The Shipping News: Gotta Love the “Slash Madness” Final Four

Let’s take a closer look at Destiel, Johnlock, Wincest and Sterek. Also the problem with the ‘more canon’ argument.

Hi slash fans! I know you’re all super busy voting in the Ultimate Slash Madness Tourney but on the off chance you’re still having trouble deciding which of the final four couples deserve your last minute voting efforts I thought I’d have a closer look at each ship. Before that let’s have a little chat about one shipping argument I would love to see benched for life.

Super quick fandom round up: According to THG: Catching Fire director Frances Lawrence says that Peeta needed to be ‘manned up’. Not cool, Lawrence, really very not cool! Let me explain to you about perpetuating problematic gender ideals—also I just really wanted to see Finnick rescue Peeta. In other news the new Thor: The Dark World trailer was released, now with added Loki!


Slash Soapbox: Let’s bench the ‘more canon’ debate!


Now I love a good argument and it’s super fun to fight for your ship — breaking out the pages of evidence you have compiled as proof that your OTP really do love each other. It’s a demonstration of your passion and I can’t fault that, but there is one argument I would like to see less of (if we can’t get rid of it all together), especially in regards to Slash Madness, and that’s the idea that one ship is ‘more canon’ than another.

Slash fans are kind of like Indiana Jones-esque treasure hunters. We comb through the jungle of the text to find even the smallest hint that those two dudes are definitely more than just friends (or at least could be in the future). It’s one of the things that makes slash fandom so fun! There are so many amazing ideas and analysis surrounding slash ships (especially our final four) so you have no idea how disappointed I am when people fall back on the ‘more canon’ argument.


Don’t get me wrong, it would be fantastic if slash (and femslash) ships weren’t simply dismissed because TPTB can’t see past the heteronormative binary. But when it comes to the Ultimate Slash Madness Tourney, which is exclusively for non-canon pairings, saying your ship is ‘more canon’ is kind of pointless. It’s all subtext, which means it’s all subjective. Basically no ship is ‘more canon’ than any other. So when you say your OTP is ‘more canon’ what you’re really saying is that your ship has ‘more subtext’, which, when it comes to non-canon slash pairings (like the ones featured in the Slash Tourney), usually just means ‘queerbaiting’.

I don’t want you to stop fighting for your OTP! And I’m not saying canon is bad or that no slash ship is ever going to get a relationship upgrade (it’s gonna happen). Keep up the good fight (and of course keep voting) but can we please move on from the idea that ‘more canon’ is essentially better? Canon is great. We love canon! If we didn’t love the canon we wouldn’t be fans, but the very act of engaging with slash proves that canon isn’t everything.

Let’s love our ships for what they are – if canon happens it’s a nice bonus, but it’s not the whole point.

Meet The Final Four

Destiel – Dean Winchester/Castiel – Supernatural

When someone saves you from an eternity in hell — literally — it’s pretty hard not to fall in love with them so you can’t really blame Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) for becoming ever-so-slightly enamored with the angel Castiel (Misha Collins) early in Supernatural’s fourth season. And Dean is definitely worth waging war on hell for, at least Castiel seemed to think so. Okay so I might be jumping the gun a little because Cas was still following orders like a good little soldier of heaven at that stage but over the course of the 5 seasons since Castiel’s first appearance, Dean and Cas have definitely grown to care for each other deeply.

There are SO MANY things you can mention when it comes to Dean and Castiel’s profound bond. Like that time Castiel rebelled against the other angels, his family, and he did it all for Dean.


Or last year when the whole fandom flipped because Dean finally hugged Cas and smiled like it was the happiest moment of his life (Dean doesn’t smile so this is a big deal. I’m still crying about it, okay?).


And my personal favorite moment — proof that Castiel just understands Dean because he would never forget the pie (especially not when his boyfriend is mad at him).


It also doesn’t hurt that they look at each other like they’re magical. Dean/Castiel is definitely worthy of your vote. In celebration of Destiel making it this far I would like to highlight one of my favorite fan artists: thimblings.

In which dean reads twilight to piss Cas off….(Artist: thimblings)

Last year Destiel made it to the Championship Round of the first Ultimate Slash Madness Tourney but unfortunately lost out to the couple that inspired the poll — Sterek. The Destiel fandom is one of the biggest slash fandoms around. And you know what they say about Supernatural fans, they vote like nobody else, so they are in a good position to take the top honor. Can they make it all the way this time?

Johnlock – John Watson/Sherlock Holmes – BBC Sherlock

People have been shipping Sherlock Holmes and John Watson since before slash was a thing, but there is something about Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman’ s portrayal that has captured slash fans’ hearts all over again. It’s pretty obvious that there is only one person that Sherlock really cares about and that’s his flatmate/best friend John. And John spends most of his life shifting between awe and annoyance at Sherlock’s existence. What I love about this version of the classic story is that it emphasizes the relationship between these two lost and lonely men finding solace in each other. Also they solve crimes, John blogs about it and Sherlock forgets his pants.

Despite the fact that there have only been six episodes (I know it hurts me too) there is so much hoyay that I’m not even sure where to begin. But this is as good a start as any:


Who needs pants (FYI pants means underwear in the UK) when you’re detectives in love! Of course it’s not all fun and forgotten pants but let’s not talk about Reichenbach because I don’t want to get tears all over my keyboard. Instead focus on all the times they were assumed to be a couple:


Whether you believe they are a couple or not you can’t argue with the fact that Sherlock and John care about each other, a lot. In honor of Johnlock making it this far here’s a fabulous piece of art that was completed because of Johnlock’s success in this year’s Ultimate Slash Madness Tournament (we’re an inspiration!)

