Does your name determine your destiny? The answer is a resounding yes— if you live in a world with werewolves.
We all know about these wolf-men, at least by reputation. They’re the most common and familiar of all shape-shifters. They live human lives most days, but when the moon turns full they are transformed into ravening beasts. And like vampires, they’re usually made, not born. A human can reach adulthood before succumbing to the cursed bite.
Most often, werewolves are seen as monsters and their bite is feared. The wolves of the Harry Potter realm are prime examples. In other cases lycanthropy is prized as a route to immortality, but few are able to survive the initial bite. That’s the case with the wolves of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate.
Either way, lives hang in the balance. So you might expect both humans and wolf packs to pay attention to the fact that all the people who become werewolves were named after wolves. BEFORE they were bitten.
This naming pattern dates back to antiquity, when Zeus punished the impious King Lycaon by turning him into a wolf. (Lycos meant wolf.) As for the Harry Potter and Parasol Protectorate werewolves, they all double down with wolfish given names and surnames. For example:
|Conall Maccon||The “con” elements can be traced back to the Celtic kū (“dog/wolf”). One interpretation of the full name’s meaning is “Strong Wolf, Son of Wolf.”|
|Randolph Lyall||While this first name and surname look more dissimilar, they too share a root: the Old Norse úlfr, meaning “wolf.”|
|Remus Lupin||Remus was one of the brothers of legend who were suckled by a wolf and went on to found Rome. “Lupine” means wolflike.|
|Fenrir Greyback||Fenrir was the great wolf of Norse mythology who killed Odin. Greyback is both a description of a gray wolf and another Norse beast: a serpent beneath the sacred tree Yggdrasil.|
Not one of these men was born a wolf. Their parents were not wolves, and had no reason to expect their children to shape-shift. But the die was cast when each was named Wolfy McWolfface. Consider yourself warned.