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They can't tell you their real names, or their dæmons' names. The Yeerks are everywhere. But they're going to fight back.
— Description of Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul

Daemorphing is an Animorphs AU by Poetry that incorporates the cosmology of His Dark Materials. It explores how the events of Animorphs would play out differently if all the human characters had dæmons, and the relationships the various alien races have with the Dust.

     Links to Individual Fics 

Most setting tropes from Animorphs apply, though plot tropes may or may not.

Additional worldbuilding and guides for readers unfamiliar with one or both canons can be found here.

All spoilers prior to chapter 8 of Welcome Home are unmarked, to avoid whiting out half the page.


This fic series provides examples of:

  • Adapted Out: The Leerans and Helmacrons don't appear, but the former are referenced.
  • Adaptation Drift: It started out as straightforward retellings of the Animorphs books where the only major difference was the existence of daemons. However, once Loren becomes a Team Member in the Adaptation, the changes start piling up, leading to the war ending in a completely different way.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • The Dust is usually called hrala, occasionally Rusakov particles, and rarely spirit-motes or the Kolumatiy, but the only time it's called "dust" is at the end of Prometheus in Chains, where Jake uses it as a description rather than a name.
    • The process that separates humans from their daemons is called severing instead of incision.
  • Adaptation Species Change: Euclid is Nora's dæmon instead of a regular dog.
  • Adaptational Angst Downgrade: Applies to pretty much everyone. The Chee give the Animorphs therapy, Tobias is less cut off from humanity and reunites with his mother much sooner, Tom is saved halfway through, and Jake's parents are never infested.
  • Adaptational Diversity:
    • Since Animorphs was written in The '90s, there weren't any overtly queer characters. In this series, the teens discover their sexualities as part of their arcs, the Hork-Bajir practice polygamy, and there are a few transgender characters. Including Tobias.
    • The humans' religious beliefs, which were only mentioned in passing in canon, are given much more focus.
    • Cassie and her parents were the only black characters in canon, but this series introduces a few original ones as well.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Loren shows up shortly after the events of book 15 (a whole 34 books before she appeared in the main series in canon), Mr. Tidwell and Illim appear during the brief adaptation of #27 (two books earlier), and the Taxxon Rebellion in the loose adaptation of #51 (two books earlier in the main series).
  • Adaptational Late Appearance: Events are shuffled around so that the Animorphs evacuate their families to the Hork-Bajir valley (Welcome Home, based on #49) before they find the various Andalites stranded on Earth in Destroyer of Worlds. Additionally, Mertil and Gafinilan are introduced before Arbat's team, which was the other way around in canon (#40 and #38, respectively).
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: The petulant self-centered aspects Canon Tobias sometimes shows when talking to Hork-Bajir are absent in Daemorphing Tobias, as is Canon Tobias's rejection of the concept that there are innocent Yeerks. In general Daemorphing Tobias is less reserved, more pro-social, and willing to reach out to people of many species, probably because he's so much less isolated in this series. For that matter, all of the Animorphs and not just Cassie are readier to see Yeerks as people.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Interspecies bonding over art is a recurring theme, whether it be the Paradox Family and Andalite thought-speech-singing, more instances of bonding over stories and legends than can be counted, or Tidwell and Illim's shared appreciation of poetry.
  • An Alien Named "Bob": One of the Peace Yeerks is known only as Helen.
  • All Therapists Are Muggles: Defied. After Loren insists on it, the Chee serve as therapists to the Animorphs until their alliance breaks. Elgat Kar provides therapy in the valley.
  • Animal Motifs: Humans in this setting have dæmons, animal-shaped manifestations of their souls. Poetry prefers a scientific angle to Pullman's more symbolic approach, so snakes are not symbols of evil or deception and lions don't denote nobility. Tobias's Elhariel is a European storm-petrel, a bird that flies great distances alone. Jake's Merlyse is a whiskeyjack, a corvid that thrives in the harshest winter. Cassie's Quintavion is a vampire bat, manipulative towards its prey and intensely altruistic towards its cave-fellows. Marco's Diamanta is a timber rattlesnake, a patient ambush predator with close bonds to its friends. Rachel's Abineng is a sable antelope, a huge beautiful antelope that contends against lions to protect its herd. And Sixth Ranger Loren's Jaxom is a zebra duiker, a tiny shy antelope that will nonetheless fight ferociously to defend its territory.
  • Ascended Extra: Lourdes and the other Chee who tended to replace the Animorphs whenever the kids had to be on a prolonged mission are fully developed characters. They're not alone. The Peace Movement Yeerks (especially Aftran), Tom, Melissa, Arbron and the Taxxons, the various stranded Andalites, and Toby and the other Hork-Bajir are given much more focus.
  • Aura Vision: Hork-Bajir can see the Dust, which they call hrala. Turns out the Chee had this ability too, but they disabled it after their creators went extinct.
  • Badass Army: The Free Hork-Bajir. No morphing power, no tech, still are able to keep freeing their people from the Yeerks.
