So I recently had this long conversation with a vampire in my head. Don’t be alarmed, it’s just one of the many weird things authors do. Seriously, I’m not crazy. My mother had me tested. But since it’s Halloween season and I’ve already exhausted the alien angle, I figure I’d touch on some old age-y lore for a change. It’s a topic of great interest to me because I’m a die hard werewolf fan (especially in romance). I used to be a vampire fan also, before the concept of the vampire got dragged through mud. However, recently the two species have been getting pitted against each other (again, especially in romance) and I don’t think it’s a fair comparison.
We all know (or should) where the idea for these creatures came from, historically. Back in the olden days, people would dig up old graves to make room for new ones. When the corpse was of the fresher variety, upon opening the coffin the grave diggers often found bloated bodies with blood trickling from the mouth. Superstitious creatures that they were, they believed the dead had risen from the grave to gorge on blood in the night. Thus, the Vampyr was born. Rabies, epilepsy, and other neural and psychological disorders were the source of the werewolf. It was a harsh sentence to get. Vampires, at least, were already dead when they got staked. Not so for the poor bastards who got hunted down as werewolves.
The point is, both of these creatures started out as monsters, but over the centuries, vampires evolved into sophisticated, seductive creatures with charm and magical powers of mind control, illusion, shape shifting, and meteorology. Werewolves, on the other hand, became creatures of nightmare. Again, this is romance we’re talking about. Even at their friendliest, werewolves still have that full moon trigger that turns them into ravening beasts hell bent on ripping things apart, be they friend or foe. Any heroine (or hero) who dares meddle with them ends up being a near-suicidal thrill seeker, and the werewolf has to overcome his/her animal nature to accept them as a mate.
Vamps only have a problem with sunlight.
Is it fair? I don’t think so!
I wanted to know what made each creature such a desirable life partner, and what follows is what I came up with.
There are many pros to having a vampire boyfriend. Some can read minds, which means he’ll never have to ask, “What’s wrong?” and get the dreaded, “Nothing.” answer. They are the epitome of sleek sex appeal, sharp dressers, and old enough to both enjoy and be able to carry on a conversation about anything and everything going back several centuries. They can also probably speak several foreign languages, so travel is a breeze! Get your period at an inopportune time? Your vampire boyfriend is just waiting for you to let him take care of it.
The only problem is they can never go out during the day, so you miss out on a lot of awesome day time date activities like concerts in the park, Thanksgiving day parades, and the like. You also might want to cut back on garlic in your cooking and remove any silver utensils from your collection. Oh, and probably a good idea to set limits on feeding time. Because, you know. Death. But in most cases, this is just a matter of self-control, which they really ought to have learned by age 100, don’t you think? So…
The phrase animal magnetism comes to mind. Also animal in bed. And I think those two are the highest rated and most overused qualities of werewolves in romance. But what else do we know about wolves? They are pack animals, fiercely loyal to each other. They are brave, inquisitive, hunt as a unit. They mate for life, love their offspring, and are shy of humans unless threatened. Sounds like perfect husband/father material to me! You get an instant family to help you raise your pups, protectors to keep you alive and provided for, and again there is that animal in bed thing.
And then you get to the big con: Full moons. Every story tells us to fear these, because no matter how loving our werewolf mate, when that shiny round orb rises, we cease to be the beat of their heart and turn into 5-star cuisine with home delivery. That animal nature we so admire turns against them, takes them over, and destroys everything in their path.
More Questions Than Answer
Here’s what I don’t understand. Vampires are technically dead, so they have no heartbeat, or breath, yet they can scent their prey and get aroused. Magic bends the rules to make these creatures plausible as lovers and partners. So why can’t nature do the same for werewolves? Why can a werewolf not recognize his/her mate during a full moon, unless the man preempted it by making a conscious decision to alter his mate in a one-sidedly painful physical way (the marking bite)? Vamps don’t have to do that…
Because wild animals are supposed to be dangerous and uncontrollable. They are supposed to be unthinking, bloodthirsty beasts intent on devouring us. That is the idea that has been pontificated to us since the dawn of time. Nature is everything, it is greater than us all and ought to be respected and revered. And then with the dawn of Christianity, the message became Nature is dangerous, because it cannot be controlled, and that makes it evil. See, if you assume that vampires are the work of the devil, then you always have faith that God will prevail in the end. He has bested Lucifer himself, and just like the greater battle of good vs. evil, light vs. dark, the inner battle a vampire wages for his soul will ultimately sway in the favor of good if he repents, or learns to love. Werewolves, on the other hand, are a product of nature, a force so wild it cannot be tamed. It is not inherently evil, only chaotic. And chaos does not recognize rules of war. Nature, in the end, is always more powerful than Man, and it is not always in his favor.
It Is Time For The Werewolf To Evolve
We’ve come a long way since the Dark Ages, and if we could bring vampires into the light, werewolves deserve no less. There must be a turning point, a trigger which re-classifies a human as friend in a werewolf’s wild soul. They are, inherently, social creatures, it does not make sense that such a thing wouldn’t happen. Anyway, that’s my thought on the matter. One that, as a writer, I had every intention of exploring to the fullest. But then I realized… I already did.
Until next time =)