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Carolyn Jewel | Vampire Reproduction
Comment to Win!

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The other day over at my writing blog, I mused about something that’s often puzzled me; that is, the subject of Vampire Reproduction. With vampires, I wondered, why are they so often infertile, when by the rules, they ought to be more than capable of reproduction? I won’t rehash everything I said over there, but do take a look if you’re curious or would like to weigh in on the subject.

I find my mind often wonders into these strange little alleys and then gets stuck there sometimes, leaving me no choice but to slowly work my way out.

Today’s little alley concerns werewolves. Werewolves aren’t infertile, but with them, I wonder, since they can change forms without damage to their internal organs, how come t werewolf lore so often includes the caveat that they have to mate as humans? Or, alternatively, that they can’t mate as wolves and have the pregnancy last? Let’s set aside one of the really obvious answers (the squick factor).

If a female werewolf is pregnant as a human, by the rules, when the moon is full, she still changes into a werewolf. If the pregnancy doesn’t survive the change then the only way to make more werewolves would be to go around biting people.

Any old moon-crazed beast could go around doing that, and not even be making good choices about who gets converted. That’s no way to reproduce a proud and indomitable species. Plus it’s a direct violation of known facts about the social structure of wolves. In such a case the alpha male becomes irrelevant.

The whole point of the alpha is the breeding male – the ability to pass on his dominant genes and to discourage mating by non-alpha males. He’s the wolf all the she-bitches think is the cat’s pajamas. (he he!)

Anyway, in the case of werewolves, when the pregnant female changes, as we know she must, I think we have to assume that the babies also change in utero. And then change back, too. Consider this, suppose a women has recently given birth, and then it’s the full moon. Newborns can’t go all night without being fed, changed and otherwise cared for, and there wasn’t always formula, you know. So what happens to newborns while their mothers and pack sisters are out howling at the moon?

Werewolf wet nurses are a possibility, possibly the only solution. But there’s nothing in werewolf lore, like there is in vampire lore, about human servants, which, obviously, would have to be the case. The lore is quite the opposite actually – no human servants for the dogs. Or is it just a case of survival of the fittest and babies born at or near the full moon are out of luck? Or maybe, over the centuries, werewolf reproduction has evolved such that females rarely get knocked up at a time when birth would coincide with a full moon, or that labor doesn’t start then. This is a concern of mine.

Now, for me, the ironic thing is that my June 2009 release, My Forbidden Desire, does not have a single werewolf in it. Not one. It’s about demons, fiends and the magekind. I have my questions about demons, to be honest, which will have to be the subject of another post, I’m afraid. Why, for example, to so few demons in modern genre fiction have horns (Kresley Cole’s demons being the notable exception.) I have some thoughts on that one. And what about tails and cloven feet? Or alternate dimensions?

Before I wander off on yet another tangent, where do you stand on the whole werewolf issue? Are you bothered by things like this? Is there a solution I’m overlooking? Is there other paranormal lore that has you scratching your head and saying, huh?

Leave a comment, and one of you will be selected to win a copy of My Wicked Enemy, the book prior to My Forbidden Desire.

 

 

Comments

35 comments posted.

Re: Carolyn Jewel | Vampire Reproduction
Comment to Win!

I'm the kind of person who spots the mistakes in movies and sees the errors almost instantly, so I too find myself wondering about things like this. I figured male werewolves must mate with humans to produce new offspring.
(Donna Holmberg 2:21am May 25, 2009)

I think that when a female werewolf
would give birth, the newborn would
also change with the full moon, in
wolf packs, there is a lower class
member designated as a "pup sitter"
that stays with the pups, after they are
two months old, the pups also hunt.
So, if the newborn werewolf makes the
change on the full moon, it could start
hunting at 2 months of age too.
(Kimberly Kelly-Sydow 2:59am May 25, 2009)

For some reason this is NOT one of the things I wonder about :-) Now I'll probably lie awake nights wondering!!
(Sandy Miresse 8:59am May 25, 2009)