  • Badass Family: Are you related to Elfangor and on Earth? Then you are badass no exception. There's the Andalite legend himself, Loren who retains all her Andalite Chronicles badass, Tobias, and Ax.
  • Bat Out of Hell: Defied. Cassie is horrified at first when Quincy settles as a vampire bat shortly after the Animorphs kill David, but her dad tells her that vampire bats are altruistic despite having to do harsh things to survive.
  • Biological Weapons Solve Everything: Zig-zagged. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. The Iskoort world ended up the way it is now (quite nice) thanks to judicious use of a retroviral weapon, the quantum virus used on the Hork-Bajir world solved nothing, the one the Andalites were planning on using against the Yeerks on Earth would not have accomplished much, but the Guardians Of The Galaxy used a modified version of that to deliver the Iskoort retrovirus to all Yeerks on earth. The results were a mixed bag.
  • Bizarre Alien Sexes: Taxxons used to have four sexes, similar to the castes of hive insects: nurses, queens, workers, and soldiers. However, nurses and soldiers are extinct by the time the story begins.
  • Bizarre Alien Psychology: Inverted. The humans find it weird at first that aliens' consciousnesses aren't split between two bodies.
  • Bond Creatures: As in Lyra's world in His Dark Materials all humans have dæmons, which here are explicitly parts of themselves. Non-humans morphing humans do not form dæmons, but unlike in HDM characters can't tell at a glance that something is an animal or a dæmon - so when Ax morphs human and goes out in public, Tobias rides on his shoulder.
  • Breather Episode: Self-Defense and Putting Down Roots are much lower on the violence and horror than typical for the series or source material.
  • Burying a Substitute: A variation in Abel or Cain: the Animorphs and Chee fake Tom's death, so the Chee dig up a corpse from another grave and pass it off as Tom so his family will have something to bury.
  • The Cameo: Elizabeth from Sporadic Phantoms appears in chapter 2 of The Presence of Justice. Just like in her source material, she's a voluntary Controller who even other voluntaries find weird and off-putting.
  • Chekhov's Armory: Earlier installments in the series set up giant walls of guns to go off — some of them get fired, like Bridge to the Stars having the Yoorts being Yeerks modified by a retrovirus going off all the way in Destroyer of Worlds when Cassie talks Estrid into making a contagious version of said virus using DNA from a Yoort morph.
  • Child of Two Worlds:
    • In the alternate universe of A Place To Stand, Tobias is this for humans and Andalites.
    • In The Presence of Justice, Loren realises that they need feshlath, children of two herds, to talk the Andalites out of blowing up Earth. She and Tobias can act as go-betweens for the humans; the Hamees for the Hork-Bajir; and Arbron for the Taxxons. All of them are related to Andalites in some way.
  • Children Are Innocent: This is a recurring motif.
    • Forcibly breeding Hork-Bajir and raising them underground is portrayed as the most depraved thing the Yeerks have ever done, and the Guardians of the Galaxy are determined to put a stop to it.
    • Among the Yeerks in the Aftran Plisam Pool are the recently-born Mielan spawning, and the older Yeerks want to make sure they have a future free from propaganda.
    • Sky Hive, the living hive who ends up on the Pool Ship, is constantly curious about the world, and Eva wants to protect its innocence.
  • Competence Zone: Defied. While the team starts at thirteen, Loren is in her late thirties or so, and Eva and the Governor are likely older than that.
  • Composite Character: Tom's second Yeerk is Demoted to Extra, but Sub-Visser Fifty-One (Korin) takes his place as the Yeerk who usurps Esplin and steals the Blade Ship in the finale.
  • Cool Old Lady: Cool Middle Aged Lady? The Governor doesn't get to be quite as awesome as in canon because this meeting with her doesn't go so badly that she has to take charge of her own rescue, but Marco's still impressed by her quick thinking and resilience.
  • Cub Cues Protective Parent: In Loren's first battle she's able to tap in to her battle bison morph's protective rage when Tobias is in danger by telling the bison instincts that predators have her calf.
  • Dark Fic: Vanilla Animorphs is already very dark considering it's middle-grade fiction, but it does sometimes avoid using the word 'death', for example. One foundation of the source material is that all aliens, even the gross weird ones, are people, but it doesn't completely embrace that until late, and the Animorphs aren't terribly disturbed by how many innocent Hork-Bajir they've killed. Daemorphing tries to maintain a similar ratio of silliness, heartwarming moments, and horror, but it doesn't flinch.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Welcome Home gives Tom more focus than usual; he narrates for the first time, and we get to see his positive relationships with the Hork-Bajir.
    • Remainder is told entirely from the perspective of Marco's stepmother Nora, who hasn't narrated before or since.
  • The Dead Have Names: In Welcome Home, Tom tells Jake the names of the Hork-Bajir he watched commit suicide to avoid being reinfested.
