Lycanthropy, or being a werewolf, is a condition that doesn’t seem to get the same attention as vampirism.
Never really been able to understand why that is the case, myself. I mean, here are some fairly convincing reasons for close, close examination:
Oops, sorry, was that GIF too fast for the human naked eye to follow? OK, let’s break it down into its itty, bitty parts…
For the fangirls who take the time to make pic series like these, let me take this opportunity to tell you that I LOVE YOU like I love kittens and sunshine. Which is to say, a lot!
But seriously though, werewolf mythologies fascinate me just as much as vampire ones. So many questions spring to mind when I think about them.
What happens to a person’s humanity or “soul”, for want of a better term, when they wolf out? Is it still present but just suppressed by the wolf’s animalistic urges? Or does it leave the building altogether when Wolfy McWolf takes over? Are werewolves more demonic or animalistic? In what ways is a werewolf different to, or more demonic than, an ordinary wolf? What does the transformation from human to werewolf involve? Is this transformation limited to the full moon, or can this be done at will? And just like it can be argued that real vampires don’t sparkle, should real werewolves be able to transform any time it strikes their fancy anyway? What is the difference between werewolves and shapeshifters?
Suddenly not just looking like overgrown bunny eaters, are they?
So let’s address some of these questions as they relate to the werewolf mythologies in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, the Harry Potter series, the Twilight series, Sookieverse (True Blood and the Sookie Stackhouse novels), the Underworld series and The Vampire Diaries, shall we?
See, even Tyler wants to know what it all means when it comes to werewolves!
Werewolves are a bit of an anomaly in the supernatural genre, because, depending on the mythology you’re working with, they are much more animalistic than demonic in nature, unlike creatures like vampires. So this makes for interesting thoughtage when deciding a human’s moral culpability in any murderous wolfy acts they commit.
Sadly, werewolf shirtlessness inevitably gets covered with pesky hairiness
In Buffy and Harry Potter, werewolves are demonic in the sense that lycanthropy is something one is infected with. Vampires are essentially humans who have mixed blood with a demon, whereas lycanthropy is an infection spread by werewolf saliva-human blood contact. And like vampires, werewolves aren’t pure demons; they are just unlucky victims who got bitten.
Yet werewolves in Buffy and Harry Potter also exist in nature separate to pure animals, being that they are like a weird demonic virus that needs a host to live. It’s not like a person is a werewolf some of the time and human the rest of the time, which I think is how a lot of people see werewolves. As Oz said in Wild At Heart (S04E06), “The wolf is inside of me all the time, and I don’t know where that line is anymore between me and it.” It is something that the human “carrier” always has with them, and just erupts at select times, just like vampires always have an inner demon just waiting to vamp out. JK Rowling even said that she intended werewolves to be a metaphor for HIV AIDs in Harry Potter.
Contracting or transmitting lycanthropy becomes a little bit more complicated in the other mythologies. In The Vampire Diaries, lycanthropy is a gene that is passed down through generations and has to be switched on or triggered through one act: murder at the hands of the gene carrier, whether deliberate or accidental. You can thank Miss Katherine Pierce for that mythology moment!
This crazy vamp lady went so far as to compel two of Tyler Lockwood’s friends to provoke him into murdering one of them, all because she needed a werewolf for her diabolical plan when his werewolf uncle Mason had been Damon-ed AKA murderously dispatched. The werewolf gene in its latent state is evident in Tyler’s aggression issues, which regular Spidey readers will know most often worked out in season one through Jyler Bad Touches!
Incidentally, my favourite SEster Jesse from Addicted to TVD Tumblr found Steven R McQueen AKA Jeremy bicep porn of the highest order and Tweeted it to me BECAUSE SHE IS AWESOME!
Because as I am a truly generous person, here it is in all its glory:
In Sookieverse, both Weres and shapeshifters exist. Humans can become Weres of Shifters if they are bitten by either of these creatures in their animal form. A were-child can also be conceived when two Shifters or two Weres or one of both mate, and their condition manifests itself at puberty. Bitten weres can only transform unwillingly at full moons, whereas a pure blood were-child (born from two Weres or two Shifters) can transform at will at any time. Weres, unlike Shifters, can only shift into one type of animal (e.g. werewolves, werepanthers), and within the “two-natured” community the capitalised term “Were” is reserved for those who can change into wolves, as they consider themselves superior to all other were-animals.
Phew! That Charlaine Harris, she really has tried her utmost to break my brain at times, people!
Here is some Alcide to make all that family tree crap go down easier…
You know, guys, I was surprised by how hard it was to find a quality Alcide butt shot. I thought the True Blood fangirls would have been all over it. So I took the liberty of getting this screenshot myself!
