Main Shapeshifter Swansong Discussion

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01:52:41 AM Jan 4th 2012
edited by UncleSumer
An interesting Real Life version or two pops up in some animal mimics, like squids - but neurologist Oliver Sacks documents an actual human version, in a syndrome he calls 'super-tourettes' — not a death scene, per-se, there - but a very similar catharthis::

as an involuntary mimic lurches into an alley for escape from having drawn a parade of boggled reaction to their chameleon cascade of attention-magnetic cartooning imitations of everyone they meet — there, hiding for a seizure-like replay of those masques — the "super-touretter" convulsively sheds all the charactures, of each person they had last encountered, sequentially expelling, or exorcising - very nuanced, condensed parodic pantomimes — the postures, gistures and expressions - whole gestalts - of the personae they'd aquired from reflexively mirroring people in passing - asif desperately wringing out the impressions in a purge, to regain themself . . .

Written up as a piece, called "The Possessed", in his collection of biographic case-studies "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat - and other stories" — this very moving scene is one he'd witnessed first-hand, btw . . . I've experienced such events myself, also — the grey-matter truly is like silly-putty . . .

Unk Su'
08:48:42 AM Nov 13th 2011
Removed this example because it has nothing to do with the characters dying, being KO'd, or having their shapeshifting taken away. They were just trying to escape attackers. Also, this entry gets the characters wrong. Tethys was not Proteus's daughter and never did this. It was Proteus and his aunt Thetis.

  • Greek mythology example with Proteus and his daughter Tethys: the former when answering questions, and the latter before she agreed to marry her husband. Each one shifted into a bunch of forms, and the hero had to hold on to them and withstand the transformations. Eventually, they reverted to their true forms.
07:19:43 PM Dec 20th 2010
edited by Escher
Removed several examples:
  • Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, with the bounty hunter Zam Wesell. Zam looks like a human female, but when she dies, she reverts back to her Clawdite form.
  • Subverted in a most unusual fashion at the end of Blade: Trinity by Drake who manages to assume Blade's form... including full-body tattoos... at the moment he succumbs to the anti-vampire virus and dies. What's more impressive is the fact that his body retains this shape for a span of time that could have been up to several days, when "Blade's" body is autopsied and reverts to Drake's default human appearance (that of Lincoln Burrows) in front of three very surprised coroners.
  • Also averted in Star Trek: DS9: when changelings die they turn to black powder.
  • One episode of The X-Files featured a black baseball player living in the 1950's Deep South, who was actually a Grey who'd assumed human form to escape his masters and to play baseball, which he'd grown to love. He had occasional lapses whenever he was struck strongly in the head, from babbling in Alienese to reverting entirely to Grey form. Subverted a bit at the end: after being fatally wounded, he warned his only friend to back away, as when he reverts to an alien his blood'll become acid. When he doesn't transform, he dies happy with the knowledge that his human appearance had become his true form after all.
  • In Resident Evil: Code Veronica, Mutant Steve morphs back to human form before dying.
There's no swansongs here, no rapid flicker through many faces. These are just variations on This Was His True Form.

Is this really worth bringing up? I quote from Averted Trope: Even though There Is No Such Thing As Notability, averting is generally not an example for mentioning on a trope page, except for tropes that are so common that the list of aversions is actually shorter...

Shapeshifter deaths aren't so tied to the swansong concept that it's startling when they fail to use it, so this probably isn't a valid inclusion.
10:57:52 AM Mar 6th 2010
Um, am I the only one who noticed that there are two of the same for Corruption?