TV Tropes Needs Your Help
View Kickstarter Project
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here
and discuss here
Shapeshifting and transformation are the ability to completely change one's body from one form to another, usually by magic or Applied Phlebotinum
. Common in Speculative Fiction
, and folklore and myths are replete with tales of princes transformed into frogs, gods turning themselves into animals, and so on. Several of these tropes are Older Than Feudalism
There are a wide
variety of ways that this can occur, but thematically it can be sorted into two broad classes:
- Shapeshifting: A character can transform their own body as a special power or ability. Obviously enough, they are called shapeshifters, and often ply their powers for fun and profit (whether good or evil), or simply to trick or play practical jokes on normal folks.
- Transformation: An otherwise non-shapeshifting character has a transformation cast upon them from an outside source (again, usually by magic or Applied Phlebotinum). This is typically Played for Drama; it may be part of a character's backstory, or even form the central conflict within the work. Curses are a popular source here, as it requires the character to go on a Quest to satisfy the Curse Escape Clause. A list of possible causes for transformations can be found here.
Tropes related to Shapeshifting as a power or ability
Tropes related to transformations as an event
Other shapeshifting tropes