Also, jeez, Tara, don’t run AWAY from this sight!
Underworld is an even weirder blend of bitten werewolves and bloodlines. William Corvinus was the son of the first immortal (a guy who became that way by mutating a plague that wiped out his village in his favour) and bitten by a wolf, which turned him into a werewolf. Once he phased into a werewolf, called Lycans in Underworldverse, he couldn’t return to his human form EVER. Yikes! First generation werewolves created after being infected by William were also unable to take human form again unless by death. However, second generation werewolves are able to transform between human and wolf form at will when the moon is full. Older Lycans like the extremely hot Lucian can do so at any time.
Yup, that’s Lucian taking out a chunk of Ben from Felicity. Don’t worry, Lucian, honey, I SO wanted to do that back in the day.
Are you wondering why Werewolf Sex God Lucian looks so familiar?
He also plays THIS GUY (TM Kjewls):
Not quite as hot as your Music Sex God though, Amy, but sheesh, Michael Sheen is HOT when all sweaty and werewolfy, isn’t he?
This = Music Sex God
Jacob Black, from the Twilight series, is a werewolf by virtue of his Quileute bloodline. Stephenie Meyer kinda pissed me off by, at the last moment in Breaking Dawn (Book 4), making the Quileutes shapeshifters who only just happened to choose werewolves as their form.
“The choice of a wolf form was purely chance. It could have been a bear or a hawk or a panther when the first change was made. These creatures truly have nothing to do with the Children of the Moon. They have merely inherited this skill from their fathers. It’s genetic—they do not continue their species by infecting others the way true werewolves do.”
This is what we call a retcon f**k-up, people.
I mean, the whole mission in life for the Quileute werewolves was to kill vamps using their special werewolf powers, so this is a technicality cop out I choose to ignore.
Still, she redeems herself in my eyes somewhat by making shirtlessness a pack mentality for her werewolves…
Werewolves in Buffy, Harry Potter and The Vampire Diaries, unlike most traditional demons, are unthinking animals with no control over their actions beyond the most primal instincts (Eat bunny! Attack yummy meaty person!). I guess they are more demonic than ordinary wolves considering the fact that they have more of a taste for human flesh. But they lack self-awareness and don’t seem to embody evil in the way that other demons do. On Buffy, when the vampire Angel loses his soul and becomes his evil alterego Angelus, his powers of reasoning remain intact, and in a dark and twisty way, so do many of his personality traits. After all, the personality of a vamp in Buffy is informed by the person they were as a human being. Vamps hatch plans and sometimes have a deep understanding of human emotions.
Remember how Angelus left the body of Jenny Calendar, the girlfriend of Buffy’s watcher Giles, in Giles’ upstairs bedroom after SNAPPING HER NECK, and set up the rest of the house to make it look like Jenny had planned a romantic surprise for him in Passion (S02E17)? For me, evil is in fully rational intent, and this sort of act was designed for maximum torment of Giles. But Oz the person is not present in his werewolf form’s mind when the transition is complete, and so OzWerewolf can be held no more responsible for murder than a real wolf could.
Similarly, werewolves lose the ability to think in a human way when they phase in Harry Potter and The Vampire Diaries, becoming high aggressive towards people, even friends and family.
As werewolf Remus Lupin tells Harry in Half-Blood Prince (Book 6): “I did not know, for a very long time, the identity of the werewolf who had attacked me; I even felt pity for him, thinking that he had had no control, knowing by then how it felt to transform.”
If Remus had killed someone in wolf form, though it wouldn’t make this person any less dead if Remus hadn’t wanted to kill them, the intention is not willingly malicious.
So I look more at the moral responsibility for deaths taken as a werewolf in how the human version of the werewolf takes precautions to prevent deaths. Oz and Tyler both lock themselves up when they know the full moon is approaching.
In Tyler’s case, he even drinks water laced with wolfsbane, an herb poisonous to werewolves, to diminish his strength in wolf form.
But in Wild At Heart (S04E06), Oz talks to Veruca, another werewolf, who fully embraces her condition and refuses to be locked up, even if it means she can run around and kill people in her wolf form.
Veruca: “You have a cage?”
Oz: “Don’t you?”
Veruca (sarcastically): “Oh yeah. It has a little wheel with a plastic ball and a cute little bell in it. God! Somebody’s domesticated the hell out of you.”
Clearly, the chick is evil, and willingly homicidal. Her conscious decision to surrender to her werewolf nature, who gives a hoot about the implications, is evil with a capital E to me.
