Tough Travel- Shapeshifiting


Every Thursday, the Fantasy Review Barn is taking us on a journey through Fantasyland with their Tough Travel Guide. Today’s topic is shapeshifting.

SHAPESHIFTING is frequent among both WERES and MAGIC USERS. The usual form taken is that of a WOLF, but lions, eagles, serpents, owls, and cats are common too. In all cases the rule is that the shapeshifter cannont stay too long in animal form without actually becoming that animal.

My list doesn’t quite fit those requirements exactly, but these are the ones that occured to me:

8586681. Mercy Thompson (the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs)
Are we counting urban fantasy? I’m counting urban fantasy, because Mercy was the first character I thought of. She hangs out with a bunch of werewolves, as per usual in urban fantasyland, but she’s actually whats known as a skinwalker–she shapeshifts into a coyote.

2. Daine Sarrasri (the Immortals series by Tamora Pierce)

Here is where I commence to feeling awful, because this was one of the formative book series’ for me, and I’m not even sure I’m remembering it right (to the reread shelf!). Daine is able to communicate with all animals, and *if* I am remembering properly, she learns how to enter their minds and see through their eyes, but when she does so is in danger of getting stuck there.

3. Seregil & Alec (the Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewelling)

Not properly shapeshifters at all, but I can’t include a list without my dear Nightrunners. The Oreska wizards have an inner nature spell that changes the subject, briefly, into the animal that matches their inner nature–Seregil is an otter, and Alec a stag. It’s the basis of the cutest scene in book one, and then turns around into one of the most heartwrenching scenes in book two.

And finally,

4. The Stark kids (ASoIaF, George R. R. Martin)

This one has been a slow, slow burn, and as per usual in Martin’s world a lot is left unsaid, but I think its generally agreed upon by this point that all those Stark kids are wargs. Bran’s the one really learning about it, hanging around beyond the Wall turning into his own direwolf, but they all have a quasi-mystical connection with their wolves (even Sansa, who’s wolf is dead.) By the end of book 6, Arya’s training to become a Faceless Man and Jon Snow has warged into Ghost, so yeah: they’re all wargs.



Filed under Book Talk

11 responses to “Tough Travel- Shapeshifiting

  1. Ohhh… Arya training to be Faceless, that’s a great pick!

  2. I thought I had thought through the possibilities but Arya as a faceless didn’t even cross my mind. People turning to other people opens up even more possibilities.

    And yes, urban fantasy counts. I keep hoping to see more people pull YA and UF and even PNR on these lists and diversifying the answers.

    • hlmorris85

      I would figure YA would be hugeon these lists, but maybe that’s because whenever I do read YA it tends to have a fantasy slant. I haven’t been reading as much fantasy as I used to these past few years, but each week is giving me a long to-read list.

  3. Hey, you listed The Immortals series by Pierce too. I feel vindicated that I found at least one UF series that fit the trope. Yeah, for me. 🙂

    Sounds like some really great series that you’ve highlighted. Thanks for the list.

  4. Absolutely Mercy Thompson counts – werewolfs and coyotes!! You should get double points really.
    Plus you managed to get George Martin on here.
    Lynn 😀

    • hlmorris85

      I feel like I could get Martin on every list if I justified hard enough. Honestly I’ve been so stuck in Westeros that I’ve been putting off other epic fantasies for awhile now.

  5. Good call on Daine! There’s also shapeshifting in the part in the Protector of the Small series when Daine is preggers; she transforms her lower half into different animals as her baby changes inside her womb. Such a classic series.

  6. I am only familiar with ASOIAF and the Mercy Thompson series. I never thought of the Stark Kids that way. But now that you’ve mentioned it, I agree.

    • hlmorris85

      I wasn’t sure whether to put them on, honestly, because they aren’t really physically shifting. But I feel like that’s a matter of time.

  7. Rabindranauth

    Damn, I didn’t even remember ASoIaF o_O Nice list! I haven’t read anything else on this one 🙂

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