Monday, July 16, 2012

Face Off: What Werewolf Legend Should Not Be Missed?

So last week we looked at the various vampire stories and how they have deviated away strongly from the legend - and what we consider to be “must haves” of any decent vampire story.

This week we’re going to turn our gaze on the werewolf legends (werewolves, not wereanimals) and seeing what we consider must have for our howling stories!

The Moon and Silver

Ok, there are several legends that don’t involve the moon, but this is such a classic when it comes to werewolves that it has become a must have. The moon must have an effect - it doesn’t matter exactly what it means: maybe they have to change, maybe it’s harder to maintain control, maybe they have to howl, - but when the moon shines it should have some kind of effect. Similarly, silver - maybe it makes them weaker, maybe it burns, maybe it stops them healing - whatever it does, silver has to matter.

Pack Dynamics - less of the Dictatorial Alpha

How many times do we see this? “I am alpha and I rule! Everyone must bow before me!” And then everything the werewolves do is about control and dominance. Every gesture, constant body language, constant aggression. There’s a lot of fighting, constant challenges and battles and even fights to the death. Enough - wild wolves don’t even do this! How could a pack even function when they’re constantly abusing each other?

Vampires vs Werewolves

This is something I’d like to see less of. It has become as much as a trope as Elves vs Dwarfs in High Fantasy. Werewolves and vampires have to be some kind of rival - to some degrees to the extent that werewolf blood is even toxic to vampires. It seems almost to be a rule now that these creatures cannot get along. The problem, for me, isn’t so much the rivalry now, it’s that it is assumed. I’ve read stories where we have this rivalry and it isn’t even explained - it’s just assumed that werewolves and vampires must hate each other

The wolves have to be scary!

One the things that is awesome by werewolves is that they have the potential of becoming freakishly terrifying characters.  When you combine that with the potential of them retaining human intelligence, who would ever want to run afoul of a werewolf.  A werewolf on screen should set your heart racing. I can really appreciate a huge terrifying CGI werewolf.  Unfortunately, to save money True Blood has chosen to go with the itty bitty weres and to make matters worse they set these tiny wolves against vicious vampires. How can anyone take them seriously. If you see a werewolf on screen and you are not in the least bit terrified then that is a sign that the producer and the director is doing it wrong.

So, gentle readers, which werewolf myths are must haves in your book?