This page is doubling as the Analysis Page for OurWerewolvesAreDifferent and OurWerebeastsAreDifferent. Note that while we're going to use werewolf-specific words like "lycanthropy" and "wolf" for ease of reference, the following points actually apply to any breed of {{therianthrope}} or other animal shapeshifter (just make the appropriate substitutions).


[[folder:Cause of Lycanthropy]]
* The underlying cause of one's lycanthropic condition. Technically, a number of variations are possible: in some mythologies, a werewolf is an ''actual wolf'' who can [[HumanityEnsues assume human form]] rather than the other way around (we call that kind of creature a wolfwere nowadays). However, far and away the most popular concept is that a werewolf is a human who has somehow acquired the ability to transform ([[VoluntaryShapeshifter willingly]] or [[InvoluntaryShapeshifting otherwise]]) into a wolf. Popular methods include a ViralTransformation after being bitten by a previous werewolf, but there are many possible causes:
** ''Heredity'': Some werewolves are simply born that way to begin with: They either belong to a distinct species, or lycanthropy is a genetic condition (or hereditary curse) that was passed down through their family line, often manifesting around the DangerousSixteenthBirthday (give or take a few years). In SpeculativeFiction, the werewolf is often neither really wolf nor man, but some [[IntelligentGerbil species of alien]].
** ''Circumstance'': Some werewolves are born that way because of some special circumstance related to their parents, or the date of their conception or birth was WhenThePlanetsAlign or similar cause.
*** One werewolf legend says that if a person is born on the 24th of December or conceived on the night of a new moon, he will become a werewolf. For this reason the historical King John of England was accused of having become a werewolf after his death (though, as Montague Summers says, with [[CrazyAwesome splendid insanity]], "It is very curious that King John should become a werewolf after death, and one suspects there may be some confusion here, and that he became a [[FurAgainstFang vampire]].")
** ''Disease'': Lycanthropy is an [[ViralTransformation infectious condition]], passed on (like [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampires... maybe]]) to any surviving victim of a werewolf attack (usually a bite). Rarely is it explicitly established that disease-style Lycanthropy isn't also hereditary, though it often is. This is a [[NewerThanTheyThink fairly new addition]] to werewolf lore.
** ''Magic'': Becoming a werewolf is the result of [[AWizardDidIt magical forces]] or AppliedPhlebotinum at work. It could be due a BlackMagic ceremony or making a DealWithTheDevil, or it could be the result of a {{Curse}} placed on the person by some EvilSorceror or whatnot -- other popular causes may include typical MadScientist experiments, exposure to GreenRocks... the list goes on. Certain magicians (particularly Druids) have learned to [[VoluntaryShapeshifter change their form at will]] -- they may insist they are TotallyNotAWerewolf, and rightly so.

[[folder:What forms do they become?]]
* This transformation may be total, turning the human into an actual wolf; or partial, turning the man into a BeastMan with wolf features, but retaining human proportions. With the advent of more sophisticated make-up and visual effects (especially computer imagery), techniques have been developed that allowed more wolflike features on humanoids, such as giving a character a wolf's muzzle and ears. The [[BodyHorror human-to-werewolf transformation]] in the movie ''Film/AnAmericanWerewolfInLondon'' is generally considered to be the standard to which all others are compared, quite remarkable for a movie now more than 30 years old and from the pre-CGI era.
** ''WolfMan'': In [[TheForties '40s]] horror films, the transformation usually took the form of a [[BeastMan hairy humanoid]] with a scattering of animal features, such as pointed ears, fangs, claws, and maybe a more canine nose or even a tail, but otherwise remaining almost entirely human, like LittleBitBeastly (The "classic" Wolf Man appearance is not entirely dissimilar to the symptoms of a rare genetic disorder, hypertrichosis.) Common with ClothingDamage. May be used as a GameFace to intimidate, or a PartialTransformation between full man and full wolf.
** ''Man-Wolf'': PettingZooPeople with a fur-covered humanoid body and a fully lupine head. Man-wolves seem to have become more popular than wolf-men recently, likely due to increasing special effects technology; the old wolf-man design was purely for the purposes of suggesting wolfishness while remaining within the limits of latex applications. It might also involve a GrowingMusclesSequence and sometimes MonsterModesty.