You can tell that Veruca is a girl wolf by her furry hair extensions
Like Tyler, Remus Lupin takes a Wolfsbane potion that renders him relatively harmless in a diminished form on full moon nights, and prior to the development of the Wolfsbane potion used to lock himself up in the Shrieking Shack, a building whose entrance was guarded by the Whomping Willow. Sadly, he discovers that some human werewolves not only don’t try to keep their werewolf form under control, but actively use it as a weapon to further their own agenda. Remus discovered in Half-Blood Prince (Book6) that he had been bitten as a child by Fenrir Greyback, the leader of a society of werewolves who had organised themelves to infect as many people as possible, as retribution for the oppression and discrimination werewolves experienced in the wizarding community in general.
Remus tells Harry: “He [Greyback] regards it as his mission in life to bite and to contaminate as many people as possible; he wants to create enough werewolves to overcome the wizards. Voldemort [Evil wizard] has promised him prey in return for his services. Greyback specialises in children… Bite them young, he says, and raise them away from their parents, raise them to hate normal wizards. Voldemort has threatened to unleash him upon people’s sons and daughters; it is a threat that usually produces good results.”
You might be thinking: “Well, if Buffy, Harry Potter and TVD wolves are unthinking animals, how could Fenrir intentionally bite these kid wizards?”
In Buffy and The Vampire Diaries, werewolves obviously have some intellectual reasoning while undergoing the change, and it is only when they are fully wolfed out that they lose all human faculties.
Caroline is able to stay at Tyler’s side during his long, drawn-out, painful transformation until the moment he is completely WolfTyler, because while his bones and muscles are resetting into wolf form, his human mind is still at the forefront. Oz’s transformation is much quicker, but the dichotomy between HumanOz and WerewolfOz blurs while he is phasing.
Taken out of context, that image of Oz and Veruca is kinda hilarious!
In Wild At Heart (S04E06), Oz defends his girlfriend Willow against Veruca, who intended to kill her so she was out of the way, by deliberately going for Veruca when they are 99% wolfed out; there is some particle of HumanOz still present because the act is obviously intentional. Yet a second later, when the transformation is complete, he makes a movement to attack Willow that is only stopped by Buffy tranquiliser gunning him. So I am just going to fanwank it is the same case with Greyback.
This is as close to Fenrir Greyback torso porn as you’ll ever get on my blog because I hate him with a fiery passion
It does make me wonder how guilty Oz as a person should feel over killing Veruca. The decision to kill her clearly came from his human mind while he was still phasing, but the deed itself really just consisted of two fully transformed animals hell bent on mindlessly destroying each other. Oz wasn’t armed and couldn’t control that he was about to transition into a wolf, plus Veruca had murderous intent for Willow, not to mention her regular dialling 1800-I’m-A-Horrific-Skank, so I think it was almost like manslaughter.
Interestingly enough, the wolf mind can be tempered somewhat in Potterverse. In Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3), Lupin tells Harry and Hermione that his best friends at the Hogwarts school, James Potter, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew, learned how to become Animagi, or change into animals, so they could transform and by with him during full moons. Only humans, not animals, can be infected by werewolves in this mythology. According to Remus, he became less dangerous under their influence; his body was still wolfish, but his mind became less so when he was with them.
Remus: “[My friends] became Animagi.”
Harry: “My dad too?”
Remus: “Yes, indeed. It took them the best part of three years to work out how to do it. Your father and Sirius here were the cleverest students in the school, and lucky they were, because the Animagus transformation can go horribly wrong – one reason the Ministry keeps a close watch on those attempting to do it. Peter needed all the help he could get from James and Sirius. Finally, in our fifth year, they managed it. They could each turn into a different animal at will.”
Hermione: “But how did that help you?”
Remus: “They couldn’t keep me company as humans, so they kept me company as animals. A werewolf is only a danger to people. . . . Peter, as the smallest, could slip beneath the Willow’s attacking branches and touch the knot that freezes it. They would then slip down the tunnel and join me. Under their influence, I became less dangerous. My body was still wolfish, but my mind seemed to become less so while I was with them . . .”
I’m not sure whether this implies that this restored some semblance of human self-awareness, as Remus never explains further. Maybe it simply means that his wolf form became less bestial and driven by primal urges to hunt and kill.
That begs the question of whether or not werewolves in the Buffy, Vampire Diaries and Potterverse mythologies are more predatory animals than demons. Or conversely, are demons really just dangerous animals and not really evil?
