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Literature / Alfie the Werewolf

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Cover of the first book
Alfie the Werewolf is a Dutch children's book series, written by Paul van Loon. The original Dutch title of the series is Dolfje Weerwolfje.

The series follows the adventures of a boy named Alfie (Dolfje in the original), who discovers he is a werewolf in the night of his seventh birthday. Fortunately for him, his foster family is very open minded about this and supports him in every way possible. He soon discovers being a werewolf runs in his family since his grandfather and cousin Leo are also werewolves. Later in the series, his girlfriend Noura also becomes a werewolf when Alfie accidentally bites her. However, not everyone is equally happy about a werewolf living in their town, like Alfie's neighbor Mrs. Chalker.

The series currently consists of 18 regular books, 6 of which have been translated into English, and 6 special books. The books are also translated in many other languages, including German, Korean, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and Chinese. In the Netherlands they are very popular among young readers, having won several prizes. Two musicals based on the books have been made and the character has his own magazine. A movie adaption was released in November 2011.


Tropes include:

  • Amusement Park: The tenth book is entirely set in De Efteling, the most famous amusement park of the Netherlands.
  • Asleep in Class: Happens to Alfie in the fourth book, and it's mentioned that this is not the first time it happens either. Not too surprising considering that Alfie often stays up all night when he is a werewolf.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Leo and Alfie's Grandfather when they fight off Mrs. Chalkers group of werewolves in the eight book.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Tim (Timmie in the original) towards Alfie, despite being just a regular boy. He once even stood up to Mrs. Chalkers, who by then had become a werewolf/vampire hybrid, to protect Alfie.
  • Big Eater: The third book introduces a creature called a scoffle, which is small as a cat but can eat a full grown man in one bite.
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  • The Big Guy: Leo is a class 3: he is a very big and mean looking werewolf (and can definitely act as such when threatened), but absolutely loves his cousin Alfie and his friends + adoptive family.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Alfie. Fortunately for him he only rarely loses his glasses (in fact, the only time he does and the resulting lack of sight puts him in danger is in the eight book).
  • Breakout Villain: Mrs. Chalker. She originally appeared in just the first book, but proved to be so popular that Paul van Loon decided to bring her back later and let her Take a Level in Badass along the way.
  • Cassandra Truth: Mrs. Chalker, especially in the movie. She keeps on talking about the little bespectacled werewolf, but nobody takes her seriously.
  • Classical Movie Vampire: Valentine, a vampire who appears in several books, looks like this.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Alfie's adoptive father William, to some extent. He just loves everything that's "different", and expresses this by often dressing up in weird clothes (like his wife's dress).
  • The Collector: Alfie is abducted by one in the 3rd book.
  • Cool Old Guy: Alfie's grandfather.
  • Crossover: The seventh book is a crossover with De Leeuwenkuil ("The lion pit"), and the 12th book is a crossover with "Foeksia de miniheks" (Foeksia the little witch), both other book series by Paul van Loon.
  • Diary: One of the special books is written as if it was Noura's diary.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: In the third book, when Alfie is kidnapped by a hunter who wants to sell him to a scientist and a collector, Alfie's mom and grandfather intercept the two and steal their clothes to make the hunter believe they are his customers.
  • Extranormal Institute: Alfie's grandmother runs an orphanage for young werewolves in the Ardennes.
  • Fed to the Beast: This is what Mrs. Chalker, her sisters, and her brother Luke try to do to Alfie, Leo, Noura and Grandpa Werewolf in the fifth book. in the end this fate befalls Luke.
  • The Film of the Book: A movie adaption was released on November 30 2011.
  • Foster Kid: Alfie is one in the first two books.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: One of the special books Alfie's school houses a costumed party. No points for guessing as what Alfie and Noura "dress up".
  • Fur Against Fang: Valentine and Alfie don't always get along well. Especially upon his introduction in the third book, Valentine loves to point out to Alfie why vampires are better than werewolves.
