Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Eldritch: Lessons 036



Well. That’s cutting it close.

Maggie is a quick shapeshifter, which is why most of her shifts are near-instantanious, and there's no midpoints shown. Here though, the scene occurs in such a short amount of time, I could sneak one in.

Other than that... not much to say about the page this week… So, I’m going to discuss folklore and science in relation to Faith’s character design. I’m doing it mostly because someone over on DA asked a really good question, which, in short was “Since Faith’s fangs aren’t oversized while in wolf form, is she not able to infect others with lycanthropy in her wolf shape?” I do not mean this to be an invitation for all questions, because there is a LOT I cannot discuss yet. However, this particular subject is not something I have Seamus explaining in the next few chapters of script, so I'm going to address it here, because it might get cut in final editing. (I often write far more than I need). This is a rare exception.

Yes, Faith can infect someone with lycanthropy in the wolf form. The point of the form is to, well... move and look like a wolf. Besides, if something as tiny as a snake's fang can inject enough venom to kill someone, something the size of a wolf's fang can infect someone with lycanthropy.

If werewolves maintained their snagglefangs in the wolf form, in times past, they'd have been easier to identify and kill (for example, some folklore states that a wolf without a tail is likely to be a werewolf), so the ones that looked more lupine in their wolf forms were slightly more likely to survive and pass on traits. This became even more likely as time passed, and the wolf became protected in many places. Not all “Grahll” werewolves lack snagglefangs while in wolf form, but it is more common.

This is also why Faith doesn’t have much in the way of folkloric means of identifying a werewolf while in human form… like a ring finger that is longer than the middle finger, or hair on the palms of her hands, or eyebrows that meet in the middle. She does, however, occasionally display a trait or two that would have gotten her caught (were they not temporary for her), but are fairly minor. A few folks noticed back in Layline that now and again she had longer nails (a lycanthropic trait) or eyeshine. The eyeshine is how I interpret the glaring, twinkling, or blazing of eyes that werewolves of varying kinds are occasionally described as having at points.

However, there is less emphasis on ‘camouflage’ in the werewolf form. It isn’t very… well, subtle. Thus, it is an advantage to have drastically oversized fangs, so the likelihood of a werewolf catching someone with a fang is increased, thus rising the chances of passing on the lycanthropic traits to those who stumble across them.

… I think about this stuff a lot. And research a lot. Woo.

Please read:
The Werewolf in Lore and Legend --Montague Summers
The Book of Werewolves --Sabine Baring-Gould
A Lycanthropy Reader: Werewolves in Western Culture --Charlotte Otten
Werewolves (Around the world) --Elliot O’Donnell

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