The essence of our shapeshifter love affair

June 6, 2008 at 11:57 am (General)

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




  1. Becky said,

    I agree!!! Plus all that and they’re SEXY too!!!!

  2. Lori Devoti said,

    I think it’s something a bit more basic. A desire to be the animal or just an appreciation of their strengths and wishing we could harness them. Myths that involved shapeshifting have been around forever. Sometimes people shifted or were shifted as punishment, sometimes to gain strength. But I think it always boiled down to some respect or fear humans have of that animal. I know I’ve watched cats prowl across a piano lid and been envious–wouldn’t you love to move like that? And the image of survival a lone wolf gives–how can you not love that?

  3. Savanna Kougar said,

    Hi Jennifer, I think it’s because of the reasons you talked about, especially the ability to overcome certain kinds of challenges. For example, if you were in danger wouldn’t be nice if your shapeshifitng bodyguard could become a fearsome wolfe protector, dragon or big cat protector?
    Also, like Lori talked about…yes, yes! I’d love to move like that and I love writing about the feeling of it.
    I’d like to throw in another thought. What if you liked/loved yourself more because of what you could accomplish as a shifter — justice for those who have been denied.

  4. Teresa D'Amario said,

    I agree, that change is a big part of it.

  5. Rachel said,

    Don’t spank me, BUT I never have read that much into why I like shifter or any paranormal type books. It is entertainment for me. Now don’t get me wrong, I have been moved by the things that happen to the characters, and am interested in their development.
    But that is where my interest is for reading. The other part of why I like these types of books probably stems from my interest and involvement in occult studies over the years. The concepts of shifters or vamps aren’t too much of a stretch for me. 🙂

    And that my friends is my .0002 cents worth. he he
    Great topic by the way. Maybe this will get me thinking on a deeper level about the stories….maybe…

  6. Michele Hauf said,

    I’ve always looked as shifters as representatives of two realms or nations, if you will. He’s more than just one single thing, he’s beyond that. Which doubles his experience and heartache and every other emotion.

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