The Evolution of the Werewolf Through Media Representation

Okay, so this is purely for fictional entertainment mostly because I love mythology like this. How many of you know about werewolves? I’m going to assume the majority of you. What’s interesting is all the different types of lore and spin-offs that the world has created. It is pretty interesting to someone like me.

Lycanthropes or Lycan for short comes from the Greek word Lykanos which means “wolf.” I feel like I should be making a My Big Fat Greek Wedding reference here… Anyways that is where the word comes from which through the years has been transformed to ‘werewolf’ because it’s a hybrid of a wolf and human. If you go into an internet dive (not even a deep dive) you can also find that different factions of people believe that Lycans and Werewolves are different still, stating that Lycans can control their transformation and inner wolf whereas werewolves are unable to control the change. This was a new angle for me.

Photo Found Pinterest

So let us start with one popular movie that turned a spotlight on the legend Underworld showed the transformation of the human into wolf better than anyone and portray them as these huge brutes that carry characteristics of both human and wolf but refer to them as Lycans. I feel they upgraded the look that Michael Jackson’s Thriller video came up with. As the movie series progresses you see the story where Lycans were protectors of the Vampires until one fell in love with a vampire and was murdered by her kind, causing a huge rift and revolt between the species.

Photo Found FanPop

One of my favorite movies that shows a completely different side to the legend is “Blood and Chocolate” starring Hugh Dancy (swoon). What is so cool is that this story takes place in Bucharest, Romania the birthplace of these legends and brings a more ancient tone to the story. In this story, they are referred to as Loup-garo but they are shown in a more honorary light and also it is not a curse that can be passed on when someone is bitten or scratched, it is passed down through the bloodlines. Also, they don’t change into a hybrid but into actual wolves. I feel this version is more representative of the original legends and were more modern storylines are reverting to.

A less well known (at least to me) TV show that also follows this version is “Wolf Blood” which is a British/German teen drama series that follows a family of ‘tame’ wolf bloods and their trials and tribulations through high school. The first difference is that they do not refer to themselves as werewolves or Lycans, they are very against being referred to as werewolves. A similarity though is that they transform into full wolves again and that you can not be changed into a wolf blood but born into it. What is interesting is that they show a difference between tame wolf bloods like the main characters who live amongst humans and befriend them and wild wolf bloods who live out in nature and have a hatred for all things human. It is an interesting dynamic that is pretty watered down in my opinion but it is an interesting show none-the-less. I love seeing entertainment from other countries because it is almost completely different than American counterparts, but that is another post I could write.

To further impress this image of werewolves that are not hybrids we can look at the Twilight movie franchise, though they are gigantic wolves so they still are pretty obvious. On a side note though with Stephanie Myer’s version of the story this pack is not the same as werewolves because they are a tribe of magical members that transform to protect against the cold ones (aka vampires). I’m not sure if this means that she’s eluding to there being actual werewolves that are hybrids since I don’t remember the storyline going further than this in conjuncture with the wolves.

Photo Found BBC News

My opinion is that there seem to be more legends pointing towards humans that can transform into full wolves instead of a hybrid. I feel the hybrid version was created in a way to mutate the practitioners and turn them into monsters. With the take over of Christianity, anything or anyone, not ‘normal’ is a ‘monster’ and is demonized as such, so showing off a scary figure that is part man and part wolf would do the trick. The fact that in the last decade more representation of the legend showing it not as a course and showing them as full wolves I feel shows the evolution (or maybe de-evolution?) back to folklore. I mean look at the evolution of the vampire story; they went from evil seductive creatures that feast on blood to survive to creatures with background and history that fall in love with humans at a drop of a hat (okay very over-generalization here but again, this could be another post).

What are your views on the Lycan legends? What do you believe? Any movie/story suggestions for me?


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