Mrs. Carter: There’s really no question that today is a super-sad day; later tonight, the final episode of Once Upon a Time is airing on ABC, and with that we’re all losing one of the most interesting and iconic television shows of the entire ‘shipping era of television.
Were there influential shows when it comes to ‘shipping on the internet prior to Once Upon a Time airing? Absolutely, but I don’t know how many others over the past 10 years were as influential like this show is. Just think about it in terms of fanart, fanfiction, social media hashtags, and every other way in which fans supported their favorite pairings. There was passion, there were debates, and everyone wanted to see their favorite pair have a happily ever after.
As we get closer to the finale airing, I thought it would be best to explore some of the ‘ships and romances that really defined both Once Upon a Time and the fandom itself.
Snowing – The relationship between Snow White and Prince Charming is obviously one of the tent-poles for Once Upon a Time as a whole, since without them there would be no Emma Swan. Meanwhile, without them there would be no conflict with the Evil Queen and nothing would have sparked the initial chapter of the show. While their romance is based on the well known fairy tale, Once Upon a Time really did find a way to make it its own with its own set of struggles and victories for the real world.
Captain Swan – Meanwhile, one of the things that made Once Upon a Time so popular in the shipping community was seeing a number of characters find a sense of healing and redemption through relationships and Captain Swan is a good example of that. Captain Hook started off the series as a notorious swashbuckling pirate, but it was clear that there was some good underneath the surface. Through his relationship with Emma, some of that good shined through and she ultimately helped him to become his best self. Meanwhile, Hook also enabled Emma to let her guard down and be more vulnerable in turn. This was a symbiotic relationship, where one character effectively help the other in a multitude of ways.
Swan Queen – Some of the same qualities in Captain Swan were also very appealing in Swan Queen, in that both characters involved throughout the course of the series managed to bring something great out of the other person. Without Regina, Emma would not know the full extent of her strength and how loving and caring she can be for others. Meanwhile, Emma allowed Regina to better see the good that was in herself and to show that she can be loving both to people in her life and also her son Henry. The Swan Queen fandom is easily one of the largest of its kind throughout the entire internet and they are passionate, vocal, and also certainly patient in their desire to see a bigger expression of their ship onscreen.
Outlaw Queen – Of course, we also cannot ignore the other most prominent Regina related ‘ship in Outlaw Queen, otherwise known as the relationship between Robin Hood and Regina that really came to life over the course of the past few seasons of the show. Not only was this relationship important for allowing Regina to let her guard down, but it was also important for the sake of showing that even after losing her one true love, which Regina thought she had with Daniel, there was someone else that could be even more special. She had to allow herself to be open to this, and to go along with that Robin Hood had to see that there was so much good in a character once labeled the Evil Queen. The love that fans had for Outlaw Queen is one of the reasons why Robin’s death was one of the most painful ones in the history of the show.
I know that there are so many other relationships that meant so much to fans — Rumbelle (Rumpelstiltskin and Belle) was another example of a character seeing the good in another and better allowing them to find relationship. Meanwhile, there are many other great ‘ships that never got the attention they deserved over the years including Sleeping Warrior (Aurora and Mulan), Ruby Slippers (Dorothy and Ruby), and some of Emma’s other relationships including those with Sheriff Graham and also Baelfire. There are also the more recent relationships including Henry and Jacinda alongside Robin and Alice.
Once Upon a Time fans should take credit for helping to further establish ‘shipping on the internet as a powerful, prominent thing; few shows mobilized social media and fan communities quite like this show and they helped set a model in stone for many other shows to follow.
What Once Upon a Time ‘ship are you going to miss the most? Let us know in the comments!