER.
#2. Meg/Calvin from A Wrinkle in Time
Cute, popular redhead falls for the nerdiest girl in all the land?
Total wish fulfillment.
I want more.
(They end up married by the end of the series, though the last book turns The Last Battle-style weird.)
#3. Anakin/Padme from Attack of the Clones (the novelization by R. A. Salvatore)
I read this book SO many times, DESPITE its awfulness, because I secretly hardcore-shipped Anakin and Padme.
I regret much.
I really clung to Forbidden Romance/Star-Crossed Lovers (heh) tropes back in the day.
Anakin’s religious damage leads to him to domestic abuse and CHILD MURDER.
WHY COULDN’T THEY JUST BE HAPPY TOGETHER?
It helped that both characters are JUST the hottest.
#4. D.J./Aaron from Dairy Queen
(Note: I am almost positive Aaron is the correct name. I haven’t read this series in years and I can’t find mention of this character online.
I LOVED this series. Midwestern feminism-lite. LET GIRLS PLAY FOOTBALL.
(That’s how I felt at the time, anyway. Now I wish we’d kibosh violent sports for all genders.)
Between dehumanizing hookups with scumbag Brian Nelson, protagonist D.J. flirts with Aaron, her brother’s cute teammate.
Aaron living in a different state limited his interactions with D.J. Every time he showed up in the narrative, I prayed for Catherine Gilbert Murdock to canonize my ship.
Instead, Murdock left the shipping to my imagination.
IF ONLY SHE’D MADE IT CANON.
THE WASTED POTENTIAL.
#5. Mia Thermopolis/John Paul “JP” Reynolds-Abernathy III from The Princess Diaries
Now that I’m older, I understand the intent behind Meg Cabot’s derailment of J.P.
Still, the romance subplot pushed an unfortunate moral.
J.P., the guy I shipped Mia with for ALL OF HIGH SCHOOL, turned out to be a LIAR.
Several characters called him out on his “agreeable” personality, nicknaming him “the Chameleon.” Mia’s mom asked, “Does he have a personality or does he just mirror yours?”
I thought this was unnecessary.
I didn’t think Mr. Nice Guy had to be turned into a monster to make way for Michael.
I took the moral this way: If a guy agrees with you or shares your interests, HE’S LYING.
(Also, don’t date a fellow writer.)
Granted, I don’t want a partner who agrees with everything I say to keep the peace. (I dated this person.)
Neither do I want a partner who disagrees with everything I say. (I TRIED to date this person. They disagreed.)
Meg Cabot presented two unhealthy extremes and ruled in favor of constant disagreement.
“At least he’s not lying,” isn’t a strong enough argument for partnering with an oppositional personality.
I don’t want teens believing that ONLY couples with opposing personalities last.
“Opposites attract” works for some couples; “birds of a feather” works for others.
This ship taught me that I prefer the latter.