{DISCUSSION} Werewolves: The Misunderstood

Note: It’s supernatural month! All discussions this month will be about supernatural creatures or worlds!

Stop ruining my Werewolves!

In case you haven’t noticed elsewhere on my blog, I LOVE werewolves. They are my absolute favorite supernatural creature. And why wouldn’t they be? They’re giant, furry beasts that look likes wolves! But with that said, I’m VERY specific about the lore behind my werewolves. By that I mean there is only one origin, one creation, one destruction. End of story. Good bye! The end! … Any questions?

While werewolves may not be the most popular supernatural creature what with vampires making resurgences every couple decades and zombies being so very traditional, there quite a wide variety of werewolf lore. And they are still extremely popular, but why aren’t they as popular as other supernatural creatures? Let’s take a look.

Vampires vs. Werewolves

When it comes down to it, werewolves kind of don’t stand a chance against the popularity of vampires for two main reasons (in my mind).

1) Vampires are biologically designed to be absolutely, completely, drop-dead gorgeous. Their human forms are designed to lure in their prey through physical attraction. On the flip side, werewolves are often seen as grungy, dirty, unemployed, unattractive, or more simply: wild.

2) Vampires are always human. (Some may have bat forms, but they’re almost always seen in their human forms.) Werewolves, however, have a non-human format which resembles that of a wild, feral, beast. Unfortunately, many people can’t see the amazing power and magnificence of these creatures. Thus, they’re written off as unattractive.

Zombies vs. Werewolves

Ha! No, I’m not about to tell you that zombies are physically attractive. :p In fact, werewolves definitely win that category, but where zombies gain popularity is their steadfast, traditional lore. Zombies are undead creatures that are mindless and feed on the living. There isn’t much to them. They aren’t complex and they’re something that people can always recognize.

Werewolves, on the other hand, are complex. They aren’t just feral beasts. They have lives, pasts, futures, consciences, dreams, and guilt. There is always so much more to the werewolf than just a deep-rooted desire to attack anything that moves. And there’s also many different varieties of how werewolves are created, how they can infect others, how they change, etc. There is almost too much variability for people to easily recognize and accept werewolves because you never know which werewolf you’re getting (unless you’re staying in the same book/movie world. :p)

Werewolf Variability

I’ve mentioned twice now that werewolves have extreme variability in their lore, but what does that mean? What are the possible options for them? Let’s examine a few examples.

  1. The Traditional Werewolf
    This werewolf is either born with, infected with, or cursed to take the shape of a werewolf on the three nights surrounding the full moon. The transformation is excruciatingly painful. The bones break and realign and fur sprouts all over the body. During the night, the werewolf has an insatiable need to hunt, which means it will attack anything that moves. They will even kill their loved ones. And in the morning, when they return to their human form, they have no recollection of the events.
  2. The Shape-Shifting Werewolf
    The shape-shifting werewolf has become increasingly popular over the years because of the sense of ‘control’ that the werewolf contains. They may or may not be forced to change on the full moon, but they’re also able to change any time, day or night, at will. They often have control of themselves during these periods of change. In other words, they aren’t nearly as harmful and they do recall the events when they change back. Also, these werewolves don’t often take the traditional werewolf form. Rather, it’s common for them to take on more of a wolf form rather than a humanoid wolf form. Of note, shape-shifting werewolves are born, not turned.
  3. The Teen Werewolf
    This is more of a single fandom style, but it is important to recognize (especially given it’s popularity.) These wolves never take a full wolf or wolf-humanoid form. Rather, there are simple changes to their human body, such as excessive hair growth on the face, hands and feet. Also, claws and incisors will extend and there may be some pigmentation change in the iris. While these werewolves contain full control of themselves during their change, they are very susceptible to changing in reaction to emotions.

No doubt there are dozens more werewolf variations, but I don’t want to bore you to death (if I haven’t already :p) and these are the main versions. Yet, I personally hate the second two versions. Why? Because they aren’t traditional. In my opinion, these werewolves have too much control, and lack of control, the beast within, is what makes a werewolf, a werewolf.