(Artist: syllirum)

After the release of the Sherlock Season 3 Teaser the fandom has been somewhat rejuvenated, only time will tell if it’s enough to push Johnlock towards victory. The pairing were taken out by Destiel in Round 4 last year, can they muster up the strength to beat them this time around? Keep voting and we’ll find out.

Wincest – Dean Winchester/Sam Winchester – Supernatural

There are a lot of couples that say they are willing to die for each other… Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) actually have. That’s pretty hard to beat. For loyal Wincester, there’s no argument about it — Sam and Dean love each other more than they love anyone else — in fact they might love each other more than anyone has ever loved anyone else. They have chosen each other over basically every person they have ever met (including their half brother — poor Adam) and they recently made a commitment to each other in a church.


Although Dean insisted there would be no chickflick moments there have been a lot of emotional exchanges between Sam and Dean. There was that one time they broke up and I had to take the day off (true story) — but despite the drama there is almost nothing that can come between Sam and Dean. It truly is an epic romance.

Also Winchester hugs are the best hugs!


Because Wincesters have fought so hard (and they just keep fighting) I thought I would feature some fan fiction – you can save it for after the tourney ends if you’re too busy voting. I have to admit, I don’t read a lot of Wincest fic (who needs fic when you have 8 seasons depicting The Epic Love Story of Sam and Dean) but there is one thing I will always read and that’s fake boyfriends!

“The Truth In The Lie” by flawedamythyst

In which Sam and Dean pretend to be gay lovers while they hunt a monster on a bus tour of Nova Scotia.


[…] “Sorry,” he said. Sam dialed his glare down a bit, but didn’t let him completely off the hook. He was very aware of the others sitting around them, and he didn’t want them to think he let Dean walk all over him. Besides, it wasn’t very often he got to force Dean into making an apology.

Dean shifted uncomfortably, then suddenly put his hand on Sam’s. “You know there’s never going to be anyone else,” he said, his gaze fixed firmly on Sam’s face.

Sam felt himself flushing and dropped his eyes to his plate, cursing himself for thinking he’d be able to get one up on Dean. There was an awkward pause as he tried to work out what he should say in response to that. In the end, he decided to go for the normal Winchester reaction to an emotional moment – laugh it off.

“Apart from the Impala, right?”

Dean grinned and his shoulders relaxed. “Well, of course. She’ll always come first, but you’re a close second.”

“I feel so loved,” said Sam, dryly. […]

Read the full text here.

The erotically codependent brothers were knocked out in Round One by fellow Supernatural ship Destiel last year but this time Wincest have fought their way to the Final Four! Considering they were almost left off the ballot (we fought for you Wincesters and we’ll always fight for you) that’s a pretty decent achievement. It’s not over yet, though, if you want Wincest to make it through to the next round then you have to vote!

Sterek – Stiles Stilinski/Derek Hale – Teen Wolf

“But they don’t even like each other,” I hear you whisper.

“That’s kind of the point,” I scream back at you.

Stiles Stilinski (Dylan O’Brien) and Derek Hale (Tyler Hoechlin) can’t really be called friends (although they are definitely allies at this point), but the fact that they don’t sit around and talk about their feelings doesn’t mean they don’t care. Their chemistry is undeniable and underneath the screwball banter there’s a mutual regard developing that is compelling to watch. Plus I just really love it when assholes fall in love.

(Gif by heathicorn)

They are not afraid to call each other on their crap and they have that whole mutual life saving thing going on, which is nice. One time they looked at each other like this:


Oh and there was that other time Stiles really wanted to see Derek’s fist. I’m not sure if it’s the best or the worst thing ever but I’m not going to lie I’m kind of glad that I live in a world where it happened.

(Caps by heathicorn)

I don’t think I can top that, so I’m just going to throw another fake boyfriends fic at you (I have a problem, I know). This is actually one of my all time favorite fics so enjoy, Sterek fans!

“Gravity’s Got Nothing on You” by zosofi

The one where the Hale fire never happened, Laura is a nosy sister, Derek is desperate, and Stiles is the only one that can help.


[…]“Three weeks,” Derek says.

“Still don’t want to,” Stiles says.

“I’ll pay you,” Derek says, and that… that has Stiles interested. Alf’s Antique’s may be a great job, but it’s not a high-paying job, and half of Stiles’s tuition is coming from financial aid, so…

“How much,” Stiles asks, “are we talking here? Because I know your family, dude. And it’ll be kind of awkward after.“

“My family thinks you’re some sort of fucking gift to the world,” Derek seethes, like he’s jealous, “they’ll probably be pissed at me when we break it off, so don’t worry about that. Five hundred bucks.”

“A thousand,” Stiles says, because screw ethics. Also, the Hale family is loaded. Derek can deal. […]

Read the full text here.

The thing about Sterek is they’re kind of the reason we’re here, since they are the ones that inspired the first Ultimate Slash Madness Tourney, which in turn led to this column. Sterek got slash fandom noticed, they put us on the map and they introduced a whole bunch of people to the wonderful world of slash. That’s a pretty big deal. But let’s face it, the real question is will they be crowned Ultimate Slash Champion for the second year in a row?

I don’t know about you guys, but I think those are four solid ships right there. On that note, can I remind everyone to play nice? As we reach the pointy end of this competition things have started to get a little heated, regrettable things are being said by all parties. I know you’re excited, but try remember we’re all here for the same reason. We just really love slash. We should be forging friendships– not starting blood feuds!

And that’s all for this week, remember to keep voting!