  • Death by Adaptation: In canon, the Animorphs interrupted Edriss-in-Eva before she could kill Darwin. Here, Esplin forces Aftran-in-Eva (who he thinks is Edriss) to kill him to prove she's still loyal to the empire, which Aftran does.
  • Death Faked for You: The Animorphs and the Chee fake Tom's death in Abel or Cain by making it look like he drowned, so they can take him to the Hork-Bajir valley and free him.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • In canon, Tom's second Yeerk was one of the main players in the final battle. Here, he's unceremoniously killed off halfway through, and as a result, the war ends in a completely different way.
    • While Erek makes regular appearances, he doesn't deliver the Animorphs exposition as often, and he's completely absent from the final battle.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation:
    • In canon, it's strongly implied that Rachel killed David near the end of the series. After he betrays them in The Cowardice of Lions, Aftran tells Cassie that turning David into a rat and leaving him in solitary confinement would be too cruel, so the Animorphs come up with a plan to kill him instead. Rachel deals the finishing blow on his dæmon.
    • Not only does Edriss 562 die much sooner, but she's quickly killed in the Chee's underground dog park instead of Marco stepping on her while she's dying of Kandrona starvation.
    • In canon, Tom's second Yeerk was killed by Rachel along with his host. In Abel or Cain, the Animorphs kidnap him and offer to kill him before he dies of Kandrona starvation, while the real Tom gets to be free.
  • Different World, Different Movies: Various existing works of fiction are referenced, but all the characters have dæmons.
  • Dirty Mind-Reading: When Tobias morphs a Yeerk and infests Loren to see if she's trustworthy, he accidentally comes across her memories of having sex.
  • Disposable Vagrant: In The Guided and the Lost, the Animorphs learn that the Yeerks have figured out how to sever people from their anchors, and have already successfully separated several homeless humans from their dæmons (and Alloran from his guide tree). They're able to save one of the humans before she can be severed, who then becomes a refugee in the Hork-Bajir valley.
  • Ditto Aliens: Defied multiple times.
    • When Mr. Tidwell morphs a Yeerk for the first time, he notices that said Yeerk has one palp shorter than the other and a reflective patch on his front.
    • The Animorphs use the frolis maneuver to create Taxxon morphs because they don't want to steal sapient beings' appearances.
    • Jake can't distinguish Tom's Hork-Bajir morph from any others at first, but soon comes to recognise it.
  • The Dividual: Ax considers humans and their dæmons to be one being in two bodies, and a Yeerk who controls a human controls their dæmon as well.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Having a large dæmon is akin to a physical disability; people with them need special accommodations such as ground-floor classrooms and can't ride in normal-sized cars.
    • The author's notes for The Abyss liken the quantum virus to COVID-19. The symptoms include reduced or increased senses of taste and smell, and the Yeerks aren't sure how serious it will be at first.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: A couple from Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul:
    • The description says that the Animorphs can't reveal their last names, and it's implied that their dæmons go by pseudonyms. Later fics ignore this, and the Animorphs' surnames are frequently mentioned even before the Yeerks figure out who they are.
    • The cop-controller grabs Quincy (Cassie's dæmon), but this is never mentioned again. Later, David touching Marco's dæmon is a traumatic experience that haunts Marco for the rest of the series.
  • Emotion Control: Some Andalites are good at djafid, or projecting images and emotion with thought-speech. The emotional effect is compared to hearing a capella music in an unknown language. Esplin's constant aura of malice is compared to singing The Imperial March at all times.
  • Empty Shell:
    • Morphs have no consciousness of their own, and are controlled by the morpher's brain in Z-space, which is why human morphs don't have dæmons.
    • Defied in Prometheus in Chains. Temrash 114 claims that there's "nothing left" of Tom and Delareyne, but Merlyse points out that Del settled around the same time that Temrash claims Tom was "broken", which wouldn't have happened if he had no personality to show.
  • Epiphany Therapy: Defied. Rachel understanding she has anger issues doesn’t fix them, not even when two allies die to keep those issues from getting her killed. Tobias finding a real family doesn’t fix the damage his aunt and uncle did. Marco’s extra-strength PTSD can’t be vanished.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Visser One loved the kids she had while infesting Allison Kim in her own fucked up way - protecting them is her price to not take her secrets to the grave.
  • Exposed Extraterrestrials: Poetry's Andalites are aware of the concept of clothing and will wear protective personal equipment when warranted, though they still wander around naked the rest of the time.
  • Fantastic Religious Weirdness: Loren wonders if Jesus died for the sins of all sapient beings, not just humans. There are also several religious rituals related to dæmons; Christians believe that dæmons are closer to God, while Jews self-mutilate theirs at funerals (similar to ripping garments in real life).
  • Fictional Geneva Conventions: Ax invokes the Andalite equivalent while arguing with Estrid - pointing out that she's already massively broken their laws with her bioweapon.
  • Fix Fic: While the series has some aspects of a fix-it, such as addressing continuity errors and solving problems in some very different, less immediately disastrous ways, notably this also makes a great number of new problems appear, and makes the threat posed by the Andalites even more explicit, without the means canon used to defuse it.
