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Fan-Preferred Couple

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Don't worry, Aang. You still have canon.
Image courtesy of Niban-Destikim. Used with permission.
"The character of the fair Jewess found so much favour in the eyes of some fair readers, that the writer was censured, because, when arranging the fates of the characters of the drama, he had not assigned the hand of Wilfred to Rebecca, rather than the less interesting Rowena."
Sir Walter Scott in his 1830 Introduction to Ivanhoe
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The fandom really loves to pair this character with other characters. Maybe the fandom pairs them with one particular character or ships them with various other characters. The problem is, the character already has a canon relationship, and the creator's not making those fan pairings canon. As far as fandom content is concerned, however, that canon relationship might as well not even exist.

Unrelated discussions degenerate into Ship-to-Ship Combat involving them. Fan Art of them embracing passionately is everywhere. Threads dedicated to gushing over their sweet, fluffy, legendary love and scorching hatred of anyone in the way dominate forums. Bits of trivia are cited and Word of God is creatively interpreted to show that they are going to happen. The Official Couple they're breaking up gets only three votes in fan support polls, possibly including one vote cast by a very alarmed author. They are a phenomenon shrouded in infamy.

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And still yet, in spite of it all, they are not happening. Certainly not now, and probably not ever. Whether the story explicitly presents the character in a romance with somebody else, strongly hints that another couple is happening, or Word of God confirms another couple is canon, it's clear that the creator intends for one canon pairing over the popular fanon pairings, even if the latter are way more popular.

A subreaction of Better Than Canon. Most often the result of a Relationship Writing Fumble, or a Romantic False Lead whom the audience latched onto, but sometimes happens by design or because fandoms just make no sense. Can eventually lead to an Author's Saving Throw or a Writer Revolt.

The highest aspiration of a Fan-Preferred Couple is to beat the odds and evolve into an Official Couple. This is about the only way the same couple can end up being both of these things. However, in some of these cases this can backfire on fans if the execution of said romance doesn't live up to expectations, resulting in Shipping Bed Death, which can often lead to a new Fan-Preferred Couple taking its place.

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Please note that due to how quickly the romantic landscape and fan preference can change for a work, leading to a fanon ship either becoming canon or falling out of favor with the audience, do not add an example until a month after a work releases/season ends.


Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Music 
  • Dolly Parton's "Jolene" is about a married woman being worried that her husband will leave her for Jolene. However, there exists a large group of fans who want her to leave her husband for Jolene (with a surprising number of fanfics dedicated to the pairing), mainly because the whole song has the narrator describing how beautiful Jolene is, which leads fans to interpret her as having a crush on Jolene.

    Podcasts 
  • Wooden Overcoats doesn't have much by way of canon romance — Antigone has an unrequited crush on Eric, and Eric has unrequited feelings for Georgie. By far the biggest ship in the fandom, however, is Rudyard×Eric despite (or because of) the fact that they're rivals and Rudyard hates him.

    Pro Wrestling 

    Web Animation 
  • Eddsworld has two of these, Tom×Tord and Paul×Patryck. Paul×Patryck, was so popular Tomska jokingly confirmed it as canon, although several people took this affirmation unironically.
  • Neko Sugar Girls fans overwhelmingly ship Koneko and Raku despite the fact Raku pines for Hitoshi the entire series. The finale where Raku dies in Koneko's arms as she cries only cemented the pairing. Prior to that Kidnapper-kun/Hitoshi was the most popular ship until it became the Official Couple.
  • RWBY:
    • Neptune/Sun. During Volumes 2-3, Neptune and Weiss are attracted to each other; Jaune gets them together at the ball, but it doesn't last due to Neptune's womanising. This has never been a popular pairing with the fandom; instead, fanfiction and fan art favour Neptune with his team leader and friend, Sun; this creates a Sensitive Guy and Manly Man dynamic due to Sun's machismo and Neptune's intellectualism, while also solving the canon Ship Tease Blake has with both Sun and Yang for Blake/Yang shippers.
    • Summer/Qrow. Summer is the deceased wife of Taiyang and Missing Mom to the heroine, Ruby Rose. Ruby was mentored by her uncle Qrow, whom she idolises. Qrow has no know romantic relationships, but fanfiction and fan art far prefer pairing Summer with him than with Taiyang. This stems from a popular fandom theory that Qrow is secretly Ruby's father, but keeps his distance because he's The Jinx. While the creators have repeatedly debunked the theory, it — and the Summer/Qrow ship it creates — remains popular.

    Web Original 
  • Worm:
    • Enough comments appeared on the threads shipping Skitter and Clockblocker together that the author had Clockblocker explicitly sink it in canon.
    • Beyond Skitter×Clockblocker, other pairings like Skitter×Panacea and Skitter×Tattletale tend to be much more popular than canon pairing Skitter×Grue.

Alternative Title(s): Fan Preferred Pairing, Sasami Syndrome

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