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Literature: Hemlock Grove

Hemlock Grove is a novel by Brian McGreevy. It was released in March, 2012.

The story starts when a young girl is brutally murdered and found near the former Godfrey Steel Mill. Amid mounting rumors, two of the suspects in her killing — Peter Rumancek, a 17-year-old Gypsynote  trailer-trash kid rumored to be a werewolf, and Roman Godfrey (heir to the Godfrey estate) — decide to find the killer themselves.

Hemlock Grove is the first of a planned trilogy.

In January 2013, Netflix announced it would be adapting the novel into an original series, produced by Eli Roth. Roth also directed the pilot episode. All episodes of the series were made available on Netflix Streaming in April 2013. On April 14th, 2014, a second season was announced.


  • Abandoned Warehouse: The abandoned Godfrey Steel Mill is an important location.
  • Adult Fear: Since all of the victims were high school girls, everyone with a child was appropriately worried.
  • The Alcoholic: Chasseur had been so before and gotten sober, but the stress of the vargulf's attacks had driven her back to her old ways.
  • Always Identical Twins: Nope, Alexa and Alyssa Sworn are fraternal, but not exempt from Finishing Each Other's Sentences and Speak In Unison on occasion.
  • An Axe to Grind: Olivia's gift to Roman.
  • Angry Mob: Towards the end of the season, the town is whipped into a frenzy against Peter.
  • Anyone Can Die: Averted up until "What God Wants."
  • Arc Words: "I have seen the dragon."
  • Auto Cannibalism: Werewolves eat the flesh and skin they lose after turning.
    • Olivia scarfing Roman's caul would technically count as it is her own flesh.
  • Bedlam House: Averted in the case of Norman's hospital, although patients can still meet grizzly ends.
  • Beef Bandage: Peter has one after bullies beat the crap out of him.
  • Big Little Brother: Sister, actually.
  • Blood Lust: Both Roman and Olivia seems to have this.
  • Blood Magic: The cat's unfortunate fate.
  • Body Horror: A large part of Peter's transformation scene.
  • Break the Cutie: Christina, Peter, Shelley. Roman is more of a Break the Haughty type until after his coma.
  • Bury Your Gays: The very first person to die in the TV series is a teenage girl who is on her way to a liaison with her female teacher. Additionally, one of the few main characters who die is Clementine Chasseur, whose introduction shows her in bed with another woman.
  • California Doubling: the novel is set in Pennsylvania, USA. The show is filmed in Ontario, Canada.
  • Catchphrase
    • "I'm a novelist."
    • "SHEE-it."
  • Conspicuous CGI: Transformation scenes and Shelley's eye.
  • Convenient Coma: Roman is in one for a few episodes. It also occurs in the novel.
  • Cool Car: J.R.'s and later Roman's car.
  • Coordinated Clothes: While the Sworn girls don't wear the exact same outfits, they usually have the same theme with color variations.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Roman. Over Letha.
  • Creepy Child: Christina in the later episodes.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: All of the vargulf's victims were disemboweled and torn apart "snatch-first".
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Quoted by Roman, although it really did look like a shaving cut.
  • Cute and Psycho: Christina.
  • Cute Mute: Shelley.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Peter.
  • Death by Childbirth: Letha.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Letha dies when giving birth to her baby, thereby ending the relationship between Peter and Letha for good.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Unlike her sister, Alyssa Sworn spent her last seconds being held by her father.
  • Disappeared Dad: Neither Peter nor Roman have a father. Except Norman is Roman's father, and has been largely serving in a version of that role for him and his sister throughout the series.
  • Disease Bleach: Though not very realistically portrayed.
  • Disposable Woman: See Men Are the Expendable Gender below.
  • Driven to Suicide: J.R. Godfrey.
  • Dude, She's Like in a Coma: Ironically enough, it isn't about Roman. Christina planted one on Peter while he was asleep.
  • Eaten Alive: The vargulf's victims.
  • Evil Matriarch: Roman's mother is very much on of these.
  • Eye Scream: A part of Peter's transformation involves his eyes falling out of their sockets.
  • Facial Horror: Peter wasn't kidding when he said he had to sacrifice his human face.
  • Foil: The Rumanceks and the Godfreys, both mothers and sons.
  • Friendless Background: Neither Roman nor Peter had friends before they met each other.
  • Functional Addict: Olivia uses some sort of drug in the form of eye-drops and is fine unless she doesn't have them. Roman smokes, drinks, snorts cocaine, self-mutilates and still manages to make it through the day until he flies off the handle and ends up in a coma.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Most of the deaths happen off screen, or are shot in such a way so that we don't see things.
  • Grave Robbing: Done by two conflicting groups with the same grave on the same night.
  • Green Eyes: Members of the Godfrey family have green eyes.
  • Hands-Off Parenting / Hippie Parents: Many young characters have one or a mix of these.
  • Harmful to Minors: Peter had to slice off his dead grandfather's head with a sword and Roman saw his father's corpse on the living room floor.
  • Healing Factor: Only happens when a werewolf has to basically regenerate his or her entire body. Otherwise, they heal and feel pain just like normal people do.
  • Heroic BSOD: Several characters fall into this after loved ones die.
  • Important Haircut: Peter in the finale.
  • Incest Is Relative: Roman and Olivia compared to Roman and Letha.
  • Incest Subtext: Olivia's a little too touchy-feely with her son, Roman.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted.
    • Shelley dies in infancy and is resurrected/reconstructed.
    • Olivia killed her first daughter, Juliette. It's very likely she also killed Shelley but J.R. had her resurrected.
    • Not only Juliette. When showing the murder of Juiliette, it clearly states there were more than one. "Juliette and many like her came, all of them disappointments." There were more babies, and more murders, until she had the child with the caul.
