We all know it. We all skirt the subject or go at it head on, but either way, it's there and it's thriving. It can be calm and it can be violent. What am I talking about?
For anybody (like myself) who is involved in other fandoms, in my case Phantom of the Opera (sometimes Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean), we know that shipping is not limited to merely the fandom of Harry Potter. For Phantom, there's the great debate as to whether Christine lives happily ever after with Raoul or comes back begging for more of the Phantom. In Pirates, we wonder if anything was going on between Elizabeth and Jack, and in Star Wars we all would like to know if Obi-Wan did in fact have a secret lovelife. However, Harry Potter is a different story.
When I first read the books, I thought to myself, "Okay, Ron and Hermione are so going to get together," and that was the facts of life. It didn't occur to me that people would think differently, and I just assumed that R/Hr was the only ship out there, that there was none else. Nearly everyone around me agreed and it was all good and peachy. Then I started joining HP communities online and was introduced to the idea of "shipping." I started searching for more communities to join and soon enough I came across H/Hr ship communities. I was astonished! Who on Earth would ever think that?
I started watching the communities I didn't join, including the H/Hr ones, and I came to see that these people were just like me; their ship was alive and well just like mine. But still I thought that they were wrong. I still think that to this day, though I am much calmer about it.
Then HBP came out. I assumed that this would finally be the book where Ron and Hermione got together (and some was proven true at the end, but I won't spoil anything in case you haven't read) and I got so excited about it. However, on my rounds of the HP communities about three or four days after the book came out, I was so astonished; on the H/Hr sites, there were rants about how people were calling H/Hr shippers delusional and how they were so incredibly dedicated to their ship that nobody was going to convince them otherwise. There were a few obscenities thrown in there too. I was sick of it.
Have you ever noticed that other fandoms have people who ship for multiple pairings? That NEVER happens in Harry Potter. You're either a H/Hr shipper or an R/Hr shipper, there's no multiple shipping. It drives me crazy that people can't just accept each other and not get into fights about it. Maybe it's that there's still possibilities for HP, that it could change by the end of the seventh book, that nothing's definite. But I just know that there will still be controversy after it comes out and people on whatever side "loses" or if both ships "lose", they'll complain.
I'm asking you all as fellow Harry Potter fans to support me in this. I encourage you to post your own article, or link back to me, in any HP communities you're involved in. I am not trying to "sink" ships or anybody's hopes, but together we can get rid of the nasty shipping that goes on in our amazing fandom. It's one of the largest, if not the largest, fandoms out there and it should be just as considerate of all its members as other, much smaller fandoms are.
-Jewelles, avid HP fan