When did the idea of non evil werewolves come from?

The place to talk about where a lot of things started. Stories and history, references, etc.
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Post by GvnDarklighter »

Indeed those are the ones. And, as it turns out, I was misspelling the Irish legend when I was searching for it. Thanks on both accounts.

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Post by RedEye »

As to where the original idea of non-evil Werewolves came from, maybe they spread it themselves to try to keep people from attacking them on sight.

That is, if there really were any Werewolves... :lol:
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Post by GvnDarklighter »

When I think of evil werewolves, I tend to think of them as evil because they are animalistic, out of control, not entirely sentient. So for me the fact that they could perpetuate the idea that they were not evil would mean to me that there are likely at least some who really aren't. Hopefully that makes sense.

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Post by Distorted Realism »

the three werewolfs in celtic mythology were evil..... so it is a mystery to me...
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Post by Distorted Realism »

kind of odd actually ... there have been a set of three people somehow related to wolf s in celtic and roman mythology...possibly more...
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Post by WolfmanBrooks101189 »

I think the idea of non-evil werewolves has been around for awhile. I kinda like the concept. . . .that's why I'm trying to write a novel featuring a good werewolf.

There was a book a read a few years back called The Wolf's Hour in which the hero was a werewolf.
Ya best start believin' in Werewolf stories Miss. Turner, you're in one. . . .

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Post by O Pianista »

Well I can't say such things about non-evil werewolves... but I can say much about non-evil and evil vampires... Funny about the fact... Ethic would be a vision point?

Imagine a werewolf killing a human by hunger...
He was evil because he killed a human? or he tried to survive?
The human attacked the werewolf? or he simply get eaten?

The weak get eaten?
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Post by WolfmanBrooks101189 »

I think what actually determines if a werewolf is actually evil or not depends on if the werewolf is good or bad as a human.
Ya best start believin' in Werewolf stories Miss. Turner, you're in one. . . .

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Post by RedEye »

In Kinsella's translation of the Tain Bo Cuailnge (The Cattle raid of [or at] Cooley), there are lines that speak of a Clann of warriors on Conchobar's side who could turn into wolves. They fought Maeve's (Medbh's) warriors and although they killed many, they were all slain.
We can draw two things from that bit of the greater legend:
1: These Werewolves were respected and valued fighters for Conchobar Mac Nessa, and;
2: They left their wives and children at the fort when they went out and fought. (Common occurrance)
That's a Tribe of Werewolves, and they didn't all die out. Their mates and children lived on.
So...maybe the Irish wolves didn't go extinct a couple of hundred years back. Maybe they went to Dublin. :lol:
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Post by WerewolfKeeper3 »

Dreamer wrote:Great info Scott! But what do you think was the first story back then that thought of werewolves like that?
It's probably painted ont he cave walls somewhere. I doubt anyone will be able to give you a clear cut answer. The time between then and now is long. Probably too long... But i'd say the idea came about the same time the evil ones did... or the good first, then the evil... yeah, that's probably it... anyway, i'm pretty much useless to you... sorry...

(Oh, and about redeye's idea... i believe it. Animals are smarter than humans give them credit for... isn't that the case most of the time....)
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Post by RedEye »

I suspect that "Evil Werewolves" got started when early Christianity ran into folk legends. Since the Werewolves weren't Christian, they were evil by default.

Where they got their boost was in the movies. That is where the modern concept of the Werewolf got its start, and face it; if they were nice, friendly people, the film would have bombed.

Before then, there were just legends of good, bad, and indifferent Shape Changers, Werewolves among them.
That doesn't sell tickets. Horror does.
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Re: When did the idea of non evil werewolves come from?

Post by RongYao »

In the bigger part of the legends werewolves are evil .
Why they are evil ?
If you are hungry beast , you may to be in your mind and that doesn't change the fact that you are hungry ... then you to kill something for food and people says that you are evil .
If the hunger is like legends says , then the people with leak minds will not be able to resist on this .
And if you are human with a strong mind then you may be able to control this thing .
There have evil wolves , dogs , bulls , cats and even humans (can you imagine that heh) and that not make any of these animals bad or evil .
This is just like the alien things on the network and the news , when you see alien you will get panic , why , because you thinking that something bad gonna happen now .
When some people get bite from a dog while they are child , they start thinking that every dog is evil .
This is the way how stories for evil creatures is appear .
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Post by Sunbane »

As for "non-evil" werewolves in modern literature, I think that White Wolf's vision of werewolves is worthy of mention. Their RPG "Werewolf: The Apocalypse" was released some time in the late 80's or early 90's (I think). Their werewolves ("Garou"), is a race (or rather, a species) that has lived secretly alongside humanity since the dawn of time. The Garou live in tribes (consisting of several packs), and are able to cross breed with both humans and wolves. There are no "curses" and no "contagion" that will cause normal people to become werewolves. Either you are born a Garou, or you are not. Those that are born Garou but unable to shapeshift, are called "Kinfolk".