  • Gym Class Rope Climb: Is used in the first book to demonstrate how becoming a werewolf has changed Alfie for the better. First he had great trouble with this, but after becoming a werewolf he is suddenly the best rope climber in his class. It earns him the respect of many of his classmates, including Noura (who previously hardly noticed him).
  • Halloween Episode: Book 18 resolves around Halloween.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Mrs. Chalker becomes one in the eight book, when she is bitten by a vampire while she is already a werewolf, thus becoming a werewolf/vampire hybrid.
  • Happily Adopted: At the end of the third book, Alfie's foster family officially adopts him.
  • Haggis Is Horrible: naturally, this trope is brought up when Alfie and family stay in Scotland during the 13th book. When told what exactly Haggis is, Alfie, Noura and Tim don't really feel like eating it anymore. Dad and Leo however enjoy it.
  • I Am a Monster: Alfie's first reaction to becoming a werewolf. He retains this attitude during most of the first book, but comes to accept his fate when he finds out his foster family doesn't care he is a werewolf.
  • Interspecies Romance: Alfie's grandmother Mooma is in love with a vampire named Armando.
  • Latex Perfection: in the Fifth book, Mrs. Chalker's brother Luke (who suffers from dwarfism) uses a latex mask to succesfully impersonate a seven year old kid. He spends some time in Alfie and Noura's class without anyone discovering the truth.
  • Mad Scientist: Appears as a secondary villain in the third book and a main villain in the eight book.
  • Martial Arts and Crafts: Alfie's mother specializes in broom fighting.
  • Monster Mash: Over the course of the series, we get to see werewolves, vampires, witches, and a scoffle. Book 18, being the Halloween Episode, takes it Up to Eleven with a wide variety of monsters appearing in the story.
  • Mother Bear: Alfie's adoptive mother, definitely. Try to mess with her or her (adopted) children, and she beats the crap out of you with her broom or some other object.
  • Naked People Trapped Outside: In the beginning of the fourth book, Alfie doesn't make it home before sunrise and turns back into his human form while still outside in the woods. And unfortunately for him, this was one of those times he choose not to wear his clothes in werewolf form.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up/Comic-Book Time: In the most recent book, Alfie is still 7 years old despite the fact that, judging by the amount of full moons that have come and gone during the previous books, at this point at least a year must have passed since the events from the first book.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Mrs. Chalker clearly gets more evil over the course of the series. In the first book she appears to be just a grumpy old lady who accidentally discovers Aflie's secret and tries to turn him in to the authorities, but in the fifth book it becomes clear she has a long history of hunting werewolves, frequently abused her two sisters (one is missing an eye and the other an ear because of her abuse), and trained her younger brother into locating werewolves by treating him like a dog. Also, in the fifth book, she tries to kill Alfie by feeding him to piranhas. It gets even worse when she herself is turned into a werewolf, because in the eighth book she tries to drain Alfie of all his fear sweat to make belts with which she can turn other people into werewolves, as part of a plan to take over the world.
  • Orphanage of Fear: the Werewolf orphanage run by Alfies grandmother Mooma starts out as one of these, because Mooma is too depressed about having lost the love of her life, the vampire Armando, to really bother to take care of the orphans. When she and Armando are reunited, it becomes an Orphanage of Love instead.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: On several points.
    • Becoming a werewolf: This runs in Alfie's family. His grandfather is a werewolf, and so is his cousin. But since it skips a generation, his biological parents are not. Werewolves can however also turn other people into werewolves by biting them, and the eight book introduces special belts which can temporarily turn people into werewolves.
    • Behavior: In werewolf form Alfie maintains his human personality and ability of speech most of the time, except when he gets really angry or when he develops a case of werewolf hunger, which can only be solved by eating some sort of meat.
    • Appearance: Sometimes Alfie keeps his clothes on and walks on just two legs like an anthropomorphic wolf, while other times he sheds his clothes and walks on four legs like a real wolf.
    • Transformation: Alfie and most other werewolves only transforms during the full moon and the nights before and after it, but old werewolves like his grandfather and grandmother can transform whenever they want to and even stay in wolf form all the time. The only exception to this is in the third book, when Alfie transforms even without a full moon because he is so happy about the fact that his foster family officially adopted him.
