Take werewolves ....... I always thought a werewolf was a werewolf was a werewolf, you know the stereotype, changed at the full moon and could only be killed by a silver bullet.
OK, so reading the True Blood series of books educated me in that I discovered werewolves (and other were-creatures)could actually change at other times, it didn't have to be at the time of a full moon.
But it has taken my latest read, FOOL MOON by Jim Butcher to further my education even further.
Did you, for example, know .......
There are in fact different kinds of werewolves who are usually defined by how they get from human form to wolf form.
- Werwolves. Technically speaking a werewolf is a theriomorph? A what? A theriomorph - anything that shapeshifts from a human being into animal form. The classic werewolf simply being a human who uses magic to shift him/herself into a wolf. Most who learn to do this aren't very good at it for they keep all their own humanity, thinking and reasoning as a human being and without the reflexes or instincts of a wolf. As for a silver bullet being the only thing able to kill them - a Hollywood myth, just like a real wolf they can be hurt, killed even, with the usual array of weapons. Oh and you can't be 'changed' into a werewolf by being bitten.
- Hexenwolves. A human who makes a deal with a demon or a powerful sorcerer. They get a wolf-hide belt (or some other amulet), put it on, say the magic words and, hey presto, they're a wolf who, because they are using a talisman, lose all their human inhibitions and run with their unconscious desires - basically a huge wolf with human-level intelligence and animal-level ferocity.
- Lycanthropes. A natural channel for a spirit of rage, a lycanthrope turns into a beast but only inside their head, they are unable to actually shapeshift into a wolf. The spirit takes over, affecting the way the individual thinks and acts, making them stronger, more aggressive, very resistant to pain or injury and able to heal rapidly.
- Loup-garou. Major monsters, someone has cursed them to become a wolf like demon. With supernatural speed, power and ferocity when the full moon comes (they only change then) they transform into a monster, slaughtering everything in their path until the moon sets or the sun rises. Recovering from injuries almost instantly, they are immune to poison and any kind of sorcery that goes to their brain AND here's where the silver bullets come in ....... Only a silver weapon can hurt a loup-garou but it has to be silver that is inherited from a family member.
Hmm, fascinating stuff.
And now for ........
My favourite 'werewolf' theme tune, Creedence Clearwater Revival's Bad Moon Rising made popular by the film An American Werewolf In London.