1. CSwolery
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    CSwolery Member

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    Werewolves In Fiction

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by CSwolery, Sep 4, 2011.

    I was gonna start this as a "Why are the Twilight Werewolves so Hated?" thread, but instead I thought to make it more general. In context, my vampire in Lost in the Darkness is the daughter of a werewolf, but doesn't know it. As of now, these Werewolves are largely based on the Garou of Werewolf: the Apocalypse. Theresa was designed as a Masquerade character, but I F***ing hate Masquerade and have a driving goal to reinvent the wheel so that Lost appears like Masquerade only superficially. But I actually like Werewolf, and don't have the desire to revamp everything. And I'd actually consider paying White Wolf for licence for Werewolf ideas and idioms.

    Apparently like the Twilight werewolves, the Garou are most at will transformers and vulnerable to silver. In W:tA Werewolves are born, not made, and their human family are called Kinfolk. Werewolves are Gaia worshipping pagans who fight the literal cosmic forces of corruption and all consuming death. So they’re actually the good guys...for the most part. I actually like this dynamic, as it gives purpose and an enemy for the Werewolves, you know, aside from the vampires. How much of this is original? Are there other stories about werewolf genes, and purpose beyond raving feral douchebaggery by the light of the full moon?

    I am fishing for ideas. I make no bones that most of my creativity is piecing together other people's ideas in a way that hasn't been done before. I know a fair bit about vampire lore, but almost nothing of werewolves. Thanks.
     
  2. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know most of those references to be honest, so I'll say my piece and leave. Werewolves have gone downhill. Twilight werewolves are... well, not really that scary. Okay, so it's a big wolf. WHY? If you're going to turn into a wolf, turn into a normal-sized wolf, one that'll be slightly less conspicuous. People will remember a sighting of a giant wolf. It's stupid.

    Look at Harry Potter. Lupin transforms into a cunning, dangerous, scary-looking beast. That makes werewolves a lot more terrifying.

    Look at An American Werewolf in London. That was an excellent werewolf film. Truly excellent, but with an on-all-fours werewolf. It wasn't even wolf-like, but you could recognise it as a werewolf, you know?

    Look at Southern Vampire Mysteries. The weres and shapeshifters have to shift at the moon, but they can shift other times too. They transform into a normal were (just the animal), if they're they first-born of a couple of weres. And if you're bitten (usually multiple times, once isn't enough), then, and I quote, "that's when you get your wolf-man." So it still has the actually scary werewolf (werepanther, actually) side of things.

    Still, I prefer the way Harry Potter did it over anything else. Werewolves should be scary, and not romanticised. They should be mindless and filled with the horror of the past. It's a tradeoff for being a master of the kill and the hunt, even if you don't want to be.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Jack Williamson wrote a book (in the 1940s I think) called Darker Than You Think. A good werewolf story to check out and a fairly quick read.
     
  4. TSC
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    TSC Member

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    Werewolves can be whatever you desire them to be within the pages of your own fiction, so don't feel constrained by previous interpretations; in my opinion, the only real use of using pre-existing 'werewolf lore' and such would be to allow the reader to be able to grasp things quicker and easier so you don't have to go and create your own whole new set of rules and descriptions, however you can of course manipulate them any which way you want.

    And I think the main reason for the distaste directed at Twilight's werewolves is largely due to their contrast from pre-existing ideas and their, for want of a better word, stupidity: they make little sense to no sense.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    They don't make any less sense than any other version of a human being rapidly transforming into an animal. People just hate them because they are in Twilight, that's all.
     
  6. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    It basically comes down to wether lychantropy is a curse or a super-power or something a bit in between.

    For example, a story I've been working on I try finding a middle ground, so I have werewolves who can sort of transform at will, but sometimes auto-transform during the full moon. I didn't want them to go feral upon transforming, but the transformation burns a ton of energy. So when you turn into a giant wolf, you still sort of function like a person only now you are insanely hungry and all your friends smell like delicious food.

    Eh, I don't think werewolves "should" be anything in particular. Saying werewolves should be scary is like saying aliens should be small, grey and abduct people into flying saucers.

    It really depends on what kind of story you are writing - just like vampires or aliens or whatever, werewolves can be heroes or monsters or both depending on what you are trying to achieve. If you are writing a horror story, by all means, make them scary monsters. If you're writing, say, a heroic urban fantasy, go ahead and make them the noble warriors of Moder Earth or something.
     
  7. AltonReed
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    AltonReed Active Member

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    George and Nina in Being Human, the best for dealing with Werewolves.
     
  8. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmm,

    Not sure I even know the werewolves in Twilight. I've seen only the first hour of the first movie (and that was two hours too many!), and not read the books. But my guess is that its Twilight that annoys people in general, not the wolves.

