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Forgive me while I past ramble a bit, but this post has been in the making for about a year, really. Yet despite that it still has a wondering ramble feel, so just bear with me, or skip it.

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 a drastic exception special?
[Here from metafandom. [wave]]

I think there's a small but furious core of Harry Potter fans who are just insane. That's got to be it, seriously. This tiny group of people set the tone and other people follow them because when they first entered fandom they looked around and saw what other people were doing and figured that was how the world worked. You pick your "ship" and defend it with wand and broadsword and cannon. Anyone who "ships" someone else is misguided, and anyone who ships one of your two favorite OTP people with anyone else is the enemy, to be mocked, harassed and destroyed.

Enough people have a "joining" reflex, a desire to go along with the crowd (or the loudest and most visible crowd which first catches their notice) that many people who wouldn't have started this sort of thing are willing to go along. I think it only took a relative few to get things going.

I don't know how things actually started, but I have this image in my mind of two people who used to be friends having a falling out and splitting, and part of the post-split nastiness was each one deciding that the other person's favorite pairing was stupid and mock-worthy. Their friends divided up, some siding with one and some with the other. The factions were born and the "ship wars" were on.

That's just a theory, though. :)

But seriously, something is massively wrong when people -- even individuals but certainly large groups -- loathe and despise each other over, get this, which two people they enjoy reading about in a snogging scene. [eyeroll] I mean, come on folks! Can we just take a step back and look at what's going on? Jeez....

HP isn't my main fandom but I do enjoy reading it now and then. And yes, I have my preferences. There are some characters I don't find terribly attractive and wouldn't particularly want to read and would never write, but if someone else does write and read about these characters it doesn't hurt me. Not even a tiny bit. The existence of Harry/Ginny fics don't hurt the people who like Harry/Hermione, not even the slightest. There's plenty of stuff to read on both sides, so WTF?

My main fandom is LOTRiPS, which has a similar (although mostly non-hostile) division. In general, there's a large group of fans who are into the "humans and elves" -- that is, Viggo and Orlando and Sean Bean, with some Karl and David and Craig and maybe Harry on the side. And then there are the "hobbit fans," people who are into Billy and Dom and Elijah and Orlando. (Orlando hung out with the hobbit actors a lot during filming and is often paired up with them, too. Versatile guy, Orlando. :) )

Most fans prefer one group over another; I'm more on the Viggo/Orlando/Bean side. I don't find Dom and Billy attractive at all, and Elijah's a bit iffy. But I wouldn't think of hating or looking down on the hobbit fans. It's just stupid. What, do people think there's only so much "internet" to go around and having the "other side" write stories uses up chunks of the internet which are therefore lost to their own favorite pairing?? [facepalm] There are hundreds of stories out there about the hobbits. And you know what? I don't read them. I don't write them. They don't hurt me. The hobbit fans are welcome to write and read whatever they want, and I'll kick ass on anyone who tries to tell them they can't.

I hate songfics and wouldn't touch them with a stick, but again, I'll kick ass on anyone who tries to tell songfic fans that they shouldn't read or write the stuff they like.

It's perfectly natural to have preferences, but having Harry/Ginny fans actively hating the Harry/Hermione fans makes about as much sense as throwing rocks through someone's window because they eat onions and you hate them. I've never understood "shipping" wars and never will. And I don't have a whole lot of respect for the people who take part in them, either.

I've been quoted somewhere? Cool! *coughs* Okay, I'll stop my fangirl squeeling now and be serious.

Your theory is sound, I can honestly see that. Two friends have a falling out and the fallout spreads until no one can really remember the exact reason things are the way they are. Of course, this one might not be as far off the mark as it should be either:

What, do people think there's only so much "internet" to go around and having the "other side" write stories uses up chunks of the internet which are therefore lost to their own favorite pairing??

Because it does seem that way sometimes. "Oh noes two more Harry/Ginny stories posted today - that means there will be two less Harry/Hermione stories!"

At least that would almost be a valid explanation for the fans I've encountered who seem to believe anyone who doesn't ship their OTP is guilty of a most grevious insult.

Maybe you are onto something - maybe it really is the same two or three people (under different monkiers) from every side who keep things going and going and going and refuse to let up.

Maybe I should branch off into LOTR, you make things sound interesting over there. And I loved the movies, and (obviously) I do have a few ships I'd like to sink into and explore. But for some reason the nearest I've come to LOTR fandom is crossover fic.
The way some people carry on, you'd think that more of X stories automatically mean less of Y. But that doesn't make any sense, really. They seem to believe that if all these writers weren't writing X they'd of course come over and start writing Y, which is silly. If someone forbade me to ever write any more Viggo/Orlando stories (and had a way to enforce it) I wouldn't start suddenly writing Dom/Billy. If I liked them enough to write smut about them then I'd be writing smut about them. The fact that I'm not should clue anyone in that I never would. [shrug]

fans I've encountered who seem to believe anyone who doesn't ship their OTP is guilty of a most grevious insult.

That's exactly it -- they take it as a personal affront, as though they're deeply offended and believe that you meant to deeply offend them. [blinkblink] Or as though your favorite pairing is just so stupid and ridiculous and disgusting that they feel justified coming over to your sandbox and mocking you for it. It's like if the high-divers came over to the lap pool and pissed in it because they don't like to swim laps and don't think anyone else should either. Stupid and immature and mean-spirited.

maybe it really is the same two or three people (under different monkiers) from every side who keep things going and going and going and refuse to let up.

