Ships |plural noun|: Derived from the term “relationship,” the desire by fans for two or more fictional characters to be in a romantic relationship.
It happens to the best of us. We start watching a show. We fall in love with the characters. We see an inkling of romance, the tiniest of sparks, and, the next thing we know, we’re pining for a relationship between two fictional characters.
2016 was a make or break year for shipper hearts everywhere. Some ships finally set sail, others continued peacefully cruising, albeit sometimes in rough waters, and others sank. *insert GIF of Captain Jack Sparrow going down with his ship and sound fangirl/fanboy crying.* As 2016 comes to a close, we’ve decided to countdown the 10 best ships of the year. You may or may not want to have tissues ready.
10. Stiles and Lydia – Teen Wolf
All right, so we’ll be honest: Stydia isn’t a canon ship ... at least not yet. But fans have been shipping Stydia since Season 1, and it has been a waiting game. It started out as “nerdy boy has crush on pretty popular girl”, and it’s quickly transformed into something much more. While we can hope that they become canon before the series comes to a close, fans are hanging on to the fact that Stiles told Lydia that he loves her right before being taken by Ghost Riders.
9. Barry and Iris – The Flash
The Westallen ship finally set sail on its maiden voyage this year, and fans couldn’t be happier. Living in a world where time traveling is a thing isn’t easy, but, despite the time traveling, Iris and Barry’s bond draws them back together no matter what timeline or world they are in. Their bond never wavers. Here’s to hoping that time traveling doesn’t mess this up!
8. Poussey and Soso – Orange Is the New Black
This is one of those ships that doesn’t have a happy ending, and, while it’s a heartbreaking story to watch, it is also heartwarming. Their relationship was one of healing and hope, and fans watched as what started as a fling became a deep and loving relationship. They found in each other what they both desperately needed, and their bond and love helped them overcome the pain of their pasts.
7. Oliver and Felicity – Arrow
After a proposal and a relationship built on love and trust, 2016 sadly saw the end to the Olicity ship after Felicity discovered that Oliver had a son and called off the engagement. Good things die hard, though, and, although they aren’t together anymore and are now only friends, fans are eagerly waiting for them to get back together.
6. Rick and Michonne – The Walking Dead
When Michonne first stumbled upon the gates of the prison in Season 3, any kind of relationship with Rick Grimes seemed unlikely. In fact, Rick even considered handing her over to The Governor but squashed the idea because that’s not who he is. Over the course of the following seasons, they warmed up to one another, and fans were actively rooting for their friendship to become something more, and it finally did in Season 6. In a world that is full of death and decay, they keep each other rooted and give each other a reason to keep living and hoping for a better future.
5. Killian and Emma – Once Upon a Time
With a ship name like Captain Swan, you already know that it’s an awesome ship, but Killian and Emma have proven time and time again that they are meant to be. Their love runs so deep that Emma ventured into the Underworld to save Killian. That’s all kinds of heroic. It’s like a true romance novel -- a real fairy tale -- and we ate it up.
4. Waverly and Nicole – Wynonna Earp
A police officer walks into a bar ... and a ship sets sail. It sounds like some bad joke that your grandpa would tell you, but that’s exactly what happens in Wynonna Earp. Officer Haught walks into the town bar and stumbles upon a quirky bartender, who just so happens to be Wyatt Earp’s great granddaughter. Romance doesn’t happen immediately, thanks to a boyfriend who’s in the way, but after some hilarious talk about unicorns and how chicks dig scars, a romance ensues. Let’s thank bulletproof vests for keeping this ship sailing.
3. Alex and Maggie – Supergirl
The Sanvers ship wasn’t easy coming. After realizing and embracing her sexuality, Alex gathered the courage to kiss Maggie but was shot down. In the midseason finale, after a near-death experience, however, Maggie finally acted on her feelings for Alex, and the Sanvers ship sailed. It may be a new ship that has only just begun, but it’s slow build and brutally honest storyline resonated with the LGBT community, and it has quickly become one of the most important ships of the year. To quote Maggie, “We should kiss the girls we want to kiss.”
2. Magnus and Alec – Shadowhunters
To put it subtly, it was a kiss that will go down in history. Standing at the altar about to wed Lydia, Alec admits that he can’t go through with it and goes to Magnus and kisses him, coming out to everyone in the room. It’s a reminder to everyone that we, as Lydia tells Alec, “deserve to be happy.” Malec’s story is one of love and acceptance and realizing who you are and what you want -- and accepting that you deserve that.
1. Clarke and Lexa – The 100
This list wouldn’t be complete without Clexa, the ship that not only topped Tumblr Fandometric’s list of 2016’s Top Ships as well as a slew of other polls but also had real-life implications. Fans started shipping them in Season 2, and they took media by storm, and, if you’ve ventured anywhere near fandom, you’ve probably heard of them.
Their relationship didn’t become canon until Season 3 after regaining trust and learning to accept love, and, while it ended almost as soon as it became canon, it’s a romance for the ages, and one that doesn’t die with the sinking of the ship. While Clexa ultimately saw a tragic end, it also saw the birth of a movement: LGBT Fans Deserve Better. Clexa may be off of our screens, but their fight continues, and, because of them, we are reminded on a daily basis that “life should be about more than just surviving.”