5

In Animorphs #18, The Decision, Ax is shocked when Visser Three morphs a six-winged kafit bird, a creature native to the Andalite home world. His shock stems from realizing the evil Visser must have visited the Andalite home world, an outrageous, offensive thing to have happen.

But...why this conclusion? Wouldn’t Visser Three’s host (Alloran?) have acquired a kafit bird as a matter of course in his upbringing?

I think I even remember it mentioned in some book that Andalites usually acquire a kafit, and/or one other native animal to the home world, to get practice in morphing. Am I misremembering that?

The answer may well be “KASU” (Katherine Applegate Screws Up), but I’d like to know if I’m misremembering something, and where/when that mention of common practice morphs was.

Also, any in-universe reasonable answer is welcome.

  • KASU or the ghostwriters again? – IG_42 Aug 1 '18 at 17:15
  • @IG_42 - Book #18 wasn't one of the ghostwritten books. – ibid Aug 1 '18 at 17:19
7

In-universe answer

Ax wasn't thinking clearly. It was in the middle of a tense situation and Visser Three was messing with his head.

Out-of-universe answer

It's a KASU.

I was wondering, why in book 18 did Ax automatically assume that Visser Three had been to the Andalite homeworld when he had a bird morph from there? Didn't you say in an earlier book that when a yeek takes control of a host, it controls all it's functions-including passed morphs? So Visser Three could have had that morph simply because the Andalite that he has control over (whose name I can't remember) simply had the morph from before he was infested. I recall reading in the Andalite Chronicles that young Andalites morphed birds for fun, which would suggest even more that The Visser has never been to the Andalite home world. Why would Ax, who can probably master everything from sewing to Brain Surgery not think of the obvious in a very important situation? You tell me.

KAA: Ummm. Hmm. Well . . . uh, that would be because of the fact that while Ax is very smart, certain human authors are not. Darn. Messed up again.
Scholastic.com’s ‘According to K.A.’ - June 1998

Okay in 18 Ax notices that V3 has a bird morph from the Andalite Homeworld, and he gets suspicious. But in the AC Elfangor says that every warrior in training gets the morphing power and the chance to test it on the bird, and another animal so wouldn't Alloran already have the morph?

KAA: You know, I could save myself a lot of grief by just not answering questions like this. (Sigh). Okay, add this to the BIG list of KASU's: Katherine Applegate Screws Up.
Scholastic.com’s ‘According to K.A.’ - February 1999

It's also worth noting that the original purpose of the passage was to advance an abandoned plot thread where the yeerks had secretly invaded the andalite homeworld. This was first alluded to in book eight, where Alloran uses his few free moments to warn Ax.

< Yes, War-Prince Alloran. I will tell them. Do you have any other orders for me? >

He reached up with one weakened hand. I took his hand in mine. < Fight them. They are stronger than you think. They have . . . they have infiltrated . . .they are on the home world . . . fight. . . >

His fingers were limp. He fell silent, unconscious.

It's then brought up in book #18 with this bird incident, and with the discovery of the traitor andalites at the end of the book. After that it disapears and is never brought up again.

In book 8, Alloran (while temporarily free of Visser Three's control) informed Ax that the Yeerks were on the Andalite Homeworld. This theme was echoed in book 18 (Ax gets worried when Visser Three morphs an Andalite bird), but it seems that nothing ever came of it after that. Is there any particular reason you dropped this plot point?

KAA & MG: Yes. We probably forgot it. Sometimes when you write a series you sort of scatter seeds, hoping one will grow. Unfortunately many are just eaten by birds.
QnA With the Authors of Animorphs - March 2010

5

It's a KASU.

As you said, kafit are part of the starter pack when you start learning to morph, as per this extract of The Andalite Chronicles (this is Elfangor talking):

An an Andalite aristh, I'd been trained in morphing. Back at training they first transformed us with the morphing technology. And they gave us a djabala to acquire and morph.

A djabala is a small, six-legged animal, maybe a third the size of a young Andalite. It has a mouth and a tail and no natural weapons. It lives by climbing trees and eating the highest leaves.

You have to morph the djabala in order to pass the morphing proficiency test. So I did. But then, like a lot of arisths, I morphed a kafit bird. I have heard that some planets have many types of bird. But since we only have three, and since the kafit is the best species of the three, it's popular with young cadets looking for fun.

The Andalite Chronicles, chapter 13 (emphasis mine)

The "other native animal" you remembered is the djabala, which is mandatory. The kafit is popular, though. It's not unlikely, then, that Alloran would have a kafit morph, even if it's not obligatory. This is confirmed by the fact that this "Yeerks have infiltrated the home world" is never actually brought up again.

This headscratchers list (Warning! TVTropes link!) analyze makes a point:

It would be difficult, if not impossible, to infiltrate Andalite society at this point. The Yeerk invasion plans rely heavily on not being noticed. There's no way to get a Yeerk pool on the planet, and since the Andalites know about Yeerks, they could just starve any suspected Controllers of Kandrona rays very easily.

... And even has the courtesy to redirect us to this forum post with a Word of God:

capnnerefir wrote:

1.) In book 8, Alloran (while tempoarily free of Visser Three's control) informed Ax that the Yeerks were on the Andalite Homeworld. This theme was echoed in book 18 (Ax gets worried when Visser Three morphs an Andalite bird), but it seems that nothing ever came of it after that. Is there any particular reason you dropped this plot point?

[...]

  1. Yes. We probably forgot it. Sometimes when you write a series you sort of scatter seeds, hoping one will grow. Unfortunately many are just eaten by birds.

Just to clarify: this seems to answer "Why was the Yeerks invading the homeland never brought up again?" rather than "Why was Ax surprised?", and it does, but Ax's surprise was precisely intended to bring that plot point (and The Andalite Chronicles came out later). Apart from that, it's worth noticing that he's shipwrecked on an alien planet (Earth), disconnected from a good bunch of things he knows, and has just been faced with Supreme Leader evil chief Visser 3. He's likely to jump to conclusions, adrenaline kicking in and all.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.