When I first came online I was heavily into Star Trek Voyager, but even then I was late to the game/party. Everything was calm - ish. Sure there were tensions between fans on occation, but by the time I entered the game the only really "serious business" was... Can you guess? Nope. Not shipping. For most it was the vanishing overall quality of the show.
Now there were shippy issues, of which I was involved. I'll freely admit that I done my share of "serious business" posting when it come to being Anti-Paris/Torres. I loathed that relationship with a fine burning passion, or at least it probably seemed that way to anyone who read the debates. No, I did not like the relationship, but when canon had them marry it did not crush my heart or cause me to become suicidal; nor homicidal for that matter. Mostly, while some of my posts might have looked like I was taking things WAY to seriously, ranting about that ship was cathartic... Not to mention that I found it a great way to pass time between episodes and connect with other fans.
By the time I joined that and the quality issues were the big tensions, believe it or not there were some that not only liked Paris/Torres, but shipped it. ;) Also there were some that did not believe there was a drop in the overall quality of the show.
There were sometimes hints of squabbles between those that shipped Janeway/Chakotay vs those that shipped Janeway/Paris, but for the most part there was nothing truly extreme; just some mild tension to be felt from time to time. Certainly never anything (that I knew of) resembling the Harry Potter ship wars. Hell, even the Pro-Paris/Torres people were still (I feel) much more calm about the whole thing than the Pro-Ginny and H/G people.
With Voyager, unlike Harry Potter, most fans seemed more focused on the overall quality than the shipping aspect. I know someone will come along and say "but Voyager sucked worse than Harry Potter, so that's why." And, I'll admit that at times Voyager did indeed suck, but all things considered it wasn't actually that much worse than Harry Potter.
Note: While it took a good long time, I did eventually learn that there had been a major fandom 'Splosion/War between the Janeway/Chakotay shippers and anyone who shipped those two with other. Because I do know of one Janeway/Paris shipper that was basically ran out of the fandom because of the Janeway/Chakotay shippers, but as I said by the time I joined up things had drastically calmed.
After dipping my toes into Star Trek, I branched out into Anita Blake fandom. That is the other wonky fandom, but wonky in a good way. Back in the day things were very peaceful, even between the radically opposed Anita/Jean-Claude and Anita/Richard fans. And believe me, the differences between those factions were extreme. However, there just wasn't outright fighting that you find in other fandoms over it. Certainly nothing that you could label a fandom war. Granted later the Anita fandom Assploded, but that had pretty much nothing to do with shipping and everything to do with overall series quality.
But before that 'Splosion, I branched into Buffy shortly after Anita. And, for the record, before Harry Potter, Buffy fandom was the "most serious business" fandom that I was personally involved with. Though since at that point in time I truly shipped neither Buffy/Angel or Buffy/Spike I wasn't truly involved, just a witness. Though I admit I did miss the first round, because rumor has it that in those first two seasons you were hard pressed to find someone online who didn't ship Buffy/Angel, but again by the time I came to the fandom there were people shipping other ships.
Still I can't say that the Buffy/Angel Buffy/Spike wars matched the Harry/Hermione Ron/Hermione wars - I'm sorry, while they were wanky in their own right, they just don't compare. Even towards the end after things had been calm for years and a minor scuffle sprouted up between the remaining Buffy/Angel shippers and the growing band of Buffy/Spike shippers. There was war and there was wank, but again it just did not compare.
Personally I think that had a lot to do with cross-shippers. While you had straight B/A and B/S shippers, you also had an almost equal number of B/A/S shippers. Same with Voyager and Anita - you had maybe not an equal number to the Janeway/Chakotay shippers, but there were several Janeway/Chakotay/Paris shippers. And with Anita, I believe, there were more fans wanting the Jean-Claude/Anita/Richard threesome rather than wanting Anita to pair off with just one of them. But with the Harry Potter fandom you just don't have the cross shipping. You have Ron/Hermione and Harry/Hermione with a firm line down the middle and woe to anyone who tries to cross that line with Harry/Hermione/Ron.
I think that is why I've been (and was) taken by surprise when I come to the Harry Potter fandom. Of course, for a long time I mostly just lurked and read the fanfic, so I didn't realize exactly how wonky this one was for quite some time.
A bit of history - I first came into HP after Book Four, and I basically stayed on the slash side of the fence. For at least a year, maybe longer, I really had nothing to do with HP fans outside of reading fanfic. And while I did (do) read more slash than anything else when it comes to HP, I wasn't adverse to Harry Potter het, at least not all of it. Though I tended toward rare het pairings and avoided the popular ones. I.E. I generally read Harry/Narcissa, Harry/Parvati, Harry/Pansy, and (of course) after Book Five Harry/Luna. I tended to avoid Harry/Ginny and Harry/Hermione.
