Laurell K. Hamilton does a superb job bringing Anita’s world to life but it’s easy to lose track of what shapeshifters there are in the Anitaverse. Never fear, Andie is here to help. This article will tell you which lycanthropes there are as well as other shapeshifters and a little bit about them. I will even tell you what the other magickal beings there are in the books. How Anita manages such a harem is beyond me. How Laurell keeps everyone and everything straight is absolutely astounding. My hat is off to both women. Now on to the magick…
So shapeshifting is the ability to change the shape of your body in some form or fashion. There are different reasons for shapeshifting. It could be an infection, a curse, something you were born into, or even a side effect of your race.
Lycanthropy, also called therianthropy, is what I call an infected shapeshifting. A person is attacked, whether bitten or scratched or both and then there is a change at the next full moon. There is a vaccination for lycanthropy but in some cases, it has infected the patient rather than inoculating them. You can also get a shot if you get attacked. There are a few possible outcomes in this decision. If you get attacked you can get a shot with a different kind of lycanthropy to cancel out the first. So if you get bit by a werewolf, you can get shot with a wereleopard shot. Ideally, the leopard would cancel out the wolf and you stay human. The next is the attack would not have caused the infection but you will turn furry because of the shot. The last possibility is that you turn into a panwere and can turn into two different animals.
There are many different were groups. The most common are Werewolf, wererat, and werehyena. Less common are the werelion and the wereleopard. The most uncommon are the weretiger (golden, white, black, red, blue, yellow), werebear, werefox, werejaguars, werejackals, and the werecougar.
Panweres are also pretty rare. The first one we come in contact with within the series is Chimera. Chimera has his human form as well as lion, leopard, hyena, anaconda, werewolf, and bear. He was hoping cobra as well but had died before he could see if the infection took. Anita is also a panwere. She has a leopard, wolf, lioness, tigress, and one yet to be named.
Richard is the Ulfric for the werewolves of St. Louis. They are Jean-Claude’s animal to call. Rafel is the Rat King of the St. Louis Rodere. Micha and Anita are the Nimir-Raj/Nimir-Ra of the St. Louis pard of wereleopards. Narcissus is the hermaphrodite leader of the werehyenas. Narcissus only allows men in his pack. It is a Rex and Regina who lead werelion prides. Nicky leads the St. Louis Pride.
The leader for the werecobras is called a Kadra or Kashyapa, female and male respectively. A werebear queen is called an Ursa. Weretigers are a matriarchal society and are led by a Queen. Anita is the Queen of tigers. The majority of the country’s werejaguars live in New Mexico and are led by Itzpapalotl, the self-proclaimed Aztec Goddess.
Inherited shapeshifting means you were born with the ability to shift. Shifters like this are the wereanaconda, werecobra, weredogs, weretiger (Golden, white, black, red, blue, yellow). Swanmanes are swans. They are the only nonpredator wereanimal group in the series so far. They can be born with the ability to change shape like the rest of them or the change can be forced because of a curse. Donovan Reece is the Swan King for the whole world. Only one Swan King and Queen are born a generation.
Magickal shapeshifting is shapeshifting because of a spell. Spells that lend a person the shape of an animal temporarily usually kill the shapeshifter whose skin they use. It’s either the skinning or the spell that kills. Either way, the shifter is dead and the caster has a one-time use shape. Swanmanes are also in this category because there are swanmanes that are swanmanes because of a curse such as Kaspar Gunderson.
Other shapeshifters that are in the series are naga, lamia, roanes/selkies, and dragons. The dragons are not the Chinese dragons or even the English ones. They are Aztec ones. A lamia is a half-human, half-snake being that was thought to be extinct, but the one that Anita has tried to kill more than once still lives. Lastly, there are a few other magickal beings in the series. We have seen the fae, trolls, ghouls that haunt cemeteries that are no longer Holy ground, Raina’s ghost, and Anita raises zombies all the time.
These are all the ones I can remember. It’s quite a list. Did I miss any? Do you want to know more? Let me know in the comments below. Until next week…
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