Here’s the thing, while I am a fairly easy shipper, I don’t OTP hard all that often (I’m talking full on raving gibberish, feelings to the point where I lose all sense of reason, feelings hurricane OTP), but I feel like the last few years have been pretty bountiful on the OTP front and I found myself making an idle list that turned into a post (okay so what really happened is my husband was like ‘omg you always have those people from The 100 up on your screen, you’re obsessed’ and I was like ‘it’s totally for a reason, I’m uh…I’m writing a post about…uh, OTPs. This is research. I’m not obsessed’ and I definitely pulled it off especially the part where I casually rolled off the couch and crawled out of the room when he asked what the fuck kind of blog post research takes over a year).
Character and interpersonal dynamics have always been a huge part of what I read/watch for. Plot is awesome but all the plot in the world can’t save a thing for me if I don’t care who it’s happening to. I love when two people can come together and get past all the bullshit the world throws at them to form complex, emotional bonds with each other. How people fit the jagged pieces of themselves together into a cohesive whole, especially when it seems like said pieces shouldn’t fit, is my catnip. I get off on trust and communication and support and teaming up against the world. While I ship a lot of things, this list is my otp-est of otps, the ships that not only give me all the feelings but keep me up at night thinking about them and analyzing everything about them. This is normal shut up.
I’m not big on ship wars, I find them tedious and unnecessary and don’t see why people need to go out of their way to attack another ship and its fandom just because it’s not their own. That said, if you come into my space and try to talk shit about anyone on this list, you better be prepared to square up because I will fucking fight you.
ANYWAY, some of these are romantic, some of them are non-romantic (either because canon hasn’t gotten there YET or because I don’t even care if they make out as long as they keep doing exactly what they’re doing because it’s beautiful) (I mean obviously everything is better with making out but sometimes I can live without). So, without further ado, here are my top eleven OTPs in no particular order because please don’t make me rank things beyond top lots, it hurts my heart and my brain.
1. Aelin x Rowan from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Mass
art by taratjah
“To whatever end.”
Reading Heir of Fire was an emotional event for many reasons and one of them was my more or less immediate tumble headfirst into shipping the ever-loving shit out of these two. If I had to pick one thing that is my shipcrack it would be two people that understand each other on a level beyond words and that was very much in play here. Aelin was lost in her grief and Rowan not only understood that but he saw how to kick her ass into pulling herself back from that (so much more meaningful to me than him pulling her out himself). They’re a badass team of incredibly attractive people who support and trust each other and have each other’s backs no matter what (thereby hitting points 2, 3 and 4 on said shipcrack list) and I was totally gone for them from the beginning.
2. Blue x Gansey x Adam x Ronan x Noah from The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater
art by mizgillianberry
“But what she didn’t realize about Blue and her boys was that they were all in love with one another. She was no less obsessed with them than they were with her, or one another, analyzing every conversation and gesture, drawing out every joke into a longer and longer running gag, spending each moment either with one another or thinking about when next they would be with one another. Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn’t all-encompassing, that wasn’t blinding, deafening, maddening, quickening. It was just that now that she’d had this kind, she didn’t want the other.”
As much as I love the individual pairings in The Raven Cycle series, what really gets me is the OT5 as a whole (whatever I can have a friend group on my list, I make the rules here). Found families are one of my favorite tropes ever and these friends are one of my absolute favorite examples of said trope. Each one of them would go to the ends of the Earth for each other whether or not they would ever admit that out loud and it gives me a lot of feelings thinking about it (especially in context of the tragedyfest that’s about to be The Raven King).
3. Han x Leia from Star Wars
“I love you.” “I know.”
I shipped Han x Leia before I knew what shipping was (yes i am hipstering at myself, what of it). My parents showed me the original Star Wars trilogy at a fairly young age (young enough that I can’t even remember watching them for the first time) and I grew up with HAN X LEIA = ULTIMATE ROMANCE tattooed on my brain. Snarky scoundrel type with a not-so-secret (though he’d like to think it’s secret) marshmallow center meets badass, uncompromising queen who pushes him to do better by simply expecting it? Sign me the fuck up. Some variation of this dynamic has been a key factor in basically every romance to ever give me feelings.
4. Jessica x Trish from Marvel’s Jessica Jones
“I’m still not the hero that you wanted me to be.”
“You’re exactly the hero I wanted you to be.”
Watch the first ep and tell me they aren’t acting like exes. Whatever. Oh look, another ship that loves, trusts and supports each other. That sees the best in each other and brings that out. If you somehow missed it, that is the theme here.
5. Winter x Scarlet from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
art by lostie815
Winter and Scarlet aren’t even necessarily a romantic OTP for me (though obvs I would be super down if they made out). I absolutely love their dynamic over the course of Winter and of all ships in that shipapalooza of a series (and as much as I love both character’s canon ships), this pairing is the one that’s stayed with me the most since I finished.
6. Sherlock x John Watson from BBC’s Sherlock
“Listen, what I said before John, I meant it. I don’t have friends; I’ve just got one.”