I don't worry about the inconsistencies. Each author creates their own mythologies for their stories and I just sit back and enjoy the ride.
(Jody Faltys 10:21am May 25, 2009)

Haven't read your books but seeing this will has got me adding it to my book to be read list
(Dotty Brooker 10:32am May 25, 2009)

Looking forward to reading your book
(Rebecca Booth 11:20am May 25, 2009)

You know sometimes I think about these things, other times I don't. If I were to write a werewolf book I would take it out of the equation by saying, that the DNA is the same for the person no matter what form they take. So say for instance the female were to get pregnant while in wolf form, the baby would not have to change to another form because it just is what it is until born. Most often the shapeshifting does not occur until coming of age, so why require the writer to address this before it is even born? I wouldn't.
One of the things that I liked about Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series, is the DIFFERENT way she handled vampires, and the reasons they are, and act they way they do. I think the same kind of thinking could be applied to the werewolves to fit what the writer wants it to be. Address the lore, but also make it your own.
(Carrie Divine 11:42am May 25, 2009)

I've heard deer can carry their babies a little longer if it's a late spring. Maybe it's a similar phenomenon?
(LuAnn Morgan 1:05pm May 25, 2009)

I would guess if werewolves could only mate during a full moon when they turn, then that would dramatically cut down on the number of times they could mate.
(Vikki Parman 2:13pm May 25, 2009)

:) I spot mistakes too and hate it when I let it bother me! I hadn't thought about werewolfs like this before, but now I definetly will! :)
(Rachael Grime 2:21pm May 25, 2009)

This is an interesting thing to think about... I have to give it some thought...
(Colleen Conklin 2:29pm May 25, 2009)

nope this is not what I think about when reading werewolves or shapeshifters' stories; just the enjoyment of the story and it's conclusion, but you did start me thinking
(Diane Sadler 5:28pm May 25, 2009)

When I notice an obvious mistake I e-mail the author in case a change can be made before the next printing. However, in the case of werewolves I think I would not notice any problems. Is it possible that pregnant females don't change while they are pregnant???
(Karin Tillotson 5:37pm May 25, 2009)

Never worried about it. I'm the one
reading and enjoying the story. You,
the writer, are the one stuck with
figuring it out. Or , just write around
the subject - no stories with pregnant
or newborn werewolves. Avoidance
being one policy. Then again, it is
your story do with it what you will.
Each author treats the paranormal lore
in a slightly different manner.
(Patricia Barraclough 5:50pm May 25, 2009)

Never new all this information. Fascinating. Have a great day.
(Roberta Harwell 7:09pm May 25, 2009)

I never really thought about it. Most stories that bring it up say that the mother can't change until she gives birth.
(Breia Brickey 7:20pm May 25, 2009)

You certainly have brought up some things to think about in regards to pretty familiar paranormal beings. Have occasionally had my mind go off on a tangent, but not generally while reading fiction. That is probably due to the authors' talents at worldbuilding and mythos creation.
(G. Bisbjerg 7:22pm May 25, 2009)

I've read a lot of wolf books and it changes with each author. I think it's really up to the author on how it goes in the world that the author creates.
(Amy Smith 8:41pm May 25, 2009)

Now, I'm going to have to read some of your books. I'm very curious. I've read several Vampire series books with slightly different takes.
(Vale Black 9:10pm May 25, 2009)

When I'm reading paranormal, especially shifters, I just take it that it's magic, and don't question it too deepley. To me you're reading fantasy, anyway....why question it to death? It's very seldom I run across something that is SO out there I'll even think twice about it. Each author I read uses something a little different, which I've come to expect, and actually love that there are so many different things out there.
(Melissa Bradley 9:39pm May 25, 2009)

