If you’ve been following my blog this past week you’ll know that I’m hosting the Wolves of Mercy Falls Read-A-Long over the next month and a half with She Reads She Blogs and CK’s Reading Corner! We’ll have discussion posts every Saturday (mine’s a tad late this week! Life got in the way…but onwards!) and hope you’ll join in, as well as we’ll have more chances to enter the giveaway for a signed copy of Sinner!
To see a list of discussion topics and sign up to participate, check out the announcement post here.
This Week’s Topic: Werewolves 101: Your favorite representations and re-tellings of werewolves.
Most of my werewolf reading is thanks to series like The Wolves of Mercy Falls, Twilight, Harry Potter, and The Mortal Instruments. I usually tend to be more pro-vampire since many of these series tend to have vampires and werewolves as natural enemies, but one of the great things about Maggie Stiefvater’s series is that the focus is mainly just on werewolves, and werewolves as more natural creatures rather than magical ones. Below I’ve listed some of my favorite representations and aspects of werewolf mythology from these popular series (Beware: there may be some mild spoilers for the series mentioned).
- The Wolves of Mercy Falls: What I think makes this series so unique is that the wolves change based upon temperature. Seasons rule their shifts, and each chapter in the series notes not only who’s POV it is but also what the temperature is, which leads to a sense of either anxiety or relief for the reader, knowing that shifting is often completely ruled by weather for these wolves. I also like how the wolves view their condition as more science-based than supernatural (not that I don’t like a good paranormal story, but the viewpoint of it being science- especially in regards to trying to find a cure- is fascinating).
- The Twilight Saga: I’ll admit I never really warmed up to Jacob Black’s character, but I think the way that Stephanie Meyer wrote her werewolf lore intertwined with Native American heritage is fascinating. In this series werewolves are genetic, due to a latent gene in those who are direct descendants of certain ancient tribe leaders, and the gene is triggered by a proximity of vampires, the werewolves natural enemy. I think the genetic factor was really interesting as well as the werewolves pretty much being indifferent to climate, seeing as their body temperatures run so much higher than normal humans. Meyer’s werewolves also often seem more mythological, retaining most of their humanity when they shift (as they’re able to still think in a human way) and they’re massive (as large as horses) with very specific coat colors and markings.
- The Harry Potter Series: We really only meet two main werewolves in this series: Remus Lupin and Fenrir Greyback. I think JKR did a great job of showing the extremes of werewolves who have tried to retain more of their human identity vs those who fully consider themselves as creatures- even biting others when they’re human. It’s interesting that in JKR’s world there are ways to ease the intensity of the monthly transitions, such as the Wolfsbane potion which allows werewolves to keep their human minds and be relatively harmless when they transform. The downside though it is a very difficult potion to brew with few wizards willing to do it due to severe werewolf discrimination- another fascinating aspect of this series, as it looks at social prejudices among magical classes and creatures.
- The Mortal Instruments Series: Werewolves in TMI almost seem to take on a law-enforcement type quality, as they are led by Luke Garrowway who is an ex-Shadowhunter and is dedicated to keeping peace and fairness between werewolves, other Downworlders, and Nephilim. Many of the wolves even use an old police station as a headquarters. The werewolves have a lot of loyalty for one another and tend to be more apt to try and partner with the Shadowhunters to promote goodness and piece as opposed to the other Downworlders, especially the vampires who seem to be the most bloodthirsty. The Werewolves in the Shadowhunter world are governed by the Praetor Lupus, and alliance of werewolves dedicated to self governance and policing in the Downworld, founded by Woolsey Scott (one of my favorite werewolf characters of all time- he’s so sassy!)
What are your favorite representations of werewolves? Are there aspects in the werewolf lore that you like/dislike? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to remember to join our Read-A-Long here and enter to win a signed copy of Sinner with a limited edition dust jacket here!