INDEX 1. SHIPPING 2. WHY STEREK ? 3. CANON 4. THANK YOU
1. SHIPPING Shipping, derived from the word relationship, is often played on perceived chemistry between characters. Shipping is when you want two characters to be in a romantic relationship. It is considered a general term for fansâ€™ emotional involvement with the ongoing development of romance in a work of fiction. Shipping refers to the whole phenomenon; a ship is the concept of a fictional couple; to ship a couple means to want to see them in a relationship; a shipper is somebody significantly involved with a fictional couple.
Shipping is also about the anticipation. Will they finally get together? Why should they get together? Shippers write paragraphs and essays about their favorite ships; theyâ€™re devoted to their OTP (One True Pairing). When someone says they ship Sterek, they are saying they love the idea of Derek and Stiles in a romantic relationship. To show their love and support, Sterek shippers get inspired by what happens in the show to create their own stories and fanart. While some works are solemnly part of the imagination of its creators, others remain faithful to what we see and what we get on the show.
2. WHY STEREK ? To tell a real love story, one that resonates on a deeper level, the characters have to be equals, not necessarily within their own universes but from the point of view of the narrative. The two parts of the couple need to have their own personal character arcs. They need to exist outside of the couple, with a narrative agency that few pure love interests ever get. Thatâ€™s why Scott and Allison work well as a story. They are established as romantically linked, but more than that, they have near equal shares in the narrative because they are characters with their own personal arcs. If either Derek or Stiles are going to be deemed worthy of a real love story, this is where theyâ€™ll find it. Not just because of chemistry, not just because they are both opposites and mirror images, but because they are narrative equals.
CHEMISTRY Found in every interaction between this pairing, from their snarky, quirky banter to their deep, searching looks. This is the deepest root of our love of Sterek, the reason we latched onto the pairing, the reason Sterek has spread like wildfire. Every moment they are on screen together is loaded with emotions, and more than just adversarial ones. The characters play off of one another, humor one another, tease one another, all the while giving the fandom a chance to wonder about all that they could yet be. Chemistry cannot be manufactured on television. In books you can create chemistry with words, but on screen it all comes down to a mix of casting and luck. It doesnâ€™t matter how well you plan it, sometimes chemistry happens even when it wasnâ€™t supposed to. Stiles and Derek have undeniable chemistry.
POTENTIAL This pairing is all about delicious potential. Hilarity and angst and somewhere in between the spark of something that can last. Theyâ€™re like magnets that push and pull, act and react. Itâ€™s that potential built up mixed with the slow build, that has us on the edge of their seat, waiting for that much more that could easily happen. To reach the point where that chemistry is undeniable, not just to us, not just to the other characters, not just to you, but also to them.
TRUST Despite explicitly stating his distrust of Stiles in 2x04, Derek has shown several times over and several times again that he does trust Stiles. He may not even know it, standing by his resolution to trust no one, but nevertheless, he has trusted Stiles to keep him alive, to keep his secrets, to find the way into the bank, to protect his unconscious and dying sister - the list goes on. Derek can count on Stiles - always has been able to. Stiles has seen Derek weak and vulnerable and has come through for him time and time again. And just like he saved Derek, Stiles has also been saved in return. Though he’s stated his dislike and distrust of Derek several times, he’s trusted Derek with not only his own life, but also Scott’s and later his father’s. Derek punched Stiles in the wrist and Stiles walked right back up to the table and stood next to him because as much as they push each other’s buttons, Stiles knows Derek would never hurt him.
They have saved each other’s actual lives several times, but with trust, they can also save each other in even more important ways. It’s that potential saving that makes us so emotionally invested in the pairing. It’s how fate, as cheesy as that sounds, brings them together and makes them grow more and more fond of each other. It’s how fear became curiosity, how curiosity became concern and how concern can become so much more.
SCOTT Scott McCall has always been the link between Stiles and Derek. Stiles can be and has been the bridge that Derek needs to become closer to Scott as a brother, as an ally. There is untapped energy in the three of them as a group, in the way that they could become the greatest allies and lead the greatest pack Beacon Hills has ever seen. Scott and Stiles can help Derek become the leader that his mother was. Scott is smart and he’s strong, but his heart is his weapon. Stiles is brave and he cares, but his mind is what is always ahead of everyone else. Derek is too noble and pragmatic, but it’s his soldier soul that makes him move forward. Scott’s heart, Stiles’ mind and Derek’s strength combined would be an unstoppable force.
