Okay, so I’ve been a bit distracted the last few days, but I haven’t forgotten about these. The herbivore/carnivore split is something I wanted to talk about, because it really is an important part of the book, and something that I think is really furry about it. Herbivores are stereotyped as shyer, more skittish, more submissive; carnivores are aggressive and, well, predatory.
But in this book, the herbivores are generally the predatory ones (I have gotten some flak for this, to which I say: hey! I made prominent herbivore characters! and also wait until book 2). Sol, a wolf, is going vegetarian to be more like his herbivore boyfriend, and that’s the first time we see him–not only giving up meat, but giving in to someone else (even though Carcy didn’t ask him to give up meat). Niki, the other carnivore main character, is even more subject to the caprices of his predatory herbivore.
The role reversal is kind of a thematic way to say that you don’t have to be locked into being a particular kind of person based on your birth. Niki embodies this in another sense in his hinted-at background: he was born to a Russian family and meant to be a soldier, but he ran away. Sol, too, is trying to fight against the expectation that he’s going to be a leader just because he’s a wolf.
With furries, we often use species as a shorthand for archetypes of people, either as they are or as they are expected to be. In Green Fairy, I tried to play off expectations: the wolf has to learn strength, the chamois humility, the fox independence. There is the pressure of living up to what the world expects of you while trying to be true to what’s inside of you–or, in the case of furries, outside of you as well. Just because you have fangs and carnassials doesn’t mean you have to bite people.