Werewolves: Villains or Misunderstood?

  • By Hadlanter "Hadley" The Warden


    The idea that Hircine created the Curse of Lycanthropy is so ingrained in popular imagination that The Daedric Prince of the Hunt has earned himself the title The Father of Manbeasts. Yet is there any truth to this assertion, or has this Lord of Misrule been credited for influence he had no hand in? In addition, if this curse originated not from a supernatural source but a natural one, has the werewolf been vilified wrongly all this time? 
    The best place to attempt to answer this question is, as always, the original sources.

    Hircine, Father of Manbeasts by Hieronymus7Z

    Tamriel is a land whose legends blanket her like fog on an autumn morning. Many of these myths we now accept as fact come from sources which are plainly mythological texts. Do these books confirm the fog as reality, or can they act as a cleansing wind to blow away the miasma of superstition? 
    That Hircine created werewolves and other shape-shifters may not be so easy to prove as folklore would have you believe. Will you accept the words of anonymous authors and yokels from backwater bog-hamlets? No you would not. So let's delve into the subject of myth and see for ourselves just where the appellation Father of Manbeasts comes from.

    The Book of Daedra is the first source I will use as it is both anonymous and incredibly vague on actual facts. It has this to say:

    Hircine, whose sphere is the Hunt, the Sport of Daedra, the Great Game, the Chase, known as the Huntsman and the Father of Manbeasts.

    Very useful. So far all I see are words without a lick of substance to back them up. All this book does is tell us what most of us think we already know. Who wrote it? A scholar in need of basic education and access to a real library? Worthless. Moving on.

    Next we should take a look at Varieties of Faith, Bosmer Edition. Which, like The Book of Daedra, is chock full of supposition:

    Hircine (The Huntsman, Father of Manbeasts):
    Master of the Great Hunt and lord of all lycanthropes. Worshipers of Hircine are not as ruthless as those who worship other Daedra; they always give their prey at least a small chance to escape.

    Again, is this proof? Written by an imperial scholar who we can only assume spoke at great lengths with both the Daedric Princes and Aedra to gain such profound insights. Sure, that's likely. Next!

    The Totems of Hircine does more to prove my point than any other book while at the same time undermining itself: 

    Among those of us to whom Lord Hircine bestowed his most precious gift of Lycanthropy, there are legends that he also set into the world specific artifacts of his power. They date to a period when men could neither write, nor speak, nor barely think, but the powers of blood of the beast were yet flowing strong among the selected.

    So, as a matter of fact Hircine bestowed this gift of lycanthropy at a time when men could barely speak or think? Forgive me if I don't take your word on it Mr Anonymous. If they could neither think or write, how did they record this fact? Give me evidence or go home.

    Even esteemed scholars churn out this nonsense as fact, despite they themselves acknowledging the lack of evidence:

    "My researches into the subject continue, but to date I have discovered no definitive account of the origin of werewolves, though no one doubts that Lord Hircine was involved, if not instrumental. This lacuna is not really surprising, as the curse (or, some say, gift) of lycanthropy has been known in Tamriel since the early Merethic Era. No written accounts date from that time, as it was before Ysgramor brought writing to humankind, but I hold out hope of finding a later recording of an oral tradition.”An Accounting of Werewolves.

    I think I have made my point, but to summarise anyway, there is not a single source which can reliably prove Hircine sired werewolves, werebears, wererats or even the dreaded werepuffin. Anyone who tells you different has clearly been listening to too many bards.
    So where does that leave the poor werewolf now? If not afflicted with a demonic curse, surely they must simply be suffering from a naturally occurring ailment?
    Put away your pitchforks and torches and take out your herbs and Restoration magicks. This person needs a healer, not a silver sword!

    To back that statement let us now look at the disease itself. Known as either Sanies Lupinus or Canis Hysteria, lycanthropism could well be a naturally occurring disease. Although I fear you, dear reader, will doubt my words and insist magic must be involved somewhere, surely you can by now see why it is far more likely than the idea of a Deadric Prince's intervention.
    Indeed, if we look at the treatments and preventative measures superstitious bumpkins from Skyrim use described in Dealing with Werewolves, we will no doubt agree that if mere herbs can ward off these creatures then there must be no magic at all involved:

    Is there an overabundance of canis root in casks and market stalls? Have you witnessed the locals rubbing this root on neighboring trees and fences?

    However I must leave you with a warning. Even though these poor afflicted creatures suffer a natural disease and should be pitied rather than shunned, take every precaution when dealing with them in human form. The disease effects the mind, see, and as such renders them extremely aggressive and out of control. However, hope is not lost for there are accounts of lycanthropes being able to summon the strength of will to supress the disease's urges and live a peaceful life:

    Finally it was too strong: I killed, and killed again. Unworthy to abide among decent people, I fled, putting civilization behind me. I plunged into the forests, forded rivers and climbed mountains, until I was far from any innocents I might injure. There, with naught but brute beasts for companions, I gave in to the urge to hunt, and to slay, and to feed...
    But I found to my sorrow that, though the beasts had neither minds nor souls, still they had hearts. They felt fear, pain, loss, sadness, and to slaughter them out of hand was no less a sin than to slaughter Man or Mer.
    Thereafter I lived upon nuts, fruits, buds, roots, and animals freshly dead. And this I could easily do for, when the Change was upon me, my senses were so acute that I could always detect food of all sorts...
    When I returned to my ordinary mortal form, I would try to write of what I had experienced as a Beast of Mundus, but human words could never capture it. It could only be shared by others who could sense what I sensed, who might learn how to tame the lusts of the Change as I had. Our Curse and Our Glory.

    With that I, Hadley the Warden, leave you with these words: If when next you suspect there is a werewolf about, don't hunt it, hug it. Just ensure you "always keep a poisoned blade" or a silver sword handy.
    Just in case, like.


10 Comments   |   Golden Fool and 12 others like this.
  • Sotek
    Sotek   ·  September 29, 2016
    Even though these poor afflicted creatures
    suffer a natural disease and should be pitied rather than shunned, take
    every precaution when dealing with them in human form. The disease effects the
    mind, see, and as such renders them ex...  more
  • Golden Fool
    Golden Fool   ·  September 24, 2016
    Cyre would have to agree with this Hadley fellow, if he's learnt anything from his time spent sharing a body with Darling it's that werewolves can be quite cuddly if you give them the chance :P
  • Rogue
    Rogue   ·  September 23, 2016
    Really good points here, Phil. Where do you think the disease originated from? Is it akin to the family of say, rockjoint? 
    • Karver the Lorc
      Karver the Lorc
      Really good points here, Phil. Where do you think the disease originated from? Is it akin to the family of say, rockjoint? 
        ·  September 23, 2016
      Phil knows where it originates from. You probably want to ask Hadley if you donĀ“t want to hear Hircine. :)
  • Paws
    Paws   ·  September 23, 2016
    I will see what I can do about mentioning the quoted text issue, it could be a feature which did work prior to group discussion template being changed.

    And thanks guys, nice to see some love for the abominable werepuffin.
  • Mirric
    Mirric   ·  September 23, 2016
    Ooooh Azura im transforming!!! *becomes the dreadex werepuffin*
  • Hawkward
    Hawkward   ·  September 23, 2016
    Are Werepuffins similar to Jigglypuff? That shit is scary!
  • Karver the Lorc
    Karver the Lorc   ·  September 23, 2016
    Werepuffins...ah, good days.
  • Meli
    Meli   ·  September 23, 2016
  • The Long-Chapper
    The Long-Chapper   ·  September 23, 2016
    Remember when this made me all grumpy? Lol.  :D