  • Foil: This series draws parallels between the Hork-Bajir and Chee. Both are artificial races who were created to be harmless and can see the Dust, but the Hork-Bajir are short-lived, were forced to learn how to fight, and never let their souls get damaged; while the Chee are immortal, couldn't fight even if they wanted to due to their programming, and disabled their ability to see the Dust, damaging their souls in the process.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Tom gets along with the Hork-Bajir more than the other humans in Kref Magh. It's implied that he semi-deliberately becomes a Hork-Bajir nothlit for this reason.
    • At the end of Welcome Home, Tom asks Tobias if there's a weapon so dangerous that no-one could be trusted to use it. This sets up the quantumn virus plan in Destroyer of Worlds.
  • Freedom from Choice: Much of the appeal of infestation to Mr. Tidwell is that he just lost his wife and alone struggles trying to manage his emotions and his life. As soon as Illim shows remorse, Mr. Tidwell forgives him completely and their relationship becomes codependent.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: In The Presence of Justice, when the free Hork-Bajir arrive on the Pool Ship, Sky Hive (a telepathic mass of fungi with the curiosity of a child) asks Eva if their leader is another queen she wishes to mate with. Everyone is either embarrassed or confused.
  • Going Native: After living with the Hork-Bajir for months and not getting along with the other human refugees, Tom learns their language and is accepted into their culture. And then he becomes one of them.
  • Good Running Evil: After The Bright Clear Line, 'Visser One' is actually Eva and Aftran 942 working together.
  • Guilt-Free Extermination War: How the Andalites see the war, how the Yeerks see it (with "kill" replaced with "enslave"), how the team starts off seeing it until Aftran shows up.
    • By the endgame the enemy is everyone who sees things this way. Quoth Cassie: “It’s us versus everyone who thinks that everyone else is just meat.”
  • Heel Realization: Part and parcel of Yeerks joining the peace movement. The Empire's culture is so deeply racist that most Yeerks don't quite get that they're hurting actual people. See Illim in Hospitality and Aftran in Seeing in Color for examples. It takes Ax longer to be fully disillusioned with Andalites, but he gets there.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: In The Presence of Justice, half of the Animorphs and Gonrod go on a mission to a mundane human prison. Marco is horrified to see so many people his age incarcerated there just because they're Hispanic, while Gonrod is shocked that humans arrest minors.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Arbron is delighted to get to invite the Animorphs to come with him to a secret base.
  • I Just Want to Be Free: The motivation of basically everyone. Even the Andalites profess to treasuring freedom but do not lack it, as a species.
    • Most Empire Yeerks, thanks to a horrifically toxic culture, believe that they can only be ‘free’ with a host and don’t care what the host thinks or see them as a person.
    • The Animorphs, free Hork-Bajir, and the Guardians in general are fighting to keep their (sometimes adoptive) planet free from imperialist bodyjacking brainslugs.
    • The Yeerk Peace Movement wants to be free of the fascist government that would destroy them for daring to care about other species and not want to enslave them.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming:
    • All the chapters of The Cowards of Lions except the last contain "lion" in the title.
    • Love the Warrior's chapters are named after Bible quotes, while Abel or Cain's are all Jewish funeral rites.
    • The chapters of Bridge to the Stars and Destroyer of Worlds are named after Yeerk and Andalite idioms, respectively.
    • The Bright Clear Line's chapters are named after chess terms.
    • The chapter titles of The Abyss all begin with a number.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: Visser Three tries to out Visser One as a ‘host sympathizer’ by demanding she shoot one of the children of her previous host dead. Visser One wasn’t a sympathizer in general but was attached to that life … but by this point had been kill-and-replaced by Aftran, who decidedly is. Aftran does it anyway.
  • I'm Having Soul Pains: In Prometheus in Chains, Temrash kicks Merlyse ten feet away from Jake while he's in control of them in order to torture them. Humans and dæmons feel immense psychic pain when they're separated from each other.
  • Interrupted Suicide: In The Presence of Justice, Ax drags Estrid kicking and screaming out of the Ralek River after witnessing her attempting to commit an honour suicide.
  • Interspecies Adoption: Mr. Tidwell (a human) and Illim (a Yeerk) adopt Estrid (an Andalite) to show that there can be peace between their three species as part of the end-of-war negotiations.
  • Interspecies Romance: Besides all the instances of this from canon, Ruby (a human) falls in love with a Hork-Bajir. Downplayed because this Hork-Bajir is Tom, who used to be a human.
  • Kids Raiding the Wine Cabinet: When the Animorphs are forced to retreat to Kref Magh they snatch a bottle of limoncello which comes out a few times and is passed around.
  • Kill and Replace: At the climax of The Bright Clear Line, Eva executes a captured Visser One, and works with Aftran to impersonate the Visser, allowing them to act as a mole at the very top of the invasion.
