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Fan Preferred Couple / Literature

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  • In The 39 Clues book series. Starting in the third book, fan-preferred couple Amy and Ian (spoilered for those who haven't read the third book) seem to be set up as the Official Couple, but never really get together. Fans reacted by throwing books at the wall when the girl showed an interest in another boy, comparing such boys to the Big Bad, and writing Fan Fiction dedicated entirely to torturing or complaining about said boys.
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  • Agent Pendergast has Pendergast/Corrie, Pendergast/Diogenes, Pendergast/D'Agosta, Pendergast/Constance...
  • Alice and the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. The original book is for children, but some adaptations and sequels gave their relationship romantic traits. Naturally, Alice/Hatter is now the most desired ship.
    • And at Disneyland, two of the costumed actors who play them are actually in a relationship, and therefore the Disney incarnations have a pretty big following on sites like Deviantart as well.
  • One of the oldest examples of this is shown in the Portuguese/Spanish (its authorship is disputed) medieval romance Amadis Of Gaul. Except that in this case it's not so much Fan-Preferred Couple as King Preferred Couple. To further elaborate: the hero Amadis is inextricably faithful to the princess Oriana. During one of his quests, however, one lady Briolanja falls desperately in love with him, and puts him in jail because he refuses to go to bed with her. Apparently the king of Portugal at the time, D. Afonso, really liked Briolanja and wanted her to have a happy ending, so he himself ordered the book to be changed, and have Amadis get hitched with Briolanja (with Oriana's permission, otherwise he'd die... it's a long story). This is retconned in later editions of the book, where the "author"/compiler himself narrates this version of the story, but immediately says afterwards something along the lines of "but this is just the king's whim and not what really happened". And then goes on with the "original" version. It's bizarre.
  • Artemis/Holly in Artemis Fowl has been the Fan Preferred Couple since the very first book. Even when Holly HATED Artemis.
    • Which takes Mayfly–December Romance to an extreme because not only is Holly very long-lived, but Artemis began the series as a prepubescent child.
  • Some Atlas Shrugged readers much prefer Dagny/Hank to Dagny/Galt.
  • Claudia's sister Janine and Kristy's older brother Charlie are this for many The Baby-Sitters Club fans.
  • There are a lot of Battle Royale fanfictions dedicated to Shinji and Takako.
  • The Books of Ember has Doon and Lina, though they are Platonic Life-Partners for most of the series.
  • Bridge to Terabithia's Jess/Leslie (or "Jesslie") is a bit of an odd duck among fan preferred couples because a) it's the only thing anyone in this fandom ships, and b) it would be completely canon if not for Leslie ending up on the wrong end of a Diabolus ex Machina. A none-too-small portion of the fanfic for this story is dedicated to pushing the Reset Button as far down as it'll go, often by revealing there was something genuinely mystical about those woods after all.
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  • Carry On provides us with an odd Zigzagged example. Carry On is a companion book to Fangirl, and the story it tells is framed as Slash Fic of the (non-existent) Simon Snow series. The Official Couple of Carry On is Simon/Baz, but in Fangirl they're framed as the Fan-Preferred Couple of the Simon Snow series. The real-world fandom absolutely adores Simon/Baz, and doesn't ship either of them with anyone else. It seems that framing your Official Couple as a Fan-Preferred Couple really gets the fans on board the ship.
  • Casson Family Series has Tom/Rose.
  • The Casteel Series: a lot of readers preferred Heaven to be with Troy instead of Logan, even after Troy was revealed to be Heaven's uncle. This is because, aside from incest not exactly being rare in Andrews' works, Troy was the Troubled, but Cute guy female readers swooned over who actually turned out to be more thoughtful and caring towards Heaven than Logan was, making readers wish that he didn't have to be related to Heaven.
  • An odd example with Mary Renault's The Charioteer. Laurie and Ralph end up together, so they're actually canon. However, this was not intended as an unmitigated happy ending — almost none of Renault's endings are. Many fans, particularly the straight female fanbase though also some in the gay male fanbase, think that Ralph was supposed to be the right guy for Laurie all along, when in fact Renault wrote in a letter that at the end Ralph was "being taken on out of pity" by Laurie.
  • Apparently, the most preferred partners for both Edmund and Lucy in the Chronicles of Narnia category are probably each other. The same for Peter and Susan. Caspian and any of the Pevensies is also extremely popular. Eustace/Jill and Polly/Digory are pretty popular as well, even though they're Platonic Life-Partners.
