Author Archives: noothergods

Demons, Monsters, and Ghosts, Oh No! Part XIV: Blood and Fur

Werewolves were not originally connected to the Full Moon. More on that later.

Last Post: Before I start into the subject of werewolves in medieval Europe, I want to let everyone know that this will be my last regular post on While We’re Paused.  I have started a new blog of my own, and I’m afraid that posting daily there leaves little time for these posts.  I will be continuing this series on my new blog, The Art of Writing, and the first post of that continuation is already up.  If you don’t want to follow links, the url for the new blog is tobiasmastgrave.wordpress.com, and I will be posting there under the name tmastgrave.

Now, on to werewolves.  As I mentioned last time, werewolves are really just a popular subset of a broader category of werecreatures (shape shifters limited to a human form and an animal form) that inhabit ancient mythology worldwide.  However, werewolves themselves are predominantly European.  While a few other cultures have a canine shapeshifter, usually foxes or dogs, there are only a couple that have actual werewolves.  So, I want to restrict my comments in this post to the establishment of werewolf mythology in Europe.  I am not going to go into the etymology of the terms for two reasons: 1) werewolf is a generic term, and these creatures have been known by a multitude of names across Europe (one list I looked at was 15+ names long and it still wasn’t complete), and 2) the etymology is not difficult to find as many people have already discussed it.

With vampires we saw that the mythology changed drastically from the ancient period to the medieval period, and then again between the medieval period and the modern period.  However, the same is not true with werewolves.  While there are some significant changes in mythology, the specifics generally remain the same.  We also see the terminology appear earlier.  You might remember that the term ‘vampire’ did not appear until the modern period, and terminology resembling it dates back only to the Medieval period (10th century).  On the other hand, with werewolves, the term ‘lycanthropy’ dates back to ancient Greece, and has been linked (though not conclusively) with the myth of Lycaon in the first book of Ovid’s Metomorphoses.  This myth is considered by many to be the birth of the modern werewolf legend (something that could not be specifically identified with vampire legends).

I love you so much, I could just eat you...oops.

We also see even earlier evidence of werewolves in early historical writings.  Herodotus, a 5th century Greek historian, wrote that a people called the Nueri, who lived in Scythia, became wolves for several days of every year, and then returned to their human forms.  While the work of Ovid may mark the birth of the modern werewolf legend, this historical account lends evidence that the idea of werewolves is much older.  Trying to follow the spread of the legend throughout Europe from this point forward would be impossible in a post of this kind (and with the level of research that I am willing to do for these posts), however we can say that the basics of the werewolf myth did not change much as it spread through European cultures.

In fact the greatest variation appears in the area of how one becomes a werewolf.  According to some legends, lycanthropy is a generational curse, in others it is passed by bite (as rabies might be).  Some legends tell of people who voluntarily become werewolves by donning a magical, wolfskin belt, while others change form by drinking from an enchanted stream, or performing a magical ritual.  However, once the transformation is accomplished the legends reconverge describing the resulting creature as violent, wicked, powerful, and uncontrollable.  Many legends also note that werewolves do not have tails, a trait that they supposedly had in common with metamorphosed witches.

Though silver has made its way into modern mythology as the great bane of the werewolf, this does not appear in either ancient, or medieval lore.  In fact the earliest mention of silver in connection to werewolves appears to be in the 18th century story of the Beast of Gevaudan, where the creature is killed by a silver bullet.  Before this common methods of repelling werewolves were rye, mistletoe, and mountain ash.  The aconitum, or wolfsbane, plant has also been historically connected to werewolves, though not always as a repellent, and so the relationship is not clear.

See, no full moon.

There is some evidence in the mythology that lycanthropy was believed to be a reversible condition.  Though early cures were often more likely to kill the afflicted than to cure him, some of the later legends refer to conversion to Christianity, exorcism, or simply calling the werewolf three times by his Christian name as potential cures.  How efficacious these may have been (assuming they were ever actually attempted) has been lost to history.  We also see, with the rise of Christianity, that lycanthropy takes on a demonic aspect that it did not originally possess.  However, I will save this for later consideration on my new blog.

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God as the Author and the Author as God

Apparently knowledge also equals little beams of light shooting out of your body.

