Basically I’m wondering whether it’s totally weird or if people wouldn’t give much thought to it. I’ll use Zootopia as an example. If the main characters (a fox and a rabbit) were in a relationship, would that be really off putting?

  • 6
    The answer may depend on who your target reader is.
    – NofP
    Aug 26 '19 at 17:27
  • Zootopia seems to have done quite well though.
    – NofP
    Aug 26 '19 at 17:28
  • 3
    Were you taken aback by the Donkey from Shrek movies marrying Dragon (and having offsprings)?
    – Mori
    Aug 27 '19 at 7:19
  • I'd be spending a lot of time distracted by wondering how the respective parts are supposed to align if the species are too different, but I may not be the target audience for your story. I had a neighbor who had a dog who was half Chihuahua and half German Shepherd. Both parents were dogs, and I still wonder which was which and how the, uh, kibble aligned with the bits. Aug 27 '19 at 9:48
  • @LaurenIpsum: Disney's solution to that problem was to include a scene at a nudist colony, revealing that all of the characters conveniently don't have any of those parts to begin with. (Actually, the real reason was probably so that they could show animals "going feral" later on in the film without the sudden nudity distracting the audience. And also because it was funny.)
    – Kevin
    Aug 31 '19 at 3:12

I think people would not give much thought to it, particularly if no other characters gave much thought to it.

On the other hand, if other characters are upset about this cross-species "mixed marriage", that is going to strike close to home for people that are on both sides of the divide with regard to real-life so-called "mixed marriages" (between races, ethnicities, nationalities or religions).

If you write it so nobody even notices, you won't have a problem, it will be like a tall man marrying a short woman. Or vice versa. Or a redhead marrying a blond. Or --- like on The Big Bang Theory -- a pretty model marrying (for love) a short, insecure, glasses-wearing physicist with asthma. Unusual but unobjectionable.

The reaction will depend on your treatment.

  • 2
    This is a very apropos answer for Zootopia in particular, which quite deliberately uses the predator/prey distinction as a metaphor for all kinds of social divisions (in-universe, it's handwaved as "We evolved out of the whole 'eating each other' thing a long time ago," but characters are still prejudiced, in both directions, all the same).
    – Kevin
    Aug 31 '19 at 3:10

In real life, interspecies romance is severely frowned upon and illegal in most countries. However, it is a standard trope in science fiction and fantasy (and funny animal/anthropomorphic stories, like Omaha the Cat Dancer and Albedo), and so I'd not worry too much.

If neither character is human, then I don't think any of your readers will even blink an eye (so long as both are humanoid and mammalian at least).

You could make it off-putting, as Amadeus suggests, if for example you establish foxes as predators of rabbits first and then try to introduce a relationship. That'd have some weird undercurrents. There are some extremely uncomfortable situations in Beatrix Potter stories, for example, where a pair of animals - both of whom are fully sentient and wearing clothes - are having a cup of tea together, while at the same time one of them (a predator animal) is scheming to actually eat the children of the other one (a herbivore).


BoJack Horseman?

Seems to be a decent tradition of this trope. Not sure what it means. It might be a way to chat about diversity without appropriating anything.

Just wait til our cats learn to read or talk. They are going to have a few harsh words for us.

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