  • With Samuel Richardson's epistolary novel, Clarissa, readers wrote to the author before the last volume was released, asking him to give the story a happy ending involving a wedding between the heroine, Clarissa, and the villain, Lovelace. Readers liked Lovelace despite his actions, which included raping the main character, and thought Clarissa was prudish and a tease. Richardson not only refused to change his plans for a tragic ending, he also rewrote parts of the novel for later editions adding 200 pages and making Lovelace even more of a villain. Some readers were so against the tragic ending of the story that they wrote their own versions. Two examples of these shippers are Lady Bradshaigh and Lady Elizabeth Echlin. While Bradshaigh just rewrote the ending, giving Clarissa and Lovelace a wedding on his deathbed, Echlin rewrote her own version of the entire novel.
  • There's some indications fans of Confessions of a D-List Supervillain prefer Wendy/Cal over Aphrodite/Cal.
  • Most fans of Confessions of Georgia Nicolson ship Georgia and Dave.
  • Edmond Dantes/Mercedes Herrera in The Count of Monte Cristo. They actually were canon for a while (in fact the reason the plot kicks off is that Edmond is about to marry her, prompting his resentful "friend" Fernand to participate in the plot against him), but events occurred to split them apart. Many fans do prefer Edmond/Mercedes to Edmond/Haydee, including the makers of the 2002 film, most likely due to the Values Dissonance that comes from the Count's adopted daughter falling in love with him and getting it into his head that she doesn't want fatherly love from him.
  • In Darkest Powers, Derek and Chloe were the fan preferred couple from the very first book, despite Derek's brother flirting with Chloe and Chloe tentatively reciprocating.
  • Riley and Beck are this in The Demon Trappers.
  • Fitz/Eight is so popular in the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures, even the authors ship it! Both of them are canonically Bi the Way, and the Doctor has No Sense of Personal Space and has kissed Fitz more than once just because he was happy to see him. Fitz has on a few occasions admitted to having a crush on the Doctor, and eventually flat out admits he's in love with him. While the BBC didn't really allow anyone to explicitly portray the Doctor as in love with another man, many of the writers slipped in hints whenever possible, and towards the end of the series's run, most of the recurring writers had given up trying to get crap past the radar because it had become patently obvious that the radar didn't care.
  • In The Dresden Files the majority of the fanbase shipped Harry/Murphy (who are best friends on the edge of Relationship Upgrade) over the official Harry/Luccio. It turns out that Luccio was brainwashed into dating Harry, and they break up. And since Changes there's been more official Ship Tease for Harry/Murphy.
    • Weirdly, the fanbase has a large slice of Yaoi Fangirls (Fanboys?) who ship Harry, the Big Good, with Marcone, the Affably Evil mob boss. This is strange because Harry's narration has a lot of Male Gaze, and he is Ambiguously Bi at most. At any rate, this one isn't about to become canon.
  • Many - possibly even a majority - of fans of the Earth's Children series wished Ayla had stayed with charismatic Ranec from The Mammoth Hunters. Indeed it seemed like Ayla only chose to go back to Jondolar (who was being a petulant ass throughout the book) because Ranec is black. That... or Ayla's a size queen.
    • There's also those who think Baby ate the wrong brother ship Ayla/Thonolan, Jondolar's brother, who was dead before Ayla and Jondolar ever met.
  • A good chunk of the Emily of New Moon fandom favours Emily/Dean over Emily/Teddy, as even fans of Emily/Teddy find him a painfully dull, flat character with all the personality of a paperclip.
  • In Georgina Kincaid, Georgina/Seth is often ditched in favor of Georgina/Carter, Georgina/Jerome, and Georgina/Roman.
  • The Grisha Trilogy has a rare case of two involving the same person. Alina/The Darkling and Alina/Nikolai are both more popular than Alina/Mal. This seems to stem from a large number of fans finding Mal, Alina's main love interest, boring at best and borderline abusive at worst. A good number also feel Alina simply has more chemistry with the others.
  • In the Good Omens fandom, Crowley/Aziraphale easily makes up at least 90% of all fanfics. In canon, they're literally-Asexual Life Partners.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Judging by, Draco/Hermione is the most popular pairing in the fandom involving either of these two characters. With the amount of stories it gets, it doesn't just beat out all alternative pairings involving one of these characters, it beats the canon pairings, too.
