What is it about werewolves?
I like vampires all right, but werewolves appeal so much more. First there is the obvious connection with real animals. Werewolf stories get to play with all those things that real wolves do. Wolves are pack animals. They are social and have strict dominance hierarchies. There are rules for being a wolf. Who gets to mate with whom, where you live, what you eat – it all comes back to the pack. Everything is very ritualized, from challenges to the alpha, to picking on the omega.
They are also the forebears of dogs, animals that hold practically a human-sized affection in many hearts.
However, there is more than the wolf that draws me. There’s the attraction of the primal when it comes to werewolves – this creature that bridges the gap between what it is to be human and our basest instincts and desires. Here is a creature who is both. They can rip out a person’s throat easily, but choose not to. Their emotions could transform them any second, yet their mind and spirit give them tools to control such urges. Still there is always the threat of the shift.
Shifters are monsters that appear in most mythologies. Predators or scavengers, those that engage in unclean activities, who behave in nearly human ways, are given shifter status. It plays on a deep fear in humans – what if we aren’t the only intelligent beings on earth? What if there is something else?
I’ve watched a lot of different kinds of werewolves. There’s the wolf-man, who is more man than wolf in appearance. This is what you see in Penny Dreadful and Teen Wolf. Often this includes means more gore and horror. A man who becomes a wolf-man is losing his humanity. He doesn’t become an animal, but rather, a monster, giving way to those dark instincts.
Then there are the full transformation werewolves, like in Blood and Chocolate, Twilight, and of course, The Rollins Pack books. This kind of transformation points not to gore, but to a different society. It has an othering effect, where werewolves have special powers and abilities, but retain their mental faculties and control. In short, they gain all the abilities of the wolf, while keeping hold of everything that makes them human. They are not monsters, but superhuman.
While I enjoy wolf-man stories, I prefer full transformation wolves. I find such worlds more interesting because it provides an environment to deal with things in our own world, once removed. It’s not quite as much as a sword and sorcery novel, or a space opera, but rather hits closer to home. It’s not as much of a stretch for readers and viewers to see how such stories are relevant to their own lives.
What do you think? Do you like wolf-man or full transformation wolves more? Leave a comment below!
Also, if you like werewolves, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and get a FREE copy of JEREMIAH, book 1 of The Rollins Pack! Then preorder ANDREW, book 2, at a special price here.
With werewolf love,
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