** ''Wolf'': The basic no-frills transformation is [[{{Animorphism}} man into wolf]], ending up looking just like what you'd see in the woods or a zoo.
** ''Dire Wolf'': like the above, but either ''much'' bigger, or far more muscular, often with long, rather un-lupine claws, and a grizzly-bear physique.
** MultiformBalance: A werewolf might be able to assume more than one of the forms listed above, each with its own advantages. For example in 3rd Edition ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', lycanthropes can either take either a full animal form or a hybrid form resembling PettingZooPeople. The image used above shows the five separate forms used in ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse''.

[[folder:When do they transform?]]
* Occurs at ''regularly scheduled intervals'', most famously upon the night of a full moon.
** Sometimes this extends to the nights surrounding the full moon (frequently [[RuleOfThree three]]), rather than just the night of the "fullest" moon.
** Some transformations that occur during the full moon explicitly require exposure to the ''light'' of the moon, or that the individual actually ''sees'' the moon; thus they can be sheltered indoors or on clouded nights.
** Japanese werewolf lore also includes transformations induced by seeing ''any object'' that is round.
** Older works may feature other time frames; in ''Literature/{{Bisclavret}}'', the hero has to change to a wolf every week, and needs his clothing back to change back.
* [[VoluntaryShapeshifting Completely at will]]: This is usually limited to members of separate werewolf species (where shapeshifting is their natural ability) or those possessing magic spells. These werewolves may sometimes also experience an involuntary transformation at full moon.
* Transformation occuring on a nightly basis (human by day, wolf by night) is another viable option, especially in VideoGames with an InUniverseGameClock.
** If you want to be really old-timey, some werewolves will only change when the plant aconitum (aka wolfsbane) blooms, which is to say, around autumn, although different species bloom all year. Sometimes the werewolf has to eat the aconitum (note: DoNotTryThisAtHome -- aconitum is highly toxic to humans in general).
* Transformation can be the result of a ''specific trigger'', like GreenRocks.
** Sometimes it occurs as the [[HulkingOut result of severe physical pain or emotional stress]].
* ''Doesn't transform at all'': Some werewolves don't actually possess shapeshifting powers; the humanoid-wolf shape is their single, permanent form. This, too, is typically limited to werewolves who are a distinct species (and thus born that way to begin with).
* {{Metamorphosis}}: In some cases, such as ''Film/{{Wolf}}'' and ''Film/GingerSnaps'', the transformation may be a singular, one-way process that ends with the afflicted individual transformed into a wolf forever. Often characterized by gradual changes, such as more assertive and aggressive behavior, unusual hair growth and, usually in later stages, an urge to kill, that occur over the course of a specific timespan, such as a singular lunar cycle.

[[folder:Self-Control While Transformed]]
* A werewolf may maintain their human mind while transformed, or they may [[TheMindIsAPlaythingOfTheBody receive the mind of that animal]]. Or end up somewhere in between. Or [[UnstoppableRage they may just go crazy]]. In either case, they may also be subject to an [[HorrorHunger irresistible urge to dine on human flesh]]. As a general rule, the more voluntary their transformations, the more control the individual retains in their wolf-shape -- it wouldn't make much sense to voluntarily choose a transformation that requires going nuts, would it? Sometimes this is subverted and the shapeshifter might voluntarily enter this form knowing they'll lose control, but in these cases the shapeshifter will almost always turn out to be unrepentantly and totally evil and get a thrill off this much like a serial killer. In fact, some anthropologists believe werewolf lore was in part a way of the ancients explaining serial killers who horribly mutilated their victims.
* Sometimes it depends on how long they're transformed. A werewolf might retain their right mind at first, but the longer they spend in wolf mode, the more bestial they become. A heroic character may accept this risk as part of the greater good, while trusting their friends to bring them down ([[IKnowYoureInThereSomewhereFight one way]] or [[ShootTheDog another]]) if necessary.
* Obviously, if the wolflike form isn't a transformation but one's permanent, natural-born shape, you have nothing to worry about here.

