Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Vamps vs. werewolves - talk to me


I am a Death Dealer, sworn to destroy those known as the Lycans. Our war has waged for centuries, unseen by human eyes. But all that is about to change.
--Selene, Underworld

The first testament says "an eye for an eye." - The second testament says "love thy neighbour." - The third testament ... Kicks Ass!!!
--Tagline, Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter

I'm on a panel next week at the RT convention entitled, "Why Can't We All Just Get Along?" It will explore, with all the coherence we can scrape together at 5PM on a Friday, why vampires and werewolves hate each other.

Since werewolves don't even exist in my vampires' universe (Humans who turn into puppies? How Key-ute!), my approach to the panel will be a little more abstract. Meaning, I'll just make it up, with your help.

So where do you think the animosity comes from? Is it a natural conflict between hyper-physical thugs and elegant Nancy Boys? Between the (un)dead and the (intensely) alive? It's got to be more than the hairstyles.

Maybe this hostility is an unfortunate stereotype, bludgeoned to a gasping, choking near-death by a thousand films and books. They're both creatures of the night, so why shouldn't they pal around? Even Democrats and Republicans can root for the same football team. If vamps and weres ever joined forces, who would they fight? Us, or some third, scarier entity, like Abbott & Costello?

Help me out here. There are no wrong answers.

(Everyone join in, but like a teacher, I'm going to call on people:

All you RPGers (Andrew, Sharon, Rob, other Rob) confront these issues when you build worlds and characters. Kathy, you've read a million paranormal books. Cynthia, you write about these bad boys, give me your perspective. Catie, Robin, other authors--make something up.

And Greg, don't tell me you haven't seen Underworld and Underworld: Evolution. Someone give me its mythology so I don't have to rent it myself. There's a limit to how far I'll go for a panel.)

*A-Z Update: "Credit in a Straight World," by Hole, heading into (appropriately) "Creepy Crawling" by Chumbawamba

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15 Comments:

In the world that I am writing in-present day- there are two varients of vampires and werewolves, I call them weredog because werewolf is so over done. Not to mention that just the term wolf implies something that is monsterous.
In my world they can live in harmony. My heroine is a vampire and her pet dog, a collie, is a weredog. The antagonist is a rogue vampire and he hangs with rogue weredogs.
Just because one writer says that they cannot exist together doesn't mean that in the world that another writes says that they can.
We as writers can and should be able to create any combination that we want. After all, are we not the masters of our characters fate.
Lindsay

Posted by: Anonymous Lindsay at 4/17/2007 12:03 PM

I'll bite. Its about the food chain. Both are hunter's and in most cases very aphla. Vampire's suck, sometimes taking enough to allow their victim to survive or draining their victim's dry depending on their morals. Werewolves aren't so neat in their eating habits nor are they real good about cleaning up their messes, got to leave something for the other animals. Food for thought....

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 4/17/2007 12:04 PM

Oooh…what a great discussion!
Okay, so why do I think these two paranormal alphas don’t get along? Well, because they are alphas, both fighting for supremacy of the night. Many legends have vampires only being able to “walk the earth” at night (except for Stoker, but he said they were weaker during the day), and just as many legends say that werewolves can only transform during the light of the full moon (cough, cough—but that sure never happens in my stories). So, in my opinion, you have the night, a dark and dangerous time, and you have two powerful forces colliding—there is bound to be some bloodshed and competition.

And yes, I do think there is the image of the sophisticated, classy vamp versus the rough, wild werewolf—and opposites do so often clash.

Posted by: Blogger Cynthia Eden at 4/17/2007 12:24 PM

On the last great Halloween, over five hundred years ago, when the hills ran red with the blood of children, a vampire and a werewolf wore the exact same gown to a party, only with a tail-hole cut out for the werewolf.

After that, there was no going back.

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 4/17/2007 12:44 PM

Would you want to take orders from the Walking Meat? Hard enough to keep werewolves from killing live humans, now you want them to get along with those that are dead too?

Ok, that's a bit on the sarcastic side but it can be once point of view.

In most of my world's vamps don't make any appearances. I haven't said if they are there or not. However, I have one world where vamps and werewolves coexist to an extent. Call it mutual weariness. Vamps due to their extremely long lives (Centuries) are charged with seeing all species get along. (Best equivalent would be federal government) Werewolves as the strongest after the vamps are Charged with maintaining everyday law (equivalent local police). They don't like each other but have similar purpose and tolerate each other.

Beth

Posted by: Blogger Beth Caudill at 4/17/2007 12:58 PM

We as writers can and should be able to create any combination that we want. After all, are we not the masters of our characters fate.
Lindsay


So true, and I think in today's saturated paranormal market, to sell to publishers (and eventually readers), one has to turn the conventions on their heads. Does your weredog change into a person? Is he basically a dog or a human?

What if, in an animal society, there were those who changed into humans every full moon? Would they be shunned by their fellow wolves or lions or gnats?

Anonymous, what if vampires and werewolves hunted together? Then the vamp could take whatever blood was needed, then leave the rest to the werewolf. Or the were-hyena, if the vamp drank the person to death instead of just weakening them. Though wolves in the real world aren't too proud to scavenge.

Cynthia, your point reminds me that they're both at the top of the food chain and have overlapping habitats (the night) and, er, diets. Natural competition.

Of course, not all werewolves are alphas. By definition some of them have to be betas and even omegas. Carrie Vaughn's Kitty books are a good example of an omega werewolf trying to survive in (and be protected by) a pack. At least in the first book, which is all I've read.

And Rob...I just...I can't top that.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 4/17/2007 1:02 PM

Would you want to take orders from the Walking Meat?