Was I the only dark and twisty individual who found Angelus supremely hotter when all vamped out than ordinary human visage Angel? Yes? OK then, moving along… 😉
Like in Angelus’s case, where there is a definite method to the madness of this evil Buffyverse vamp, does his souled alterego Angel truly deserve blame for the bloodshed his humanity wasn’t really present for while soulless? One bone I’ve always had to pick with the Buffyverse is the notion that Angel needed to be redeemed for the actions he committed as Angelus, because given the choice, his human side would not have done the same. To link Angel’s accountability to the fate of his body, which really becomes little more than a vessel for evil when he is the soulless Angelus, seems just as cruel as claiming that fully wolfed out Tyler, Oz and Remus are culpable for their actions, if they’ve taken the necessary precautions to prevent their wolf forms from causing others’ harm.
In fact, I would argue that the ONLY time Angel had the potential to be reprehensible was when The First tempted him to harm Buffy will still Angel and not Angelus. Had he allowed Angelus urges, or the demon’s urges still just below the surface, to take control while he had a soul, he truly could be considered a monster. Clearly, Xander’s mileage varied to mine on this topic, and I’m curious to hear what you guys think. Though I guess I understand that it would be hard not to feel sick about blood on your own hands, even if you weren’t rationally responsible for the deaths caused by your own handiwork.
Phew! Who knew that werewolves would make me feel so philosophical?
In some mythologies, the human mind is entirely present when a person wolfs out.
In Underworld, first generation Lycans are savage, mindless beasts, but second generation ones have their human faculties in wolf form, and use their lycanthropy like another weapon in their arsenal in the battle against vampires.
That’s right, Jacob, STEP AWAY from the Bellamobile and come to Mama!
In Twilight, werewolves keep their human minds to the point of domestication; JacobWolf even allows Bella to pet his head in Eclipse (Book 3). In fact, far from being savage beasts, the purpose in life for the pack of werewolves he is part of is to protect humans from vampires with their special vamp-killing jaws.
In Sookieverse, the “two-natured” have their human mind present after changing, though that doesn’t mean they don’t act in highly morally ambiguous ways a lot of the time. Interestingly, the werewolves in these three mythologies have pack structures and complicated relationships beyond simple mating.
In contrast, the werewolves in The Vampire Diaries, Buffy and Potterverse, who lose all sense of humanity when they chance, are sometimes drawn to each other (Oz is able to sense there is something different about Veruca immediately; Tyler’s uncle Mason has at least one werewolf friend, Jules), but it is rare for them to form complex social structures. Clearly, Fenrir Greyback’s desire for vengeance makes him the one exception in the Harry Potter series. Now, we come to the nature of Wolfy McWolfying itself – the transformations.
The Sookieverse and Twilight werewolves have it easy, pretty much fursploding (TM Cleolinda) or seemingly exploding from human to wolf form, so quick is their transition.
This = Fursplosion (TM Cleolinda)
Buffy and Underworld werewolves take a little longer, but there doesn’t seem to be any real pain involved.
Cool fact: the Chinese characters on Oz’s t-shirt here translate to “Big change”
This is not the case for Vampire Diaries and Potterverse wolves. In Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3), Remus told Harry how horrific the transformation was…
Remus: “My transformations in those days were — were terrible. It is very painful to turn into a werewolf. I was separated from humans to bite, so I bit and scratched myself instead. The villagers heard the noise and the screaming and thought they were hearing particularly violent spirits.”
In By The Light Of The Full Moon (S02E11), Tyler’s transformation was brought to vivid, excruciating life. It takes hours for Vampire Diaries werewolves to change. Tyler was privy to this fact before phasing for their first time, because his uncle Mason had left a video of his very first transition in a Werewolf Diary he had kept. So basically it is like giving birth once a month, only exponentially worse.
Here is a pic series of the transformationi courtesy of Price Peterson:
Seriously, guys, this episode made me feel guilty about how much I complain when I get a paper cut. Well, at least for a second, anyway 😉
Similar to most of the werewolf mythologies covered in this post, Tyler’s transformations are meant to get easier with time, though to go through them ever month means that it is a curse in every sense of the word. It will be interesting to see if, after Vampire Diaries hiatus, Tyler does anything desperate to try to prevent himself from ever having to go through the transformation again.
We, as the viewers, get to enjoy one of the positive by-products of transformations… TORSO PORN APLENTY! So even though this is a heavy post, I’m gonna leave you on three light notes.
#1 My favourite werewolf moments of all time: Faith pulling WereOz’s tail in an attempt to distract him, and Caroline’s sweet care for Tyler during his painful transformation.
# 2 KJewl‘s favourite werewolf moment of all time…
#3 More werewolf torso porn!
And once you’ve put your eyes back in their sockets…
… please accept my parting gift for those of you who stayed until the very end.
WEREWOLF EXTREME SPORTS: sex cliff bungee jumping!
Look, I’m sorry film makers, but if you make unintentionally hilarious sex scenes, they will be mocked. That is all.