EQUALS As they’ve grown closer and closer, their relationship has changed, but not their dynamic. Derek is still a puzzle that Stiles wants to solve and he has been the one, moreso than any other character, to work on putting it together. Stiles is still unreadable to Derek - he’s the human who runs with wolves and is not afraid to remain by his side. Still them, but with less walls to climb, because Stiles understands a bit more of Derek’s pain and Derek is giving in more and more to Stiles’ amusement. From day one, they have interacted as equals - not because they were physically matched, but because Stiles said so and Derek let him. Derek’s physical prowess complement Stiles’ physical weakness (striking in comparison to his peers). Moreover, Derek’s biggest weakness is his susceptibility to words, which are Stiles’ greatest strength. There’s the epic potential of becoming something great without changing them. They don’t need to change for each other. That acceptance has been there for a while. Together they become more. Together, Stiles and Derek complement each other.
TROPES Merriam-Webster defines “trope” as a “figure of speech.” In storytelling, a trope is just that — a conceptual figure of speech, a shorthand for a concept that the audience will recognize and understand instantly. The appeal of Stiles and Derek rests on the fact that the relationship satisfies several extremely popular tropes, such as:
Belligerent Sexual Tension: There’s a couple, usually a
sweet but quickly angered person paired with a secretly-kind jerk, who is not able to admit their feelings. Despite the conflict, there is an attraction. Sometimes they will progress to admitting their friendship but insist they are Just Friends. Eventually, they can admit their feelings to practically anyone except their loved one.
Fire-Forged Friends: Characters hostile to each other or
indifferent that must fight on the same side. Afterwards, they are no longer hostile and perhaps even actual friends, which eventually evolves into Battle Couple dynamics - the kind of couple where bullets figure prominently in the story of their early romance. Where “war buddy” and “significant other” are synonyms. Where if you harm either one, the other will kill you as surely as the sun rises.
And is it worth the wait, all this killing time? Are you strong enough to stand, protecting both your heart and mine? by: jojenreeds
Can’t Live With Them; Can’t Live Without Them: One
person, often a loner-type, is paired off with someone else against their will. He can’t stand the person/situation and wishes for his old routine. When he gets it back, he suddenly realizes he misses that person a lot and does everything in his power to get them back.
Odd Friendship: A friendship which develops between
two characters that would seem unlikely to be friends, whether itâ€™s because of them having diametrically opposed personalities or some other quirks of their beings that would lead to them clashing. Through their friendship, they learn more about each other and about themselves.
Vitriolic Best Buds: These guys bicker constantly. Theyâ€™re
always snaping at each other. They snark relentlessly. They duke it out on equal terms, hurling insults at one another with prejudice. But underneath the verbal fencing is a rock-solid friendship. Often, they have opposite morals, personalities, or fighting ability which is presumably the cause of the vitriol.
Opposites Attract: Strong relationships thrive on how
each member compensates for the other’s weaknesses with his own strengths, and vice versa. It is all but guaranteed that the characters’ differences will cause more friction than harmony between them. That’s what gives the Odd Couple its fuel for situations such as:
Slap-Slap-Kiss: When two characters spend
a lot of time bickering, it is all but inevitable that sooner or later one of them will interrupt the other in mid-rant by suddenly grabbing and kissing them. The kissed one rarely resists, and usually responds wholeheartedly. Usually this is triggered by their hostilities reaching a climax that results in an exchange of slaps, followed by a moment where both stare at each other in combined confusion and shock, after which they dive into the kiss.
Will They or Won’t They?: Two characters,
often combative but with obvious Unresolved Sexual Tension, resist going into a full blown relationship for a rather long time.
Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each
Other: When a couple/potential couple — who spend the entirety of the show yelling at each other, insulting one another, stabbing each other in the back, etc. — have a moment when they reveal that, deep down, they really care for one another.
Love At First Punch: They say you never get a second
chance to make a first impression, but if that first impression involves you insulting, smacking or punching anyone with an arrogant personality, then you’d best watch out. You may have just made yourself a cruel and brutal enemy. And if they don’t become your enemy, they may become something else.
Power Trio: Linking back to the SCOTT point, the most
common pattern for this is for two members of the group to be each other’s Foils, frequently coming into conflict with each other, with the third member of the group acting as the mediator, keeping The Team together and balancing their respective personalities.
HISTORY We see Derek and Stiles reflected in other popular couples, and weâ€™re inevitably driven to them. A few examples of romantic duos that share a similar dynamic to Derek/Stiles are: Elizabeth/Darcy From Pride And Prejudice (Though More So In Adaptations Than The Book.) Knightley/Emma In Emma (As Well, Their Modern Successors, Cher/Josh In Clueless.) Katherine/Petruchio In The Taming Of The Shrew (And Their Modern Successors Kat/Patrick In 10 Things I Hate About You.) Han Solo/Leia In Star Wars. Beatrice and Benedick in Shakespeareâ€™s Much Ado About Nothing.
