What are werewolves in Narnia?

I know they’re mentioned in Wardrobe and Prince Caspian. Are they the “communicable” types, since Caspian does get bitten by one?

I assumed they were humans turned by something(magic, curse, or disease) into wolves. Well Narnian humans anyway :slight_smile:

It’s actually never made clear, but they don’t seem to be the Hollywood werewolves at least. In fact, both Tolkein and Lewis went to much older stories, and no, it was not a “disease” or something you could give to somebody else.

Both sets of werewolves seem to have been closer to “big intelligent wolves” than anything else. Neither is very clearly described, except that when disguised as one Sauron and Baren were vaguely described as big, dangerous wolves.

True. Though I got the impression the Narnian one could shift at will, at least in the book. And I wonder why the Dwarfs had such a nice memory of the White Witch.

Not all the dwarfs did by any means (see Trumpkin for one) but some dwarfs used to work for and presumably didn’t do all that badly out of it.

I don’t think that it’s a particularly good idea to try to understand the Narnia books as a completely consistent universe. Lewis didn’t think out the entire series and all its characters, races, locations, etc. beforehand, and some elements of the series just don’t fit well into a consistent universe. The werewolves are one such element that doesn’t fit well into such a universe.

There’s no mention of Caspian turning into a werewolf at any time in Voyage of the Dawn Treader or The Silver Chair, so no.

The Narnian ones aren’t just big intelligent wolves. They can go back and forth between human and wolf - in Prince Caspian one of them gets killed halfway through shifting, so the body is half-man-half-wolf.

But yeah, Caspian does get bitten, and I don’t think anyone mentions the possibility of that turning him into a werewolf. They just clean up the wound.

Why doesn’t a werewolf fit into Narnia?

I suppose a movie-style werewolf, where a bite by a werewolf turns you into a werewolf might not make sense. But the notion that an innocent person could become a werewolf by accident isn’t part of classic werewolf myths, it was invented for the 1941 Lon Chaney movie. The original idea was that a werewolf was a person who used evil magic or a deal with the devil to gain the power to turn into a wolf. And of course, wolves were thought to be evil (rather than the four-legged hobbits people imagine today), so to become a werewolf meant deliberately embracing evil.


You’re right. I’d compeltely forgotten that part. AFAICT, Tolkein’s werewolves are never mentioned as shapeshifting, nor did anyone ever fear they might infiltrate the heroes’ or anything. I believe, however, that both Lewis’s were basically big wolves, not a man-wolf thing.

Sauron took the form of a werewolf for a time, didn’t he?

Yeah, but that was Sauron. He has the ability to take on whatever form pleased him until fairly recently in the Tolkein-verse. His other forms include the traditional “armor-clad overlord,” the form of an elven lord, a sort of vampiric bat thing, and a cloud, just form what I can recall off the top of my head.

I interpret Narnian werewolves as just a kind of magical creature. They are not made from humans. They are shapeshifters, but their “man” form is not actually human. Their condition is no more communicable than is being a giant or a centaur.

I also don’t see how werewolves don’t fit.

There’s nothing wrong with readers thinking out fictional worlds, beyond the text. As long as one’s interpretations aren’t actually contradicted in the text, believe whatever you like. This is really just an extension of a reader’s or audience’s necessary responsibility in engaging with fiction.

Now, what really doesn’t fit in Narnia is Father Christmas. What, precisely, is he commemorating? There doesn’t seem to be any notion of Aslan having been born.

It’s hard for us to remember that much of our ideas about vampires and werewolves are very recent creations of movies and books and pop culture, not European folklore. Lycanthropy transmitted by bite? Werewolves harmed only by silver? Werewolves transforming under the full moon? All invented by Curt Siodmak for “The Wolf Man” in 1941.

And note how the werewolf in “Prince Caspian” has none of these qualities. Nobody is worried about becoming a werewolf even though bitten by him. He is killed by regular weapons. And he transforms whenever he likes.

No, but Aslan is apparently coming in mortal form, which He had probably not had in His prior rule of Narnia. And I attribute Father Christmas to the same sort of inter-dimensional migration that put sons of Adam & daughters of Eve in Narnia in the first place.

That would make sense if what we see in the book were Father Christmas’s first visit to Narnia, but IIRC, the Narnian natives are also familiar with him (even though they haven’t seen him in all the long ages of the White Witch’s Long Winter).

Why can’t Narnians celebrate the birth of Jesus? Just because Jesus was born on another planet doesn’t mean they can’t celebrate His birth.

The very first King and Queen of Narnia certainly knew about Father Christmas, since they came from a world where Christ had been born. Obviously their people kept up the traditions long after they’d forgotten what gave rise to them, and even when the King and Queen and their very species were all the stuff of legends.

This is what I’m thinking. If they were former humans, then all that talk about there not being a Son of Adam or Daughter of Eve in Narnia for such a long time would be incorrect. Being half-wolf would not change your lineage.

Remember, even the first Narnian humanoids were descendents of Adam and Eve. The only possible exception is Jadis, but, assuming she were the type to procreate, who would she do it with?