You're walking in a forest and spot a wee rabbit. Cute thing, so happy and harmless. You take a breath and turn your back, only to see a shadow stretch in front of you. You spin around. The rabbit is gone. In its place is a dragon, or a demon ... hard to tell, being in its belly.
The Shapeshifter - A character or creature that can change their appearance or transform into other creatures or objects, often at will.
This trope is not to be confused with The Transformation, which is a single changing event (think Hulk or Beauty and the Beast). Proper use of The Shapeshifter can add fun and terrifying elements to a story and can be used in many "forms" (hehe). There are stories (< like this) that revolve around this premise.
Villains often make good use of this trope by copying someone (to which they then usually dispose of them) so they can enter a place with a disguise that no one will question.
Watch out, dude! (Warning: graphic example)
They can even use themselves to make their own weapons, but not all Shifters have to be bad. Some could just be ... misunderstood.
(Good clean fun example here).
Often times it's the good guys who makes the best Shapeshifters, but when it comes down to telling stories, there are fewer tropes than this that will keep you on your toes (or keep you guessing).
Ever implemented The Shapeshifter in your writing? What are your favorite examples of this trope? Why does sand get everywhere?
I'm David, and this was bloody brilliant!