Melissa and I seem to be thinking on the same wave-length this week, which I’m sure must be frightening for her.  Lately I hear and read a lot about relativism, truth, certainty, and knowledge.  I think, to a large degree, people use these terms in discussion and debate without ever coming to agreement about what they mean.  Let me start by saying that in my personal thinking and for the purposes of this post I am going to define knowledge as ‘determinative power’.  To know something is to be able to speak of its innate substance (to determine that things truth), yet as humans we are incapable of understanding the innate substance of that which surrounds us.  We must place out trust in something internal, our senses, our feelings, our logic, etc.  Let us say that I place my trust in only what my senses tell me, then I must assume that my senses are trustworthy and can accurately tell me about the world.

If I place my trust in my feelings then I must assume the same, the same for logic; thus I, as a human, am incapable of saying anything about the intrinsic nature of anything else, only about my understanding of that intrinsic nature (this is what we normally mean when we say knowledge).  Because of this I can speak only of my understanding, and the beliefs I form around it.  This is not a denial of truth or an acceptance of relativism, do not assume so, it must be accepted that there is one truth and that truth is absolute (truth=reality), however my ability to understand and form beliefs about that truth is limited.  This is also not an argument that all beliefs lead to one truth.  It should be obvious to anyone that two contradicting beliefs cannot both be correct, though they may have objectively equal truth claims (e.g. a woman and her clone both claim to be the original, both have exactly the same memories, dna, personality, identifying marks, etc, thus their truth claims are objectively equal, but only one is actually the original).  Lastly, this is not an argument against certainty.  I can, and do, have absolute certainty in my beliefs.  I believe that my beliefs are an accurate reflection of the truth (if I did not, I would not believe them), but I am, and must be, willing to accept that I could be wrong (however unlikely I think this to be).

Although God doesn't have to steal his ideas from other authors.

Why does this matter?  As an author I create worlds, thus I know what is and is not true within my worlds (knowledge=determinative power).  While my fans may read my writings and form beliefs about my worlds, they cannot ‘know’ what is true about my worlds, unless I tell them.  In the real world we are all in the same position.  God is the creator and holds creative authority over the real world, just as I hold creative authority over my fictional worlds.  Thus, as only I may hold knowledge about my fictional worlds, only God may hold knowledge of the real world.  Just as my readers opinions, beliefs, and convictions about my world may reflect the truth of that world; my opinions, beliefs, and convictions about the real world may reflect the truth of God’s creation.

In your literary world you are, effectively, god.  Your word is creative power, and true knowledge is limited to your mind.  There is nothing that you can’t do in your world, though there are certainly things that you shouldn’t do or that your fans won’t like (God doesn’t have to worry about critics, editors, and selling copies afterall).  While our readers may inform our decisions (as can our own characters – Moses after the breaking of the Ten Commandments, anyone?), they cannot determine those decisions.  Remember that, no matter what anyone else says, you know what can, should, and will happen in your world better than they do…even if they know the details better than you.  This is an important distinction because it gives you the freedom to do what you need to do, even if someone else might not like it.  Glen Cook, one of my favorite authors, made the point that, in spite of critics, a writer has to write the way he writes.  So write the way you write, and then find people that like it.

We must also realize that not everyone is going to like what we write.  The same is true with God, there are a great many people that don’t believe in him, or that don’t agree with him (this is true whatever religion you are from), and, just like our readers, they have a right to disagree.  In this case disagreement will (according to many religions) bear somewhat greater consequences than missing a great book, but it is still their choice.

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Among the Neshelim  is now available in eBook on Smashwords and Kindle and in print from Amazon.com, I’ll have a link for the print copy coming soon.  I am curious what people think of the blub.  Does it draw you in? Make you want to read the book?  If not, why not?

Among the Neshelim

Tobias Mastgrave

Understanding. One little word, and yet it means so much. We spend our lives pursuing it in one form or another. We long for it, we seek it, but it is always a rare commodity.

Chin Cao Yu, priest and scholar, has sacrificed all he held dear in its pursuit. Now he undertakes the journey of a lifetime, a journey among the mysterious Neshilim, a people of power unlike any he has seen before. This journey will turn the world he thought he knew upside down and challenge everything his dearly held beliefs. Has he found the ultimate truth or the ultimate lie? And what will he do with it when he learns?