Honestly, I think if you’re going to give a werewolf more control and change how it’s created and what it changes into and how it’s killed and whatever else, you need to use a different name. For example, Lycans from the ‘Underworld‘ series. They aren’t traditional werewolves and I appreciate the fact that the name was changed because it differentiates the species from the traditional, mindless, savage werewolves. That’s all I’m asking for!

Let me know in the comments below what you think about werewolves. I want to hear all about it! ^.^

And check out my discussion from last week:
Vampires: The Illogical


17 thoughts on “{DISCUSSION} Werewolves: The Misunderstood”

  1. I love werewolves! Way more than vampires 😀

    I’ve not thought about the type of werewolf I like in the depth that you have, but you reminded me of a storyline in Buffy. If you haven’t seen it, there is a character named Oz who accidentally becomes a werewolf because a kid he was playing with bit him, and that kid happened to be a werewolf.

    So (minor spoiler alert) fast forward to the Buffy that exists now in comics, and Oz has found a way to control his werewolfiness. But it wasn’t always like that, he would change based on his emotions or the full moon, and he would have the lack of recollection + the lack of control. It was over time that he learned to control it, and not just out of the gate.

    Does that sort of storyline arch appeal to you more? Where it’s still pretty traditional, but overtime the human learns to get along with their inner beast better?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmmm… I never got into Buffy. (It was a bit before my time), but that is an interesting concept of learning control. I have seen a few shows where this occurs. They learn to control their werewolf powers and therefore become the master of their inner beast. However, I don’t prefer that. I think it still contradicts the traditional werewolf. After all, the whole point of being a werewolf is the lack of control. It’s not a good thing to be a werewolf, just like it’s not a good thing to be a vampire (yet that has been corrupted as well.)

      I think the gain of control offers the person too much power. Does this make sense? What I mean is I think with such great power of being a werewolf, they shouldn’t have all the control. Otherwise they become all-powerful and become a god-mod. But perhaps you disagree with me?


      1. That makes sense, honestly. I don’t disagree. A lot of really great heroes in shows have gone from like-able to not relatable because they got way too powerful, so I see your point. I didn’t mind it so much in the story arc mentioned because the character was very unimportant by the time this was presented.

        I’m curious, in regards to this discussion, how you feel about the often explored arc of looking for a “cure”? I feel like every time someone becomes a werewolf, this is the first thing they try to do. Whether or not it’s successful depends on the lore, but I’m curious if you think it’s necessary, or if you have ideas for alternate “beginner wolf” story arcs that could be followed.

        (Also, not to move away from this discussion, but I sent you a message via your contact form on this website, and this sentence is to only serve as a way of notifying you I did so, in the event it didn’t send or you didn’t receive a notification yourself! Otherwise, please disregard this unrelated note :))

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think that unrelatability is causing some issues in the Marvel universe right now because even before the movie starts we know none of the superheroes are going to die. :/ And I personally watch movies hoping for unpredictability, you know?

          As to a cure… that depends on your lore, as you said. Blood-borns have no cure. Magic-induced or bitten have the possibilities of cures, but honestly I don’t know. I think it would depend on the character because some innocent characters wouldn’t be able to handle the guilty conscience of killing people. I think it would depend on the believability of the cure and the necessity of it for a plot. Does that make sense? You can’t just cure the character because you want to. It needs a reason.

          (Oh! You’re Lisa! I didn’t realize who it was and i didn’t put your email address to your blog title. I did receive your message but I wasn’t sure who you were since your display name on WordPress isn’t Lisa. Haha! I’ll respond to you today. Sorry about that.)

          Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree that the greater the power a monster has, the greater the price. I think that’s another reason vampires are often used. While some authors choose to stray, there are some traditional limitations that can thoroughly bind them, most notably running water, and the vulnerability to sunlight.
        While werewolves have the disadvantage of often being mindless, or struggling to control themselves, they don’t have as many barriers that prevent them from being active and dangerous. It is interesting to go back to the old lore.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I haven’t seen the running water for vampires in quite some time. I think it may have fallen out of popular knowledge. But I have heard of them needing an invite from the home owner to enter the premise. In all their abilities are limited.