This was the ship that knocked me back down into the fandom tumblr pit. Their dynamic is amazing and hilarious and beautiful and the part where Sherlock is physically incapable of having more than three feelings and loving John is always one of them and he would do anything for him including irrational things and/or keep his heart beating to make sure he’s safe (and prove something, tbf) and John has no idea is the kind of beautiful emotional torture true OTPs are born (and no I haven’t watched The Abominable Bride yet, I have heard mixed things and also am unsure watching a single ep will make the wait for series 4 any better in fact I think it may just make it worse).
7. Steve Rogers x Bucky Barnes from Marvel’s Captain America
(MCU not comics, I have yet to wade into the print Marvel Universe)
“I’m with you ’til the end of the line.”
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that Steve Rogers is bisexual and in love with Bucky Barnes on every level you can love another person and the same is true for Bucky and I will fucking fight anyone who says differently. Like seriously fight. I will throw the fuck down.
8. Froi x Quintana from the Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta
(There is a distressing lack of Froi/Quintana fan art and all of my favs are spoilery, so).
“I heard your song the moment we were born.”
Part of what gives me so many feelings about this OTP is each character’s individual arcs and how they got to each other and where they came from and who they became. They were both innocent people thrown into unimaginably horrifying upbringings and believed themselves to be unsalvageable monsters who deserved their lives and would never know anything else. And even when they found each other, the entire deck was still stacked against them and they both knew there was no chance they would ever be together and all of this is written by Melina Marchetta so naturally it’s maximum levels of haunting and desperate and tragic and I’ve given myself so many emotions, I need a minute.
9. Georgia x Shaun Mason from the Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant.
(The Newsflesh fandom has a distressing lack of fanworks in general and you should all read it because it’s amazing and then get on that because I have needs)
“Somebody once asked me if I believed in God. It was probably the windup to some major proselytizing, but it’s a good question. Do I believe in God? That somebody made all this happen for a reason, that there’s something waiting for us after we die? That there’s a purpose to all this crap? I don’t know. I’d like to be able to say “Yes, of course” almost as much as I’d like to be able to say “Absolutely not,” but there’s evidence on both sides of the fence. Good people die for nothing, little kids go hungry, corrupt men hold positions of power, and horrible diseases go uncured. And I got Shaun, maybe the only person who could make it seem worthwhile to me. I got Shaun. So, is there a God? Sorry to dodge the question, but I just don’t know.”
Okay so if we’re going to be technical about it, yes you can call this incest (they’re adopted but I know that’s still crossing a line for many people for many legitimate reasons). HOWEVER, I would like to point out that a number of these OTPs are on this list for reasons that go beyond romantic and can/do exist separately than that and anyway okay maybe I romantically ship it too, it works for me in a non-squicky way for reasons I can’t get into without spoilers and no small amount of defensive hostility. BUT ANYWAY. The point being, Georgia and Shaun are OTP for pretty much every single reason I have OTPs. They’re an unbeatable team, on the same page in ways that other people can only dream of. They’re best friends and the most important thing in each other’s world. They balance each other and bring out the best in each other and are each other’s home. They’re both deadly and everyone assumes he’s the one to watch out for but Georgia’s the truly dangerous one. THEY COMMUNICATE FLAWLESSLY ON EVERY. SINGLE. THING IN THEIR LIVES. They’re everything and I love them.
10. Buffy x Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
“You’re a hell of a woman.”
Alright, look, I am aware that Buffy and Spike are hella problematic. Like, ship-ruiningly problematic. So problematic I resort to words like hella which is problematic for me, personally. I 100% do not think that they are a positive example of a functioning relationship.
They’re also inconceivably epic and the first ship I ever OTPed with the full frenzy and incoherency to come with an OTP (which was SUPER FUN AND NOT AT ALL FRUSTRATING AND LONELY AF pre-social media and google having all the answers, moment of silence for all pre-internet fandoms) and I love them and I have/will cheerfully and then aggressively fight you about it. Arguably, Spike is the only person in Buffy’s shitty, lonely as fuck existence filled with unreasonably judgemental people to see her and accept her for exactly who she is. Plus the whole mortal enemies tortured romance thing thing really got to my teen self because I basically ate angst for breakfast.
11. Bellamy x Clarke from The 100
Leave me here to die, this ship is actively ruining my life. If you watch the show (and you should be because if not, what are you doing with your life), whether you’re into bellarke or brolarke, you can’t deny that Bellamy and Clarke have one of the most interesting and rich relationships of everyone on the show. They’ve gone from enemies to reluctant allies to friends that can have entire conversations through eye contact to, well, we’ll see. They’re the adopted murder king and queen of a band of feral space children, a co-leadership forged in blood and fire (descriptive credit to gillian who is also entirely responsible for the shipwreck that is basically all of me when it comes to this show and also the best) and it is everything I love and ship and I need it like oxygen and also you guys should watch The 100 it’s on the CW Thursdays at 9. (AND COMES BACK TONIGHT OMFGGGGGGGGGGGGG)
Don’t look at me
I didn’t ask to be like this
ANYWAY. There wasn’t much of a point to this little exercise besides making myself unreasonably emotional while typing it up (I mean…research. Science. Yes) but I guess my takeaway is that I’m drawn to relationships between wildly different powerful individuals who balance each other and, when together, will team up and take over the world around them and/or kick its ass.
How about you?