Werewolves in The Dresden Files

While reading Jim Butcher’s Fool Moon, the second book in The Dresden Files, I came across something I had never read in any other book before, something that made me all kinds of happy. This book, which follows a crime-solving wizard, contains multiple types of werewolves. Every other book I have read had one type of werewolf and one only, but this series has them all. The different types depend on how someone transforms into wolf and how much of their humanity they retain, check them out:

Werewolves: This is a human who uses their own magic to shift into a wolf. The ability to transform is pretty much their only spell. These werewolves aren’t actually very good at being wolves because they retain all of their humanity. These guys only change the shape of their body, they still retain their human mind. They can still think and reason, their personality doesn’t change – they are a human in a wolf’s body. That means they don’t have a wolf’s instincts or reflexes. Werewolves have to learn how to be like a wolf, just because they have the body of one doesn’t mean they know how to use it.

There is also another version of this werewolf, it’s when someone else uses magic to turn someone into a wolf. In the world of The Dresden Files it’s illegal for a wizard to do this, for transforming another person into an animal tends to wipe their mind and eventually they are nothing but an animal that can’t go back to human.

Hexenwolves: A hexenwolf is someone who makes a deal with a demon or a powerful sorcerer. They get a wolf-belt (sometimes a ring or amulet), put it on, say the magic words and they turn into a wolf. The enchanted item acts as an anchor to a spirit of bestial rage. The spirit wraps itself around the human’s personality, it leaves them with their intellect and reason, but it handles everything else. When you use the talisman, you lose all human inhibitions and the nasty spirit has control. Hexenwolves are big bad wolves with human-level intelligence and animal-level ferocity.

Lycanthropes: A lycanthrope is a natural channel for a spirit of rage. They turn into a beast, but only in their head. The spirit takes over, it affects how the person acts and thinks, makes them more aggressive, stronger. They deal well with pain and injury and heal rapidly. They don’t actually shift into a wolf, but they have the fierceness of one. Also, lycanthropes are born, not made like the others.

Loup-garou:These are the real big monsters. Loup-garou are people who have been cursed to become a wolf-like demon. During the full moon they transform into a monstrous wolf and go on a killing spree, killing everything in their path until the moon sets or the sun rises. They have supernatural speed and power, their wounds heal almost instantly, they’re immune to poison and any kind of magic that targets their brain. Only a silver weapon can hurt one of these guys, but the silver has to have been inherited from a family member.

There you have it, the various types of “werewolves” in The Dresden Files. The book makes it very clear that biting has nothing to with becoming a werewolf, to transform you need magic.

I love that the books have these different types, it makes it so much more interesting, plus it makes everyone happy since some people prefer gentler werewolves while others love the ferocious and deadly kind.

I highly suggest checking this series out! As I mentioned above, it follows Harry Dresden, a wizard and detective who helps the police solve crimes. The series contains all sorts of magical beasties, like vampires, fairies, demons, werewolves…etc. Werewolves don’t show up until Fool Moon, the second book. The first book in the series is Storm Front.

What do you think about have so many types of werewolves in one series? Have any of you read the books, if so, what did you think?

– Moonlight

About the Author
Moonlight loves to write about, read about and learn about everything pertaining to werewolves and other supernatural beasties. She writes for top genre sites like Vampires.com and Werewolves.com. You will most likely find her huddled over a book of folklore with coffee in hand. Touch her coffee and you may lose a limb. You can stalk her via her Twitter.


By moonlight

One of the writers for werewolves.com, as well as vampires.com.


  1. Yeah, I’ve been reading the Dresden series since Fool Moon originally came out. A friend recommended to me knowing I like werewolves.

    But that aspect of the Dresden books is what I liked with Fool Moon, it acknowledges more than one type of werewolf and variety of them.

  2. Based on what you wrote, I think it was a bit premature to say that this book has all the werewolf-types. It has more than one yes, but not all.
    At least some are missing:
    1) Those that have certain human characteristics in their wolf-shape (e.g. human eyes, human palms, toes etc.). I am not talking about big wolf-men though.
    2) Those whose wolf-shape is missing a tail.
    3) Those were the human leaves its body behind and the soul takes on wolf-shape.
    4) Those were the human falls unconscious and another being commits the acts, either an actual posessed wolf or some other being in wolfshape.
    5) Those that are changed for several years, respectively forever.

    There could be one more but it depends on the definition of werewolf: wolves transforming into humans.

    1. You are just nitpicking. Yes, there are many many many werewolf varieties and flavors, I’ve written about them for years now. What I was saying is that the book has all of the major werewolf types. The types we see most often in werewolf novels, but instead of having one like most books, he put them all in there.

      1. If you have done this for years now. Do you know that newer one from Bob Curran? I have yet to find and actual detailed review of that one.

        1. I own both of his werewolf books. Both are excellent. The newest one is meant to be visually appealing. It looks like an old fashioned journal with various entries on werewolf history and lore. It’s very artistic, full of wonderful images, and the words look like they’re written on parchment. The information in the book is limited, it’s not a complete history of werewolves. The book is small, so only so much info can fit.
          Curran’s first book has much MUCH more info on werewolf history, so if you’re looking for a more in depth guide I suggest reading that one. However, the new book is a truly excellent book for werewolf collectors. It’s still full of fantastic info, even if it doesn’t have as much as the first book. I love how beautiful it is.

          1. Does he state his sources? Because I was able to read a preview, which contained the Benandanti. But when I read Ginzburgs book on them it was totally different. What Curran wrote about them in his book was actually belonging to a guy named Thiess in Livonia and not belonging to the Benandanti at all. Of course maybe a later scholar claimed Thiess to be a Benandanti. Also I think in werewolves at heart someone asked about another entry that is suppossedly in the book. About Laignech Fáelad I think. Suppossedly they were warriors or something but Montague Summers only talks about one guy with that name and his descendents were not warriors but rather marauders. And the book “Metamorphoses of the Werewolf” says the same. And this made me sceptical.
            Do you know anything in that regard?

            And the other book you are talking about, do you mean the one with the black wolf-man carrying a woman on the cover?

          2. Yes, the other one has a wolf carrying a woman.

            As for his sources, yes he lists them all in the back. Also, the man has a doctorate, so he definitely knows his stuff.

      2. You’re missing the last version the series has and it’s even presented in that book. It being a reverse werewolf, a wolf who can take human form.

  3. Couldn’t reply to your last comment anymore moonlight.

    However, just because someone has a doctorate doesn’t mean he really knows the subject. Basil Cooper had one as well and although he listed several vampire cases where the sun had no effect and never one where the vampire had fangs he nonetheless regarded fangs and the vulnerability to sunlight as quintessential traits of the vampire.
    It was the same with Raymund Coppinger dogbook from 2003. His theory on dog-evolution had more holes than swizz cheese and he claimed that all wolves react the same. Not to mention his “argument” for the species status of the NGSD.

    So sorry, but I can no longer agree with anybody on that regard. Simply came along to many examples to the contrary.
    But I will give Curran a try.

    1. By the way I just found out that the man has a doctorate in educational psychology. So not really a doctorate that would count for the field in question, if you ask me.

  4. Billy and the Alphas are pretty cool characters. I like how in the latest book, Ghost Story, Billy’s female packmate’s radio call-sign is “Fuzzy Knockers”.

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