          Werewolves, on the other hand, are limited in their lack of control. If you take this away, they have no limitations other than their conscience. :/ Kind of boring in my opinion. A few stories have tried to change this by giving them physical barriers (i.e. wolfsbane circles and what not), but it’s use and power seem to be limited. :/ Perhaps there needs to be some new danger for them in exchange for their gain of control.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Or maybe expand on the duality. What if they become true split personality, vying for control, but each have their advantageous times, i.e. day vs night. The human would have to discuss and reach a concensus with the wolf.

            Liked by 1 person

              1. Did Jekyll and Hyde communicate with each other internally?
                In my mind it wouldn’t be taming so much as cooperating, for a time, the same way two people can choose to work together for a time, but still disagree, and sometimes refuse to compromise. What if in the heat of the moment one of the two becomes intensely angry, or sad, while the other knows what to do, but is hindered by those emotions bleeding over, or doesn’t have enough control of their body to take action without cooperation?
                I think the key would be to give the two characters very different motives/goals, to the point where neither is happy with compromise, and only does so grudgingly, and regularly says “To heck with this. I’m going to do what I want right now cause you can’t stop me,” and later face the fallout and have to mend the relationship.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. No. I don’t believe Jekyll and Hyde communicated at all. It was not an agreed upon sharing, which is how I feel something between a human and their werewolf would be. The werewolf wants full time control, but so does the human. So it becomes an internal fight for power that neither really has control over.

                  See, I’m not a huge fan of this idea. The cooperation would indicate that the werewolf is anything less than a monster, capable of reason and anything above the id, which I don’t think they are. They are instinctual creatures. They have no brain compartment for reason or understanding or even patience. They’re impulsive and destructive. I fear taking away that part will take away a part of who they are as werewolves.

                  Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t agree! hahaha Am we really surprised? I love werewolves as well, specially in a paranormal romance kind of sense (no guilty pleasures for me), so having a functional kind of werewolf is my thing. If it’s a main protagonist in a story, I love to have them think and function within their werewolf form (Can you tell I was Team Werewolf in the Twilight series?) But if they’re the “villain” or “aggressor”, then yeah, I’d rather have the traditional kind of werewolf.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah. Now you’re adding a caveat. Say you have two werewolves in a story, one is a protagonist, one is an antagonist. You’re saying that because one person is seemingly ‘good’ they should be allowed control and power, but since the other person is ‘bad’ they don’t have control. Is that a little unfair? (Then again, I’m not big on bending worlds to our likings. Sometimes it’s more fun to be forced to deal with the world the way it is originally. You know what I mean?)

      But I want to ask, why do you wan this? Why do you want the protagonist to have control, but not the antagonist? What about an anti-hero?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t know and I don’t have enough brain to delve into that at the moment haha I think it’s just conforming myself to the stereotypes of villains and heroes. I’m just a fan of a controlled werewolf in general and those would be generally placed in a more positive light and the same thing visa versa haha

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting post. I haven’t given as much thought to werewolves, but I feel like they show up more often (comparatively to other supernatural figures) in visual media than literature. Perhaps their metamorphosis is visually striking, but not as easy to draw sympathy from the reader or create a metaphor? Like, zombies are the easiest metaphor ever – an evil that is unstoppable, which will just keep shambling forward, and is already dead, so you cannot escape it. Vampires are also fairly easy, as we live in a youth and beauty obsessed world. Werewolves should theoretically also make an easy metaphor, with the loss of change in the metamorphosis, but maybe that’s something that’s easier to show with images vs. words?

    I’m kind of rambling/think-writing out loud, so not sure if any of this is accurate or makes sense. Just some initial thoughts I had. Would to be curious to see what you think – fairly certain you have more werewolf knowledge than I! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think I understand where you’re going with this. It’s easier for people to see the werewolf in it’s wolf form than it is to imagine it through reading description. However, I think the best part about werewolves in literature is reading their change: the pain, the torture, the anguish they go through when they change. After all, their bones break, their limbs lengthen, their muscles shift. It’s painful. Yet, we only see the monster on the other end when it’s in a visual media. We also hardly ever think about the human they were before the change and maybe that’s part of it. Werewolves have two parts: human and wolf. Yet vampires and zombies have only one form: dead. Perhaps werewolves are simply more complicated creatures and that’s why they lack the popularity of others?

      Liked by 2 people

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