PARALLELS Allison & Scott and Derek & Stiles kind of parallel each other in opposing ways. Allison and Scott pretty much fall into instant infatuation whereas Stiles and Derek mistrust and dislike each other from the start. Allison doesnâ€™t know about Scott for a good chunk of their relationship, and Stiles knows all about Derek right from the get-go. Allison and Scott get into danger because of each other, whereas Derek and Stiles get into danger together and then have to get each other out of it. Scott and Allison have to sneak around to spend time together, and Stiles and Derek try to avoid having to see each other, but always manage to gravitate back together despite themselves. Scott and Allison spend all of their time declaring their love for each other, and Derek and Stiles go out of their way to convince everyone they donâ€™t care if the other one dies even though they keep saving each other.
COMPATIBILITY When Stiles and Derek are in a scene together they bring out sides in each other that are normally hidden. Derek is more sarcastic, more human, less of a burned shell. Stiles is less accommodating, often more focused. When they are together they figure stuff out and get shit done and they play off each other in fascinating ways.
They talk out ideas and possibilities and follow through when theyâ€™ve figured something out. They have similar damages, things they can understand that no one else can. Theyâ€™ve both lost people they loved and felt responsible for it. They both hide their true feelings, one behind a brutish silence, the other behind sarcasm. There is anger in both of them. They have both loved or are possibly still in love with women who didnâ€™t love them back.
They protect each other. They argue and push and pull, because oddly enough, even with threats and such a physical strength differential, their decision making process is democratic or at the very least iterative.
FANDOM As in August 2013, of the 24,360 TEEN WOLF stories on AO3 â€“a general fanfiction archiveâ€“ 15,556 of them are tagged Stiles/Derek (64% of the total), which is more than five times the amount of stories that feature the next most popular pairing (Scott/Allison). Sterek is the third most popular pairing on AO3, only surpassed by Sherlock/Watson (Sherlock BBC) and Dean/Castiel (Supernatural) Of the top 10 stories (involving all fandoms) with the most kudos on AO3, 7 are Derek/Stiles. And of the top 20, 15 are Derek/Stiles. The most popular tags in Sterek stories are: fluff, angst, alternative universe, established relationship and hurt/comfort.
The most popular art online community, deviantART, has currently 10,495 artworks featuring Derek and Stiles; from drawings to digital paintings and from tshirts to craft pieces. On Youtube, the estimated number of Sterek videos is 38,500. The most popular videos go beyond 200,000 views. Last year, Sterek won the Ultimate Slash Madness Tourney against Destiel with 429,233 votes (55,63%). This year, 32 pairings were competing against each other. Sterek took the second place with 854,216 votes (49,91%) against Destiel. The number of votes doubled!
LGBT Viewers are desperately yearning for stories about people who are queer as a matter of course, stories that don’t revel in how being gay is the most miserable thing that can happen to you, stories that aren’t about being queer as if that is the most important thing in our lives. Stiles and Derek have fully realized personal story arcs. If they fall in love their story won’t be about them being gay, it will be about them being them. They will be queer people in a queer relationship, but their story will be about werewolves and personal guilt and learning to trust someone. And every time some fourteen year old queer kid sees them doing their Buffy impressions and fighting monsters, that kid will feel more of a person and less of a caricature.
CONNECTION Stiles and Derek share a fundamental connection, one that only they can understand. Both share not only loss in their pasts, but also carry a guilt, a feeling of responsibility for those losses. While we don’t know the reason for Stiles’ guilt, it’s been made clear that it’s there and that fact sets him apart from others on the show who’ve lost loved ones - save for Derek. They share something that no one else can understand or empathize with, something that we hope someday they will be able to talk about and help each other through.
STORY A romantic relationship between Stiles and Derek would make an incredibly interesting story. Itâ€™s full of both internal and external conflict. Internally, their own clashing yet complementing personalities. Externally, the hinge point of Scott, of Stiles being his best friend and Derek being someone whoâ€™s been forced into his life due to circumstance, along with their differing species and age difference. These things add depth and consequence, making the pairing something that is ever-threatened and therefore ever-engaging.
Iâ€™m not you, nor you me, but weâ€™re both moving steady.
While watching Teen Wolf, people get the chance to step outside the heteronormative bubble for forty minutes, imagining that not everyone is automatically either straight or gay. Once you are able to put aside heteronormative assumptions, only two things matter: narrative and chemistry. Both Derek and Stiles have come a long way since they first met. A romantic story between them would not be boring (at all), would not be about two characters who are meant to be, would not be another story about “love at first sight”. They’re the people who were actively avoiding working with each other, but were still forced to do it. It’s infuriating, hilarious and full of angst.
