Aaaah Werewolves. What fun.
I enjoy a good werewolf story, like Dracula and vampires, they used to be kickass. Aaaaand just like Dracula and vampires they fall prey to those sexy (and gory) animal instincts – but I mean, that’s kinda why we love them, right?
What is our fascination with these creatures? Is it the prolonged life (or, in a vampire’s case the prolonged death in sexy teenage form)? The incessant possibility of sex without the usual repercussions – werewolves must procreate or risk extinction, generally and vampires don’t procreate… unless… *coughs* Renesmee *coughs*. It is an interesting question and I think one that has and will continue to arise. Next month’s theme is dystopia, yet another trend that has been blown to epic proportions – what’s the deal with that?
But back to the subject at hand!
Werewolves! I was introduced to werewolves by none other than our very own Canadian Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf, oh yeah.
This depiction of the werewolf is full of hi-jinx and high school drama, it’s a load of fun and there are many memorable scenes including one where Michael J. Fox is a half human-wolf riding atop a fire engine, and of course a werewolf playing basketball is always good for some laughs. It’s zany in the way that 80s movies were just zany… think Gremlins and Honey I Shrunk the Kids.
This story has the human side of the werewolf very aware of what it’s doing when it is a wolf, interestingly, this is not always the case as with Maggie Stiefevater’s Shiver. However, Stiefevator takes a lot of liberties with the werewolf, for instance their transformation is aligned with the seasons and not the moon cycle, whereas Stephen Kings Cycle of the Werewolf, simply has werewolves rampaging on significant days of the month (supposedly they are full moons, but seriously? There are werewolf attacks on Valentines, Easter and the 4th of July – all full moons? I don’t think so). However, here we have some awesome gruesome brutality, if you want a quick werewolf read that is a mix of jumpy moments and gore this is a fun one.
So what is the lore of the werewolf?
Well, I started googling and I stumbled upon the interesting story of Peter Stubbe, which is old and odd.
Stubbe was the first clinical case of lycanthropy. After practising witchcraft for years he eventually made a deal with the devil out of which he got a belt that, when worn, would transform him into a werewolf. With this “gift” Stumpe began his killings. He would attack people in wolf form and turn back into a human so no one knew that it was him. The number of killings grew and he continued to get away with it. His luck soon ran out and he was caught by a group of suspicious hunters. He confessed to the killings and to possessing the magic belt from the Devil. But the belt itself was never found.
dum dum dum dum…
But from there we get transformation into a werewolf via heritage (as with Teen Wolf) or through werewolf bites (much more common Buffy, Underworld etc…) or even, as folklorist Carol Rose notes in her book Giants, Monsters, and Dragons:
“In ancient Greece it was believed that a person could be transformed by eating the meat of a wolf that had been mixed with that of a human and that the condition was irreversible. Centuries later other methods were said to create werewolves, including being cursed, or by being conceived under a new moon, or by having eaten certain herbs, or by sleeping under the full moon on Friday, or by drinking water that has been touched by a wolf.”
And then! How do you kill a werewolf? With the bite of a vampire? With silver? It was also widely believed that werewolves had to hide their protective wolf skin in the day and if their magical pelt was found and taken from the werewolf-in-human-form, he or she could be killed.
I mean, from the very beginning the werewolf story has been doused in mystery and who’s to say what is the truth and what isn’t? So, dear writers and readers, have fun with werewolves, because mystery is fun!
Here are a few books that feature werewolves that are quick and fun and which might lead you down the rabbit-er- werewolf hole:
Read this one a long time ago!
It’s fast paced, it is succinct it delves in the werewolf lore a little and it’s about a girl coming to terms with her werewolfishness in a realistic,if that’s possible, way. High school drama stays out of it mostly and it’s really just about maintaining humanity while embracing becoming the wolf. Enjoyable.
It’s interesting and it takes elements from the werewolf story and fairy tale and the gothic. It is quite lyrical but I enjoyed it because it really created atmosphere and gave the wolf a voice of it’s own.
Another… fast… read? Why are they all so short and quick – oh, I’m choosing one offs and not series. There are plenty of series out there for you to go for, but they are mostly romance in wolfs clothing.
Anyway! Charm and Strange is really strange. You gotta stick it out to the end and it’ll be worth it, it’s confusing but it’s beautiful. An interesting take on the wolf. If you like dark and sinister and creepy… you’ll like this.
Ok! That’s it for me!
Give the wolves a try, if you don’t like them… bite me 😛