    • Draco/Harry completely outwipes all other pairings on Archive of Our Own. As of June 2018, Draco/Harry fanfiction has over 26,000 stories, compared to the next popular pairing on the same site (Sirius/Remus), with just under half that. Canon pairings Ron/Hermione and Harry/Ginny place fourth and sixth, at around 8,000 and 6,000, respectively.
    • Though its star has fallen considerably since then (it now places eleventh on Ao3), back in the day when the books were running, Harry/Hermione was enough of a force to be reckoned with that even Rowling acknowledged its popularity - indeed, the high tendency for such fics to bash or otherwise get Ron out of the way is what named the Ron the Death Eater trope. Fans felt especially validated in a 2014 interview between Rowling and Emma Watson (Hermione's actress in the film adaptations) where Rowling admitted that Ron and Hermione's relationship had a number of issues while Watson questioned whether the two of them really would've made each other happy, as well as an interview from Ron's actor Rupert Grint in 2016 where he expressed the belief that Ron wouldn't be happy with Hermione and they should've gotten a divorce.
    • Neville/Luna is very popular. Neville and Luna don't have any canon pairings listed in the main story and Luna's partner is only revealed in interviews with the author as Rolf Scamander. This has led to the fandom term "Rolfing", a derisory phrase applied to canon characters, or author-invented characters, that exist only to get in the way of a fan's preferred couple.
      • It does not help that in the movies, they actually do have romantic feelings for each other (although according to Word of God, their relationship would only have been a "summer fling" or something along those lines before they go back to being friends).
      • Since then, it seems to have been edged out in pure fic count by Luna/Ginny. The fact that it's an easy way to leave Ginny with a natural partner in Draco/Harry is likely a big motivating factor; after all, Ginny was the one who introduced Luna to Harry.
    • Harry/Luna also has a pretty devoted fanbase of its own. Smaller than most of the aforementioned, but devoted nonetheless.
    • Lupin/Sirius vastly overshadows the canon Lupin/Tonks pairing. It is so popular, that many fans actually thought the two characters were canonically together, including the two actors.
    • Although Scorpius/Rose seemed the most popular of the next generation character ships for a time, it was soon vastly overshadowed by Scorpius/Albus after the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which contained so much dialogue of affection and care for one another that many readers genuinely thought it was headed towards a romantic relationship, with many popular websites such as the Guardian and Vox accusing the play of queerbaiting.
  • Lots of H.I.V.E. Series fans are pretty damn obsessed by Nero/Raven. There also seems to be a bit of Otto/Wing floating around too.
  • The Iliad has Helen/Hector. Helen is/was the queen of Sparta and subtly derides Paris for letting Hector do all the fighting. Hector is a Crazy Awesome warrior who treats her courteously, even though he has every right not to. Since Helen openly wishes that Paris was more like Hector and Andromache is rather flat as a character, you can see where people are coming from.
    • And of course, on the other side of the war, there's always Achilles/Patroclus. They have been speculated to be lovers ever since ancient time, including by Plato.
  • Many readers of Ivanhoe have expressed a preference for Wilfred/Rebecca over Wilfred/Rowena. This was intentional. Rebecca is clearly the heroine of the book (more so than Ivanhoe as the hero); the reason they didn't end up together was that the canon couple had been in love for a long time and Rebecca would never marry a Christian. This one is a rare case of the author himself being one of those who prefers the couple—he flat-out says so in the introduction!! He didn't have it happen though, as he explained, because it would have been an over-cheap and unrealistic morality lesson to have characters rewarded in this life for their good deeds with a successful spur-of-the-moment romance.
    • And then there are the readers who are okay with Wilfred/Rowena… because they ship Rebecca with Sir Brian instead, though a) he kidnaps and attempts to rape her b) she adamantly refuses him many times and he still doesn’t take the hint c) even without all that, they are of different religions as well and, in addition to this, he is a Templar (except in some adaptations) and can’t marry.
  • Most The Last Vampire fans seem to ship Sita/Yaksha.
  • Pre-television example in Little Women due to it being autobiographical: Jo and Laurie become best friends and understand each other better than anyone else, but when the Relationship Upgrade moment comes, Jo uses the old "Like Brother and Sister" excuse, and at some point, she wants Laurie to marry her little sister Beth. The two end up marrying different people (Jo marries her Big Brother Mentor Fritz, Laurie marries Jo's other sister Amy since Beth dies)... and continue to remain best friends and confidants.
