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White Wolves Are Special

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White as snow, and best in show.
For much of Western human history, wolves were portrayed as bloodthirsty monsters or as big bad villains. Gradually, over time, this view point became challenged as wolves became less common and people less cautious of them, with more positive depictions of wolves as noble, but untamed creatures eventually arising. But how do you make characters who have been portrayed for so long as evil look good? Simple, make them white.

White is often associated with light and goodness and by making a wolf white, audiences are given the indication that this wolf represents the qualities of their fur coat. Some white wolf heroes are normal wolves who are the main heroes of their work; other times they are deities of wolves or of nature.

Real life white wolves are no different from wolves of any other color, but they are a dazzle to behold. They can usually be found in Canada, Alaska, and sometimes Minnesota. Unless you're Too Dumb to Live (or someone has a white pet wolf), do not go up to a white wolf and treat it like a dog.

Subtrope of Noble Wolf and Light Is Good. Compare White Stallion and Great White Feline, other animals that are assigned importance because they are rarely pure white. White Bunny also involves a white animal, but is more commonly white and has innocent connotations instead. Combined with White Is Pure.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon Frontier: Koji's evolutionary line is lupine and has a lot of indigo and white going on. He's one of the first good guys therein to get his spirit.
  • One Piece: Subverted with the white wolves in Impel Down, very vicious beasts who roam the 5th level ("Freezing Hell"), looking for prisoners trying to escape. They used to be in the 2nd level ("Beast Hell"), but they are so ferocious that they preyed on the other beasts there.
    • Played straight with Yamato's Mythical Zoan devil fruit, the Dog-Dog Fruit: Model Makami, which transforms him into a (horned, though possibly because Yamato already had horns in human form) white wolf that's known as the guardian deity of Wano.
  • Wolf's Rain has Kiba, a white wolf when in wolf form. Interestingly, he's the only one who doesn't follow the show's convention of wolves' human illusions having the same hair color as their fur and the same eye color in each form. When in human form he has dark brown hair, and blue eyes instead of his wolf form's yellow eyes.

    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Whiter Wolf stands out from the other wolves not just because he has white fur, but also because he's one of the only wolves on the show who has successfully captured goats on a regular basis.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Sacred Wolf, unlike the predominantly black, grey and brown wolves in other cards, has a pure white coat.
    "I raised my bow, and the wolf stared at me. Under its gaze, my finger would not release the string." — Aref the Hunter

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In the film version of Blood and Chocolate, Vivian - the main protagonist who is indicated to be the werewolves' Chosen One - is depicted with white fur in her wolf form.
  • In The Jungle Book (2016), Raksha, Mowgli's adoptive mother has very light, almost white fur. This makes her both easier to tell apart from the rest of the pack, and signify her as the kindest, gentlest one.
  • Mowgli: Bhoot's albino-white fur matches his pure-hearted personality. He's also "special" in the sense of being weak and physically challenged.
  • White Wolves: The whole film series is named after them, so yeah. White wolves are treated as magical and benevolent creatures that appear at the right times to help lost people get out of the wilderness, drag them out of rivers, and other such things.

    Literature 
  • Child of the Wolves: Snowdrift is a white wolf who adopts the husky protagonist, Granite. She's the alpha female of her pack.
  • Kane Series: The leader of the wolf pack in "Reflections on the Winter of My Soul" is a big white wolf with red eyes. Actually, he's a vicious werewolf who enjoys slaughtering humans — others in his pack are regular wolves that treat him as Alpha.
  • In Moonflowers, the Asian-American Ned Song has been cursed by The Wild Hunt into the form of a white wolf as they plot to murder him, his family, and four unknown future victims in a ritual hunt called the Fairy Raid. Thanks to said curse, everyone thinks Ned is just a huge wolfdog except for gods, the mage Ogma O'Luain, and his own recently-cursed wife Lucy, and he's been unknowingly adopted by his own daughter Alima. Ned, being a Good Parent, is both a literal and figurative Papa Wolf who swears a Blood Oath to kill the Wild Hunt's leader before ANY of the victims die.
  • The Sight: Larka is a white wolf who possesses the power of the Sight and must use it to prevent Wolfbane from returning. Fittingly, her brother Fell, is a black wolf [[and he becomes The Dragon to Big Bad Morgra, though he is redeemed ]].
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Ghost, Jon Snow's white direwolf — a deadly but Noble Wolf — who is part of his family while being a bit different from the rest, reflecting Jon. Ghost grows to become the biggest of his siblings and is a fierce and loyal ally to Jon, his friends and family. Bastards in Westeros are allowed to use their father's coat of arms with the colors reversed, so in Jon's case this would be a white dire wolf on a silver field. This establishes a link between him and Ghost immediately.
  • This Is Not a Werewolf Story: Raul's mother is Shapeshifter Mode Locked as a white wolf, and it's eventually revealed that white shapeshifters are a special class called "spirit animals." Oddly, Raul often refers to her as if "White Wolf" was her name, while she's otherwise an Unnamed Parent.
  • Myuri in Wolf and Parchment, a Spin-Offspring of Spice and Wolf, is a white-furred wolf spirit but her lack of pigmentation was inherited from her human father, who had white hair from childhood. While not as powerful as her brown-furred mother she is able to assume a fully human form while her mother has to hide her ears and tail.
  • The Wolven series features both werewolves and Wolvens, the latter of which are shapeshifters from birth and have wolves are their default forms. While werewolves run the gamut of colors and moral alignments, Wolvens are Always Lawful Good and also always white.
  • In The Yukon Wolf, Lusa, a white wolf, is a kind and motherly figure to the two main characters, Tulok and Arnaaluk.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones portrays Jon's direwolf Ghost much the same as he is in the books — a deadly but a Noble Wolf who is a fierce and loyal ally to Jon, his friends and family. After Jon leads House Stark to victory in liberating Winterfell, Jon is proclaimed King in the North and nicknamed "The White Wolf", because of Ghost.
  • Due South: Deifenbecker, Constable Fraser's deaf husky/wolf hybrid, is mostly white and a heroic Handicapped Badass.

