AceMyth posted the following in the Trio forum of FictionAlley Park, here at 10:49 pm (BST)on September 18, 2003. Feel free to post a reply to sign, but if you want to discuss it, please post here.
Many of us may be subconsciously taking it for granted: Book seven eventually comes out, and there's no option of new canon turning things around; those who had got it right rejoice, those who were wrong about the eventual ship all along grumble and grunt but admit defeat. The eternal argument becomes nothing more than a memory, and we all get on with our lives.
But the most likely outcome when it does happen is most certainly far, far away from that. I've recently come across a thread in a forum (outside FA) which asked the members whether they think the "wars" will be over once the series is all out. The response was overwhelmingly a "no". Not because those who answered were hopelessly enthusiastic to continue the debate into a state of even greater pointlessness than it already suffers from, but because they were all completely sure that there will always be others- from both sides- willing to do that.
Nobody from either side is willing to give much thought to what turning out to be wrong- after so powerfully investing themselves in the issue- would be like, half because we'd rather keep this horrendous scenario off of our minds and half because we're all so sure we're right we see no point in even considering it. But the problem is, somebody is going to turn out to have terribly misinterpreted things, and seeing as nobody is aware of the possible implications of their actions in case it turns out to be them- and even in case it turns out not to be them- we are currently, as I see it, on a sure, safe path to the continuation of the question of whether it's Harry and Hermione or Ron and Hermione to eternity, even after it'll have been answered.
Obviously not any one poster- that is to say, you, who are reading this now- can vouch for, be responsible for, or control the whole huge faction that also happens to support the same eventual outcome of the romantic aspect of the books. But you can vouch for, be responsible for and control yourself.
And controlling yourself means knowing when to admit you were wrong, to let go and to know that enough is enough.
This is not anything close to any sort of "contract". There is no way anybody could force you to actually follow what you agreed to here once Rowling has played her last card- if you post in this thread and undertake a part in the treaty, the only reason you are doing so is because you understand its importance, the severity of the situation it's trying to prevent and the difference you can make by not contributing to it.
Do not sign this under the assumption you are going to be on one side or the other. We all like to think that we have the truth- it seems self-evident from the information we do have, but there's always information we all don't have that could mean that you might find yourself on the opposite side of the right/wrong axis than you've expected. Your agreement to the statements below applies in that case as in any.
In case I turn out to be right
I will not:
- Mock the other side for making a mistake,
- Brag or suggest there's something wrong with them,
- Or otherwise needlessly provoke them;
Because being an insufferable winner isn't any better than being a sore loser.
- Answer to or in any way try to refute claims against the legitimacy of my (now proven to be right) ship, or attempts to provoke me in general,
- Seek out people who I've had loaded arguments with before just to say "I told you so",
- or continue debating ship in general;
Because being right and not having to prove anything to anybody anymore will be my right, and it'll be best for both me and everybody else if I take advantage of it.
- Consider myself smarter or better than the people on the other side for being right,
- Or worse, publically express this sentiment;
Because they're not idiots, they're just people who hung onto a mistake and continually rationalised it. That's human and it has probably happened to me, too- and more than once.
I acknowledge my right to:
- Celebrate with my fellow shipmates;
Because not only did we turn out to be right, it's over now and nobody has to argue anymore.
- Avoid consciously looking for places where there's still any doubt, so I can "prove" my ship to the raving lunatics who still won't accept the truth;
Because yes, it's difficult to let go and fall into an existentialist crisis, and yes, old habits die hard, but I owe it to myself.
- Keep discussing Harry Potter in general with both those who were of the opposite ship and those who were my shipmates alike;
Because there's more to Harry Potter than ships, and maybe that'll finally be the opportunity to explore it without ship discussion randomly bursting every minute and inflammating the discussion beyond repair.
- Drop any grudges related to the debate;
Because there's no reason to feel enmity now if they've admitted they were wrong; and if they refuse to, why continue to bother with it?
- Remember the whole epic ordeal of the "ship debate", to be able to contemplate what caused it, why it went on, and maybe learn a lesson or two;
Because it all rooted back to the human psyche, and the human psyche is still around; those who do not understand history will be doomed to repeat it.
In case I turn out to be wrong
I will not:
- Attempt to provoke those who were right, claim that they or their (now validated) ship are in any way illegitimate,
- Denounce J.K. Rowling for taking the "wrong choice",
- Or in any way in general refuse to admit defeat, or try to ruin the happiness of those who turned out to be right;
Because being right may be better than being wrong, but dooming myself to eternal denial and refusing to acknowledge my mistakes it worse than both.
- In any way try to drag the former debate opposition back into debate over a question that's already been answered;
Because between "giving up the fight" and a futile fight, give me the white flag any day. The ending- no matter how much not to my liking- of anything is the chance for a new beginning. Perpetual stagnation is sinking deeper into the quicksand.
I acknowledge my right to:
- Ignore brags and insults from the opposition,
- Let my self-esteem emerge unscathed,
- And put it all in perspective;
Because when is all said and done, I just made a mistake and went with it. Big deal. I'm not the first and not the last to have that happen to them.
- Start actual, non-ship discussion with the former "enemy";
Because now that the ships are out of the way, I may be surprised to find out how much we have to talk about.
- Keep feeling that my ship was right, discuss it with other fans and write AU fics about it;
Because it's my right! My perception of Harry Potter is 50% my imagination.
- Move on, but look back on it and try to see what I got wrong.
Because I owe it to myself to let it go, but I know full well I don't want to go through this again.
In case Rowling leaves the ship question largely unanswered
- Promote general Harry Potter discussion over anything having to do with ships, and
I acknowledge my right to:
- Run for the hills screaming and never be heard from again.
Because enough is enough.