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"Bring on the rainbow-colored werewolf pups!"... a rant - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
"Bring on the rainbow-colored werewolf pups!"... a rant
(Inspired by comments from eir_de_scania on my last post.)

I'm going to phrase this in terms of R/T, because that's my ship, but it hits the cute little "puppyshippers" on board the Wolfstar, too, in attitude if not specifics.

Werewolves are not cute.

Even if they may look as cute as little wolf puppies in the real world, they are even more dangerous than wolves, because wolves in the real world would prefer to avoid our acquaintance if they can. Werewolves are after us.

The animal form of an animagus may just be a totemic representation of the person, but the wolf form of a werewolf is a curse--it is the absolute worst, most vicious, most violent and predatory part of nature, ripped away from any social moorings. Even if the werewolf in human form is sweet-tempered and gentle (Remus or Oz), in wolf form, he is not a great big grey puppy in need of having his ears tugged on, at least not around humans. Get close, he'll rip your throat out and chew on it while you bleed to death.

The first time I saw a piece of art with Wolf!Remus playing with his cute little pink and purple wolf!cubs, I just tore at my hair. What on earth are we R/Ters thinking?

In Rowling's world, lycanthropy is always and only passed through a bite (this isn't always true--most pre-Hollywood werewolf legends are very much achieved thorugh the active participation of the wolf). Remus is very careful to shut himself away from people when he's transformed, so that he will not bite them... or, well, he knows he should be careful, at any rate. The main job of the Marauders when they went on adventures with him was to keep him from biting anyone because, exposed to humans, he would. And once he transformed back, it would cause him a great deal of pain. So if his children were werewolves, it means that he bit them. And since there was more than one pup, it means he did so more than once. Anyone want to raise your hand if you think Remus would bite his own child, then say, "Oh, what the heck, I'll bite another one of them and we can have little moonlit romps together"?

Okay, say we don't know that only a bite can transform. Say she wasn't even thinking about the possibility of him having children when she wrote that. Could it be that any of Remus's children would be born lycanthropic?

We hear a lot of things come out of Remus's mouth when he's coming up with excuses to push Tonks away--too old, too poor, too dangerous. What we don't hear is, "Too likely to sire children who will be cursed with a disease they won't understand and which can't be cured." Nor is Tonks likely--no matter how much she loves Remus--to wish that on her children. Nor would Molly and Arthur be likely to support such a thing. That wouldn't be anti-werewolf prejudice; it would be a normal, practical, and very real concern. So no--I don't think it's very likely to that it's the case.

Which brings us back to Remus biting his children, then going off to frolic in the countryside with them, then presumably go home, where he might bite any other children he has.

The werewolf is not a puppy. And honestly, if a small child got close enough to bite, we see from the Montgomery boy that it's quite possible for the werewolf to go completely overboard and kill it. And eat it, if Greyback is any indication.

Yeah, there's a cheerful, fluffy thought about Remus's idyllic family life: He's eaten a few of his children, transformed the others (and possibly his wife), and now goes around happily running his little pack.

Oh, and transformed... let's say, I hope none of the Lupinlets are daughters, and that the sons don't decide that they want to challenge dad for position in the social structure.

It's true that wolves can be very loving with one another, and the indication about the transformed Marauders is that there is some of the wolfish playfulness in Remus. I think that exposed to young werewolves, Remus might well be playful with them transformed (as long as they didn't challenge him). But the wolf is only out one night a month, and Remus the man wouldn't wish this kind of life on anyone, let alone people he loves. If he and Tonks have children, you can bet she takes full moons off to take care of them and he locks himself up somewhere far, far away from them. The fact that being a werewolf isn't his fault doesn't make it any less his responsibility.

There's a trope in R/T fanfic about Tonks (not as an animagus) staying with him while he's transformed, as a particularly loving act. I can actually see her trying to do so, and sometimes, the fics are beautifully written. But I can't quite get through one without going, "Er, sweetie, if you stick your hand in that cage, he'll bite it off. He'll be very sorry in the morning, but you'll still be handless." I think that at some point in any version of R/T, she has to deal with the wolf face to face (I'm planning the scene later in Shades), but the wolf is not a sweet, docile creature who will be nice to her because as a man, he loves her. He loved his friends as well, but they sure-God didn't hang out with him without turning into non-human animals. And if Tonks wants to stay with him while he's in wolf form, she'd best learn how to turn into a chameleon first. Because Remus transformed is not cute. He's not a rambunctious little puppy who wants to rough-house and doesn't realize he might accidentally hurt someone; he's out to hurt people, and anyone around him is mainly there to make sure he doesn't do so.

