Why there are no elf-human hybrids in Elfquest.

The question comes up, from time to time, about whether or not there can be elf-human cross-breeds in the world of Elfquest. The short answer is no.

Here’s the longer answer, with amplification (maybe even up to 11):

We (Wendy and Richard) decided long ago, at the very beginning, that there would be no elf-human hybrids in the world of Elfquest. Mostly, we did this for one very good reason: many other fantasy worlds allow them. To us, the elf-human mix has become, well, kind of tired and a bit boring. We don’t know where the first elf-human cross-breed appeared in fantastic literature, but it’s a stone fact that you don’t have to look far on the shelves in the fantasy section of the local Barnes & Noble to find some thick tome (or trilogy) that includes them. We always wanted Elfquest to be different.

For Elfquest specifically, and tales in general, we have a storytelling rule that we stick to just as much as possible. In symbols, it is:

0 1 ∞

In words, it is this: A thing is either impossible (meaning it has a 0 chance of happening), unique (meaning there is truly only 1 example of it, ever) or it is common (thus, potentially, infinite). For example: We allowed Timmain, who was very magically powerful in the beginning of EQ history, to shape-change down to the genetic level and mate with a wolf to create the Wolfriders. So such a feat was not impossible, but we decided that it would be a unique thing. It could happen only once in the world of Elfquest, to avoid having a million elf-animal creatures running around. (And, knowing something about how fanfic works, there would indeed be many elf-cat, elf-hawk, elf-platypus hybrids out there eventually.) We’ve also decided that the same applies to elf-troll crosses. As you all know, Winnowill mated with a troll to produce Two-Edge. But she also manipulated herself down to the cellular-genetic level to do this, because that’s the kind of perversely curious creature Winnowill had become. But once again, we’re going to keep that a unique occurrence.

Odd as it may seem, Recognition must fall into the “common” category, because it can happen more than once, even to the same elf couple. But here’s where craft plays its role. Even though it’s allowed, a good storyteller will not overuse a concept such as Recognition, lest it lose its power. For the Wolfriders, a small tribe often in danger, it is rare but frequent enough to allow the group to survive. And it is always welcomed. The Go-Backs have found a way to dispense with it altogether, and simply make more Go-Back babies as they need them. Leetah looked upon it as an unwelcome invasion of her personal integrity, until she let herself understand more fully. Recognition may potentially be common, but it should never be used in such a way that it feels common.

However, some things will stay impossible – and elf-human mating will be one of those. (We should note, that doesn’t exclude the possibility of elf-human sex. Remember, Little Patch – youthfully wanting so much to be like an elf – attempted to join with Aroree. That experience freaked him out, but it’s not impossible that another encounter might have different results. But again, a good storyteller will be sparing with such ideas, to avoid having them become humdrum and/or smarmy.)

Now, we must admit, we did allow a “what-if” tale to go into print, King’s Cross, that explored what the history of the Wolfriders might have been had Cutter been the son of an elf-human joining. Even that story, however, remains a one-of-a-kind thread in the entire Elfquest tapestry.