The Big Bad Wolf
Happy Werewolf Wednesday, everyone! This week I’d like to delve a little bit into the realm of the fairy tale, of the collective unconscious, and talk about the mythic figure of the Big Bad Wolf.
Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, The Boy Who Cried Wolf – wolves appear again and again in folk and fairy tales, and they are often anthropomorphized. Are they technically werewolves? Well, I think an argument could certainly be made! They are part wolves, part human, and they certainly seem to lack any kind of control over their baser instincts.
The Big Bad Wolf is a destructor, a devious tempter of young, innocent things. He will lead you from the path before devouring you whole. He will huff and puff and blow your house down. And when you finally do see him, no one will believe you until it is far too late. Why do wolves hold such a sway over our collective consciousness? What is the fascination? They are wild things, uninhibited, and they often represent the things about us that we seek to control or curb – hunger, desire, rage, or greed.
The Big Bad Wolf meets ignominious and violent ends in most fairy tales. He is either eaten, or skinned, or his belly filled with stones. In “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, the wolf is victorious, eating all the sheep and, depending on the version of the story, the boy himself. The message here is clear: these things we seek to control must be dealt with harshly or they will consume us. It is eat or be eaten, some of the time literally in these stories!
But what I love most about modern werewolf fiction is the way it has flipped these messages and questions on their heads. What would happen if we sought to understand instead of quashing these instincts and impulses? What if we embraced desire and hunger? What if we accepted them as part of the human condition? Could we make friends with the wolf at the door? That is certainly something I seek to explore in my series The Night, the first book of which hits shelves August 22nd!