  • Parental Abandonment: Alfie's real parents abandoned him when he was 3 years old because they found out he would become a werewolf later in life. That's why he lives with a foster family that later officially adopts him.
  • Papa Wolf: Alfie's adoptive father, although in a less extreme way than his wife.
  • Plot Allergy: In a story Paul van Loon wrote for the Alfie the Werewolf magazine, which was later published in book form in 2013, Alfie becomes allergic to werewolf fur, of all things. And since it's contagious, soon all other werewolfs suffer the same effect.
  • Saving the Forest: The main plot of the fourth book.
  • Season Fluidity: Each book is a stand alone story. There are no longer arcs that span multiple books. On the other hand, there is a strong sense of continuity; if something happens to a main character that permanently affects him/her (like Noura becomming a werewolf), these changes remain in effect for all subsequent books.
  • Secret Keeper: For most of the first book, Tim is the only one who knows Alfie's secret.
  • Selkies and Wereseals: A selkie plays an important role in the book Meermonster (translated "Lake Monster"). In the story, the protagonist finds a Selkie and sets out to return the creature to its home in Scotland. It is mentioned several times throughout the story that Selkies can turn into humans, however this particular selkie turns out to be a special kind that eventually transforms into the Loch Ness Monster.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: the 13th book is largely set in Scotland, and the 15th in France.
  • Scheherezade Gambit: The main plot of the 14th book involves Alfie using one of these to keep a werewolf hunter from making soup out of him (see "Stewed Alive" below), by telling the hunter tales about some of his earlier adventures. It works.
  • Speech Impediment: Leo often mispronounces words for comedic effects. Armando also suffers from this because he is missing his fangs, causing him to lisp.
  • Stewed Alive: Alfie is threatened with this fate in the 14th book, titled "werewolf soup".
  • Stock Ness Monster: the 13th book features a Selkie, a small Scottish creature that during the full moon becomes a Loch Ness monster-like beast (see also Selkies and Wereseals above).
  • The Trap Parents: In Silvertooth, the third book, a man claiming to be Alfie's uncle shows up at the house of Alfie's foster family to adopt him, complete with court order to back up his claim. In reality, he's a werewolf hunter who wants to sell Alfie to a mad scientist, and the court order is a forgery. Alfie's grandfather realizes the deception when he's told about the 'uncle', and leads the family in a mission to rescue Alfie from the hunter.
  • Vacation Episode: the 15th book focusses on a family vacation in France.
  • Wolves Always Howl at the Moon: Just before his first transformation, Alfie gets an instinct to howl upon seeing the full moon.
  • The Worf Effect: Leo is one of the biggest and strongest werewolves in the series, yet he frequently is the first one to fall victim to a new enemy. In the fifth book he is the first one to be captured by Mrs. Chalker and her sisters, and in the eighth book he is the first one to be knocked out cold by a mad scientist who turned himself into a giant werewolf.
  • Unreliable Illustrator: Alfie is clearly described as having white hair (not just as a werewolf, but also in human form), yet several colored illustrations depict him with orange hair or blond hair instead.
  • You Are What You Hate: Mrs. Chalker from the fifth book onwards. She hates werewolves...and then Alfie turns her into one.
    • Also Gregor, the antagonist of the ninth book. He always states he hates people that are "different", and werewolves in particular, but in the end it is revealed he himself is a werewolf, and hates himself for it. That is, until Alfie and Noura show him how much fun being a werewolf truly is

Tropes specific to the movie

  • Adaptation Expansion: among other things, the movie adds a whole subplot of Alfie's class performing a school play version of Peter and the Wolf, which was not present in the original book.
  • Obstructive Librarian: Alfie, desperate to find out more about his condition, tries to borrow a book about werewolves from the library at one point, but the librarian won't let him because she thinks he's too young to read those kinds of books.
  • Parental Bonus: Happens in the movie; when Tim and Alfie are reading a book to learn more about werewolves, Tim remarks "it happens once a month, just like mom", to which Alfie gives him a confused look and Tim quickly says "never mind".


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