    • Even Peter's cat wasn't safe from death. He's forced to kill his pet in order to speak to his dead grandfather for advice on how to kill the vargulf.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: In the novel, Roman uses something similar to influence people and get himself out of trouble. Works in the TV show, too.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Roman, pre-coma.
  • Joggers Find Death: In the pilot, a jogger finds the dead and raped girl.
  • Karma Houdini: Roman snapped and raped a girl but because of his ability, nobody ever found out about it.
    • Christina, the vargulf, is defeated and given a pleasent burial by the Sheriff, but Shelley is shot and flees town to who knows where.
  • Kill the Cutie: Several times, but Letha stands out as the most prominent example.
  • Kissing Cousins: Implied in the novel and the show. It's revealed that Roman and Letha are half-siblings and that Roman is the father of Letha's baby.
  • Knight Templar:
    • Chasseur and the rest of her Order.
    • Sheriff Sworn becomes this after his daughters are killed.
  • Lack of Empathy: Olivia from the very beginning. Christina, too.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Roman. Shelley also could count.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Destiny: Can tell the future.
    • Peter the Werewolf calls to mind "Peter and the Wolf".
    • Shelley seems to reference Mary Shelley, since Shelley the child is a Frankenstein's Monster-like resurrection/creation of Olivia's dead daughter.
    • The last name Rumancek translates to "Chamomile". There's a particular kind of chamomile known as Roman Chamomile. This implies that there's some sort of familial relationship between the Rumancek and Godfrey families. It's confirmed in the novel that Roman's mother Olivia gave birth to a child that was given to the Rumanceks to raise.
    • Letha is in Greek mythology, "The river of forgetfulness, one of the five rivers in Hades." and "A condition of forgetfulness; oblivion."
    • GOD-frey, just as Norman's wife says, "Godfreys get what they want" when asked how she and Norman got together.
    • Chasseur means "hunter" in French
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Inverted. There are only two male characters that die in Season 1, and JR's death happens in a flashback.
  • Mercy Kill: Pryce is forced to suffocate Dr. Chasseur after Olivia broke her neck and skinned her alive.
  • Motifs: "You must make your heart steel/become stronger", Olivia ONLY wears white (Letha also wears white a lot)
  • Mind Manipulation: Roman can't read minds, but he can implant suggestions and make people forget recent events.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Shelley is treated like shit by the kids at school but is as kind as she is quiet.
  • Mr. Fanservice: A big audience of the show comes for the eye-candy that Landon Liboiron and Bill Skarsgård provide as Peter and Roman, respectively.
  • My Beloved Smother: On the completely disturbing end of the scale.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Christina. She likened the sensation of a transformation arising to an orgasm and turned herself into a werewolf so she could "have experiences."
  • Nipple and Dimed: Hugely averted.
  • No Bisexuals: Jury's out with Destiny; she's more than happy to have sex with anyone as long as there's cash involved, but she seemed to really enjoy her time with Chasseur.
  • No Pregger Sex: Averted when Peter and Letha hook up.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Norman once tightened Olivia's corset after a routine hookup.
  • Older than They Look: Olivia was a child a very long time ago.
  • Only Sane Man: Peter.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Peter's grandfather was the seventh son of a seventh son, meaning Peter is a werewolf through heredity.
    • Christina became a werewolf by choice and through drinking water from Peter's paw print.
  • Panicky Expectant Father: Roman and Peter aren't exactly anxious, but cigars are involved.
  • Papa Wolf: Norman is one to Lethe.
  • Painful Transformation: Going from human to werewolf is not a pleasant sequence.
  • People Jars: Revealed at the very last second of the season finale.
  • Police Brutality: Sheriff Sworn shot Shelley twice from behind with no warning.
  • Police Are Useless: Naturally.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Roman.
  • Romani: Peter and his family.
  • Rustproof Blood: Played absurdly straight.
  • Scare Chord: Used early and often.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Chasseur.
  • Self Harm: Roman is shown cutting himself with a razor blade several times. In his case, it probably starts because he likes blood.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The way Shelley's emails seem. In this case it is unlikely that the character is trying to show off or be perceived as unusually smart, rather she's taking full advantage of the medium of writing to communicate in a way that is normally impossible for her because of her muteness. As such, it's not annoying from a character standpoint, but still comes across as the writers trying too hard to make her seem intelligent and sophisticated.
  • Shell-Shock Silence:
    • Roman could only stare while Peter and Christina fought.
    • Peter was completely still when they found out Letha had died.
  • Shoot the Dog: What Peter had to do to his cat.
  • Silent Scapegoat: Shelley.
  • Smoking Is Cool / Smoking Is Glamorous: There are more characters that smoke than there are that don't. Roman practically goes through a pack per scene.
  • Super Strength: Dr. Pryce, as induced by overactive adrenal glands.
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: Roman. This is lampshaded by Destiny.
  • Teens Are Monsters: The cruel schoolkids who harass and mock Peter, Roman, and especially Shelley.
    • Christina, literally.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Alyssa and Alexa.
  • There Are No Psychologists: Somewhat subverted; Norman is a successful and empathetic doctor. However, all the patients we've seen him personally treat have ended up dead. He sleeps with Olivia for the first time when she visits him professionally, too.
  • Tongue Trauma: In the last episode.
  • Transformation Sequence: Werewolves have extremely gruesome ones.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Poor Roman.
  • True Companions: Roman and Peter.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Chasseur is both black and a lesbian!
  • Your Cheating Heart: Olivia and Norman have been cheating with each other for years. J.R. was well aware of it before he shot himself.

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