    Video Games 
  • Bayonetta 2. Father Balder has the power to take the form of animals, including wolves. Being a Lumen Sage, all of the forms are white.
  • In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate, Alucard's Wolf Man form as part of him being a vampire formed under a full moon is white-furred. In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, he is also heavily associated with white wolves.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins the Spirit of the Brecilian Forest was bound to a great white wolf known as Witherfang that passed along a werewolf curse as part of a Dalish Elf Keeper's revenge; now the spirit's usual form is either Witherfang or a nymph like being called The Lady of the Forest.
  • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn: Nailah is the queen of the Wolf Laguz, and has a silver-white coat in her wolf form.
  • The Legend of Zelda has a few examples and aversions.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: The White Wolfos is a larger, slightly tougher version of the standard gray Wolfos enemies (basically wolves with gorilla-like builds and a predilection for attacking with their claws) seen in the Lost Woods. It serves as the miniboss of the Ice Cavern, but becomes a Degraded Boss when a few are fought in the Gerudo's Training Ground later in the game.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The Hero's Shade, who tutors you in Difficult But Awesome sword moves, takes the form of a gold-and-white (but mostly gold) wolf while in Hyrule.
  • MapleStory: Aran's mount, Ryko, starts as a basic brown wolf but grows and evolves alongside Aran, eventually becoming a massive white wolf with burning paws when Aran reaches level 200.
  • Nancy Drew: In Nancy Drew: The White Wolf of Icicle Creek, the eponymous white wolf is Isis, who is abnormally friendly to humans because she was raised by one. Aside from adding to the sense of uniqueness and mystery around her, Isis' fur color is important to the plot: she is identifiable from other wolves, so people notice that she's the only wolf acting strangely, and spread rumors about her.
    McQuade: Isis is by far the smartest animal I have ever seen.
  • Ōkami, the titular character is the sun goddess Amaterasu who takes the form of a white wolf with red markings and Reality Warper powers, and goes around Nippon helping people, beating up evil demons and generally making the world bright and beautiful. While technically she is a goddess and not a real wolf, she behaves very much like a friendly, playful (and occasionally naughty) dog.
  • Sdorica: The white-and-tan Koll is one of the last remaining Glimmer Wolves, semi-mythical creatures of great power.

    Webcomics 
  • Off-White: Played with. There are entirely mundane white wolves in the setting, but wolf with blue eyes is always Skoll, the white soul of the wolves, reincarnated. Ikki isn't a white wolf (his packmate Gebo is, though), but he's still the white spirit reincarnated.

    Western Animation 
  • Ninjago: The ninja come across a pack of regular gray wolves shortly after arriving in the Never Realm who function as a minor threat along with the freezing temperatures. Lloyd later meets a white wolf with red facial markings who is more intelligent and acts as a companion/ally. She's actually a member of a Voluntary Shapeshifter society named Akita who shares his goal of fighting the Ice Emperor. The trope is still played with, since she's the only one whose animal form is different from a non-magical wild animal.
  • In Samurai Jack, a lone white wolf survives a brutal fight against several giant alien creatures. The wolf later befriends Jack, who had also survived an intense battle of his own.
  • Star Wars Rebels has a pack of Force-connected loth-wolves, with a white wolf as their leader. While the rest of the wolves act like wild animals except when prodded otherwise by their leader, the white wolf is abnormally intelligent, has a spiritual connection with the Jedi and its planet, and can speak with a deep, alien voice. They help Ezra and his rebel friends liberate Lothal from The Empire.
  • Young Justice (2010) has a mutated white wolf encountered at one point. A downplayed example, however, as the rest of the wolves in its pack are grey, but have the same mutation. What makes it special here is that the white wolf, named Wolf by Superboy, is recruited to join the Team and become a Team Pet unlike the rest of its pack.

 
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