I did (do) read some Harry/Hermione, but find I'd rather read other Harry het pairings. And while I've never went looking for a story with Ron/Hermione as the main pairing - it is generally the main side pairing in Harry/Slash stories. That or Draco/Hermione, which just doesn't work for me on ANY level, so I be happy with Ron/Hermione side pairing over Draco/Hermione. *shrug* I've never really loved the Ron/Hermione pairing, but I didn't exactly loathe it, and would obviously rather see that than Draco/Hermione. These days I find I only like Ron/Hermione slightly better than Harry/Ginny, and if you know me at all you know how low H/G is. But when reading Harry/Slash there is simply no room for Harry/Hermione! So, understandably the side pairing must be something other than Harry/Hermione.
Still my point is that I cross read slash and I cross read het even with Harry Potter. Still for a long time I didn't truly understand the great war(s) taking place between Harry/Hermione and Ron/Hermione shippers, and at that time I had absolutely no idea that there were even any Harry/Ginny shippers out there. It wasn't until sometime after Book Five that I became aware of them, at least the H/H and R/H, I still remained largely clueless about the H/G folks.
But at the end of Book Five I did delve a bit deeper into the fandom, yet still managed to mostly play in debates/places where the overall quailty of Book Five was discussed/dissected rather than places with a shipper slant.
Now at some point, I found a little place called Fandom_Wank. That is where I learned there were a few H/G shippers because a certain H/G site featured in a couple wank reports over one of the conventions or some such thing. Then when it later closed there were more wank reports. But I have no idea if that was before or after Book Five. Anyway, even then I still had no real idea that there were more than a few H/G shippers. Honestly, it wasn't until after Book Six (yes, even before the IoD) that I realized there was a large faction of Harry/Ginny shippers, and exactly just how truly "serious business" all things Harry Potter was for some people. That was when it truly hit me just how great a divide there is among the HP fans.
If you've read this entire thing, then you know I've seen my share of fandom rough patches, but I've never seen such a great fandom divide before. I know some feel that the entire B/A and B/S (hehe) thing was full of it, but I just didn't feel the thin red line between the B/A and B/Sers that I feel in Harry Potter. And that isn't the only divide in the HP fandom. No, that fandom is divided even more. You've got the Ron/Hermione shippers vs the Harry/Hermione (and probably the few the proud Viktor/Hermione) shippers. You've got your Harry/Ginny shippers vs both the Harry/Hermione and Harry/Luna shippers.
But the divide doesn't stop there. You actually have a very large gulf between the het shippers and the slash shippers. Though I have noticed that in some cases that divide isn't as large as it once was. There are some, from what I can tell, Ron/Hermione and Harry/Luna shippers that are more accepting of slash these days. However, there is still a very noticable divide.
Now granted there is generally some kind of divide between het and slash shippers no matter the fandom. So, it is not a complete mystery that there is such a divide with Harry Potter. Because even with Buffy you had some fans that would read no het and some that would read no slash. But those seemed few and far between, in Buffy I didn't feel like a lone cross-shipping wolf. I believe, if nothing else, this site will prove that I wasn't alone on the cross-shipping.
However, it isn't just Buffy that seemed more open. Star Trek was a very open pool of cross-shipping, of course, Star Trek is a very big pool. Possibly in its day even bigger than HP, but that doesn't matter. My point is that even though there were slash/het divides in other fandoms, there wasn't the extreme distance between them that seems to be there in HP.
What's interesting to me, and why I've always (for the most part) been proud of my fellow slash HP shippers is the fact that while there is a little cross-het shipping, there is much cross-slashing. You just don't have the slash HP wars/divisions that you have with the het. You've got your Harry/Draco fans who will read Snape/Harry. You've got your Snape/Harry fans that will read Harry/Lucius... And to get out of pairings I read most, you've got Black/Lupin shippers who will cross into Snape/Lupin, and so on and so forth. However, even if a slasher doesn't cross-ship, you don't see slashers declaring war on those who ship something other than their OTP!
Note: I realize that there has been some wank (or "serious business" stuff) coming from slash shippers in more recent times. Most notably some Harry/Draco and Black/Lupin shippers, but even with that there has not been slash divisions/wars in the way there have been in the het section of the fandom.
So, I guess my point is - Cross shipping saves fandom!
Do more cross-shipping!
Actually, I'm just left puzzled and wondering why is HP a fandom of such extremes? Don't misunderstand I'm not calling for people to read/write something they do not like/enjoy, or really for everyone to just get along. You'll never catch me writing Harry/Ginny or probably even Ron/Hermione, nor reading them that much. And you'd probably never find me defending either ship.
More what I'm asking is why are there such strong dividing lines in Harry Potter? What exactly happened early on in fandom that caused divides so strong that they've not mended like they're prone to in other fandoms?
Is great fandom divides the disturbing new fandom trend, or is Harry Potter just