* Probably the most important element for the hero of the story to know (whether he ''is'' the werewolf, or just trying to hunt one down): Just how do you ''stop'' the beast? Some werewolves are mere mortals (if dangerous ones); some are virtually indestructible creatures unless you use a KryptoniteFactor.
** The most popular weakness is silver (preferably in the form of a SilverBullet) which is associated, like werewolves themselves, with the moon.
*** Sometimes the silver may need to be extra-special in some way, such as having been taken from a crucifix or having to be inherited silver (in which case the source may be more important than the material).
*** Silver was once thought to have special properties in its own right, and may have been suggested for use against werewolves for its supposed ability to harm supernatural beings that were otherwise invulnerable. It's been said to work against vampires as well.
** The monkshood plant (''Aconitum'' genus, the European variety, ''Aconitum napellus'', is the most commonly used) is another possible option, since it's also called wolfsbane. It helps that the plant is highly toxic.
** Mistletoe is also a traditional way to ward off werewolves.
** The claws/fangs of fellow Werewolves/other Werebeasts, [[FurAgainstFang Vampires]], or other supernatural beings.
* The extent of their vulnerabilities and/or their resistance to everything else, varies. Sometimes, they can be ''hurt'' by mundane means, but it takes their weakness to ''kill'' them. Or they may be completely invulnerable otherwise. Alternately, Silver may only negate their invulnerablity/kill them, or they could have an adverse reaction (mystical or chemical) to simple contact with silver.
** In some cases, they have special invulnerability while in their wolf form, but when in human shape they can be hurt or killed the same ways as any other human. Other versions have full invulnerability whatever shape they're in.
* In some cases, chopping off their heads, or extensive use of fire, are also successful methods of killing a Werewolf, and it has been noted that this conveniently works for humans too. However in some of these cases they can recover after being laid out in the light of a full moon.

[[folder:Cure for Lycanthropy]]
* A werewolf might just be a werewolf for life (often, but not always a bad thing), but sometimes it's possible to undo the condition if it is unwanted. Sadly, this may only be a temporary treatment rather than a permanent cure.
** Sometimes, a possible cure is to [[NoOntologicalInertia kill the werewolf which just infected you]], usually with a time limit, such as before the next month or full moon.
** In settings where werewolves operate in packs, killing the alpha may cure the rest of the pack.
** In some of the most [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism Idealistic]] shows, inflicting the werewolf a non-fatal wound with silver is enough to cure him.
** In cases where werewolves are demonic creatures, it may be possible to [[HollywoodExorcism exorcise]] the monster out of the person.
** Sometimes wolfsbane or another plant are said to actually inhibit the transformation rather than actually repelling or harming the creature. It is usually not a particularly effective treatment, though the reason varies (usually because the plant's poisonous nature fully affects the werewolf, because it mitigates but does not completely stop the transformation, or because the substance needed is particularly rare).
** Occasionally, the cure is to consume a lock of wolfsbane before the next full moon, ignoring or risking the poisonous effects of the plant.
** If lycanthropy is a disease, then curative magic, healing salves mixed with wolfsbane or some other exotic ingredient, or even normal precautions against infection may prevent it from taking hold. This almost always has to be performed soon after infection/exposure.
** A werewolf will according to Swedish legends be able to be cured in three ways. One method is to call the wolf by its human name or to tell the human that it is a werewolf. You might however be "rewarded" for breaking the curse by becoming a werewolf yourself for the same period of time as the guy you just helped had been one... Method number two is safer, be nice to the werewolf while it is in wolf form and give it some food. Cure number three is more macabre. The werewolf has to rip an unborn child from its mother's womb and eat its heart/drink its blood. This method leaves you cured, but with a one-way ticket to Hell for two murders and preventing a child from ever getting baptized (and thereby entering heaven).

[[folder:Relationship with "real" wolves]]
* Works and folklore vary on what happens if werewolves meet normal, non-shifting wolves.
** Sometimes werewolves can simply join wolfpacks without the wolves noticing a difference, or at least without reacting. (Although in real life, wolfpacks are highly territorial and will usually attack non-member wolves on sight.)
** Sometimes normal wolves are subservient to werewolves through instinct or MindControl, and act as {{Mooks}} for them.
** In other works, normal wolves hate and fear werewolves, just as normal humans do.

[[folder:Other Common Characteristics of Werewolves]]
* Evil werewolves are typically deeply hedonistic characters who relish giving in to their "animal nature".