Demons, Monsters, and Ghosts, Oh No! Part XIII: Man or Beast

The legendary werewolf...although a little more were and a little less wolf than was mythologically proper.

Well, I’ve said a lot about vampires – at least for a blog, I mean people write whole books on the subject – so I think it’s time to move on.  Standing beside the vampire on the pinnacle of the modern monster popularity chain is the werewolf.  These two creatures are often connected in modern folklore, either as hated enemies or master and servant.  Some modern works have attempted to unify the two positions (I’m looking at you Underworld), but in my opinion the result is questionable at best.  However, what the modern stage has generally missed is that you can’t just talk about werewolves.  While the werewolf comes down to us from medieval European folklore, it is a part of a much broader (and older) family of werecreatures that populate ancient myth.

While shapeshifters are incredibly common in mythology both ancient and modern, they compose an incredibly broad category that includes certain fae, monsters like the doppleganger or changling, magicians, gods, demons, werecreatures, and other assorted physically malleable beings.  Werecreatures – herein defined as beings that can take two forms, one human and one animal – are a distinct sub-category of shapeshifter that exist worldwide.  In Europe we have the eponymous werewolf (or lycanthrope*), however we also see legends of men who could transform themselves into bears coming out of Scandinavia (and Canada).  In Africa we see the Bouda, a kind of werehyena.  In North America we see some mythology that has Thunderbirds turning into humans, along with the Bear-men of Canada, and a Coyote or Fox man out of Mexico.  As we move further south in the Americas we find the Lobisomem, a dolphin that could turn into a small boy, from Brazil.  The Chonchon from Chili, which is a woman that can turn into a vulture, and the more general Kanima, or Jaguar-men (also known as Runa-uturungu).  Asia also has its share of werecreatures such as the Aswang, a Philippino creature that can take a canine or human form (interestingly, this name can also refer to the Manananggal, a Phillipino vampire).  The Kitsune and Tanuki from Japan, Fox-women and Badger-men respectively (it is interesting to note that fox-men are very common throughout Asia), and the Lang Ren, or wolf-human, from China.  I am going to include the Selkie in this group as well because, though they are technically Fae (at least to my understanding) they are also bound to human and seal forms.

An Aswang that is not a Manananggal...oh how terms change.

When we look at the mythology of these creatures we can identify two specific types of werecreature.  1) Humans that turn into animals (usually either through intentional magic or because of a curse) such as the werewolf, the berserker (Norse bear-men), and the Chonchon, and 2) animals that learn to (or naturally can) take on human shape such as the kitsune, tanuki, lobisomem, or selkie.  These distinctions generally affect the disposition and intentions of the creatures in the mythology.  Animals that learn to take on human shape are generally curious, helpful, and desire human company, while humans that take on animal shape are generally dangerous, destructive, and evil.  It is also fairly common for humans to be cursed when they take on animal shape, werewolves being the most obvious and common example of this.

It is also interesting to note that humans that take on animal shape are always given dangerous, predatory forms usually of the, or one of the, apex predator/s in the region.  Bears are common in Scandinavia and so we have berserker** as well as ulfhoebar or eigi einhamir (Scandinavian wolf-men).  However, in the majority of southern Europe bears are less common and wolves are the apex predator, so we have the French loup garou, the Russian wawkalak, the Greek zyrkoklas, and so on.  In Central and South America coyote and jaguar are much more common and so we wind up with werecreatures that emulate them.

The animals turned humans, on the other hand, are generally much less dangerous animals and often not predatory.  The fox, while a predator, is not an apex predator, nor are badgers, seals, or dolphins.  All of these generally feed on insects or small animals and are not generally dangerous to humans, unless you run a chicken farm or fish hatchery.

Tanuki hunting giant carp...what else would badger-men do?

I am forced to wonder if this dynamic has something to do with an innate fear of being removed as the apex predator.  Animals that are not a threat are welcomed among us, in real life as pets and in mythology as magical friends.  However, those animals that compete with us as the apex predator in a region are driven out (see the extermination of predatory species in early American history, we are still trying to reintegrate wolf packs into lands where they were once common) in real life, and they become the punishments, curses, and monsters of our folklore.

