Alongside wings/flying, shape shifting is another one of my favorite supernatural abilities. The Shifters in Earth and Sky are particularly awesome because they can also do alchemy. To me, being able to change physical forms as when shifting is a parallel to alchemy- the ability to change the forms of the elements/physical objects. So why is this interesting to me? Again, I don't set out with these symbolic ideas in mind...but when I analyze it, this is what it all means to me.
Why do I love Shifters?
*We all want to feel comfortable in our skin- The very obvious reader/writer connection to shape shifters is that they have this dual nature, the normal, accepted outer appearance they wear around other human beings--and the beast hidden inside them just waiting to rear it's head. Sometimes this is a bad thing- think uncontrollable raging werewolf. But sometimes it's a good thing, a hidden inner strength that will save you.
*We all sometimes feel uncomfortable in our own skin- Though we WANT to feel comfortable in our own skin, we often don't. Shifters don't always like their animal. Sometimes its a love/hate kind of relationship.
*Permission to be yourself (or, "it wasn't me, it was the wolf")--There is usually some moment in a Shifter story where the Shifter has to accept themselves, beast and all . Of course there's also the plausible deniability thing...
*Also I just like animals ;)
What is your favorite shape-shifting character? Spoiler- mine is currently a character from the sequel to Earth and Sky who can shift into large felines. Seriously, what is NOT to love about that?