  • Kill the Host Body:
    • Happens a lot. The Animorphs don’t really have the ability to kill Yeerks any other way, and Aftran reveals that not killing but inflicting severe damage is actually worse - the Yeerk will survive but the host will be killed as useless. Not doing this to Human-controllers gets called out for the specisism it is and is one of the things that leads to them being identified as humans.
    • The Free Hork-Bajir have not having to do this down to a fine art, though they can only manage it on Hork-Bajir they've captured. Good Thing You Can Heal.
  • La Résistance: The greater umbrella organization of anti-Yeerk factions, the Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Lighter and Softer: In some specific ways, Daemorphing is lighter than canon.
    • Tobias has closer relationships with several different people, so his life has more joy in it, plus he's never singled out to be tortured - and because he acts as Ax's dæmon whenever Ax is in human morph, he stays closer to humanity.
    • Ax connects with his sister-in-law Loren, and with the free Hork-Bajir, so he's not as lonely.
    • Marco's mother is saved from Edriss, and even if she then walks back into danger with Aftran in her head, it's a different kind of stress.
    • The Animorphs manage to save Tom, so even though that leads to its own woes Jake isn't tormented knowing about his brother's suffering.
    • Rachel is able to stay more in touch with her inner joy and protectiveness, not lashing out as readily.
    • Cassie has a very hard time either way, but the other Animorphs are more sympathetic to her points of view than in canon, and she doesn't give the Yeerks the morphing cube, so they have one less problem to worry about.
    • And thanks to Loren's efforts the kids all get therapeutic talks with Chee until that alliance splits, so they're not quite as trapped in cycles of trauma.
  • Literal Split Personality: Humans and dæmons are described as two halves of the same mind, and frequently have inner conflicts when making difficult decisions.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Averted; the hundreds of stillborn Yeerks in The Presence of Justice are treated as a tragedy.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The first two chapters of Welcome Home are just a long string of Oh Crap moments as various people find out that the Empire knows the Andalite Bandits are humans, starting with Eva and Aftran and continuing on to the parents - who are also finding out that the war exists as they're being evacuated.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Tom becomes a Hork-Bajir, who only live for about twenty years, and then falls in love with a human called Ruby.
  • Meaningful Name: Ket names the two Toby clones "Tashir", which means "we will climb", and "Tekat", which means "we will leap."
  • Mercy Kill:
    • The Abyss is kicked off when Melissa spares a Hork-Bajir-Controller, allowing the Yeerk to infest her and reveal the Animorphs' secrets. The real Hork-Bajir then puts her out of her misery.
    • Discussed in Five Artworks About the Andalite-Yeerk War. A Hork-Bajir named Inta says they knew Steadfast, a Taxxon queen who died as an involuntary host. Steadfast begged Inta to kill hir, but the Yeerks gave Inta "poison" (probably sedatives) to prevent this.
  • Mind Rape: Touching someone else's dæmon is a serious taboo. We learn why in The Cowardice of Lions; when David grabs Diamanta, Marco describes it feeling like David is licking his brain. In-universe, it's legally considered a kind of rape.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Rachel's mother Naomi mistakenly assumes that Rachel is dating Cassie. While Rachel at no point says she’s not into girls she’s definitely into guys and is dating Tobias. Who turns out to not be a guy after all.
  • Mood Whiplash: Jake's section in the first chapter of Destroyer of Worlds begins with him having a serious conversation with his parents, and ends with him feeling embarrassed about his sexuality.
  • Most Definitely Not Accompanying Us: Played for Drama in Welcome Home. Jake tells Tom that he can't join their mission to rescue some baby Hork-Bajir... but it turns out Tom eavesdropped on their planning meeting and followed them anyway. Jake snaps when he realises this.
  • Multicultural Alien Planet: All of the alien races have multiple cultures. For example:
    • It's mentioned that there are multiple Yeerk and Taxxon languages.
    • Garz, planet of the Iskoort, is home to all sorts of races who partner with Yoorts.
    • While most of the canon Andalites belong to a culture called the Great Gardens who terraformed most of their planet, Gafinilan is an Ixilan, who live on an archipelago and make bonsais of their guide trees. Gonrod is a Wurilit, who are discriminated against in the Great Gardens.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Several human characters are given surnames; David's is Finley, and Tobias' is Calladan, Marco's is López Chen, Cassie's is Clark, and Loren's is St. Clair. Mr. Tidwell is also given the first name Julian, Tobias' human uncle is called Leo, and the Governor from The Absolute is named Celia Hernandez. Tom's second Yeerk is named Carger 8957 (though it's only mentioned once), Sub-Visser Fifty-One is named Korin 782, Erek's real name is Chee-naxes, and Arbron's full name is Arbron-Roaldwur-Ashul.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: Removed from the vanilla series. "I said several words I can’t repeat" becomes "Oh, fuck me with a chainsaw."
  • No Biochemical Barriers: As in Animorphs proper, aliens can breathe Earth air and eat Earth life just fine. However, Andalites have to graze all day just to feel full of nutrient-poor Earth grass. And while Taxxons can and do live on exotic meats and soils, this is not complete nutrition for them and even in the best of circumstances they feel catastrophic Hunger.
