Hernst is the ship of Hanschen Rilow and Ernst Robel. It is a canon ship because the two got together in the song "The Word of Your Body (Reprise)".

Some Sad But True Facts About Hernst
  • it's 1890s germany so their relationship was illegal
  • Hanschen pretty much out and out says he doesn't love him and is probably using him for sex, which isn't abuse or manipulation as he is TOTALLY OPEN about this fact, never pretending to have feelings he doesn't nor convincing Ernst to do anything he doesn't want to.
  • totally consensual but not that healthy as Ernst wants love and Hanschen doesn't and just wants sex and clearly is willing to do anything to preserve his place in the society (see his "skim off the cream" monologue)
  • Ernst is probably a young kid confusing love with lust as he's 14 years old and has never been in any sexual or romantic situation in his entire life
  • Did you have a relationship you started at age 14-16 that lasted/was totally healthy? No, you didn't.
  • Best case scenario: they grow with each other and go on to mature and healthy relationships as adults, helped by the sexual development they gave each other. Maybe they eventually end up back together but they probably don't and that's actually normal and healthy and better than literally any other character has going for them.
  • Their dynamic is completely different in the play, much healthier and more loving, no one feels in control and they seem more mature and capable.
  • Steven Sater initially wrote them more like the play but it changed as workshops went on. And that sucks and is totally based in the homophobia of the early 2000s but here we are.