Oooh, Beth, them's bitin' words. :)

I love your idea of a vamp bureaucracy with werewolves as the enforcers. There are so many cool ways to deploy the paranormals in stories. I guess that's why they're so popular.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 4/17/2007 1:04 PM

Mmmm...as a writer who writes not only erotic paranormal romance, but under another name has published vampire and werewolf horror stories I know that many times I try to follow all I've read growing up and have in books now about the tru werewolves/shapeahifters and vampires legends of the world. So far in my romance neither have mix or done anything. Except for a story, 'Being a Predator is a Bitch" that has a vamp captured by same bunch of humans captured my werewolf heroine(?). She does set him free, though I think more to keep the humans busy while she helps two male members of her 'pack' escape.
I would assume as both being monsters technically that one would not like the other in that respect. Maybe the "alienness" of each other would negate off the other.
A piece of werewolf/vampire legend is in some cultures (Europe) there is thought that when a werewolf dies, he becomes a vampire.

Sapphire Phelan

Posted by: Blogger Sapphire Phelan at 4/17/2007 2:08 PM

Werewolf fur is a bitch to get off of those black velvet cloaks. The werewolves laugh at this, of course, which insults the vampires, who take fashion very seriously.

And then there was Cruella de Vamp, who decided she wanted a cloak made out of 99 werepups. Good thing the weres had established that neighborhood watch howl chain! Nick of time, and all that.

Posted by: Blogger Meankitty Says... at 4/17/2007 2:38 PM

Sapphire, I agree about the legend of when a werewolf dies he becomes a vampire, thus turning on his pack until he stopped.

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 4/17/2007 2:39 PM

I think it has a lot to do with the character/societies you are writing. For instance, if a vampire looks down on humans for being 'little more than cattle' or 'short-lived' why would he respect a werewolf? (Who are typically not immortal, though I've read some stories where they are.)
If your vampires are the type that sleep in crypts and are parasitic-corpses, they may offend the werewolves sensitive nose. (do you really want to sit beside the guy who has BO the scent of grave rot?)
But, writers can also easily create societies where the vamps and weres get along or are simply indifferent. I don't think they have to be enemies; it's all in how the world building is approached . As long as the writer creates a convincing reason for whatever the relationship, I think readers will accept it.

Posted by: Blogger Kalayna-Nicole Price at 4/17/2007 4:10 PM

(I came across this blog while on your website looking to see when the next Crow book was going to come out. I'm no writer, so go easy on me, this is my first!)

We all know that vampires and werewolves have been around for thousands of years in too many cultures and in too many forms to count, but I don't remember ever reading that they had an adversarial relationship in historical myth. Does anyone else know? I havn't thought about it since my mythology electives in undergrade. Anyway, so IF there is no basis for the conflict in historical myth, which is the origin of these creatures, my question wouldn't only be "Why don't they get along?" I would also ask the questions: "Why don't modern day storytellers and the public want them to get along?" and "Has this conflict only been around in contemporary/urban myths?" Maybe WE don't want them to get along because we like the conflict. Maybe it's "us" not "them". You can't have unforbidden love without the unforbidden. We all "love to hate" certain characters. If they got along and played nice, who would we fear, hate, desire? Maybe "we" are all just kinky (which is not a bad thing to be)! Goodness knows the public loves their violence, too. The thought popped into my head after reading your "unfortunate stereotype..." comment(and you did say that there is not such thing as a wrong answer.)

However, it did also occur to me that maybe it's the garlic thing, my dog just LOVES garlic!

Posted by: Anonymous Ruthanne Scott at 4/17/2007 10:15 PM

Speaking as a non-writer, I would advance the philistine reason "Because werewolves fighting vampires is cool."

Speaking as a dog cohabitor (I can't say owner as Gracie clearly owns us), any canine would instinctively sense something "wrong" about a vampire (looks like a human but not really human), not to mention that vampires don't necessarily have to confine themselves to human blood, right? Dogs seem to be good at sensing threats, so a human-but-not-human jonesing for blood probably would trigger fight-or-flight immediately.

(I guess I should have written "Writing as a non-writer" but the internal inconsistency would cause the comment to wink out of existence.)

Posted by: Blogger Dave S. at 4/18/2007 11:39 AM

im going to have to say that each are their own worst enemy. Vamps seem to be very condesending in their actions, with both humans and their lycan counter parts. this condesension would raise nerves but could probably be existed through. the problem is that a Lycan is both man and wolf, intelligence and fierce nature, he demands to be free, to hunt and to live of his own governance. so all you would need was one vamp and Lycan tryin to see who has the bigger balls, and this could ignite the layers of tension underneath the surface, and given the longevity and strength of the two species, they could battle each other for centuries, giving each other ample reason for hate. it would be a never ending cycle, going so far that the two sides would probably forget how it started. it would only end if one side was inteligent enough to step down. which would probably never happen, due to the Vampires Pride, and the Lycans fierocious nature.

Posted by: Anonymous Chris Burgos at 5/22/2007 7:15 PM

personaly i have two theroys to this conflict number one is the simpler of the two its all instinct they just are natrual enemys they cant help it if they want to rip eachothers throats out plain and simple right well my second theroy is that it all has to do with say 500 years ago and the vmapires and werewolves use to live in terms were they didnt try to kill each other then during one a few of them get together say 5 vamps and 5 wolves and go hunting things get out of hand they fight over some really good food no one knows who starts the fight a vampire ends up killed so does a werwolve next thing you know they go back to there groups blame the other group then all hell breaks loose and a never ending war between vamps and wolves begging also it could just be because there both alpha and get very defensive but thats my two cents

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 11/07/2008 10:33 PM

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