* Upon death, a werewolf [[ThisWasHisTrueForm will revert to human form]].
* In the game of ElementalRockPaperScissors, werewolves are associated with Earth. In some stories, this means that they cannot stomach flight.
* Unless they simply transform into a normal wolf, werewolves are almost always extremely physically strong. Sometimes this is no more than [[CharlesAtlasSuperpower what you'd expect]] from a huge beast, sometimes they possess truly supernatural strength. Most of the time, werewolves with a great deal of invulnerability or HealingFactor will have supernatural strength as [[RequiredSecondaryPowers part of the package]]. If werewolves square off against vampires, werewolves will almost invariably be depicted as the physically stronger of the two.
* A werewolf may begin to adopt lupine characteristics in human form, such as [[MysteriousAnimalSenses heightened senses]], the need to mark territory, hairy palms, or the tendency to sleep curled up into a ball. SupernaturalGoldEyes are a common characteristic, since they look mysterious but not incriminating.
* Werewolves are strangely prone to [[WerewolfThemeNaming Theme Naming]] and {{Meaningful Name}}s. [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Beware of any guy named Wolfgang "Moondog" Lupin]]. This makes some sense for hereditary werewolves, but not so much for those who were turned (unless we're dealing with {{Prophetic Name}}s).
* Werewolves of the evil and involuntary subtypes are almost guaranteed to undergo a [[BodyHorror horrifying]] and/or [[PainfulTransformation excruciating]] ordeal as they transform. Good werewolves tend to have it easier.
** This could have something to do with how long the person has been a werewolf, too. The first transformation shown in a film is usually the longest and most graphic, while subsequent ones often go faster.
* Werewolves are often depicted in UrbanFantasy as instinctive or traditional [[FurAgainstFang enemies of vampires]]. (This is a very recent phenomenon, derived almost entirely from the influence of the TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness games. Earlier folklore often depicted werewolves and vampires as allies through their mutual bloodthirsty evil, and sometimes suggested that a dead werewolf would [[FromBadToWorse then rise as a vampire]] unless the usual precautions were taken.)
* Social werewolves operate according to a strict hierarchy, with an alpha male at the top of the group and a bullied omega at the bottom. The alpha may have some supernatural ability to compel obedience from the rest of the pack. Lower-ranking werewolves can challenge their superiors to physical combat and, upon beating them, assume their opponent's place in the hierarchy. Such one-on-one duels are generally the only way to remove an insane or incompetent alpha.
** Note that this is based on what was [[ScienceMarchesOn up until recently thought to be]] actual lupine behavior, but in fact it's not true of real wolves. In the wild, a wolf pack is usually a family, and the alpha male and female are simply the parents of the lower-ranking wolves. Rather than rise up and challenge their parents for leadership, the children just leave when they're a few years old and find mates, becoming alphas of their own packs. The confusion came in because up until recently, most zoological studies of wolves used wolves in captivity. As it turns out, strange wolves thrown together in captivity, much like strange humans in captivity, start acting out PrisonTropes.
*** [[FridgeBrilliance This works either way]]. A pack made up of random people whose only thing in common is that they were turned into werewolves might plausibly interact this way. But hereditary werewolves or werewolves who are a separate species might act more like wild wolves, forming family [[TheClan clans]] and showing deference to the elders.
* Sexism is rampant in the werewolf world. Female werewolves [[note]]Who were never called "wifwolves" despite what some pedants claim. "Were" means "man" as a unisex term for human, not specifically a male human. A lady werewolf wishing to differentiate from her male counterparts is more likely to call herself a "werebitch" instead.[[/note]] are less often depicted than males, which makes some sense since werewolves are arguably a metaphor for male aggression. When lady werewolves ''are'' depicted, it's especially rare to see one as alpha; there may even be an explicit rule that females are not allowed to lead. This aspect of the mythos is edging into {{discredited| trope}} territory though, with gender equality being the norm in modern speculative fiction. In visual media, female werewolves are [[BeautyIsNeverTarnished still rare]], and onscreen transformations are just about non-existent due to censorship reasons (her clothes being shredded in the process of transformation). Of course, there are a lot of female werewolves in works by the UsefulNotes/{{furry fandom}} [[CuteMonsterGirl because]], [[RuleOfSexy well...]]