I don't know how "pioneering" WW were with that (if at all). I smell a lot of native american mythwork in there for one thing, but that may not be relevant. It's a nice piece of writing in any case, and even though I've never bothered to play the game, I enjoyed their take on werewolves a lot. :)
RedEye wrote:I suspect that "Evil Werewolves" got started when early Christianity ran into folk legends. Since the Werewolves weren't Christian, they were evil by default.
You're right. Christianity has stamped their Satan onto lots of things that weren't necessarily bad. :(

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Sunbane wrote:As for "non-evil" werewolves in modern literature, I think that White Wolf's vision of werewolves is worthy of mention. Their RPG "Werewolf: The Apocalypse" was released some time in the late 80's or early 90's (I think). Their werewolves ("Garou"), is a race (or rather, a species) that has lived secretly alongside humanity since the dawn of time. The Garou live in tribes (consisting of several packs), and are able to cross breed with both humans and wolves. There are no "curses" and no "contagion" that will cause normal people to become werewolves. Either you are born a Garou, or you are not. Those that are born Garou but unable to shapeshift, are called "Kinfolk".

I don't know how "pioneering" WW were with that (if at all). I smell a lot of native american mythwork in there for one thing, but that may not be relevant. It's a nice piece of writing in any case, and even though I've never bothered to play the game, I enjoyed their take on werewolves a lot. :)
RedEye wrote:I suspect that "Evil Werewolves" got started when early Christianity ran into folk legends. Since the Werewolves weren't Christian, they were evil by default.
You're right. Christianity has stamped their Satan onto lots of things that weren't necessarily bad. :(

To expand on this: the Garou in Werewolf: the Apocalypse worshiped Gaia and fought the forces of evil called the Wyrm. THey were warriors battling to save the Earth from itself, such as destruction of the biosphere. It's all pretty neat and I've enjoyed reading through their source books for ideas. They seem to have done the species the best justice so far. They also tout that Garou could transform between 5 different forms of man to wolf (or wolf to man depending on how they were born) including wolfman style, upright halfway point (with a tail! And this form was their 'war' form) as well as an oversized wolf; on top of the normal human and the wolf appearances.

As for the evil part, most of these stories originated out of Europe and the surrounding areas and those stories were very much about evil and curses. Even Greek mythology has an example of a cursed werewolf. St Patrick was even said to have cursed a king of Ireland with Lycanthropy and St Patrick also travelled Ireland cursing any who did not convert to Chistinity. No wonder we get drunk when thinking about him...

Anyway, that was a major digress; but yes, White Wolf did it best with Werewolf: the Apocalypse. They basically said that most were good and every o often there was a bad seed. Just like us humans.

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Re: When did the idea of non evil werewolves come from?

Post by faladunaju »

Well . In my opinion werewolves from Werewolf:The Forsaken (another White Wolf's RPG) also weren't evil . They are more wild and they not always control themselves ,but still most of them don't kill humans without good reason.

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Re: When did the idea of non evil werewolves come from?

Post by faladunaju »

I found that while browsing net randomy.

http://www.werewolves.com/virgils-werewolf/

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Re: When did the idea of non evil werewolves come from?

Post by WolfVanZandt »

Theiss was a member of a larger group of werewolves like himself who were known to benefit their community. Such werewolves were members of a larger group of Christian shamans called Benandante. Before the 15th century, Werewolves were no better or worse than any other groups. There were good Werewolves and there were bad Werewolves. Sometimes, they were thought to be Werewolves because of a curse, but just as likely or more lkely) they were thought of as people who just had certain abilities. These traditions still exist in eastern Europe.

The original Werewolves, the Neuri were shamans who "traveled" (moved about in the "spirit realm" in the form of wolves. Obviously, thattradition lasted into the 15th century because that is exactly the kind of Werewolf that Theiss was. In fact, it's intirely possible that "real Werewolves" were and are such shamans.

Sources for all this are Caslos Ginzberg's The Night Battles" and Harry A. Senn's "Werewolves and Vampires in Romania." The later anthropology monograph is long out of publication but can still be found via InterLibrary Loan.