    • Alcott had her own reasons for this. Her father had high ideas and forced the family to live in a commune and try and be self-sufficient while he played philosopher all day. In order to prevent her family from starving, she wrote Little Women which actually was only the first half of Little Women as we know it today. It was a great success and so her publishers pushed her for another. Fans particularly pressured her to find husbands for the little women, and to get Jo and Laurie together. However the book was very much based on Alcott's own family, with Jo based on herself. Alcott wanted Jo, like herself, to remain an independent unmarried woman who earned her living through writing. However, with her family still starving, she had no other choice but to write the sequel Good Wives, but refused to let Laurie and Jo get together.
    • Meanwhile in the continuing sagas of Little Men and especially the latter Jos Boys where the cast is all grown up - some fans still prefer Nan/Tommy over Tommy/Dora even though the former ship was sunk over and over by the author. Dan dying in the epilogue of Jo's Boys outraged everyone, especially when some wanted to see Dan/Bess happen. Other fans also liked the thought of Dan/Nat or Dan/Nan.
  • The Lord of the Rings
    • Many readers were taken by surprise by Sam's sudden interest in otherwise barely mentioned Rosie, after a trilogy of obsessive devotion to "Master" Frodo. Compare the amount of Rose/Sam fanworks to Frodo/Sam.
    • Aragorn/Éowyn fans are a good deal more numerous than Aragorn/Arwen fans. It mostly stems from Arwen's near-total lack of pagetime—even movie fans often lament how Arwen's not half as interesting, even with all the Adaptation Expansion she got. Most of the development for Aragorn/Arwen is off-page note , to say nothing of Éowyn/Faramir (though the stuff dealing with their relationship proper is fairly sweet). Funnily enough, Tolkien originally intended to put Aragorn and Éowyn together, before changing it part way through writing The Lord of the Rings.
    • When Tolkien revealed in The Silmarillion that Sauron (back when he was still young and hot) was, er, seduced to evil by a God of Evil who used to be even hotter and had Sauron become his constant companion, he really should have seen the final result coming. Googling variants of "Sauron Melkor" produces basically nothing but shipping fanart.
  • Quite a few Janeites wish Mansfield Park had ended with Fanny/Henry Crawford and Edmund/Mary Crawford instead of Fanny/Edmund, despite the fact that Austen always strives to show that true love arises from similarity of character and that bad boys will not change for a good girl.
  • Les Misérables:
    • A large number of fans think that Marius chose wrong in picking sheltered ingenue Cosette over street-smart Stalker with a Crush Éponine. Never mind that he didn't know the latter loved him until right before she dies in the book, and never in the stage show.
    • Enjolras/Grantaire also have a huge fanbase.
  • In Agatha Christie's Miss Marple book 4.50 from Paddington, Lucy Eylesbarrow had two suitors, Cedric Crackenthorpe and Bryan Eastley. In her "Secret Notebooks", Christie reveals that Lucy would end up with the former, even though many fans find him the more unlikable of the two options. The one that most readers really want Lucy to marry is actually Inspector Dermot Craddock, whom she interacted with once or twice.
  • Nancy Drew and Frank Hardy. Judging from and multiple fan boards, these two are the most popular pairing between the two series, even though the official canon couples are Nancy/Ned Nickerson, and Frank/Callie Shaw. Within book canon, Frank and Nancy rarely interact. They are in the same 'verse, but don't live anywhere near each other and only occasionally join forces to solve mysteries, with only light Ship Tease and nothing beyond that. It's rare to see a fanfic that pairs Nancy with anyone but Frank and Ned, and Ned definitely runs a distant second place.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Even though Word of God states that Annabeth and Luke were in a relationship before his death, most fans still prefer Luke/Thalia. And there's also that little scene in Demigod Diaries when she kisses him...
  • Helen (the Queen of Eddis) and the Magus of Sounis are this for some The Queen's Thief fans. Some are still happily shipping Helen/Sophos encouraged by the latter's mysterious disappearance.
  • Septimus Heap: Septimus/Jenna and Marcia/Silas, in spite of the fact that Septimus and Jenna are siblings and that Silas is married and has seven kids.
  • In Sherlock Holmes, there is Holmes/Watson - one of the, if not the, most slashed pairing ever. Non-yaoi fans can also promote Irene Adler to love interest, which many, many, writers, playwrights and scriptwriters have done throughout the years.
  • Skulduggery and Valkyrie from Skulduggery Pleasant is popular but also rather polarizing due to Valkyrie being underage and some other... obvious limitations.
