W is for Werewolves #atozchallenge

Posted 26th April 2013 by Anstice in Blog Fests & Hops, BOOKS, Entertainment / 🗨2 Comments

[A Mexican grey wolf by HOTN Stock]

Today I’m continuing with the Blogging from A-Z Challenge hosted by Arlee Bird and his team of awesome bloggers. My theme is: Elements and features of speculative fiction and entertainment. So throughout April I will be blogging about characters, objects and themes that appear in sci-fi, fantasy and dystopian series. Today’s post is all about Werewolves.

Werewolves are legendary humans that are cursed to transform into wolf-like creatures, usually on the three nights of the full moon.

Transformation

  • A person becomes a werewolf when they are bitten by another werewolf, but only if they live to tell the tale. In some stories it doesn’t matter whether the werewolf is in wolf or human form when they bite their victim, but in the Harry Potter series, a human who is bitten by a werewolf in human-form will only aquire some lupine tendencies. Bill Weasley, for example, gains a craving for very rare meat, but does not transform.
  • In The Vampire Diaries, a werewolf has to kill a human in order to trigger their werewolf gene and activate their powers. Otherwise they will only experience fits of aggression and rage during a full moon.
  • The monthly transformation is usually described as a painful experience. In The Vampire Diaries, werewolves endure at least five hours of intense pain during their first transformation. After this, their transformations will be faster but still hurt. During the transformation, their body is twisted in an unnatural manner as bones reshape and shift to form a wolf skeleton.
  • In the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, the cold triggers a werewolf to transform into wolf-form. They stay in this form all winter, gradually staying in their wolf-form for longer and longer periods of time, until they remain as wolves permenently.  

Appearance

  • Werewolves usually look like normal humans until the full moon. During their transformed phase they can look identical to real wolves, or merely develop wolf-like characteristics such as long muzzle, hair pointed ears and sharp claws.
  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Lupin’s werewolf form is very similar to that of a true wolf, and students must be taught to distinguish between the two. However, in the film version his form  is a gruesomely stretched upright creature with a long snout and long, bony limbs. He has little hair, and alternates between walking on two legs and four. 
  • In The Vampire Diaries, werewolves in their wolf form have the appearance of an ordinary wolf, but with glowing yellow eyes and a much larger appearance. In human form their eyes turn yellow when enraged.
  • In the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, they look similar to real wolves when not in their human form, except larger.

Traits 

  • When in their wolf form, werewolves are savage and feral rather than rational and often hunt humans to satisfy their appetite. Hermione Granger says they would kill even their best friends, if they had the chance.
  • In many stories, werewolves retain no memories of what they do during their transformation, with the exception of the Harry Potter series, where they do seem to remember their actions. 
  • In Twilight, Children of the Moon rarely form packs, and they usually run alone, or with one companion of the opposite gender. 
  • Some werewolves are remorseful about the damage they do in their wolf form and try to control their animalistic impulses. Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Tyler Lockwood from the Vampire Diaries both use physical restraints such as ropes or cages to try to stop themselves from harming humans when transformed. Remus Lupin from Harry Potter drinks Wolfsbane potion toallow him to keep his human mind during the transformation, which makes him less dangerous. 
  • Other werewolves believe that their wolf form is their true self and revel in the destruction they can cause. Fenir Greyback from Harry Potter, noted to be the most savage werewolf in history,  deliberately seeks out children to bite and turn them, with the eventual goal of having enough strength to take control of the wizarding community. Veruca from Buffy the Vampire Slayer refuses to be locked up and lets her instincts dominate her actions in either form.

Strengths and Superpowers

  • Like vampires, they have super strength, speed and agility, as well as heightened senses and increased healing power. Their powers are enhanced when angry or during a full moon.
  • Werewolves are capable of sensing strong emotions and are attracted by sexual heat. 
  • In Twilight, Children of the Moon are immune to vampire venom. They have heightened strength and speed that make them both deadly and difficult to kill.
  • In The Vampire Diaries, the bite of a werewolf is fatal to vampires, making them their most dangerous enemies.

Weaknesses 

  • In traditional folklore, werewolves can be killed with silver, particularly a silver bullet. However, this is not the case in Twilight or Harry Potter and in The Vampire Diaries it has the opposite effect of allowing werewolves to heal even quicker.
  • In The Vampire Diaries, wolfsbane causes a werewolf to become severly weak and feverish and can burn their skin on contact, having a similar effect to vervain on vampires. They can be killed by decapitation, removal of the heart, a broken neck or ancient curses.

Werewolves in Society

  • Werewolves are usually outcasts due to their dangerous nature.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer there are some that hunt werewolves, but the Scooby gang believe that werewolves can’t be held accountable for their actions in wolf-form, and Oz becomes a trusted member of their group, helping them during various battles.
  • In Harry Potter, werewolves have a terrible reputation, and Remus Lupin must try to hide his condition for fear of being persecuted. They are generally regarded with fear and disgust by wizarding society, making it very difficult for them to get a job. When parents of students at Hogwarts find out about Lupin, he is forced to resign. As a result, many werewolves suffer poverty.
  • In The Vampire Diaries, most werewolves live in packs isolated from society. There is a strong bond of loyalty between them.
  • In the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, Sam’s religious parents try to kill him, thinking the devil has possessed him when he starts shifting. 

Recommended Reads:

My favourite werewolf is Remus Lupin, who’s yours?

Sources:

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2 responses to “W is for Werewolves #atozchallenge

  1. I really like how the Harry Potter movie made Lupin look when he was a werewolf. It was a very scary but beautiful creature. One of these days I'm going to read the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. I have Shiver and started it but never finished.

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