The idea of the evil werewolf was promulgated by the church during the Inquisition because Werewolves were among the earliest Protestants. After the rumor was started, mentally ill people began taking on the persona of evil werewolves. In modern times, evil werewolves make bettweer movies than heroic werewolves so they make more money. Before the 15th century, the werewolf of the horror movie would have been completely alien.

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Re: When did the idea of non evil werewolves come from?

Post by Aki »

faladunaju wrote:Well . In my opinion werewolves from Werewolf:The Forsaken (another White Wolf's RPG) also weren't evil . They are more wild and they not always control themselves ,but still most of them don't kill humans without good reason.
Apocalypse, I think, is what started the modern 'non-Evil' werewolf (even if legends of it existed in the past) just like how Anne Rice and all them started the 'non monster' vampire (which White Wolf later assisted by making their Vampire: The Masquerade RPG) in the modern day.

Forsaken is just a further modernization because Apocalypse was ... well, very eighties and somewhat unfocused. Too heavy on the "Gaia" and shamanistic aspects and not enough on the wolf/werewolf ones. It's why Forsaken is a game more heavily focused on territory (defending yours or expanding it) and getting into brawls with other werewolves or with hunters or spirits now and then.
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Re: When did the idea of non evil werewolves come from?

Post by WolfVanZandt »

"Good" Werewolves have been around for some time in literature - Saint Peter's Wolf, Howling Mad, The Wolf's Hour, and The Complete Werewolf are examples that might have predated White Wolf. Certainly examples like Teen Wolf don't seem to be related to White Wolf.

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Re: When did the idea of non evil werewolves come from?

Post by RedWolf »

Regarding the previous post about Classical werewolf stories, the "Henry VIII Wolfman" novel, published in July, refers to lycanthropes in England as "Arcadians." This is a reference to the ancient Greek myth that shapeshifters could transform into wolves in the "Arcadia" region near Mount Lykaion. See
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lykaion
Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lykaia

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Re: When did the idea of non evil werewolves come from?

Post by Louve_Lillith »

The Non-evil werewolves predate the evil. All the way up to the 12th Century you see examples of shapeshifters that are kind like Bisclavret from the tales of Marie de France. I actually like the concept because it makes sense from a humanist standpoint : As there is wickedness so is there good. :wink: I think both concepts are interesting in their own right but the "cursed monster" facet has been done to death...And why not have a kind, powerful, wild creature vs. a cursed one. hwlwnk
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Re: When did the idea of non evil werewolves come from?

Post by werewolf-woman »

i think that that there is a big difference between evil werewolves and cursed werewolves.
just because a human is supernaturally cursed with werewolfism doesn't mean that person is evil.
i think Evil werewolves were depicted in folklore to explain the evil deeds of serial murderers or the unfortunate mentally ill. I think Most werewolves depicted in film are tragic characters afflicted with a curse but the human is often not evil but rather a regular or even is a good person. Laurence Talbot from the 1941 wolfman, was just a regular man who became a tragic, cursed figure.

i think the werewolf isn't really the embodiment of evil but rather a manifestation of the Id or the darker aspects of the human mind.

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Re: When did the idea of non evil werewolves come from?

Post by Uniform Two Six »

Keep in mind that the cursed werewolf is a plot device. If an antagonist is simply evil, then the protagonist killing him is very straightforward from an emotional or moral perspective. If the werewolf is cursed, and the monster that he/she turns into is something that is forced upon them, then things get a little more complicated (ie: conflict -- which is a necessary element in a good story, after all). The monster which is running amok and slaughtering people has to be stopped, but how can that be accomplished without harming the fundamentally innocent person within? Alternatively, there is the perspective from the werewolf him/herself (sometimes known as the personal horror aspect). In a way the werewolf is simply a variation on very old literary themes. And let's be honest; people have been telling scary stories around the campfire since the stone age. Considering how ubiquitous shapeshifters are in folklore across pretty much all cultures, it stands to reason that people have been telling werewolf stories that long as well.

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Re: When did the idea of non evil werewolves come from?

Post by Fullmoonstar »

Yeah...I pretty much agree with a lot of others here.
You just need to think about the stories that have been told. The stories of evil werewolves, shapshifters, who turn into vicious demon-like beasts that kill innocent humans, murder other beings for fun and do bad out of their instincts. We can see them as some kind of natural force...something the humans can not stop or tame. So out of that knowledge they are afraid of these creatures and fear them. And since humans always need solace to face a bigger problem or fear, they have made up the idea of the "good" and non-evil werewolves as a counterpart. They have got the same abilities, the same strength but an opposite view on moral and what is right and wrong. Of course this is really painting it just black and white but most of the folklore and stories is similar to that. Good VS Evil. The protecting and the destroying force...
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