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Lycanthrope
LarryTalbot-Wolfman
Naming
Others Werewolf
Were-wolf
Wolf Man
Morphology
Body type Canine-humanoid
Average height Varies
Average weight Varies
Intelligence
Sentience Sentient
Sapience Varies
Aggressivity Varies (typically Extreme)
Language Howling
Sometimes capable of talking, even when transformed
Ecology
Place of origin Europe
Diet Carnivorous
Locomotion Bipedal
Sometimes quadruped when transformed
Behind the Scenes
Universe Real
Performed by Various

Lycanthropy is the condition in which a human being is periodically transformed into a vicious wolf or wolf-man hybrid. A person affected by this condition is referred to as a Werewolf or Lycanthrope.

Historically, numerous people have been accused of being werewolves, with wide persecutions happening all over Europe, particularly during the Renaissance.

Etymologically, the term "Werewolf" should be exclusively used for males. The female equivalent would probably be "Wifwolf", which is seldom used.

Overview

In modern stories, the transformation into the Werewolf is involuntary, triggered when the subject finds himself or herself under the influence of the full moon. How much they retain (or fail to retain) their sapience and self-control after the transformation varies from tale to tale. They're also shown to be highly vulnerable to silver.

Like vampirism, lycanthropy is typically portrayed as a transmitted condition: the victims of Werewolf bites will become infected and start turning into Werewolves themselves. Conversely, it has also been portrayed as an inherited generic condition, or as the result of curses and other forms of dark magic.

Stories about werewolves have existed since ancient times and were already popular in the Greek and Roman civilizations. In literature, they have been popular since the Middle Ages, with Marie de France's "Bisclavret" constituting one of the earliest examples.

Association between Werewolves and Vampires was already recurring in Bram Stoker's prose, in which vampires can typically assume the form of a wolf, and exert command over both natural and supernatural wolves. As a result, many works have portrayed Werewolves as servants and associates of Vampires; with the bloody rivalry sometimes seen between the two races constituting a more modern trope.

In popular culture

Literature

  • Bisclavret, by Marie de France (1175)
  • The White Wolf of the Hartz Mountains, by Frederick Marryat (1839)
  • The Wolf Leader, by Alexandre Dumas (1857)
  • The Circus of Dr. Lao, by Charles G. Finney (1935)
  • The Silmarillion, by J. R. R. Tolkien (1977)
  • Cycle of the Werewolf, by Stephen King (1983)
  • Howling Mad by Peter David (1989)
  • The Bloody Red Baron, by Kim Newman (1995) (Mentioned only)

Television

  • Being Human
  • Bitten
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Dark Shadows
  • Face Off
  • Fangface
  • Freakazoid!
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy
  • Grimm (as a disease affecting Blutbaden)
  • Johnny Bravo
  • Lost Tapes
  • The Lost World
  • The Munsters
  • The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries
  • Once Upon a Time
  • The Real Ghostbusters
  • The Richie Rich/Scooby-Doo Show
  • Sanctuary
  • She-Wolf of London
  • The Smurfs
  • Supernatural
  • Tales from the Crypt
  • Teen Wolf
  • True Blood
  • The Vampire Diaries
  • Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Gallery

Notes

  • Besides lycanthropy, there exist several other forms of therianthropy, i.e., men turning into animal-hybrids of some sort. Different cultures over the world tell stories of things that could be referred to as "Were-Boars", "Were-Crocodiles", "Were-Tigers" and even "Were-Dolphins" (these names aren't used, though). Then you have fictional/comedic varieties such as the "Weremoose" from Ace Ventura and the "Were-Rabbit" from Wallace & Gromit. Meanwhile, Sonic the Hedgehog's transformation into the "Werehog" cannot be considered lycanthropy, as he wasn't human to begin with. The term "Werehog" is a misnomer, as it would indicate a man turning into a hedgehog hybrid, rather than a hedgehog turning in a wolf hybrid as is the case with Sonic.

See also