For All the Ships That Sail: SwanQueen

Swan Queen 1
by Pure Unintentions

Swan Queen 3Shipping LGBTQA+ is very popular because they’re underrepresented in popular media. Also, there is a trope about killing them off. Shipping gives power to the shipper to present their characters how they want. This takes away the fear of writers killing their favourite characters because of sexuality. This is why most of my ships are LGBTQA+. Their stories and their experience are more compelling and complicated. Sometimes, the simplicity of the relationship could solve so many romantic clichés in the canon. This is exactly what Swan Queen does to Once Upon A Time.

I believe SwanQueen (Emma Swan & Regina Mills) solves the many failed romances and the issues of co-parenting Henry. I didn’t naturally ship them. I had to be convinced that they worked as a couple. It was easy to see them together afterwards and to see how well their relationship would be for them and for the story.  It made watching the show more entertaining and inviting. I highly encourage ignoring the pairs’ on-screen love interests (especially ignore Hook and Emma because their relationship is destructive) and focus on the underlining narrative.

Who are the characters?

Regina Mills is the mayor of Storybrook who has an adoptive son. Her love of her son is shockingly beautiful and pure. Emma Swan is a survivor of the foster care system and a stint in jail.  The story develops after Henry approaches Emma and told her that she is his mother. Henry believes that Swan is the Saviour and Mills is the Evil Queen from the fairytales. His beliefs stem from a story book that outlines the lives of the different fairytale characters. This doesn’t diminish his love for his mother, but it creates an emotional conflict. Emma decides to stay in Storybrook and becomes the Sheriff, in spite of Regina’s consternation.

The two mothers’ relationship developed from enemies to reluctant allies to actual friends. Through it all, with all the ups and downs, they prioritized Henry over their own squabbles. They fight and sacrifice themselves for him. The experience different types of parenting and different ways to love their child. They balance each other out. That is why SwanQueen is so compelling. Regina and Emma have a great potential to present a united front and equitable relationship.

Why They Work Well Together (In My Mind)

Swan Queen 3
by Once Upon a Frozen Time

It flows well with the story. Emma doesn’t believe in the happily ever after or soulmate business that many in Storybrook believe in. Regina does not believe she deserves it because villains don’t get a happy ending. Their story together, as SwanQueen, can bridge the gap between both of the characters’ issues and enhance both their independent and dependent streaks. This can be done without causing the characters to compromise who they are. They already know about their individual baggage and have already accepted it.  Hence, they would work better together than apart.

Also, SwanQueen would solve the issues with co-parenting Henry separately. The whole story starts with Henry having two mommies. However, the show keeps on throwing men on to these characters to ensure that they are not perceived as homosexuals.

Why They Don’t Work Well Together (In Real Life)

Beyond the fact that they are both portrayed as straight, the idea is that there is too much baggage with each of them. This includes the trust issues stemming from their childhoods. Regina had an abusive mother, who killed her first love, forcing her to marry Snow White’s father. This pushed her into becoming evil and tyrannical herself. This includes many murders Regina has committed. Emma was only few hours old and a prime candidate for adoption. Through manipulation and abandonment, Emma was taken from foster home to foster home until she did a stint in prison.

Although SwanQueen could work, the repercussions of any fallout could cause a fandom revolt. This may be a risk for the writers and producers. They also just introduced the first LGBTQA+ couple on the show. So hopefully, after this experience, they may be willing to show their main characters as a couple.

Is It A Standard/Popular Ship? Are There Alternate Ships Involving The Characters?

There are so many ships including these characters. Most of the hetero couples have become canon or semi-canon. This is compared to the ones with other ships in the fan-lore. Many of the ships in Once Upon A Time work because they are not abusive and are secular. Although they may work in part, none of the ships present a solution as well as SwanQueen does. It is a very popular ship all around. This is due to the reasons outlined throughout this article. Also, since many of the characters are female, there are many femslash ships. This is directly opposite to the many maleslash ships in other narratives.

Swan Queen 2
by thececilz

Dream fantasy (keep it PG though!)

Swan Queen in my imagination is a presentation of diversity. Lana Parilla, the actress who played Regina, is ethnically Sicilian and Puerto Rican.  Since Regina’s parents were diverse as well, she would be able to bring in the racial diversity. Add to that the diversity in sexuality. It produces a manifest of a new romantic story. I imagine Regina succumbing to her feelings and yelling them at Emma. Instead of yelling back, Emma would confess her feelings as well. Then, SwanQueen becomes canon. They raise Henry together and become a family. This would present a new type of family. This simplifies some of the complexity in Once Upon A Time‘s narrative.

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Once Upon A Time is already making strides in the gender diversity department with a female lead and character development. Although the show is progressing racially (though not as much as one would hope) it is limited by the fairytales themselves. The last stride they could destroy would be introducing LGBTQA+ characters in a healthy and productive relationship. The runners have introduced one pairing, but SwanQueen is the ship that could change the narrative and the conversation predominant in the industry.  Hence, we need a story that shows a new type of nuclear family. People need to see that so we can defeat bigotry and show progress beyond just romance.

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