  • Non-Heteronormative Society: Hork-Bajir practice polygamy and same-sex marriage, while Andalites don't find same-sex attraction unusual. The humans have difficulty explaining to them why they find this weird.
  • Non-Human Non-Binary: Some Yeerks, Taxxons (who have entirely different conceptions of gender) and at least one Chee. For extra complexity value Yeerks don’t have a native concept of gender because of their bizarre reproductive cycle and all Yeerks with a gender identity picked it up from another species and not all of them picked up human or human-analogous identities. Also, some Andalites are "split-hearted" and referred to as "they" and "daughter-son"s.
  • Not His Sled: The series starts off with straightforward adaptations of Animorphs books but with dæmons, but gradually goes in a completely different direction. For example:
    • In Seeing in Color (based on The Departure), instead of going back to the Yeerk Pool and later Shapeshifter Mode Locking herself as a whale, Aftran decides to share a body with a Chee.
    • In The Cowardice of Lions (based on the David trilogy), the Animorphs kill David instead of turning him into a rat.
    • In Abel or Cain (based on The Conspiracy), instead of breaking Tom's leg, the Animorphs and Chee fake his death so they can take him into hiding and kill his Yeerk.
    • At the start of Welcome Home (based on The Diversion), the Animorphs evacuate Cassie's family last instead of Jake's, leading to Michelle getting infested instead of Jake's parents.
    • The permanent residents of the children's hospital never get the morphing power; instead, they join the war by becoming voluntary-ish controllers. This, combined with Tom's second Yeerk already being dead, means that the Yeerks never get the morphing cube. Instead, the Yeerks and Taxxons' salvation is reconnecting with their pre-Empire cultures, thus fixing their souls.
  • Not Used to Freedom: It's mentioned that some Hork-Bajir are so accustomed to being controlled that being without masters scares them, and they have to be taught freedom.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The Abyss completely shakes up the status quo as the war reaches its endgame. The Guardians of the Galaxy are forced to evacuate Kref Magh after the Yeerks learn about it, which had been their homebase for much of the series. The main conflict is about how to give the Yeerks the quantum virus that will remove their ability to control their hosts without the hosts' consent, and it ends with the implication that the invasion will be exposed to the public soon.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Used briefly by Tobias to make Visser Three decide he’s unfit to be a host in Carry On Wayward Son by pretending to have a bad leg. Used longer by Loren. As in the source series, the morphing power repairs her eyes and restores her sight, but she continues living her life as a blind woman for months.
  • O.C. Stand-in: This series fleshes out a couple of alien races that were only mentioned in passing in canon. The Ssstram (briefly mentioned by Temrash 114 in The Capture) were one of the first species the Yeerks conquered, but they're not seen on Earth because its gravity is too strong for them. The Kelbrid, a warrior race that went to war with the Andalites so long ago that neither can remember what the other looks like, are colonies of psychically-linked, aquatic worms who travel outside of their ships in water bubbles.
  • Our Humans Are Different: It's brought up many times that dæmons are a fundamental part of being human. They find it weird that most alien races only have one line of consciousness, even though that's exactly how real humans think.
  • Our Souls Are Different: While the humans have dæmons, the other alien races have their own connections to the Dust, called "anchors":
    • Andalites' anchors are their guide trees, which can communicate telepathically and bloom when their Andalite emotionally matures. A guide tree will be connected to many Andalites throughout its lifespan.
    • The Hork-Bajir lack a physical anchor; instead, they can see the dust. The Arn created them with this ability partly to maintain Dust creation on their homeworld, and partly because physical anchors are a burden.For example...  Turns out the Chee had this ability too, but they disabled it when the Pemalites went extinct because they couldn't bear the pain.
    • The Yeerks' anchors are other sapients, be they hosts or other Yeerks. Solitary confinement is a Fate Worse than Death for them, and all of the Empire's Yeerks are spiritually starving because they've been taught to close themselves off from others' feelings.
    • The Taxxons' anchors are the Living Hive, a telepathic super-organism that grows in soil and helps regulate their hunger. The Empire's Taxxons are also spiritually starving because they're far away from it. A group of rebel Taxxons smuggled a Living Hive to Earth, and helped Aftran & Eva to smuggle another one onto the Pool Ship.
    • It's possible to change one's anchor. Approximately two years after Arbron became a Taxxon nothlit, he changed his anchor from his guide tree to the Living Hive.
  • Outliving One's Offspring:
    • Elfangor had an Andalite wife and two children after he was taken away from Loren, who all died of a disease.
    • The Animorphs fake Tom's death in Abel or Cain, causing Jean and Steve to think this happened to them. The author has said in the comments that this will almost certainly happen for real later down the line; Hork-Bajir only live for about 20 years, so it's highly likely Tom will die before his still-human parents.
    • The Abyss begins with the Chapmans wondering what happened to Melissa. She dies at the end of the chapter.