    My dislike is centred about the fact that somebody marketed it as a vampire movie. Therefore I expected blood, guts, gore, dead bodies, a few good stakings etc. But instead I got long meaningful stares and 'does he love me?' moments. Not being a twelve year old girl this made me somewhat ill. Really it should have had a warning - not suitable for males or people older then twelve!

    But that's not really the point. The point is that I don't care about their vampires or wolves. I don't care that they're pale shadows of the monsters I expect to see. If I liked that particular genre I'd probably be perfectly happy with them (after many years of therapy).

    The question for you is, can you make your wolf real? Can you make him right for the story? If you can do that then the rest probably doesn't matter.

    Cheers.
     
  9. CosmicHallux
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    CosmicHallux Senior Member

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    I disagree that werewolves must be terrible, mindless, creatures in order to stay true to their mythology.

    Civil werewolves aren't a completely modern invention. Marie de France wrote a lai called "Bisclavret" (The Werewolf) in the 12th century. In the lai, the werewolf is actually the "civil" creature and his wife who betrays him is portrayed as more monstrous.

    Obviously, this was composed before the time of true novels, and I don't particularly care for this lai as much as some of her others, but it proves that non-monstrous werewolves aren't absolutely modern.
     
  10. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    If you are looking for something which twists the usual concept of werewolves, I would recommend the three in Angela Carter's collection of short stories, The Bloody Chamber. One of them is a traditional style peice about werewolves, one of them has a twist, and one of them is about a human girl who has been brought up by wolves. They may give you a different perspective to help with your character creation :)

    Personally, I find a lot of werewolf stories too riddled with cliche to be enjoyable. I watched Wolf Man with Anthony Hopkins the other day for the first time, and lo-and-behold, the main character gets infected, tries to fight against it, but ultimately succumbs to the animal he really is inside. This seems to be the same storyline for a lot of werewolf stories/films etc I have seen, and I find it boring now. That being said, the same can be applied for various other things, so I suppose if you have an origional idea, or an origional way to write it, there is nothing stopping your work being the one to break the mold.
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Can't really go wrong with Angela Carter. Wolf-Alice is quite interesting.
     
  12. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    I didn't like Wolf Alice particularly. Perhaps it was because it was one of the last one we'd read and it had gotten to the point of Carter overkill (a lot of her short stories are quite similar), but I didn't enjoy it anywhere near as much as some of her others.
     
  13. CSwolery
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    Well, there is the issue of werewolves and werewolf society. Werewolf society will be vaguely heroic, but Lucy (Theresa's mom) and Amanda (Theresa's sister) are as human as they come, neither with any cultural cues. Amanda in particular is a total goofball who may feign the angst, but she treats her werewolfism as a superpower, cause that's what it is for her.

    And I'll be honest, all the characters make use of their powers in ways asinine and brilliant that are mood breakers for traditional stories. Theresa has a thrall that she forces to get high so she can suck her blood and get high too. They then watch SpongeBob Squarepants at 6 AM. There is a night where Amanda get totally plastered and screams for Theresa to watch as she turns into a wolf (dog actually) runs and leaps in to the air as a canine, with the intent of hopping onto her motorcycle, morphs mid-air into Human, hits the bike between the legs overshooting the seat and the momentum carries the bike forward, knocking over another bike, wiping out Amanda and clanging her head against a lamppost, destroying the right leg of her jeans in the process. Theresa, caught between gasping and laughing her ass off, yells to Amanda that she's a fucking idiot, and that she will call a cab, because there's no way in Hell she's going to let Amanda drive or walk home.

    Frankly, the random abuse of powers keep creeping out because they're things people would do if they had such powers. Mages light cigars with their hands, vampires swallow acid vials only to projectile puke them later, werewolves tunnel border crossings to create a seamless pipeline of drugs following through their turf (these are generally bad werewolves), Theresa pops holes in soda cans with her fangs when she offers such drinks. I see it as all too human. And that is ultimately all the creatures are...except the wolf-born werewolves, they are sapient wolves.
     
  14. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    lol Good point.

    I didn't like the way twilight did werewolves. First of all a giant wolf is pretty memorable. Isn't the point to blend in to an extent? Second they made them too nice..

    The thing is it's all a matter of opinion. People are used to scary werewolves so that's what they want. This recent generation has gotten twilight wolves that are giant and friendly. When I think of wolves I don't think of giant puppies. I think of ferocity and close bonded family.

    I guess it depends if you're going for a certain mythology or going more for actual wolf behavior. Wolves were one of my favorite animals growing up and still are. Therefore I like werewolves that are more true to actual wolves.
     
