Tonight I caught up on the most recent episode of The Good Fight – which is just as brilliant as its predecessor, by the way – and came to a realization: I’m a gods-damned shipper.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a “shipper” is someone who reads a book or watches a TV series, etc, and waits with bated breath for particular characters who have chemistry to hook up or declare their undying love. Some more extreme individuals might hit social media in a rage, or even write to authors or showrunners demanding that relationships happen, or other relationships end because the characters aren’t right for each other, and so-and-so should be together instead. I’m certainly not like that (no judgment meant). But I won’t deny that I spent part of this week’s The Good Fight cursing two characters (Diane and Kurt, for anyone who watches it) for not putting the past behind them and getting back together. Because by the gods, they make each other happy and Diane is going through so much crap that she could use Kurt’s support, and leaning on him a little doesn’t make her weak!
But I digress.
This realization probably shouldn’t be much of a shock to me. The scene where Han and Leia were reunited in The Force Awakens was one of my favorites, and the tragedy that they didn’t get a chance to make amends was crushing. In Fringe, I cheered when Olivia and Peter decided to give it a go, only to watch in horror as it was revealed that Olivia had been replaced by her doppelganger from another universe (yes, that happened) – and not just because it was a compelling and terrifying twist, but because Peter was with the wrong one. I’m one of the legion of fans wishing Firefly had gone on long enough to see Mal and Inara end up together, and I waited fifteen novels of the Dresden Files for Harry Dresden and Karrin Murphy to admit they’re in love with each other, while filled with terror for most of the series that Murphy was going to die before that happened, because Jim Butcher is both amazing and cruel.
At my core, I think I’m a bit of a romantic, which is why I’m drawn to these story lines – not the cheesy relationships in bad romcoms and the like (don’t get me wrong, there are some great romcoms out there), but the slow build of a connection between well-developed characters by a creative who really gets the complexities of human relationship. I don’t think I’ve ever effectively captured it in one of my own works, though I tried with my fantasy novel Convoy, which is currently making the submission rounds, and I’m going try with the next novel I’m drafting. Making someone have the same visceral reaction with my characters as I’ve had toward the titles I mentioned above is definitely on my list of writing accomplishments to unlock. And the inspiration for that comes from these great relationships in fiction.
So if there’s a support group out there for people like me, sign me up. My name is Brandon, and I’m a shipper.