I guess this boils down to: Werewolves aren't cute little plushies. They're vicious monsters, whether they want to be or not. There are not going to be cute little multi-colored werepups.
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Comments
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From: gunderpants Date: January 22nd, 2006 03:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I feel that I should link this in my LJ because it would break people's brains with its sheer awesomeness. Good job, Fern.
secondsilk From: secondsilk Date: January 23rd, 2006 05:10 am (UTC) (Link)
fernwithy: Thank you very much for eloquent reminder. I really want to write something Remus-y about the transformations, now, but I have too much else to write. May all others head this advice.

gunderpants: I find your icon very, very disturbing. Amusing, but disturbing. I like to ignore their existence as best I can most of the time.
jadeddiva From: jadeddiva Date: January 22nd, 2006 03:50 am (UTC) (Link)
There's a trope in R/T fanfic about Tonks (not as an animagus) staying with him while he's transformed, as a particularly loving act. I can actually see her trying to do so, and sometimes, the fics are beautifully written. But I can't quite get through one without going, "Er, sweetie, if you stick your hand in that cage, he'll bite it off. He'll be very sorry in the morning, but you'll still be handless." I think that at some point in any version of R/T, she has to deal with the wolf face to face (I'm planning the scene later in Shades), but the wolf is not a sweet, docile creature who will be nice to her because as a man, he loves her. He loved his friends as well, but they sure-God didn't hang out with him without turning into non-human animals. And if Tonks wants to stay with him while he's in wolf form, she'd best learn how to turn into a chameleon first. Because Remus transformed is not cute. He's not a rambunctious little puppy who wants to rough-house and doesn't realize he might accidentally hurt someone; he's out to hurt people, and anyone around him is mainly there to make sure he doesn't do so.

I like what you say and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

I have the hardest time accepting Tonks-staying-with-werewolf!Remus fic for exactly the same reason you do - werewolves are dangerous. You sum up my thoughts on the subject so nicely. Wonderful job.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: January 22nd, 2006 01:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes.

I have her staying near him, when he's taken Wolfsbane, and peeking through the door now and then, but she doesn't play catch with him, pet him (argh - people, that's not sweet, that's cruel), or do anything that might provoke the Wolf enough for Remus to lose his mind. (And if there's no Wolfsbane? Forget it, she won't be going near him).
mugglegirl0908 From: mugglegirl0908 Date: January 22nd, 2006 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)

Here via Gun's journal

WORDIE McFUCKINGWORD WITH A SIDE OF WORD!!!!!!!!!!!

I like very much. Thank you for expressing my thoughts exactly. :)
zinaya From: zinaya Date: January 23rd, 2006 06:52 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Here via Gun's journal

Hey stranger!

And yes, word. Are you a R/T shipper? After reading this I want someone to write a serious fic about Tonks being all "supportive" and losing an arm. :p
heatherhobbit From: heatherhobbit Date: January 22nd, 2006 03:59 am (UTC) (Link)
You rock!