Heh, I think we've had enough sock-puppet scandals to last us for a while. [wry smile] I wouldn't go that far, but I do think it has to be a small number of people who started it and are keeping it going. Because I have a hard time believing that that many HP fans are really such idiotic jerks. I'm sure most of them are very cool people, nice, rational, like every other large group in or out of fandom. It has to be some smaller group herding them in the wrong direction, setting them off.

Maybe I should branch off into LOTR, you make things sound interesting over there.

If you're interested in actual LOTR fanfic then I'm not that familiar with it. I got into it very briefly a few years ago, but then I found LOTRiPS and dove in head first. If you're interested in the RPS side of it then tell me which guys you think are hot and I'll give you some recs. :D

Nope, not really into RPS, though I have recently dipped my toe into Daily Show/Colbert Report slash, but at present that is as far as I've ever entered RPS. And to be honest, sometimes I am a teensy bit uncomfortable with Stewart/Colbert slash. I think the only reason I can handle it at all is because they've acted slashy on the show with each other, so it allows me to pretend (especially with Stephen) that they are just as much characters as Frodo and Sam.

Anyway, even if I were, I believe we'd be on the opposite end of things, because I tend to like the little Hobbits (with their big ol feet ;)) over the other guys. Okay, really only Frodo and Sam, I find that I'm not really that into Merry and Pippin, but there's just something about Frodo/Elijah that I do really like.

Of course, that doesn't mean I wouldn't read an oh say Frodo/Legolas - actually I'd probably read Frodo/Anyone(het or slash) - though in my heart I know Frodo will belong to Sam forever. *coughs* I think I'd also deeply enjoy Legolas/Gimli.

Odd because I'm not usually a "best friends" shipper, I tend to a like a bit of tension between my boyz. But for some reason with LOTR many of the BBFs just give me a romancy feel.
Ahh, well, if you're a Pervy Hobbit Fancier then I'm afraid I can't give you any recs [tease] but there are like a bazillion people out there who could. I do have some general archives you could poke around in, though....

The Library of Moria -- this includes pretty much everyone, real characters and fictional, and you can search by character and then pairing.

Mirrormere -- the FPS side of it. This has a decent search function too.

And a couple of stories:

Mired in Middle Earth

Resonances of Middle Earth

These are technically RPS but I thought you might like them anyway. The cast is filming in New Zealand and they get swept up to Middle Earth. Most of them, anyway. They have to play out the events of the story, and it gets pretty dark in places. They learn to cope and form some relationships and they change in order to do what they have to do, some more than others. Then the second story is about what happens after they come back to Earth, because they've been gone a long time from their POV and they have changed and they can't just shrug and go about their business. Oh, and Frodo/Elijah and Sam/SeanA get together. :)

About RPS in general, I remember when I first ran into it, I thought it was pretty creepy. I mean, writing sex about real people?? o_O But there was a lot of it around and finally I tried it, and luckily the first couple of stories I tried were actually pretty good. I got used to it and now it doesn't seem creepy anymore. The way I usually think of it is, we're writing the story and casting the movie at the same time. The guys are actors after all -- we're just writing roles for them. Even in the stories which follow more of the details of their real lives, it's not really them. They're just characters, no matter how much research a writer does, because what's important isn't that Viggo's an artist or Orlando has a scar on his back or Elijah smokes clove cigarettes -- what's important is who they are inside, their inner personalities, the people they are when they're alone, or with their families and close friends. And we have no way of knowing that. Figure, they're all actors -- even if you read every article and watch every TV interview, you still have no idea who this person really is because he could very easily be playing a role, whatever role his publicist or agent thinks will help his career. [shrug] I don't know who these guys are and I don't care. I use the names and faces and sometimes a few details like tattoos or hobbies or whatever, but the guys I write about are my characters. I make them up and what I write has nothing to do with the real actors.

If that works for you, then cool. If not, then that's fine too. There's a lot of fanfic out there about the fictional characters, and I'm sure you'll run into some that you enjoy. :)

You seem to know me well. The fic you mentioned does sound like the best way to ease myself into it. Plus the concept sounds interesting, so I will be giving it a try.

However, I have a feeling I'll be reading more LOTR fanfic than RPS.

Thanks for the recs, really. I skimmed the first one last night and it seems to have as much fanfic as RPS, so I'm a very happy camper.

And, as I mentioned, I do plan to read Mired in Middle Earth and Resonances of Middle Earth, the concept is just too interesting for me not to at least give them a go.

PS - You have valid points about RPS, though I can't promise that will work for me with all of it. I've been squirked by some Jon/Stephen fics that seem to be more about Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert rather than their TV personalities of the same names. I guess I just know I'd feel weird (maybe flattered, but weird) if people were writing stuff about me rather than a character, so I think knowing the way I'd feel colors the way I look at it, and can feel weird sometimes.
About RPS, that's cool either way. Some people like it and some people don't, and if it's not your cup of tea then that's fine. :)

I just stayed up all night re-reading Mired and Resonances -- it'd been a while and reccing them got me wanting to read them again, LOL! Enjoy!