* A dislike of being treated like a pet. A werewolf would, for example, most likely object to being scratched behind the ears, having his belly rubbed, etc. by a human companion. If he ''doesn't'', it's probably because the companion is a very close friend or lover.
* Tendency to experience graphic, violent and disturbing nightmares. Although werewolves frequently appear in these dreams, any form of gratuitous slaughter is a possibility.
* Recently, the idea that werewolves can MindMeld or psychically communicate with other werewolves has been creeping into the mythos. When done well, this is played as an extension of the pack mentality and the tightly-knit communities it creates. Other times, it's a rather obvious dodge to let them 'talk' in wolf form without the author having to stretch for modes of non-verbal communication.
* If a werewolf is able to control the transformation, it sometimes raises the question of [[FridgeLogic what he gets out of turning into a wolf]]. One common answer is that he hunts animals, or just run in the wilderness with his pack. This could be because of some supernatural compulsion, or it might just make him feel good. Often this desire is treated [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything as a metaphor]].
* A HealingFactor often shows up as a RequiredSecondaryPower or perk. After all, if you can warp your body drastically enough to turn into a completely different creature, you can probably use the same principle to regenerate tissue. This also explains how a werewolf can come back from any wound that isn't inflicted with silver.
** This comes more from folklore of the middle-ages where werewolves were thought to be witches or in league with devils... and as per this thought the werewolves are granted protection and healing by whatever power gave them their shape-changing.
*** There are some folktales where the absence of this trope is actually very important. The story usually involves a hunter critically injuring a werewolf, and then discovering the werewolf in human form with the exact same wound.
** It also creeps up in Native American lore, but on more of a BodyHorror varity where liver-eaters (aka Skin Walkers) can eat warriors’ livers and hearts and replenish their own life... turning from decaying corpse-like wild humans into more living look-alikes.
* Many {{Shapeshifting}} tropes can be tweaked a little to fit with a werewolf.
* Werewolves will rarely show romantic interest in either other werewolves or humans if they are [[{{Squick}} currently in a different shape]]. Even if they are highly social. [[InterspeciesRomance Even if they fully maintain their human mind during the change]]. Which really [[FridgeLogic doesn't make much sense]] from the were's [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman point of view]].
** Averted in ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' when two werewolves get it on (off screen) "while fuzzy". However, it results in them catching a form of magical disease.
** This was almost averted in the popular ''[[ComicBook/TheSandman Sandman]]'' werewolf story "The Hunt", in which a panel showing the story's werewolf protagonist in near-human form having sex with his lover in full wolf form was reportedly subject to ExecutiveVeto on taste-and-decency grounds.
* If the transformation is unwilling and no control is retained when in wolf form, a werewolf will often have themselves locked up in a secure place on nights of the full moon to ensure they don't harm anyone. On ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' Oz did this on nights of the full moon. On ''Series/{{Angel}}'' Nina Ash, after learning she'd become a werewolf, voluntarily allowed herself to be locked up on nights of the full moon, but lived a normal life the rest of the month.
** In ''Franchise/HarryPotter'', whether a werewolf locks themselves away or not is an indication of their morality. [[NiceGuy Remus Lupin]] takes huge precautions to ensure he doesn't hurt people, whereas [[PsychoForHire Fenrir Greyback]] actually makes an effort to transform near his intended victims.
* A werewolf normally [[ShapeshiftingExcludesClothing loses their clothing]] when they shift; either it falls off when they turn into a normal wolf, or it's shredded when they grow in size. But in some stories, they may have a [[MagicPants special outfit]] that withstands the shift, or their human body is displaced when they transform and they get it back--along with their clothing--when they revert back to human. Interestingly, werewolves are far more likely to have the "naked shapeshifter" problem than vampires or witches.
** This could be related to the fact that vampires and witches tend to be [[VoluntaryShapeshifting Voluntary Shapeshifters]], whereas werewolves have a long history of involuntary transformations and/or transformations controlled by outside forces.