Monday, July 20, 2015

Meta Monday: Werewolves

Werewolves are one of those classic monsters, like vampires, that everyone has written about. And every single one of them will tell you in their book or movie or show that the myths are just that, myths. That werewolves don't (kill people, only turn on a full moon, die if you shoot them with silver, etc.). So if the stories are always different, what makes someone a werewolf?

I've read Mercy Thompson, Raised by Wolves, Twilight (don't judge me), some Sookie Stackhouse, Harry Potter, and a bunch of others I forget. I've also seen Teen Wolf and The Vampire Diaries. That's the tip of the iceberg, because I've read a lot of werewolf stuff, and I've sampled some of it and put it right back down. But that'll work for now.

In essence, a werewolf is someone who turns into a wolf or half-wolf creature. That's it. Period. That's the sum total of what binds all the werewolf myths together. But there are other rules too, like:

  • Werewolf stories will always laugh at the person who says werewolves are only a myth.
  • Werewolves are almost always weak to silver. If not, the myth that they are will be directly addressed and explained.
  • If werewolves are not weak to silver, they will be weak to wolfsbane.
  • There is always some way to force a werewolf to change against its will. If they don't have to change at the full moon, then they change when they get angry, or their Alpha can force them to change, or something else. Werewolves are, in general, not allowed to be in control of the shift all the time.
  • Speaking of, even if werewolves can change at other times, they usually have to change at the full moon.
  • Werewolves always function best in packs. In the real world, incidentally, wolves only form packs in captivity, and otherwise function in family units.
  • Oh, also? If vampires exist in the same universe, they almost always hate each other.
With vampires, incidentally, the weaknesses and strengths vary a lot more.

Why make a post about werewolves? Because they're so common they're practically a trope in and of themselves. Because I read a lot about them and it's fun to look at the similarities. And because it's Meta Monday which means it's time to talk about fiction.

What did I miss? Are there other rules that all werewolves follow? Have you seen exceptions to the rules above?

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