Giveaway: From Loki to Fenrir, author Coral Moore chats about werewolves in pop culture
Please help me welcome Broods of Fenrir author Coral Moore back to GT today!
In my last post at Grave Tells, I talked about why werewolves made such great fictional characters. This time, I want to focus more on their origins, specifically the werewolf-like monsters in some of the first written stories dating back as early as the 9th century.
Some of the first mentions of werewolves come from early Scandinavian writings. Skaldic poems and stories are filled with stories of men who fought with ferocious zeal and dressed themselves in the pelts of animals. The wolf-clad, or ulfhednar, were thought to drink the blood of their foes and could perform superhuman feats of strength. They were said never to flee from battle and held no fear of fire or weapons of iron. Interestingly, vulnerability to silver is not something mentioned in the Norse origins—in fact it wasn’t written about until centuries later.
In more recent years, the rage typified by these berserkers has been attributed to many factors, from chemical (hallucinogenic mushrooms) to metaphysical (demonic possession); however, the original tales are much more circumspect. Some of the stories suggest that the power wielded by these troops was granted by Odin, the all-father of the Norse pantheon, but in my contemplation of these werewolf precursors, it seems another source is more likely.
It’s relevant to any discussion of shape-shifters in northern myths that though many of the gods turned others into animals, few of them actually took on the shape of animals. Loki—in addition to being the father of the great wolf Fenrir—is well-known for shape-shifting. At various times he became a horse, a seal, and a fish in order to sow dissent among the gods.
So, we’ve come around to my angle in all of this at last. Being a writer of fantasy has the advantage of allowing me to make up my own facts, so long as I can support my speculations somewhat in stories that have come before. It seems to me Fenrir is a better source of werewolves than Odin ever could be. First, he’s actually a wolf. Second, Fenrir was in part feared because his children were prophesized to kick off the end of the world. Third, as Loki’s son it’s likely that the shape-shifting ability would have been passed to him. My book, Broods of Fenrir, features the modern-day descendants of Fenrir as werewolves unlike any you’ve ever seen.
Much of the information in this post was gleaned from The Book of Were-Wolves by Sabine Baring-Gould which is among the first reference texts on werewolves and is a fascinating read for anyone even slightly interested in the history of shifter lore. I invite you to stop by and talk with me about all things werewolf on my Blog, Goodreads, or Twitter.
About the author…
Coral Moore has always been the kind of girl who makes up stories. Fortunately, she never quite grew out of that. She writes because she loves to invent characters and the desire to find out what happens to her creations drives the tales she tells.
Prompted by a general interest in how life works, her undergraduate schooling was in biology. She follows science news and enjoys conversations about genetics and microbiology as much as those about vampires and werewolves. Coral writes speculative fiction and is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Writing at Albertus Magnus College.
Currently she lives in Connecticut with the love of her life, who offers both encouragement and kicks in the tail when necessary. Also in residence are two mammals of the families Canidae and Felidae.
She released her first novel, Broods of Fenrir, in November 2011. Her next release, Elements of Rebellion, is due out in spring 2012.
Want to win an e-copy of Broods of Fenrir? Tell us what your favorite werewolf origins myth is below (and why!), then enter using the Rafflecopter widget! This giveaway will be open for two days, ending at midnight on Wednesday, March 7th, and the winner announced here on the 8th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway