For those who love the shapeshifting genre, where men and women make that shadowy shift between human and other, have you every wondered or question what lured you to enjoying these tales? I think the essence or root, if you will, of our love for this genre lies in two major areas.
First is the simple truth that change, while painful, brings hope to any person or any situation. Without the hope of change for a newer, better future life can often become intolerable. Telling stories of men and women who shift or change in order to overcome thier problems or conquer evil. Or for those who despite their shifting problems are able to cope and conquer brings hope to readers as they face their everyday situation.
Second is the acceptance of different. When exploring the depths of what love is sometimes the hardest challenge is learning to accept and to love that which is different from yourself. In the shapeshifting genre and especially in the werewolf niche, the hero or heroine has to learn to accept and to love what they have become. Carrie Vaughn’s heroine werewolf Kitty takes you through many of the stages of learning to accept and love a part of yourself that you don’t necessarily even like on some levels. In my Shawdomen Series my heroes have to learn and accept things about themselves that are less than ideal. In today’s society, learning to love self is becoming harder and harder.
Another aspect of accepting different, is the love and understanding a non-shapeshifter developes for a shapeshifter. Our heroes and heroines overcome a great many things to be with the one they love, and a major obstacle in that battle is loving a being who’s core make-up is alien to their own. Nalini Singh in her Psy-Changeling series does an excellent job of bringing two beings to a glorious unity of love even though they have different physical natures as well as polar opposite emotional and social upbringings.
Hope and Change and Love are the essence of romantic shapeshifter tales.
Do you agree or disagree? Please feel free to share your favorite moments from your most loved shapeshifter stories prove or LOL disprove my theory of why we love shapeshifters
Have a great day and remember those in the past who fought so valiantly for freedom, and the rightness of loving those who are different from ourselves.
Jennifer St. Giles