Thursday, April 7, 2016

Werewolves, Shapeshifters and Skinwalkers

Why we love them.

The image of the werewolf, shapeshifter and other human animal transformers has gone through a lot of changes over the years. The silver screen saw a deformed man covered in fur brandishing some hellish fangs. This was the wolf man and the moment America started their love hate relationship. That gritty black and white image soon changed into an amazing shapeshift with An American Werewolf in London and our love story thickened, but why?

Shapeshifters have been a part of myth and legend for thousands of years. Europe had the werewolves who were hunted down as beasts, witches and just plain ol' crazies. Native Americans had skinwalkers, people so in touch with their totems that they took on animalistic tendencies. Even the tribes of Africa had hyenas that could speak in human tongue to separate a person from the safety of the crowd.

So why the sudden love of the weres? Most accounts from history say humans should fear the beast, but I think that's where our love comes from.

While werewolves and other shifters do pose a very real threat as a wild animal they also have a human side. A human side can love like a human, feel pain like a human and regret just like a human. Control the beast and you have a human.

Mankind has also opened up to the idea that animals themselves feel. Love, sadness, anger and even grief have been witnessed by not just researchers but average people. Maybe the beast isn't the monster in the dark we were warned about.

In my Saving Grace Saga werewolves are key characters who play the heroes. Threatened by the Federal government my werewolves are often the underdogs who fight under the shoe of "the man" and in many other romance stories readers can see the discrimination that shifters face. As a community and as readers people love to see the underdog come out on top.

Add in the spice of strong alpha instincts and you have a character many readers can fall in love with. Readers love a character that is confident and while they may have obstacles trying to hold them back a shifter with wild instinct can pull off a confidence that, when well written, doesn't appear arrogant.

That's just my take on why so many people love the shapeshifter, whether bound by the moon, a curse or just emotion.

Peace and Love

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