Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Happy Werewolf Wednesday, everyone! This week I’m going to talk about one of the werewolf characters that significantly influenced me as I constructed my own world of wolfy wonder: Oz from the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Daniel ‘Oz’ Osbourne is introduced in the beginning of the second season of Buffy. I think the Buffyverse Wiki does a good job of summing up his character: “[Oz] was a member of the Scooby Gang, a werewolf, the guitarist of Dingoes Ate My Baby, and a student at Sunnydale High School, then UC Sunnydale. He also was the boyfriend of Willow Rosenberg until he left [for] Tibet.”
I think what I love the most about Oz as a character is how is lycanthropy does not define him, or even significantly change his personality. He is the same laidback, sardonic, placid teen after he is bitten that he was before he is bitten. All too often in werewolf fiction, someone is turned and it’s not just they’re body that goes through a transformation – it’s their very sense of self that is transmuted and changed. They become moody, possessive, or even aggressive. But Oz was the first time I saw someone turned into a werewolf and just…roll with it.
I also find the portrayal of Oz to be especially compelling because he is a male werewolf that completely avoids the whole “Alpha/Beta” coding. He certainly does not act like your typical “alpha male” (which is fantastic in my opinion), but he isn’t a doormat either. He’s a fully realized, round person, or werewolf in this case. He’s not merely a collection of tropes. We need less of those in fiction!
What are some other stand-out werewolves from television, movies, or books that you think helped broaden or define what a werewolf can be? I’d love to see who some of your favorites are in the comments!