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*Interestingly enough Lycanthropy is a psychological disorder that, I believe, has been included in the DSM since its inception (although I could not confirm it as I don’t have a copy of the DSM I handy).  It is a disorder in which the diseased believes himself to be an animal or to be possessed of animalistic qualities (e.g. the need to hunt, kill, and eat raw meat, etc).

**Berserker is more commonly known as the ‘elite’ fighting force of the Vikings.  They were real, and it is commonly believed that they went into battle naked, covered in warpaint, and whipped into a psychological state of rage that bordered on, or crossed over into, insanity.  However, the name is in direct reference to the belief that they turned themselves into bears when they went into battle.  Ulfhoebar were similar to Berserker, but they were believed to turn themselves into wolves.  On the other hand, the mythology surrounding the Eigi einhamir is completely separate from the Berserker.

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Among the Neshelim  is now available in eBook on Smashwords and Kindle and in print from Amazon.com, I’ll have a link for the print copy coming soon.  I am curious what people think of the blub.  Does it draw you in? Make you want to read the book?  If not, why not?

Among the Neshelim

Tobias Mastgrave

Understanding. One little word, and yet it means so much. We spend our lives pursuing it in one form or another. We long for it, we seek it, but it is always a rare commodity.

Chin Cao Yu, priest and scholar, has sacrificed all he held dear in its pursuit. Now he undertakes the journey of a lifetime, a journey among the mysterious Neshilim, a people of power unlike any he has seen before. This journey will turn the world he thought he knew upside down and challenge everything his dearly held beliefs. Has he found the ultimate truth or the ultimate lie? And what will he do with it when he learns?

The Appearance of Gray Part 1

Gee, I wonder...

In his post on Thursday, Brian touched on a subject that I’ve been planning to address, and I’m sure that he will add in his opinions later.  However, I want to talk about how we approach morality in fiction.  Now, as most of my fellow writers know, I have certain objections to the terms ‘Christian fiction’ and ‘Christian author’.  I am both a Christian and an Author, both of these aspects of my identity inform one another, but neither defines the other.  It would be equally inappropriate to call me either a Christian author or an authorial Christian, I am simply a Christian who also happens to be an author.  Thus my work is simply fiction that happens to be written by a Christian.  That being said, it has relatively nothing to do with my post today, just wanted to clarify my opinions on terminology and that I think this post applies equally to all fiction, no matter who the author is.

Relativism is common in modern culture and, to an extent, appropriate.  I doubt that anyone reading this would argue that one flavor of ice cream is absolutely better than another.  I also doubt that anyone reading this would argue that one book is absolutely the best book ever written.  That is because these are matters of opinion and preference, not matters of fact.  Since we can see that, in matters of opinion, relativism is perfectly appropriate, the question becomes: ‘is morality a matter of opinion?’

Currently, I am teaching an ethics class, and I encourage my students to be exact in their definitions.  We must understand that while distinctions between right/wrong, moral/immoral, and ethical/unethical are intertwined, they are not the same thing.  Right/wrong distinctions (the words good/evil may be inserted here) exist on a universal level.  If we assume that truth equals reality (a safe assumption I believe), then truth must not only exist, but be universal in nature.  Otherwise there is no reality.  If truth exists on a universal level then there should be (I hesitate to say ‘is’ because I cannot address convention theory in a post this short) a universal standard for good/evil (right/wrong) distinctions.  If there is not, then we are left with a situation of might makes right where whoever is the strongest makes the rules.  Thus, any right/wrong distinction must be considered a matter of fact, not a matter of opinion (we can argue back and forth all day about which truth claim presents the correct fact in terms of right/wrong, but the key is that it must be a matter of fact, not one of opinion).

When do they start beating each other up?...That's what always happens in the cartoons...