  • Painless Death for a Price: In Abel or Cain, the Animorphs fake Tom's death so he can go live in the woods. They ask his Yeerk to let Tom go free in exchange for a quick death, and he accepts.
  • Planet of Hats: Played with, Defied, and Justified with the various aliens.
    • The Yeerk Empire Yeerks all come from a single settlement and the empire ruthlessly cracks down on dissent. Several characters state that various dissidents would be perfectly normal elsewhere on the Yeerk homeworld.
    • The Hork-Bajir and Taxxon cultures from their homeworlds were mostly wiped out between the Yeerk conquest and other apocalyptic events.
  • Posthumous Narration: Like in canon, this series has the Framing Device that all of the narrators are writing down the events in a journal, but there are several cases of characters narrating up to the points of their deaths, such as Melissa in The Abyss.
  • Predators Are Mean: Thoroughly subverted, both with dæmons and with carnivorous aliens. The Taxxons with their insatiable Hunger are alarming and have a dark sense of humor, but are still people with motivations more complex than finding their next meal.
  • Questionable Consent: Any host-Yeerk relationships under the Empire is this at best. Even with Peace Movement Yeerks, the hosts have no power, often don't have a real informed choice about being infested, and get no option to take it slow or walk away. Peace Movement hosts are able to escape on a few separate occasions, but it means abandoning their old lives and becoming refugees.
    • Ex-voluntary Julissa, rhapsodizing on how being infested made her better at understanding people, doesn't mention whether her Yeerk's previous hosts consented to have the intimate details of their lives shared with her.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Touching someone else's dæmon is considered a form of rape. Marco is shaken up when David touches Dia in The Cowardice of Lions, and this is the final straw that convinces the Animorphs to get rid of him. Actual rape comes up later; the reason why there are no Hork-Bajir-Controllers in the Yeerk Peace Movement is because they're all involuntaries, and the Yeerks forcibly propagate them.
  • Recursive Fanfiction: There are several one shots based off this, in addition to the author's own divergences.
    • Through Bars, showing a scene in The Tree Of Life from another perspective, has been canonized.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: There are virtually no Peace Movement-aligned Yeerks with Hork-Bajir hosts - any who had one found a way out of that assignment as quickly as possible. This is because Hork-Bajir are captive bred. A sympathetic Yeerk giving their host up to the free Hork-Bajir, as in Mother Sky and Father Deep, is assumed to be participating in that and regarded with the same hostility as any other Yeerk.
  • Religious Robot: Loren has a conversation with a Chee (a race of millennia-old alien robots) who lived as a Christian for a while. The Chee explains that their creators, the Pemalites, worshipped the divine spark of chaos that brought fun into the universe.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: It's mentioned that few people in the world have dolphin dæmons; since dæmons can't take the form of sapient beings, this implies that most dolphin species are sapient in this setting.
  • Self-Mutilation Demonstration: Jake makes the point that when you can morph, pain and damage don't really matter by having Ax cut his hand off.
  • Sensory Overload: In Five Artworks About the Andalite-Yeerk War, the Taxxon art installation Steadfast is a Yeerk ship filled with stimuli designed to trigger Taxxons' Horror Hunger, such as bright lights, dry air, and earthquake-like vibrations. Some criticise it for being torture for Taxxons but harmless to anyone else, others thing it's a brilliant commentary on how the Yeerks didn't care about their hosts' well-being, and an autistic human says she relates to the overstimulation.
  • Shapeshifting Heals Wounds: As in canon, but characters are more aware of and willing to exploit it, doing things like starting to morph after being wounded and reversing the morph as soon as the injury is repaired.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock:
    • Aldrea, Arbron, Elfangor, and Tobias all become nothlits as in canon, but Aftran doesn't become a whale, nor does David get trapped as a rat.
    • Instead, Tom ends up spending too long as a Hork-Bajir; and after Alloran is killed, Esplin infests Gafinilan and nothlits him in Alloran's body.
    • Loren becomes an Andalite nothlit in A Place to Stand's alternate timeline.
    • The author makes a point of averting this with the Yeerks and Taxxons; they took issue with two entire species essentially committing genocide on themselves being portrayed as a happy ending.
  • Sharing a Body: When a human morphs, their dæmon disappears, and both of their consciousnesses exist within the morphed form. The human controls it, but both of them can mentally communicate with each other and thought-speak to everyone else.
  • Short-Lived Organism: It's mentioned that Hork-Bajir reach maturity at two years of age and rarely live to be twenty.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Mielan spawning are named after Jake's Yeerk from Voluntary.
    • Essa 283, the Yeerk who gets put into Dan, is named after Essa 412, which is what Tom's second Yeerk was called in Eleutherophobia.
    • Elizabeth from Sporadic Phantoms appears briefly in The Presence of Justice.
  • Significant Name Shift: When Mr. Tidwell comes to trust Illim, Illim tells him his actual name, Iniss 799.