It would be amazing to watch two emotionally constipated characters try to negotiate actual feelings, to discover that they do care about each other, to discover they trust each other, to fight the misunderstandings, to come to a point where they try to avoid each other, to neglect those feelings. This would be a relationship where we could see both characters fight for it. It wouldnâ€™t be a blissful or easy road for the two of them, but it would be honest and sincere without either of them asking for anything in return.
Why do I ship Sterek? by: lostyourtemper
I donâ€™t see Sterek as two individuals I really want to see making out or something like that.
Dad? Dad, please say something...
I see a boy who lost his mother and perhaps also his father for a little while. I see a boy who probably thinks of his mother before he goes to sleep and how his life would be with her.
I see a young man who smiles and laughs, but deep down heâ€™s breaking. Someone who protects people because he canâ€™t bear to lose anyone else. This character breaks my heart and sometimes I just wish he had a cup of raspberry hot chocolate, a blanket and a new video card for his PC games.
Derek, we have to go!
i did this
Derek had feelings for Kate, which obviously ended badly and he blames himself every day. He returns to Beacon Hills and lives in the Hale house because he must remind himself of what we did and how everything is his fault. He doesn’t trust anyone, because “trust” killed his family. He doesn’t want to be alone, but he does it to himself because he feels that he deserves it. He starts a pack and later they leave him. He thinks he deserves this, that he should not have a pack again.
If only something could go right for him. Anything! Like, his coffee is perfect that morning, his favorite team won, or even getting a lucky penny it would be great.
These two have gone through so much in their young lives. I just want them to have someone to lean on when things get rough.
3. CANON We donâ€™t want Derek and Stiles to get the sweeping music treatment. They donâ€™t need it. We want to see them fight for this. We want to see them drawn to each other despite their own better judgment. We want to see them bleed for this. We want tooth and claw and tears and miscommunication.
Getting Stiles and Derek to their happy ending should take a long time. It should be hard. It should be a difficult road with a lot of pitfalls. Who wants easy? Easy and sweet is for people like Scott and Allison. Derek and Stiles are different. Their jagged edges are what makes them so good, what makes this so interesting.
Something like Derek and Stiles is a story about overcoming adversity. It’s about how love, like weeds, can grow in unlikely places. It’s the antithesis to sweet and easy. It takes a long time and a commitment by the writers to go there. The road is long and complicated. And maybe they won’t ever get to anything like a happy ending. You know, that’s okay, too. We want the show to leave us with metaphorical blue balls and tears and make us writhe with how much we want them to get together. Not just us fans, but everyone. We want to see Derek and Stiles steep in unresolved sexual tension until they, and we, can’t take it anymore. And we want them to be the same sarcastic assholes they’ve always been.
But what we’d like to see is for all of that to be undeniably real. Even if they never act on it, we’d like to see it made explicit that they want to. Maybe they aren’t ready to even acknowledge anything, but we have other characters, who know them and who are there when Derek and Stiles interact. Just something, indicating that people in their world, who know them, have also picked up on what we as viewers have. And later on, when they are ready to acknowledge to themselves their own emotions, we can get some angsty, sweet, sweet denial. You know that’d just make their discussions just a bit more desperate, more fierce and frantic. The tension would be maddening and beautiful.
The age difference is an interesting issue to explore and work with related to Stiles and Derek’s characters. It brings up all the traumas in Derek’s past, forces him to deal with all the things he’s been hiding and running away from for years. It forces the viewer to contemplate how much age matters in defining equals, specifically in comparison to the other underage pairings on the show. It just brings so many possibilities for good television, we get giddy just thinking of it. “Making it canon” is the journey, not the destination. “Making it canon” is not about a static couple, it’s about a living, breathing story. “Making it canon” is not easy. But that journey, that struggle, makes it all the more satisfying in the end. “Making it canon” is about acknowledgement, not happy endings.
4. THANK YOU If only there was enough space in this tiny book that could express all of our love for this show and this pairing... The selection of works for this book was not easy. These were only some of many good examples of how talented and passionate Sterek shippers are. We are not trying to represent the whole fandom, but even if we tried, this little book wouldn’t be able to, not even a little bit, not even at all. It’d not be able to represent all fans of all genders and ages, from all around the world. The Sterek fandom is massive and it keeps welcoming more fans each day it passes. It keeps bringing new talents and new minds together. It’s all because of love and passion for this show; it’s all because of you. We hope that you can accept this as part of our love and gratitude for everything you have given us until now. While for some fans, Teen Wolf is merely a show that they enjoy watching during Mondays, for others it’s a source of inspiration. Your work inspires us to do more and do better. Thank you for this story, thank you for the amazing performances, thank you for the attention to the little details, thank you for the understanding and the love. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
2013 made with love