    • As of The Dying of the Light Valkryie outright states she loves him, causing Valduggery shippers everywhere to go completely nuts. However, it’s not overly clear if she meant it in a romantic way or platonic way. Either way, she’s eighteen at the time, so it removes the issue of her being underaged.
  • Despite her having two canon lovers, the majority of the fandom of The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries are rooting for Sookie to end up with either her boss, Sam the shape-shifter, or Bill's "boss", Eric Northman.
    • Eric Northman became the latest canon relationship. (They'd had sex before too.)
    • That relationship eventually falls apart as well. By the epilogue, Sookie is happily married to Sam.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe fans preferred Mara/Luke over Callista/Luke.
    • And then came the "Hand of Thrawn" duology, which not only made Mara/Luke canon, but also seemed like Zahn's attempt at a Fix Fic of a few of the other more controversial decisions of the EU up to that point.
    • Fate of the Jedi has Ben/Vestara.
  • Despite (because of?) the lengths gone to establish Ashe as Rhapsody's soul mate, many Symphony of Ages fans prefer to pair her with Achmed. Possibly subverted in that Achmed has decided to wait to get with Rhapsody until after Ashe dies making the couple borderline canon after all.
  • Tortall Universe:
    • Averted in Song of the Lioness with Alanna's childhood friend George Cooper, who Pierce decided was better for Alanna after she sunk the ship of Alanna/Jonathan in The Woman Who Rides Like a Man.
    • Played straight with Beka and Rosto in Beka Cooper, as she ends up marrying Farmer, who didn't appear in the first two books.
      • And then The Numair Chronicles threw fuel on the fire by revealing that at least two of Beka's descendants were named "Rosto".
  • Twilight:
    • Many fans think that Bella would have been better off with Jacob than Edward. A lot of reviewers of the film adaptation of New Moon agreed with them, saying that Bella had more chemistry and believable development with Jacob than she did with Edward.
    • Jacob/Leah is also preferred over Jacob/Nessie.
    • Subsequently, people prefer shipping Nessie with Seth, because he's closer to her age, is a very likable guy, and a relationship with him would lack the enormous Unfortunate Implications and Squick Jacob/Nessie has.
    • Bella and Alice also have a large following due to their Relationship Writing Fumble.
  • Even though the canon pairing is Gregor/Luxa, many The Underland Chronicles fans seem to prefer Gregor/Howard for some reason.
  • The Villains Series has no real romance (aside from Eli and Angie in the backstory, and his sexual relationship with Serena in the first book), but the vast majority of the fandom has taken the mutual obsession between Eli and his nemesis, Victor, and run with it. The fact that they are hopelessly fixated on each other and understand each other like nobody else certainly helps.
  • Warcraft: The Last Guardian has Garona and Khadgar; so much so that when Garona was first announced to have a son with magical potential, many fans assumed the father would be Khadgar.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Jayfeather/Briarlight. The fact that both of them are disabled yet determined to help their Clan, along with how she moved in with him after the accident that paralyzed her, quickly caused them to become one of the most popular pairings in the fandom. The fact that Ship Tease is thrown their way like water on a fire doesn't help (or does, depending on your point of view).
    • After they broke up, fans pretty much rallied and demanded that the Erins put Brambleclaw and Squirrelflight back together. It didn't happen in the books at first, but Word of God says that yes, they did eventually reconcile their relationship (later confirmed In-Universe in Bramblestar's Storm). So this is a weird mix of Fan-Preferred Couple and Official Couple.
    • Lionblaze was commonly paired with Icecloud and Hazetail in fanworks, the former because she barely got any screen-time, and the latter because it was hinted that he had a crush on her. His Relationship Upgrade with Cinderheart did nothing to stop the fans.
    • According to Word of God, Redtail and Brindleface are Sandstorm's parents. Many fans prefer to write Redtail as transgender and make Sandstorm his daughter with Runningwind.
  • The Woman in White has Walter and Marian. His close, equal friendship with her and how tough and brilliant she is despite her ugliness make the couple much more interesting than his romance with the beautiful but boring and helpless Damsel in Distress Laura.
  • Eddie and Richie from It tend to be paired up, especially since the 2017 film.
  • Given that the Discworld series comprises 41 novels, and most of its Loads and Loads of Characters appear across multiple books, it's hard to single out a single pairing as the most popular. But one that is noteworthy is Mal/Polly — which has managed to make it into the top three pairings on Archive of our Own despite the two characters only appearing in a single book.


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