Moral/immoral distinctions on the other hand, exist on a cultural level (Moral comes from the Latin Moralis which refers to the rules for acceptable behavior in a society).  Moral/immoral distinctions must be separated from right/wrong distinctions on the cultural level.  Japanese morality creates a society that functions just as well as one based on Judeo-Christian morality (preferences in this may differ, but both create stable, functioning civilizations), and so they are equal in their efficacy for civil control.  This does not mean that they are equal in terms of a right/wrong distinction, but that they are equal in terms of a cultural acceptable/unacceptable distinction.  For instance, in Judeo-Christian morality suicide is unacceptable, but in Japanese morality it is perfectly acceptable.  However, as a Christian, I say confidently that suicide is wrong.  So, even though suicide is morally acceptable to the Japanese, it is a wrong (evil) action on a universal level.  While the terms moral/immoral have come to be associated with universal right/wrong, I think that this distinction is a very important one.  Thus moral/immoral distinctions become a matter of cultural, but not personal opinion (a.k.a. Different cultures may have equally valid moral codes [in that each code serves to maintain a stable culture], but individuals may not acceptably hold to a moral code that significantly differs from that of their culture [at least in practice]).

Ethical/unethical distinctions may be understood to refer to an individual’s adherence to a required sub-moral code within their society (lawyers and counselors are both held to an ethical code that differs distinctly from the general Judeo-Christian moral code of the U.S., because of their professions).  This sub-moral code, for the individual, supersedes the societal moral code.  For instance a defense attorney, when confronted with his clients admission of guilt, is expected to defend that client as the client wishes regardless of that admission.  He is also expected to refrain from exposing his clients guilt, even though this would normally be the moral course of action.  A person can be said to act ethically when this sub-moral code is followed, thus a defense attorney may act in a manner that is both ethical and immoral (see the example above).  Thus ethical/unethical distinctions may exist at a sub-cultural and, potentially, personal level (however, at a personal level it becomes difficult to justify their existence).

I write all of this to say that when we are presenting our characters, and their actions, sometimes we must leave the appearance of gray, even when we do not believe that this gray exists.  Take, as an example, Dante’s portrayal of Francesca de Rimini in Inferno.  The reader encounters this woman in the second level of hell, reserved for the lustful, and she is absolutely unrepentant of her crime.  Dante’s pilgrim is even sympathetic to the woman and her lover (her husband’s brother).  Even though Francesca’s sin is obvious, and not in doubt, she refuses to accept that it was wrong.  This sort of denial is perfectly acceptable in our writing and creates for the reader the appearance of gray, leaving the decision to the reader as to whether Francesca was actually deserving of the punishment she received.

This tool is invaluable to the writer, because it allows us to show real reactions to evil, to punishment, and to consequence.  It also allows us to guide our readers gently, instead of pushing them forcefully, in the direction that we, as the authors, wish them to go.  We must also realize that some readers will inevitably mistake or misinterpret our intention (I am reminded of a friend from my graduate work who was staunch in his opinion that Dumbledore represented God in the Harry Potter novels, even though the author’s own statements refuted this idea).  The appearance of gray, and the distinction between moral/immoral and right/wrong, allows us to create characters who act in ways that are both culturally correct, and in character, while allowing the reader to determine the right or wrong of their actions.  For example, a medieval Japanese character who believed that suicide was wrong would be quite a leap.  A group of such characters would be very difficult to accept.  However, a story that presented these character as believing that suicide was both acceptable and honorable, while still showing the inevitable consequences of that suicide, would be powerful.

Paolo and Francesca in the midst of their effrontary. For those of you who have never read Dante, Paolo is Francesca's brother-in-law

The danger here is in writing only cultures that agree with my (the author’s) moral viewpoint.  If I believe that suicide is either wrong, or immoral, then it becomes difficult for me to write a character or culture in which it is acceptable.  However, if all of the cultures in my world adhere to the same morality, then it will become a dry (and somewhat unbelievable) world.  So, what is the key?  As authors you and I must write stories, and worlds, that allow this distinction between right/wrong, moral/immoral, and ethical/unethical standards to be seen.  We must display worlds where cultural beliefs clash, but where a clear standard of right and wrong is shown.  The difficult part is actually doing this.  More on that in my next post in this duology.

Demons, Monsters, and Ghosts, Oh No! Part XII: Hellsing vs. Twilight

Bella and Edward, sittin in a tree K.I.S.S.I.N.G.

Well, I promised it, so here it is: My post on Twilight.  Now let me start with a disclaimer that I have not read the novels, my only exposure to Twilight has been through the movies (which I have seen…most of them) and the constant, non-stop flow of insipid dialogue from young women obsessed with the series.  I assume the dialogue to be insipid due to the nature of the series, because some of the young women I hear it from are actually quite intelligent.  I want to start off with a link to a post I found concerning twilight.  Warning: this post is both hilarious and disheartening, there are also some references to sexual activity, nothing disgusting, just a man talking about his marriage…how any woman could do this to her husband is beyond me…although the husband doesn’t seem to be a stand up guy either so…whatever.

