Harry Potter vs. Twilight: Which Fantasy World Has Better Werewolves?

The werewolves of Harry Potter are obviously terrifying additions to the lore. But are they superior to the shapeshifting wolves in Twilight?

When talking about modern literary classics, few stories could compare to the impact Harry Potter and Twilight had on the world. Where one dealt in magic and fantasy, the other was a romance set in a unique world of vampires and werewolves. However, while both franchises feature very different stories, they share one important factor — werewolves. While the true werewolves of Twilight, the Children of the Moon, are only told through stories, the shapeshifting version that was more prominent helped continue the feud with vampires. But how do those shapeshifters compare to the werewolves in the Harry Potter franchise?

Harry Potter’s Werewolves Are Treated as a Curse

In the Harry Potter universe, werewolves are played straight and maintain many of the tropes that had made them famous. Like the folk tales, those who were scratched or bitten by a person afflicted by the curse of Lycanthropy would get the curse themselves. But rather than get treated as a benefit, many saw it as something worse than death. A famous werewolf in the franchise, Remus Lupin, hid away from society when he got bitten and, for a time, was even afraid to be a father. Being a werewolf in the Wizarding World was no blessing, even in a world of magic and potions.

Twilight’s Werewolves Are a Rite of Passage

Since the wolves in Twilight weren’t traditional werewolves, their transformation was treated more as a rite of passage rather than a curse. Those in the Quileute Tribe who could phase into wolves were descendants of a tribal leader who melded his spirit with a wolf and became the first shapeshifter. Often, these changes come at any point in the later childhood years and get activated by rage. And once the transformation happened, it was a sign of maturity within the pack. As a result, phasing into a wolf was the farthest thing from a curse.

Harry Potter’s Werewolves Lack Control Without Medication

​​​​​​​To be a werewolf in Harry Potter meant succumbing to monthly transformations with a full moon. They would lose their sense of right and wrong and often attack loved ones. Even silver couldn’t kill them and was only used to treat the initial wound. The only way to quell the beast within was to brew a very expensive and complicated potion that would allow the afflicted to retain their human side when transformed. But because of the materials and price to make them, many would be driven to poverty and risk outing themselves as werewolves, which could lead to discrimination. Ultimately, the life of a werewolf was difficult and only became worse when one lost control of themselves.

Twilight’s Werewolves Have a Better Handle on Their Changes

Because they weren’t legitimate werewolves, the shapeshifters of Twilight had a much better handle on their emotions. Typically, they may have to deal with mood swings and heightened aggression, as Jacob did, but these weren’t common in every shapeshifter. Due to their pack mentality, they would also change to protect one another in the presence of vampires, implying heightened control in their change. In this universe, transforming into a wolf was more of a tool used at the user’s disposal, and side effects weren’t nearly as debilitating as those in a traditional werewolf.

Harry Potter’s Werewolves Are More Faithful

While the shapeshifters in Twilight offered an all-around better deal when it came to becoming a wolf, it broke too much of the lore tied to werewolves to be considered one by definition. However, when it came to faithfulness to the tropes of being a werewolf, even with minor changes, Harry Potter proved to be the better adaptation of the monster. It may not be a perfect life for the afflicted, but it’s not supposed to be. In fact, balancing that in a world of magic makes the werewolf an even more terrifying addition to the universe and a better interpretation overall.

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