SwanQueen - The mention of those words generates a multitude of opinions. Annie (@anniesass) shares her perspective on one of the most popular and controversial ships in the Once Upon A Time fandom.
How did you hear about Once?
There was a promo on Swedish television in February 2012 and I thought I would check it out before the show aired in Sweden. So I watched the first episode online and that was it, I was hooked. I watched all the episodes that had aired in the US and then I just waited a week like everyone else. I remember telling all my friends about this show but sadly, no one wanted to watch it with me. I had a twitter account and started to talk to other fans of the show.
What was your first impression of the show?
I was captivated by the show right from the pilot. The wedding scene where the Evil Queen interrupts the wedding is still a favorite. I remember gasping for air when the doors burst open. I loved Disney as a child and still do, so for me it was a great twist to classic stories.
You identify yourself as a Swan Queen shipper. For the uninitiated, can you explain what SwanQueen is?
In an attempt to keep it short, SwanQueen is the name of the ship involving Emma Swan and Regina Mills/The Evil Queen. People who ship SwanQueen want them together, often romantically as true loves, living together as a family with their son Henry.
You also write SwanQueen fan fiction. Can you tell us a bit more about your writing?
I have always enjoyed writing. Since English isn’t my native language, writing was a challenge that I gladly took on. I had the story in my head and wrote three chapters and got positive feedback so I kept going. I started writing fan fiction because I wanted to give Regina some happiness and she really didn’t have that in season 2. I really like writing the dynamics between Emma and Regina, to explore their relationship. I also love writing sassy Regina. She’s a great character. Oncers, and especially the SwanQueen fandom, are very talented at writing great captivating stories. I read some fan fiction as well and it inspires me to keep writing.
What is it about the pairing of Emma and Regina that so many fans find so attractive?
Emma and Regina are both strong women with complicated pasts that are different yet so much alike. They share a son together, a son they both love very much and that connects them. I think a lot of fans like their relationship and where it has developed during the seasons. They’ve gone from “it’s my son” to “it’s our son” and no matter what disputes they’ve had; they’ve always worked together for Henry. No matter if their relationship will lead to romance or not, that’s what tie them together. The idea of the evil queen and the savior together is attractive because they both must learn how to love again and there’s so much potential for them to help each other doing just that.
I also believe that a lot has to do with the actresses that play the characters. They are both talented and acts so well together on screen. It gives Regina and Emma a chemistry that is there no matter if the characters are supposed to hate each other or not. It’s in the looks, the expressions and the words. I think people see signs in everything, which gives them hope.
The SwanQueen fandom has unfairly been the target of much ridicule and derision. What do you put this down to? Do you feel a minority of Swan Queen fans ruin it for the majority or do you feel some fans have a lack of tolerance or refusal to accept a same sex pairing on the show?
First and foremost I’d like to say that the SwanQueen fandom is one of the kindest, dedicated people I’ve ever had the pleasure to get in touch with. Of course there’s always going to be a few ignorant people that has such strong opinions that they simply do not think about the consequences of their behavior. That is what ruins it for the other people that do know how to behave. And there’s always going to be those kinds of people, no matter what the forum is. What matters is how you handle those people. With SwanQueen, I think those people are always brought into the light and then people only see the negativity. We are very passionate and defend ourselves but there are ways to do that as well. I think we’re good with words and letting our voices be heard, which is utterly important. It is sad that the rest of the fandom only see the negativity for there are so many positive things that we do that gets overshadowed by the hate. Our ship is about love and love has no boarders. The lack of tolerance against our ship that has to do with the fact that it is a same sex pairing is not only a part of our everyday but very sad. Homophobia is something we stand against and something everyone, no matter the ship, must not tolerate.
SwanQueen provides a very important representation for the gay community and that’s also a reason why people feel so strongly about this ship. Both Jennifer Morrison and Lana Parrilla supports LGBT rights and has spoken openly about their support for all ships, including SwanQueen. It was important to us to get that recognition. It’s a miracle we even survived when JMo wrote SwanQueen on her Instagram. Jokes aside, I do think we have a good advocate in both of them.
But no matter what people say about our ship, we always come back and we are one of the largest groups within the OUAT fandom. We’ve been bullied, patronized, made fun of and we still manage to stay strong.
How has OUAT inspired you personally?
In more ways I ever thought was possible. I have picked up drawing again. I used to draw in my teens but it was considered to be uncool so I stopped. So many people encourage me daily with my drawing and if it weren’t for OUAT, I never would’ve made the progress I’ve made with my art. I’m a part of a drawing group with many other talented people and we encourage and inspire each other on a daily basis.
If it weren’t for OUAT, I would never have found my source of inspiration Lana Parrilla. She has changed my life in so many ways and now I aspire to be an inspiration to others like she has inspired me. I’m a proud member of @RegalFamily and @ERFeatherOfHope where I get in touch with hundreds of people every day. The idea behind those accounts slightly differentiates but they have one thing in common; to spread the love that we continuously get from Lana. It’s a way to give back what she’s giving to us.
Have you made new friends through the fandom?
It has brought me together with so many lovely people. I don’t know where to start. I’ve mainly made friends amongst the Evil Regals but I have friends who are Ugly Ducklings, Charmers, Pretties, to name a few. There are so many fantastic people in the entire fandom and I love the way we all support each other. I’ve had the pleasure to meet several oncers in person. A year ago, I arranged the first Swedish Evil Regal meet-up ever. It was great. Next month I’m going to Amsterdam to meet up with my Evil Regal friend Dieuw. We will also be going to the Fairytale convention in Paris together. I can’t believe we’re going to meet Lana together, I can’t imagine what that’s going to be like but I’m very excited. It’s going to be epic. I think I have made friends in more than 10 countries and I talk to most of them daily. It’s amazing. Not to mention, I’m going on a 20-hour flight to Vancouver this July in hopes of meeting my idol and I would’ve never booked those tickets if it weren’t for OUAT.
It’s impossible to choose one but I love “The Cricket Game”. Lana Parrilla’s acting in that episode blew me away. I’ve always loved the diversity in her acting and the way she commits to her character(s). The execution scene is pure genius, when Regina gives her speech and pulls that evil smile in the end. It gave me chills. I love being scared but Lana’s acting often makes me truly captivated and/or a sobbing mess and she managed to make me fear her… that deserves a standing ovation. The episode really shows her acting range and she always pulls it of brilliantly.
Hopes for the next part of Season 3/Season 4?
This show is about hope, so I always have hope for SwanQueen. I really liked that Regina and Emma teamed up in episode 3x13. They work so well together so I also have hopes for them teaming up in the future. I hope that the Evil Queen will kick the Wicked Witch’s butt. We still haven’t seen that much of the Wicked Witch so I’m intrigued to see more of her and where they are going to take that. Zelena being Regina’s sister puts a spin on it as well, so I’m excited.
I want to see Regina happy and for me it’s not about shipping here. I just really genuinely want her to be happy. In able for that to happen, she needs Henry. So I hope Henry will get his memories back and remember his mother.
Who do you think will die?
Hard to say because there’s so many speculations about this and I try to avoid spoilers. It’s hard to avoid spoilers and I’m always extremely curious about what’s going to happen but sometimes spoilers are just based on fan-based theories. I love discussing those theories with other oncers but nothing is written in stone with this show. It’s predictable yet it isn’t. If I had to guess, I’m going with Neal.
Sum up the fandom in 3 words?
Passionate, talented, crazy.