Post-NaNo Update: Paws to Reflect

Werewolves do show up in Seeds of Blood. They will probably regret that.

Honestly, of all the monsters Hollywood has mangled the folkloric representation of, werewolves have to be the top of the list. “Only killed with a silver bullet” – well, that you can find in tales of the Beast of Gévaudan, even if what we can gather from the actual reports isn’t sure about the silver part. “Mortal enemies to vampires”… don’t get me started on how a lot of the original Eastern European legends said if you killed a werewolf it might come back as a vampire. But the most egregious bit Hollywood’s added is the whole near-instant regeneration.

Seriously, Hollywood? Seriously? Suspension of disbelief, anyone? ‘Cause that one just blows mine.

Werewolves are legendary creatures of folklore. Emphasis on the legendary, there. As in, they’ve been around for a very long time. Which implies that humans, even before the advent of silversmithing and high explosives, must have been able to deal with them. Otherwise you’d have a furry apocalypse instead of a zombie one.

Insta-heal werewolves. Grraaaar.

Let’s just say, Myrrh has an interesting time teaching people how werewolf invulnerability is a lot more talk than action….

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35 thoughts on “Post-NaNo Update: Paws to Reflect

  1. I could see werewolves being mortal enemies of ANYTHING they thought was strong enough to be a threat, at least in the fur-belt-and-sorcery flavor, but the specifically Vampires vs. Werewolves thing always made me want to growl about forcing symbolism in so hard it fell flat. Basically because Hollywood vampires are lawful evil, while Hollywood werewolves are chaotic evil. Or Order vs Chaos, usually, since ‘evil’ is one of those things Hollywood has issues with. -.-

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    1. But vampires and werewolves are the same thing, in a lot of Eastern European venues. Vampires turn into wolves. Werewolves drink blood and lead human armies with their charisma. Werewolves who die revive as vampires. Werewolves are just sorta larval vampires, without all the OCD thing of being forced to count seeds and tie/untie knots.

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  2. Midget werewolves working for a radio show: Wee paws for station identification?

    Mortal enemy of vampires – I really don’t know if this came from White Wolf games, or before that. Granted, Hollywood has pretty much done every permutation of X vs Y, so they take some blame for it, I’m sure. (I dislike movies enough that I tend to avoid them.)

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  3. At this point, shouldn’t ‘forbidden vampire/werewolf hybrid’ count as a valid flavor of supernatural creature in its own right? Or maybe that’s the attitude that starts going through the universal monsters listing, and noting that gillmen and phantoms are under utilized.

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  4. Hollywood likes to have a formula. They also like to have simplistic conflict that they don’t have to spend too much time explaining – “What do you mean, why are they fighting each other? They are vampires and werewolves, I don’t have to explain it!”

    They also like ways to defeat the monster that involve very little exposition. Probably for the same reason for simple conflict – less talking, more action!

    Through it can be fun to play with the Hollywood mythos like there is a grain of truth in there. It has been exaggerated or something but it’s not a complete fib. The reoccurring ones anyway.

    The monsters in question find it somewhat amusing that the humans keep using the Hollywood methods when the old methods still work perfectly well or possibly even better than the Hollywood ones . . .

    Or make the whole A versus B completely one-sided. Not in the one side thoroughly kicks their butt but rather one side is like “we hates them” and the other is “No, we don’t hate them. How do these rumors get started?” sort of way.

    I don’t remember where I read it but one had general explanation for the wariness of vampires being that they made it a policy not to be too friendly with anything that might consider them to be lunch.

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  5. I’m also a little curious as to the origin of Vampires vs. Werewolves, but some of the problem with how Hollywood does werewolves is that the actual myths don’t fit so neatly into modern horror.

    Too much modern horror is about the butcher. The brutal unstoppable killing machine that just shows up and murders people before being brought down by its crippling weakness – Which /has/ to be a pain in the arse to get hold of, otherwise why didn’t you use it earlier?

    Werewolves – when well used – are often about the monster within, man vs. nature, man as beast, civilization vs. savagery, and the creeping internal horror and helplessness of ‘what happened to me?’, ‘what have I done?’, and ‘what am I becoming?’ You /can/ use it as just a furry Slasher, but that leaves out much of the other questions.

    Still, using the werewolf as a Slasher is /easy/ and I think we all know how Hollywood feels about that. From that perspective, supernatural toughness and immortality are basically part of the required Slasher ‘pack’age and any myths that suggest that will be given the usual Hollywood treatment (being exaggerated to the point of disbelief). But – conversely – people /like/ turning the monster on its head, looking for the humanity within and making it tragic. Here’s the thing: the original questions require recognizing that the brutal hunter and killer has always been tragic, cursed, and just as without control as it’s victims. So instead of pitying the beast as it dies we recognize the powerlessness and humanity within it even as it stalks us. That weird kind of ‘powerless’ situation and ‘abused becomes abuser’ circumstances are actually way more uncomfortable for most audiences than the pitiable ‘oh, it was just a poor cursed man/animal all along, but we needed to put it down so we did’.

    Further, some of that turning inside out is about placing yourself in the monster’s position. There’s lots you can try to learn from that, but way too often it becomes a power fantasy. And accurate Werewolves are a pretty poor power fantasy. So it’s altered by Hollywood and other writers to further pander.

    Point is: Hollywood does a poor job with werewolves, but I’m not surprised and there’s a lot of reasons for that.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Notably: also just my speculation. And speaking as someone who enjoys playing in World of Darkness… with the regeneration and durability balanced against your enemies… I kinda like the power fantasy. So for me, the Hollywood werewolf – when it’s the hero – is a bit of a guilty pleasure.

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  6. Actually, I think the silver thing is partly the idea that silver purifies (chemically true in some cases) and partly because in the astrological view, silver is ruled by the Moon. (In which case, it’s basically reasoning that since the Moon makes werewolves change, the Moon can shoot werewolves dead. Maybe it’s one of those “a high-velocity dose makes the poison” things.)

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    1. But there are also a lot of folktales where you use a weapon or magical item made out of precious metal or jewels (or glass, another popular choice), and it doesn’t really matter whether it would work in real life. The symbolic meaning is just “pricey and rare = magical.”

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