Confession: I am a sucker for a good couple to ship.
I am such a shipper, it's embarrassing. A lot of my favorite comic books, tv-shows, movies, etc. were more or less based on the fact that I shipped some obscure fictional couple. Let's list them, shall we? In approximate chronological order:
Batman and Catwoman (From the old Adam West series.) It's the earliest memory I have of wishing two characters would get together. I spent a lot of summers at my Grandparents' house watching old reruns of this show, hoping each episode would feature Catwoman (or Batgirl, who was equally awesome and had the sweet motorcycle).
Batman and Catwoman (Batman Returns). I was pretty young, but I still shipped them. No doubt the cartoonishness appealed to me.
Batman and Catwoman (From Batman the Animated Series - sensing a theme!) Ok enough, yes Batman is pretty hot, and when you add him to the equally hot Catwoman, it's pretty fucking awesome.
Gambit and Rogue (X-men) So doomed! So frustrating! Technically, I got into this pairing like most 90's kid did - through the animated series, but I thought this comic book illustration was en pointe. Rogue by herself was awesome (I want her powers), Gambit had an undeniable sex appeal, and then when you threw these two southerners together and added some reluctance on Rogue's part (cause, you know, she might kill him), it was pretty hot.
Conan and Jezmine (Conan the Adventurer) What can I say? Jezmine got to throw ninja stars. Who wouldn't love her? Conan was alright. This was shipping for lack of many other options (there were like, four characters in this show - tops).
Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood (Raiders of the Lost Ark!) There was no one more attractive than Harrison Ford in his prime. Plus, Marion was a bad ass, AND she got to wear a pretty white dress too. Talk about my ideal fictional avatar.
If we're going to talk Harrison Ford, then we have to mention Han Solo. I came around to Luke Skywalker later in life, but when I was a kid, Han and Leia were my jam (Star Wars).
Mulder and Scully (The X-Files) I was introduced to this show fairly late by the first movie, which has some pretty heavy shipping themes. Ironically, I think it was actually the X-Files where the term "shipper" comes from. That show had one of the earliest internet fan-bases, and those who hoped for a Mulder/Scully pairing were termed "relationshippers," or just "shippers" for short. The more you know.
Krycek and Marita (The X-Files). Cause I grew up and realized that it was more fun to be a bad guy. There was really not enough information on these characters, but I found that to be part of the appeal. You could make up some pretty epic fanfiction between those two, and set it in Russia!
There may have been others, but these were the couples I shipped the hardest, while other characters may have had fleeting, but unstained appeal. (Robin and Batgirl, for instance. I need more interaction!)
Then it kind of falls off for me. I don't know, maybe I grew up, and it got harder to care about the love lives of fictional characters. Or maybe there haven't been many good new ones in a long time. Most of the TV I see these days is strangely heartless, even cold. Everyone says we're in the "golden age" of television, but it's all so serious. I'm dying for a good romp with a decent couple that just refuses to get together.
Finally, if we're going to discuss shipping, then I feel obligated to mention Harry Potter, but personally, I never understood all the Harry Potter pairings. To me, those characters seem almost asexual, so I have no idea where the appeal of a Harry/Malfoy, Hermione/Snape, or Lupin/Tonks coupling comes from. But then again, I'm sure there are plenty of kids out there who wouldn't understand my love for Batman or Krycek. It's generational, I'm sure.
Who do you ship?
Yes, it's true. I feel luke-warm for Harry Potter and his wizarding world at best. Which isn't to say it's a bad book series. It's fine. Please, feel free to enjoy them. But they never gave me the magic escapism that I think they provided for a lot of people.
Maybe it was because I was slightly too old when the books were first published. I read The Sorcerer's Stone in the 8th grade, and quickly read the next two, which were already out. But then I had to wait a long time for the 4th book, and by the 5th I was already getting a little old for stories about teenage wizards (and pretty sick of Harry's self-absorption). When the 6th and 7th books were published, I could tell I was only reading them to hear the end of the story, not because I was that interested in any of the characters or conflict. The long gaps between books also made it hard for me to keep track of characters. I wonder if I had started reading the series after it had been completed whether I would have been able to hold onto the thread of the story better than I did.
I think another issue was I never found a character to fully inhabit and experience the story. You'd think Hermione would be my girl, but her type-A, grade-driven personality is way too similar to mine. I see in Hermione the things I dislike about myself, so she's the last figure I want to escape into.
Harry was boring and rude. Ron was fine, if a bit goofy. And the rest of the cast were supporting players who get very little face-time, certainly not enough to develop them into characters that really interested me. Even poor Hagrid got the brush-off after the first three books as Rowling focused more on the Death Eaters conspiracy. Snape is the one exception. I'd much prefer to read the series from his POV, but it was hard to get too into his character when he was always being framed as Harry's nemesis.
I think Rowling's real genius was the world-building. The idea of a parallel wizard universe is a great concept and I can see why it appeals to so many people. But a good world with only basic character sketches works better for fanfiction or theme parks than it does as an story that stands on its own.
Just my opinion of course. Feel free to disagree.
Course, I also dislike Tolkien, so maybe my disinterest in Harry Potter has more to do with my issues with the fantasy genre in general.