Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Vampires or Werewolves?

[SPOILERS: Take note, I have some “True Blood” Season 1 and New Moon spoilers in here, so read no further if you are in the middle of either!]

As a romance author I have certainly observed the rise in popularity of both vampires and werewolves (as well as other varieties of shapeshifters) in romantic fiction. Obviously I’m all over vampires as a romantic archetype, but werewolves were another story. You can probably chalk that up to lack of experience…the extent of my familiarity with werewolves is pretty much Lon Chaney and “American Werewolf in London.” At any rate, I just have never quite gotten the appeal.

I thought maybe you have to be a dog person.

Well rejoice, readers; this past week I got to know a couple of shifters more personally, while simultaneously reading Stephenie Meyers’ New Moon and watching Season 1 of “True Blood.” It was interesting enjoying these storylines that are so parallel in this regard. Edward or Jacob? Bill or Sam?

Well, obviously at first blush a girl is going to go for the flashier choice, the vampire. (Edward is literally flashy, in fact.) With both guys you get someone who is really attractive, complex, interesting, compelling, and deliciously dangerous. What’s not to love?

Well, if only because of sunshine-aversion, a vampire can’t always be there for you. Both Bill and Edward are forced by circumstances to absent themselves at length. And who steps in to fill the void for Sookie and Bella? The shapeshifters. After all, most of the time they can be (more or less) normal boyfriends for you. The fact that they sometimes turn into animals doesn’t prevent them from dealing with you like perfectly nice guys would, the rest of the time.

Meanwhile, in both storylines, Jacob and Sam also function to protect the heroine from madmen and monsters who would do them and their loved ones ill. Sort of like Lassie, only male. (See, I knew this was a dog person thing.) And even though I prefer cats, I have to admit Sam-as-collie coming to Sookie’s rescue was really awesome…and it was adorable how he, in dog form, lay at the foot of the bed guarding her.

Likewise, Jacob’s ability to wax lupine is pretty cool, when the whole point of it is to snatch Bella unharmed from the jaws of some vicious vamp. Wolves are actually really wonderful animals, and giant wolves that stand between you and the bad guys are even better.

So, we really have two classic romantic archetypes here, and each has a unique and powerful appeal. Sometimes a girl is drawn to the anti-hero—someone dangerous, a little deranged, very scary in a sexy way. Other times she simply wants to feel protected and safe, watched over by a fierce and strong guardian creature.

So okay, I get it, I get the werewolf/shapeshifter appeal. They can be attentive, faithful, strong but gentle, and wonderfully protective. I’d love to have a big, powerful, abjectly devoted guy like Jacob around. And Sam can sleep at the foot of my bed anytime.

Just so you understand, if Edward returns from Volterra suddenly, or if Bill comes back from the Tribunal, I’m going to have other priorities. That’s just me.


An Actor's Work on Self said...

Let's also take into account some other fascinating werewolves:

Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV Show (come on, delicious)


Lupin from the famed Harry Potter series.

It's that whole "I can't control my inner urges" metaphor that transcends vampires and werewolves alike :-)

Keep writing!

Lindsay Bytof

Diana Laurence said...

Oh yeah, Oz! Absolutely. Big fan. And I apologize for being a movie-only-Harry-Potter-follower, so I'll have to wait to meet Lupin.

You are right on about the "can't control my inner urges" thing--both these "species" appeal to us because they have that wild, dark freedom going on.

Thanks so much for commenting, Lindsay!

Nameit said...

Hi Diana, My curiosity for werewolves comes in part from Sting's song "Moon over Burbon Street".

Diana Laurence said...

Oh yeah, I just LOVE that song. Although it was more vampires to me... But it really captures the mood all right, good call!

bainst said...

I've always been partial to werewolves because you don't have to give up sunlight, food, and chocolate. Also, you get a werewolf, you are guaranteed a loyal mate for life. An idea that appeals to me greatly.

puckish02 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diana Laurence said...

Those are great points, Bainst. In fact, in writing "How to Catch and Keep a Vampire," I couldn't bear to think of vampires not eating or drinking! You'll have to read the book when it comes out to see how I handle that question... ;-)

corsetkitten said...

Awww... you mean Teen Wolf didn't win you over?
;) LOL!

I think is probably my first post on your blog--I lurk and read but don't tend to post. However, I felt I ought to comment on this least as it related to my writing/reading interests.

Another set of vampires & werewolves to consider : I'd like to mention in as far as books go, that the portrayal of "white court" vampires & Werewolves from the Harry Dredsen files (series by Jim Butcher). The White Court Vampires are in essence psychic vampires with uber-strong doses of sex-appeal/compulsion. (not to be confused with the "red court" ones though!)

The werewolves are really nifty too, and both species (along with a few others are developed throughout) If I had to choose--for safety & security I'd choose the werewolves (though I am an established cat person), but for pure sexuality & rip roaring passion--definitely vampires.

Another set of were-wolves (sort of) are the ones from Holly Lisle's Secret Text series. Interestingly developed. I don't think though, I'd want to date one of them!

(p.s. read the parts of Harry Potter with Lupin in them--the written work is way better on that score! His charm is lost in the film translation!)

ok my 2 cents

Penny Lane said...

I'm still Team Jacob. He's the "Mike" choice, the sweet, loving, go to the ends of the earth to make you happy and protect you choice, and for me, that wins. But that's just me :p

Penny Lane said...

One more thing ... I'm glad you get the appeal now. Plus, OMG have you seen Taylor Lautner's abs and arms? I wouldn't mind him keeping me warm with those all night. That's for sure.

Diana Laurence said...

Corsetkitten (love that BTW), thanks for lurking AND for commenting! You are quite the source of werewolf info. "Teen Wolf," indeed, LOL! Those white court vampires are intriguing.

Penny Lane, I totally get what you're saying about Jacob. He's actually more serious "husband" material, if one is reasonable about it. And yes, Taylor is a pretty appealing guy, no question!