  • Sixth Ranger: After adding David, as canon did, and having to remove him, the Animorphs end up adding Tobias's mother, Loren, to the team. Loren, understanding the stakes and being motivated to help as David never was, has friction with her teammates sometimes but is a much better Animorph. Later in the series, Tom also receives the morphing power, but it doesn't last very long. Afterwards, Melissa, Julissa, Jamal, and Walter join the Animorphs, followed by Mr. Tidwell.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Well, they're seen that way, especially venomous ones. After Dia settles, Marco can no longer convincingly play the harmless, clueless kid.
  • Something Only They Would Say: When Toby and the Animorphs investigate the Ralek River, they ask each other questions to make sure the others aren't the ship's Andalites in morph.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Saddler was never hit by a car, so David doesn't have the opportunity to Kill and Replace him. Also, Jara Hamee, Rachel, Tom, and some of the Campsite Rule (AKA the Auxiliary Animorphs) all make it to the end of the war.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Are increasingly missed as the series progresses. The first few installments are essentially Animorphs + dæmons, but by The Tree Of Life the specifics of canon events have fully left the building.
  • The Story That Never Was: Played with in A Place To Stand. None of the events happened but the information and memories acquired radically change the course of the series.
  • Symbiotic Possession: The only kind the Yeerk Peace Movement believes is OK. Unlike canon, what precisely this means is explored, a lot. And it's not the only thing they're interested in.
    • Notable cases include Tidwell and Illim, Cassie and Aftran, and Eva and Aftran while impersonating Visser One.
    • Rachel and Tobias use morphing to do this with each other as well.
  • Switching P.O.V.: Most fics have multiple narrators per chapter.
  • Team Member in the Adaptation: Inverted with the "Auxiliary Animorphs"; while they get involved with the war in their own way and meet the Animorphs a few times, they never get the morphing power and are physically far away from the main plot. They call themselves the Campsite Rule instead.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Not all the groups in the Guardians of the Galaxy get along. The Free Hork-Bajir don't like the Peace Movement, the Peace Movement has its own internal divisions, former involuntary hosts don't always get along with former Peace Movement hosts, Eva hates being infested at all, and the Chee outright quit over the plan to use a bioweapon to make involuntary infestation impossible.
  • Terrestrial Sea Life: Humans who've settled as aquatic animals don't need to keep their dæmons in water. They aren't 'real' animals and won't suffocate, but water is more comfortable and allows them to move. Tanks that can be worn on character's backs or put on wheels come up many times, and homes modified to have clear plumbing allowing a dæmon to swim freely from room to room.
  • Theory Tunnel Vision: In The Herdmoot, Arbron's parents assumed he died years ago when his Guide Tree went dormant. After learning he became a Taxxon nothlit, they still think he died years ago and another Taxxon is pretending to be him in the present, because it's easier than accepting that Taxxons are people.
  • There Are No Therapists: Defied. Thanks to the Chee and Elgat Kar, therapy is actually available.
  • Threesome Subtext: Subverted. Poetry deliberately built up Jake–Marco–Cassie subtext and then it actually happens in Destroyer of Worlds.
  • To Win Without Fighting: The Guardians of the Galaxy don't have the technology to fight the Andalites who are planning to blow up Earth, so they stage a diplomatic meeting instead. It works.
  • Translator Collar: Most Taxxons wear these because they have difficulty pronouncing other species' languages; however, the translations are imperfect and have trouble interpreting idioms and honorifics.
  • Voices Are Mental: It's noted multiple times that thought-speak voices sound like people's out-loud voices (when applicable); for example, when the Yeerks interrogate Loren under the assumption that she's David, Jaxom pretends to be him because his mental voice sounds more like a teenage boy's.
  • Wham Episode: Welcome Home starts with the Yeerks figuring out the Animorphs' identities, so they have to rush to evacuate their families. They save Cassie's family for last, causing Michelle to get lured into The Sharing and infested by a sub-visser. Then at the end, Tom becomes a Hork-Bajir nothlit.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Dissected in much greater detail than in canon. In Welcome Home, during a battle against Hork-Bajir Controllers Jake encounters a Human-Controller and briefly starts his usual consideration when fighting humans, how to get her out of the way without killing her, before giving up on it. The host is present and probably unwilling, but that's the case with most people he fights.
  • Wise Tree: Daemorphing takes a concept which comes up once in canon - that Elfangor has a psychic Guide Tree that can't quite speak or comprehend events like a person can, but can hear and understand his feelings - and develops it into the Andalite equivalent of dæmons, much as in His Dark Materials bears have armor.
  • The Worm That Walks: The Kelbrid are hive-minds of thousands of bioluminescent worms.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Various characters and the series itself. Canon obviously has the Animorphs in constant peril, but dodges out of permanently killing them or harming other threatened children until the finale - in Daemorphing, sometimes those threats are realized.
  • Xenophobic Herbivore: Andalites. The military might be mild or helpful to a few alien individuals they consider harmless, maybe, but they don't care about even whole innocent civilizations if those are in the way of something they're threatened by.

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