Discussion in 'World Building' started by wordwalker, Jan 10, 2013.
(Whether it's literal truth or a rougher way to distinguish them.)
Werewolves and vampires are completely different creatures. One is alive, and turns into a wolf every full moon (and sometimes other times, at will), the other is undead and drinks blood.
Any reasoning behind the statement, Wordwalker? Or is this a case of throwing an absurd sentence to the wolves and seeing what sense can be made of it?
Either way, I'd love to hear your opinions on it
Werewolves are from latin "were" meaning man and wolf meaning wolf-man and this concept goes far back in time, maybe even to the oldest memories of mankind. They traditionally have a melange of human and wolf features intermingled, manifested during a full moon and since they become more beast than human, can't sublimate their instincts to kill for meat; NOT for blood.
Vampires are likewise steeped in the history and traditions of Vlad the Impaler; who was probably a human that likely had a condition or disease that gave the desire to drink blood, not necessarily the capability to process it. Humans have never really had the capability of processing the iron in blood and if a person were to drink too much, they could perish. Vampires have taken on the appearance via literature of being undead and need blood to survive, and have the appearance of being human, though pale and with pronounced fangs for puncturing the skin to drink blood.
So in a nutshell, one is alive and one is dead and while they share the hallowed halls of nightmare creatures, they are different creatures.
Quite correct, except "were" is Anglo-Saxon, not Latin.
TRUE!!! It was off the top of my head...
I'm actually going to agree.
Werewolves obviously "binge" on their food which, while not being specifically blood, does include the red liquid (among other fluids and wads off flesh). The act of transforming into a ravenous beast could be seen as the "throwing up" part, as the metabolism for a creature like that would burn through anything consumed rather quickly, hence what was eaten is now gone.
I'll admit, it's a rough way of splitting them, but there are enough similarities for it to make sense.
There's a number of health risks associated with drinking blood, but the most important of them are diseases. Blood is not particularly toxic and the Masai regularly drink blood from their cattle. As for iron issues, I think you're thinking of a rare iron build up condition associated with blood transfusions. Once the iron is in the blood stream from chronic transfusions then it is difficult for the liver to metabolise and excrete. But simply drinking it shouldn't cause this sort or iron overload problem.
As far as Vlad is concerned, yes he is widely regarded as the inspiration behind Dracula. But I wasn't aware that he had any particular medical condition. I assume you're thinking along the lines of porphyria where people can't produce their own haeme well, and they often end up looking pale and anaemic. Vlad is best known for being a sadistic bastard (sorry could use other words but not in a public forum). In one common tale a number of Turkish envoys came to see him and refused to remove their turbins in his presence for religious reasons. So he staked their turbins to their heads and sent them back a little bit dead. Peace did not follow. Some have said he turned against the church (Catholic) when it did not support his desire to go to war with the turks. Others have said he drank blood and did other vile things, purely to gain strength over his enemies and scare them witless. He was also pretty horrible to his own people, especially the nobles.
I've heard the rumor that Vlad the Impaler had some kind of illness, but I've never seen any evidence of that claim (the idea that he had an iron deficiency and it was being treated like this at the time he lived is a little, well shoddy).
Also, and this is why I actually want to comment: We might be overestimating the amount of influence Vlad the Impaler had on the character of Dracula, outside of the name and broad back story of him being a Wallachian noble (Van Helsing, as I recall, is the only one to postulate that he is Vlad Tepes). Most of the characteristics of Count Dracula/vampires as Stoker imagined them were lifted from an earlier novel, The Vampyre by John Polidori. Polidori based his vampire on Lord Byron, and this introduced a lot of the sexuality of the vampire into popular culture.
So, basically, Vlad Tepes is a little window dressing for a character that was window dressing for Lord Byron. Fun stuff.
Okay, having raised a few eyebrows--
"Bulimic" was the most nutshell-compacted way I could put it, but, my point is that both creatures could be said to have the same root: eating people. But on different schedules.
The werewolf is only partly affected by his hunger, keeping his humanity at most times until the need builds up (or the moonlight does, or stress overwhelms control) and he loses his form, self-control, and so on. When it's run its course, the humanity reasserts itself... but how fully does it?
The vampire embraces the hunger completely (or is consumed by it), so that his body's no longer alive, but he keeps his mind and can pace his feeding, and is able to master further powers (including shapeshifting into, say, wolves?)
Sounds like the same creature at different stages to me.
I have always seen vampires associated with bats, not really wolves, but I suppose in a fantasy novel anything is possible in the scheme of things. Vampires in literature generally are known to feed on humans because it is the richest source of nutrients in comparison with animals. Interview with the vampire touched on the topic of vampires feeding off of animals for survival, so it is possible, but for many vampires; the hunt is the real fun and a domestic animal would defeat the purpose of that hunting. Whether that hunt is civilized in nature (like in the aforemention Interview with a Vampire) or a nose to the wind, chasing frightened prey down the alleys of a city is up to the author.
Werewolves also feed on humans or animal, they can eat anything, so aren't AS choosy as vampires; I always think it's like they enter a berserker state where anything that crosses their path is potential food without rhyme or reason. They'd kill their best friend, neighbor or a sheep in the field until the hunger is sated. Many depictions I have ever seen/read about werewolves suggest they turn to full wolf form and hunt like a wolf and it's entirely possible that they could retain the intelligence of the wolf and possibly even remember events that happened during their time spent as a wolf.
I think that there are many overlaps to the literary aspects of both werewolves and vampires, they both tend to be night walkers, feed on humans, enjoy the hunt etc, and have weaknesses (silver bullets for werewolves, wooden stakes for vampires). An author could easily blur the line between them or even create a "werevamp" that is genetically viable without a problem making them one and the same creature; as long as they do it well. I like to think they are seperate creatures with their own rich histories.
What about taking into affect that most vampires are recognized for cannibalism, so you're a typical Joe schmuck can be perfectly normal then as crazed murderers or cannibals if you will, reach a point where they mjust binge giving into their animalistic needs. So vampire, somewhat self controlled in the sense of an addict accepting a substance without the excess, werewolf the lower rockstar form of addict feasting seemingly against their will in the most primal form of operation. Both are night walkers as neither would be accepted by any other than their own kind, vvampires view themselves as controlled and in such belief a higher life form than wolves. Also leading to the lifestyle differences.
A possible approach.
There is actually a lot of overlap between vampires and werewolves in Slavic lore, which is what most of our modern cliches are based on (or at least, based on works that were in turn based on Slavic lore, like Dracula) though it often involves elements of them that don't survive to their modern versions.
For example, while some werewolves in folklore and myth are cursed beings, the vast majority of them transformed voluntarily. The superstitious beliefs of the time defined werewolves as witches or sorcerers who had the power to assume animal shape, often to raid their neighbor's livestock or kill somebody they didn't like. It's one of those superstitions that provides a reason for unexplained tragedy, and allows unscrupulous individuals to shift the blame to a scapegoat.
Likewise, there were lots of ways to create vampires. sure, being killed by a vampire was almost a guarantee, but there were other ways. Somebody who was evil or immoral was often thought to come back as a vampire, including suicides, criminals, and people accused of witchcraft. You could have a person who in life was thought to be a witch, who could become a werewolf, and who upon their death everybody assumed came back as a vampire. And then it's grave desecration time.
Wolves and vampires often fit together in other odd ways in Slavic folklore. In some regions, it was thought wolves were one of the few ways to permanently kill vampires. For example, in Albania there was a tradition that a vampire can be destroyed only once a wolf has bitten its legs off.