I absolutely adore the ‘misunderstood monsters’ trope, which applies to real life as well with animals. Often a horrifying animal is actually really harmless, like the whiptail scorpion or tarantulas in general. Did you know that if you don’t handle a tarantula carefully, you could drop them and shatter them like glass? Meanwhile, most species have a bite that will just leave you a little sick.
Anyway, the trope can be played around with in fiction, and I tend to have a blast doing so! In fact, I do it with my vampires
, where they can be monsters with morals. You can play around with this via other creatures too. Imagine a giant scorpion that actually acts like a puppy dog, very intelligent and loyal, unless of course you piss them off?
I find that there’s many misunderstood animals in nature, like bats, snakes, millipedes, rats, corvids, the list goes on. To me, all of them are beautiful and never symbols of evil. I detest, heavily, when people try to pin them as ‘bad omens’. Not only is it going against my personal beliefs, but it leads to harm and uncaring against innocent animals.
In this way, the misunderstood monster trope can be really helpful to bring attention to this sort of thing. An allegory for real life. Contrasting it with ‘something that looks innocent but is actually incredibly dangerous’ would make for an excellent story. After all, the most normal-looking people often hide some really dark secrets.
Think about how you would utilize this trope in your works, or if you’re a reader, your favorite times when you saw it. Be sure to talk about this when discussing books as well, if you like the trope! Seeing more of it in fantasy would be lovely.
Also, be sure to check out my blog post link if you’re interested in creators’ thoughts on vampires in general! It’s a Deep Dive research piece I worked hard on.