Love how unique your books sound Carolyn! From all I read I know it can be so different because you create the 'world' for these books you write, right? Or is there facts about werewolves from history? I wasn't sure because I've always thought that some things were created for the books but too got to make sense! Love your post!
(Cathie Morton 9:43pm May 25, 2009)

I never really think about any of these thing. I usually just read the story as written by the author & consider it all magical.
(Cheryl Snyder 10:16pm May 25, 2009)

I accept each writer's expression of this
subject in their works... some delve
deeply into explorations and others don't.
It is kind of like no one on TV using the
toilet until Archie Bunker.
(Mary McCoy 11:59pm May 25, 2009)

I think after they are born they should change every time there mom Do for the first year that way thay can always feed them.
sasluvbooks@yahoo.com
(Stacey Smith 2:32am May 26, 2009)

Great questions. It's one of the things I like about the increase in paranormal stories, how the author looks at the basic explanations of the characters existance. I think it would depend on if you are going more by folklore or adding in modern understanding of medicine. If by folklore.. if young were never seen it would be assumed new werewolves only came about by surviving an attack, which supposedly few could. If you threw in medical info, you would have to look at the fact that with normal humans most pregnancies don't make it to the 30 day mark. Of those that do a majority of those don't make it to 3 months. When you add in the extra stressors, you would have few full term pregnancies. Internal organs wouldn't change much, unless your "wolves" had litters. As for newborns not being able to go 24hrs.. actually yes they can, its just wrong to our modern thinking. Granted only the stronger infants would survive, but your looking at a more instinctual group right? You wouldn't have the thinking that "every one of them must be saved at any cost"..
So many intricate variations possible... like I said.. Great questions..
I know I'll have to add these to my to get book list.. Thanks.
(Jo Ann Jansing 8:59am May 26, 2009)

I never really thought about this...
(Bridget Hopper 12:55pm May 26, 2009)

You have given us a lot to think about. When the female werewolf gave birth would the baby be in wolf form or human? If it was in human form, would mama know that was her child(pup?) and would she know how to care for it? That is something to think about.
(Patsy Hagen 2:34pm May 26, 2009)

You've brought up some
excellent points that I and
many others have probably
never thought of before!
Wouldn't the mom want to stay
at home with her newborn for a
little while at least? Animals
are supposed to have stronger
maternal instincts than
humans. I'd think the dad or
the mom or even a human close
to the mom (friend, sister,
own mom etc.) would stay with
the kid/pup.
(Jennifer Lalley 2:43pm May 26, 2009)

You brought up some interesting points but I enjoy the story and don't dwell on the questions.
(Susan Lathen 2:33pm May 28, 2009)

Hadn't really questioned before, but you know......pup sitter might be one solution in the form of a trusted human, maybe? As far as pregnancy goes, I almost had a peroxide moment and said "accelerated cycle", but that would have been ridiculous in what? 28-30 day cycles?

Will have to think some more on this.

(As far as demons go, it would be nice to see some more 'traditional' demons......LOL)
(Gabby Raines 12:39pm May 30, 2009)

ibut i love these booksi am new to blogging
(Diane Roche 9:38pm May 30, 2009)

Interesting question.I enjoy the different way each author brings their take on demons and legends of the paranormal.Horns I could tolerate but hooves I don't know so much about them...lol And what if they had tails?...Oh well I love them anyway.
(Debra McDonald 5:21am May 31, 2009)

An interesting problem. As
many werewolf books as I have
read, this has never crossed
my mind.One solution could be
that once she becomes
pregnant, she wouldn't go
through the change. And babies
would not change till they
come of age. The baby sitter
problem could be solved by the
babies( of which there would
be only a few) would be care
for the older females who had
gone through the
change(menopause) would no
longer shift. Problem
solved(maybe)
(Lisa Richards 7:24pm October 28, 2009)

I guess I just follow whatever world building rules the author sets up. Sometimes it works for me and sometimes it doesn't. I read to escape not give myself an headache because the science is wrong.
(Anne Clark 9:44am July 22, 2010)

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