Werewolf (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
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|Created by||Joss Whedon|
In the Buffyverse, created by Joss Whedon, werewolves are similar to the werewolves of folklore, but rather than being only brutish monsters, they appear as characters who suffer from lycanthropy, and whose animal side either complements or clashes with their human side.
Werewolves in the Buffyverse are usually afflicted with lycanthropy through a bite.
Werewolves turn into wolf form at sunset on the three nights when the moon is nearest full (called "wolf nights" by Willow and Oz), and revert to human form at dawn. In wolf form, they are immensely strong and hungry for human flesh, but tend to fall asleep before dawn, and often do not recall the events of the previous night when they wake (always naked, as their clothes do not survive the transformation). They show some animal characteristics at all times, such as a keen sense of smell and an ability to sense other werewolves. Sometimes their wolf appearance resembles their human appearance (e.g. Veruca is blonde both as a human and as a wolf), and male werewolves may have animal-like qualities to their human appearance, such as excess body hair.
Werewolves may be killed by silver bullets or silver weapons, as well as mauling by other werewolves. If killed in wolf form, most werewolves remain in wolf form; in "Wild At Heart", Veruca remains in wolf form after Oz kills her, and in "Phases", Gib Cain states that he skins dead werewolves for their pelts, pointing out that "it's a little hard to skin 'em when they're alive." However, Wesley explains in "Unleashed" that Nina (in wolf form) must be alive in order for the patrons of Crane's banquet to enjoy her as werewolf meat, implying that, dead, she would be a normal human corpse and of no interest to the gourmets. This is apparently a unique trait of Nina's particular werewolf breed; Nina's attacker in that episode reverted to human form as soon as Angel killed him.
The physical appearance of werewolves is retconned in between "Phases" and "Beauty and the Beasts"; originally, Oz's wolf form was more humanoid, able to walk on two legs with a wolf-like snout, but it was changed to a quadrupedal look with a more humanoid face; the former of these looks is possibly the inspiration for the Lycanthropus Exterus introduced in Angel season five.
The first werewolf seen in the series is Oz, although he doesn't realize he is one until he wakes naked in a forest ("Phases"). He says earlier in that episode that his young cousin bit him on the finger, and later calls his aunt to ask, "Is Jordy a werewolf? Uh-huh. And how long has that been going on? Uh-huh." To prevent himself from harming others, he takes to locking himself in a cage on the nights he'll turn. In season 4, however, he feels an undeniable attraction to Veruca, the female lead singer of a local band, and realizes why when he wakes up next to her after a wolf night on which he escaped his cage—he connect the dots and realizes she is a werewolf too, and she is happy to tell him they had given in to their animalistic desires for each other ("Wild at Heart"). Oz is powerless to resist his lust for Veruca, and after having sex with her in wolf form, he realizes that he is still harmful to others—namely his girlfriend Willow—and unable to defeat the wolf in him. This was despite the fact that when Veruca had pursued Willow, Oz interestingly seemed to retain some human memories and slaughters Veruca, suggesting he was able to prioritize his kills based on his human knowledge about Veruca (see below) and his affection for Willow. Still, he leaves Sunnydale for a few months, returning after having learned meditative techniques in Tibet that have allowed him to prevent changing ("New Moon Rising"). However, emotional stress, particularly over Willow and his jealousy over her new love interest Tara triggers the changes even during the day, and Oz realizes he has not defeated his lycanthropy as much as he thought he did, and departs again. He returns to Tibet to continue the Buddhist practices to hold back the wolf, but comes to the conclusion nothing works anymore. He is tempted to give in to his wolf side, but eventually doesn't, when fellow werewolf—and future mother of his child—Bayarmaa tells him of the original Tibetan religion Bon. The two build upon the religion and make their own traditions, seeing the spiritual life in ordinary things, quietly aware they are part of it all. They eventually learn that the secret is not to bottle up the wolf, but to let the energy of the wolf pass through them without taking them and into the world around them, letting "the wolf be pulled into the earth." ("Retreat, part II")
Veruca is the lead singer of a Sunnydale band called Shy, and meets Oz through his band, Dingoes Ate My Baby. After confirming that they are both werewolves, Veruca is dumbfounded to learn that Oz cages himself, and suggests that werewolves should feel free to express their animal side, as they are above regular humans ("Wild at Heart"). Unlike Oz, she has no qualms about killing humans and views any human deaths she might cause as a wolf as mere ramifications of freedom and right to kill. Oz insists that she stay with him in his cage, saying, "I can't let you hurt anyone," and she complies, knowing she can still enjoy her animalistic expression by having sex with him. Later Veruca pursues Willow and tries to kill her only to be stopped by Oz. The fight of the two werewolves ends when Oz eventually rips Veruca's throat out.
Nina Ash is an art student living in L.A. who was attacked by a werewolf while jogging one night ("Unleashed"). Angel is nearby and hears her screams, but by the time he arrives on the scene and kills the werewolf with a silver pen, Nina had already escaped and Angel, smelling her blood, realizes she was bitten. Using the resources of Wolfram and Hart, Angel tracks her down and cages her to prevent her from harming herself or others. The team learns from the cryptozoologist who examines the werewolf's corpse that the particular species is unusual in that it is bipedal. Nina is dismayed to learn that she's a "monster," and reluctantly agrees to let Angel hold her in a cage at Wolfram & Hart so that they can continue to help her. Unfortunately, Nina is captured and taken to a banquet for patrons who enjoy the flesh of demons and other unusual creatures, and who intend to devour her. After being rescued by Angel and the rest of Angel Investigations, she begins to recognize that she is more than the monster, and later has a brief but healthy relationship with Angel.
View of werewolves
The way people see werewolves in the Buffyverse varies:
- Gib Cain hunts and kills werewolves for their teeth and pelts, and the gourmet club members are willing to pay handsomely to eat werewolf flesh, both indifferent to the fate of the human aspect. Cain notes that werewolf pelts fetch a high price in Sri Lanka, while Crane mentions dining on werewolf flesh in Seville, Spain, demonstrating this attitude can be found in many nations.
- The Scoobies and Angel's crew do not hold werewolves responsible for their actions in bestial form, provided that (like Oz and Nina) they make reasonable efforts to restrain themselves during the full moon.
- Werewolves such as Veruca believe the wolf to be their true self, and relish their condition, even if it means killing someone.
- McManus, Nina's attacker in "Unleashed", originally attempted to live in permanent solitude, but eventually went back to populated areas. Unlike Oz and Nina, he did not have the support to hold on to his humanity.