I adore R/T, but I can't bear to read some of the fan fiction because a lot of it makes werewolves cute and cuddley.
bibliophile20 From: bibliophile20 Date: January 22nd, 2006 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I have to agree on all of your points, especially the whole werepups point. I would, however, like to add to that the Wolfsbane potion allows Remus to keep his human mind "in the driver's seat", as it were. If he is able to take that on a regular basis, then it would be safe for Tonks to stay with him when he's transformed; now, admittedly, she'll want to keep him from forgetting what form he's in at the moment and "kissing" her, but it would be resonably safe. And, as you brought up the Oz character from Buffy, I think that it would be something like that, like he was in the fourth season, during his last appearance; when he wouldn't transform when he could keep himself calm and centered; simiarly, Tonks would have to keep Remus from getting too hyped up and excited when in wolf form (which means the kids are out of the question), but grooming (like in Krechi's excellent fic on Checkmated, Once in a Blue Moon) wouldn't be out of the question.
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: January 22nd, 2006 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, exactly. What would be the point of having werewolves in the books if they weren't dangerous? We already have misunderstood magical creatures to make points about acceptance, and untransformed werewolves are certainly mistreated, but Remus is there for completely different reasons.
furiosity From: furiosity Date: January 22nd, 2006 04:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Good stuff, Fern. The other thing about werewolves vs wolves in Potterverse? Wolves are extinct in England. When my Britpickers hit me with that, I went on a research spree, and it's true. Nothing more dangerous than foxes in England, or the occasional wild boar. A wolf appearing in HP? A werewolf OR a werewolf who's been partaking of Wolfsbane.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 22nd, 2006 05:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I learned that, too. (Heck, I've learned how close we are as well!) Which brings up questions about what on earth gets reported if an attack is noticed by Muggles!
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a_t_rain From: a_t_rain Date: January 22nd, 2006 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I think what most authors don't realize is that the Wolfsbane Potion is not some miracle cure or de-vicious-fying serum.

Er, actually, it is. From PoA:

The potion that Professor Snape has been making for me is a very recent discovery. It makes me safe, you see. As long as I take it in the week preceding the full moon, I keep my mind when I transform. ... I am able to curl up in my office, a harmless wolf, and wait for the moon to wane again.

Safe. Harmless. Keeps human mind. Pretty unambiguous, really. (Sorry, Wolfsbane-that-doesn't-have-any-discernable-effect is one of my biggest pet peeves.)
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a_t_rain From: a_t_rain Date: January 22nd, 2006 04:15 am (UTC) (Link)
There's a trope in R/T fanfic about Tonks (not as an animagus) staying with him while he's transformed, as a particularly loving act. I can actually see her trying to do so, and sometimes, the fics are beautifully written. But I can't quite get through one without going, "Er, sweetie, if you stick your hand in that cage, he'll bite it off. He'll be very sorry in the morning, but you'll still be handless." I think that at some point in any version of R/T, she has to deal with the wolf face to face (I'm planning the scene later in Shades), but the wolf is not a sweet, docile creature who will be nice to her because as a man, he loves her. He loved his friends as well, but they sure-God didn't hang out with him without turning into non-human animals. And if Tonks wants to stay with him while he's in wolf form, she'd best learn how to turn into a chameleon first. Because Remus transformed is not cute. He's not a rambunctious little puppy who wants to rough-house and doesn't realize he might accidentally hurt someone; he's out to hurt people, and anyone around him is mainly there to make sure he doesn't do so.

Mmm. Obviously this is true if he hasn't taken his Wolfsbane, but since there's a substance out there that canonically allows a transformed werewolf to keep his human mind, and Lupin actually uses the words "safe" and "harmless" to describe himself in his doped-up state, I can't say that I've got a huge problem with the concept. (BTW, I have to admit that this is one niggling little thing that bothers me about Shifts; the Wolfsbane potion doesn't seem to have its canonical effect in your world.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 22nd, 2006 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I would assume that Remus is overstating the case--for one thing, "a harmless wolf" is an oxymoron... wolves aren't harmless.
rotae From: rotae Date: January 22nd, 2006 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Absobloodylutely!! I love Remus... he's an amazing character... but I have had a fear of wolves since I was little, and there would be NO WAY IN HELL I WOULD EVER GO NEAR HIM TRANSFORMED... lol.

I've just been to see Underworld... so I feel that anytime people think that Remus and Tonks should have "cute werewolf puppies" they should watch that or take a look at this:
WARNING: May cause distress. http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/27968102/
'nuff said. lol.

On a note about Remus and Tonks actually HAVING children... well... I actually reckon they couldn't have children at all. Every fibre of Remus is screaming at him to transform at the full moon (and transform he does), so this means that his GENES have been altered. What I susupect would happen is that Remus' sperm would carry the genetic disformity, and any fetus would also have the disease, because that is what it is; a contagious disease. If there is something severely wrong with a fetus, women's bodies say "No, thanks" and actually miscarry (without them even knowing it).