  15. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    @TerraIncognita

    Yeah, I prefer the scary versions of both vampires and werewolves. Probably one reason I didn't read past book 1. Though when the first movie came out my daughter was 14 so I saw that a few times :) As vampires go, I liked the main bad guy and the black one better. I can't recall the character's names.
     
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  16. CSwolery
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    Can't you have both? I don't know how much other werewolves will come into Lost, but there are both heroic and frightening vampires. Theresa, the protagonist goes out of her way to be heroic, but sometimes does horrendous, unspeakable things in the cause of the greater good. I'd like it to be an open question as to whether she can remain a good person in the face of her vampiric nature and the corruption of vampiric society.

    I mean, how can you show that there are good vampires/werewolves/whatever, when you do not show that the reverse is very, very possible?
     
  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, you can definitely have both, and these days I come across a fair amount of that. I like the stories were vampires are just inhuman, horrible monsters, though :D
     
  18. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    lol I read all four when I was going through radiation. One of my friends told me I wouldn't like them. She was right and then proceeded to tell me "I TOLD YOU SO!" :p


    I liked them better too. My bf dragged me to that movie. He wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Now he has to see the others because he "has to know what happens to Bella!" haha

    You sure can!

    I like that idea. IMO it makes the story much more interesting if the character(s) has to choose between doing what's right for all vs. doing what's right for one person. Then adding moral gray areas on top of that? Excellent.

    You have a point. :)
     
  19. CSwolery
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    Cool. Well, over the last couple of days, I've been looking over stuff for World of Darkness, the setting for Werewolf: the Apocalypse, and getting a better view of how that world works, I like Werewolf a lot, but my world is basically anti-World of Darkness. I want to give the two as much berth as possible, not just for copyright reasons, but for literary ones: theme, mood, the concept of reality. etc. My story, Lost in the Darkness started out as an explicit F*** You to Vampire the Masquerade, but it's quickly becoming clear it's becoming it's own thing. That's good, my stories usually have this kind of evolutionary arc, now I need ideas how to cast it off completely. So I'm open to ideas.
     
  20. MissPomegranate
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    I'm gonna throw it out there that the Twilight "werewolves" are not werewolves at all (I think Myers considers them just shapeshifters or something of that nature...honestly I don't remember, I try to forget reading those books haha)

    And, as far as I know, the "war" between vampires and werewolves is not based on any kind of folklore, it's a modern idea.

    Anyway, I do prefer the idea of "scary" vamps and wolves, though in my own story I have a few "good" ones...and plenty of scary ones as well.
     
  21. Takana
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    I'm agreeing with MissPomegranate here. At the end of the fourth Twilight novel, Breaking Dawn, it is revealed that the wolves are not actually 'werewolves' that they've been referred too all this time, but actually 'shapeshifters'.

    I'm not sure why the wolves are hated in the Twilight series, they were not Stephanie Meyer's creation so to speak. The Quileute tribe referred to in the novels are an actual real life tribe and in their own legends they believe they turned into wolves. Meyer just ran with it.

    I don't know much about the history or myths surrounding werewolves or shapreshifters, but I am under the impression that werewolves only become so under a full moon. People are made into werewolves if they are bitten or 'infected' by a werewolf. Shapeshifters seem to be more gene based, such as it's passed down through a family or tribe. They can shift at will. The animal that they shift into was random, it could've been a bear or eagle for example.
     
  22. CSwolery
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    Well then it that an important distinction? My WW are not Werewolves in the classical sense: they are 'fera' and while like 90% of them turn into wolves, the other 10% turn into other animals, most prominently were-bears, though there is at least one were-dragon (dragons are real, but they are basically warm blooded lizards the size of cows). The point is not to conform with myth, the point is to create a creature that could realistically inspire the myth. I would imagine the old legends are folklore and wives tales, less modern words for hearsay. Does it make a difference whether they are 'really' werewolves?
     
  23. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    The people hate the werewolves in the Twilight because they suck! I agreed they are shape shifters instead of werewolves. But Twilight is more focused on the vampires.

    A good werewolf is a humanoid monster. It can not be reason with or loved. It will kill you on sight. The only thing that makes a werewolf sympathic is its human form.
     
  24. The Crazy Kakoos
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    Werewolves in Twilight, vampires for that matter, have no downside, and that's probably one of main reasons they are hated. Granted I've never read or watched Twilight but they seem to have an edge over the normal person on everything.

    My favorite version of werewolves and vampires comes from the book series Monster Hunter International. They are more traditional but on steroids. Makes the Twilight werewolves look like neutered pups even with weakness to silver and loss of their minds.
     
  25. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Now that sounds funny.
     

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