Thursday, April 30, 2015

Werewolves in Harry Potter

In the world created by J.K. Rowling, there are two main werewolf characters, Remus Lupin and Fenrir Greyback, and they are consistently ranked at the bottom of the social order throughout the series. This is because werewolves do not maintain their 'human' brain when they transform into a wolf, and instead are dictated by their wolf instincts. Both werewolves represent opposite ways in which society looks down upon them. Remus Lupin is the example of a good man trying to live a normal life, despite his 'disease'. For much of the series Lupin struggles to find work or housing due his being a werewolf, and because of this he is often portrayed as poor and weak. Whereas Greyback is the werewolf stereotype that most in this fictional society believe to be true, as he is evil and prepared to kill. When the humans transform into wolves they are portrayed as untamed and extremely dangerous, prone to attack the first human they see, not out fear, but malice. Unlike "Bisclavret", the distinction between wolf and human in these novels is severe.

In "Bisclavret" the boundary between human and wolf is much more fluid, because the werewolf in this short story was able to maintain his 'human' brain when he transformed into a wolf. Also, Bisclavret was able to have some control over his transformations, because to turn back into a man all he needed were his human clothes, further showing the fluidity portrayed between man and animal. This helps to represent the shift in in recent culture, which now draws the line more distinctly between human and nonhuman animals. Also, in contrast to the Harry Potter novels, Bisclavret was able to be respected and even trusted by the King while he was still stuck in wolf form. One of the few similarities between both stories is the rejection of werewolves by the majority of society. Bisclavrets wife was so afraid of her husbands transformation that she attempted to condemn him to a life stuck in his wolf form by stealing his clothes. It is through the comparison of these two works that the shift to a culture that places humans much more highly than nonhuman animals can be represented. 

No comments:

Post a Comment