Anyway... that's just my two cents. Excellent thoughts. :)

Peace,
Rotae
a_t_rain From: a_t_rain Date: January 22nd, 2006 04:24 am (UTC) (Link)
On a note about Remus and Tonks actually HAVING children... well... I actually reckon they couldn't have children at all. Every fibre of Remus is screaming at him to transform at the full moon (and transform he does), so this means that his GENES have been altered.

Lycanthropy is an acquired illness (and, in fact, Fantastic Beasts specifies that it can only be acquired through biting), which means it's highly unlikely to be genetic. Short of radiation poisoning, I can't think of any illness that alters your genes if you contract it.
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moonlitwoods From: moonlitwoods Date: January 22nd, 2006 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)
...
So if his children were werewolves, it means that he bit them.

I've lost count of how many times I've had to explain this to people. It makes me crazy. There's even a whole thread on Checkmated about werewolf lore, etc., and this issue of Remus' having werewolf offspring and their genetic makeup has been raised before. And some of the questions in reviews on my stories? Oy. o___O

I think there has to be a certain willfulness to ignore the facts of lycanthropy. Loads of people don't like scary monster movies, don't like blood and gore, aren't comfortable fathoming the presence of evil, so they just...don't. They choose to ignore it even if it flies in the face of the definition of the character.

It's particularly easy to do with Remus too because he is, in his human form, the antithesis of his cursed counterpart. Nevertheless, to ignore the facts robs him of a primary motivation. Likewise, failure to grasp and accept the truth of his curse can lead to short-changing Tonks too. She comes off a lot braver, more loving, and dedicated if you realize what she has: that the man she loves has the very real potential to inflict his curse on others or be an unwilling killer, and that his reasons for hesitating to enter into a relationship are justified. But she loves his that much. *sigh*

Excellent post, although it kind of falls into the it's amazing this had to be pointed out again category.
...
From: gunderpants Date: January 22nd, 2006 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent post, although it kind of falls into the it's amazing this had to be pointed out again category.

Duh, this is HP fandom. People need to be reminded that Snape's father actually didn't kill his mother in canon.*





*Yes. Someone who called themselves a fan of the book actually asked that question. Jesus H Christ, people.
kismeteve From: kismeteve Date: January 22nd, 2006 04:36 am (UTC) (Link)
*happy sigh*

It's nice to hear common sense once in a while.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: January 22nd, 2006 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)
People want Remus to be cute. Therefore, they make lycanthropy a wibble puppy issue.

I have no problems with people joking and stuff. It's when people honestly think Werewolves are Beethoven. (You know, that movie about the St. Bernard).

Like you said - Werewolves are vicious. They aren't even Wolves; they have Wolfish features, and possibly habits, but they are monsters.

Remus is a likeable man, but once a month, he is a monster. Authors need to work with that, instead of downplaying it.
From: heartsncraftslb Date: January 22nd, 2006 05:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Yup. I'm pretty sure there wasn't a werewolf Beanie Baby. ;)

Fabulous job, m'dear. I think that most often, the use of the phrase "multi-coloured werepups" is used in jest...and when it's not, well...We'll leave that there, shall we? ITA with your take on the issue: From what I personally have derived from the portrayal of the character in canon, Remus has wearily accepted his curse, but he is not about to willingly go spreading it around. He's been damned to a life of pain, poverty, and social ostracism, and who in their right mind wants to inflict that on others?

(Now, there's the issue of Greyback, of course, but notice that I said in their right mind.)

Well said. - LB
From: netbyrd Date: January 22nd, 2006 06:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh thank you for that. As a big fan of werewolf lore, I am very much squicked by Character X in a friendly romp with transformed!Remus. Now, a potioned Remus suffering from some bits of the illness but not transformed? I can deal with someone being near him. But not cuddly, fluffy wolf!Remus. And don't get me even started on all the stuff out there about Greyback and how love will change his wolfie little heart *gags*.
danel4d From: danel4d Date: January 22nd, 2006 09:53 am (UTC) (Link)
And don't get me even started on all the stuff out there about Greyback and how love will change his wolfie little heart *gags*.

Well, it has been said that the quickest way to a man's heart is through his stomach...
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