First I want to focus on the attributes of vampires in Hellsing (the modern vampire story that keeps closest to the spirit of the original mythology) and Twilight (arguably the most popular modern vampire series…possibly tied with the Southern Vampire Mysteries series).  In Hellsing we see two types of vampires: those vampires that are created by science (or freaks) and those vampires that are created naturally (in Hellsing a person can only become a vampire if he/she is a virgin, who is bitten by a vampire of the opposite sex [possibly, the last part is implied but not concrete within the series], otherwise the person becomes a ghoul).  The main character of the series, Alucard, hunts both versions of vampires for the Order of Protestant Knights (Hellsing Organization), but he has a particular hatred of freaks because they are not true vampires, only pretenders.  In Hellsing vampires naturally have greatly enhanced physical abilities (speed, strength, senses, etc) and can only be killed by 1)Cutting off the head or 2) Destroying significant portions of the body with bullets made of blessed silver(this generally includes removing the head, so it may be considered an extension of method 1).  While they are not fond of sunlight, it does not actually harm them.  However, they do have trouble with running water.  They also have some of the normal abilities, such as the ability to mesmerize others, some have the ability to read mindes, etc.  As vampires age they develop other abilities, such as the ability to regenerate portions of their bodies, access to certain types of magic, so on and so forth.

I love the hat...its a good hat.

Alucard himself displays a great many abilities include the ability to summon and control demons, to regenerate his body (including his head), to phase through solid objects, to transform his body, or portions of his body, into other things (my favorite is when he turns his arm into a dog, and bites off another vampire’s legs), and an ability similar to telekinesis.  Perhaps Alucard’s greatest ability is to consume and store the soul of every being he kills.  It is revealed in the series that this is what makes him effectively immortal, whenever he receives an injury that should kill him (such as losing his head) he simply allows one of the souls he has stolen to take his place.  He also has the ability to call out these souls and force them to fight for him (in the end of the series there is a three way battle in London between the Nazi Vampires, the Hellsing Organization/British Military, and the Order of Iscariot [evil Roman Catholic monster hunters]; Alucard effectively ends the conflict when he releases an army of millions of souls and wipes out London).  So, needless to say, Alucard is kind of ridiculously powerful, and the enemies he faces are usually incredibly powerful in their own right.  In Hellsing a vampire, with the exception of the very young, is usually powerful enough to combat a small army of humans.  Most vampires also have dozens to hundreds of ghoul servants that they have created by feeding.

How do you fall in love with an albino with yellow eyes who wants to eat you...literally?

In Twilight, at least according to my research, vampires are effectively immortal and can only be truly destroyed by fire (though dismemberment is inconvenient and in the movies cutting off the head will kill a vampire).  Vampires gain physical enhancements, strength, speed, senses, etc, and each vampire develops a special ability (such as the ability to manipulate emotions, read minds, or blind the senses of others).  It is worth noting that the limitation to one ‘magical’ ability should make the Twilight vampires significantly weaker than the Hellsing vampires.  Oh…and they glitter in the sunlight…I have to admit that I’ve never understood exactly why they glitter in the sunlight…it doesn’t exactly make sense.  The introduction of ‘vegetarian’ vampires should also help make the Twilight vampires significantly weaker than the Hellsing vampires because, in both, the strength of the vampire is tied directly to the amount of human blood they consume.

Now, lets look at the reality of vampires in both Hellsing and Twilight.  I said above that Hellsing, of modern vampire tales, retains the spirit of the original mythology the best.  Among modern vampire tales Hellsing is rare in that it views vampires as monsters (as opposed to tragic heroes).  Even Alucard, the protagonist of the series who works for the nominal heroes, is portrayed as a monstrous being capable of incredible evil and only reigned in by his bonds with the Hellsing organization.  This emphasis on the monster, and the overarching theme of the series ‘Only a Man can kill a Monster’, is reminiscent of both the ancient vampire legends and the heroic legends of the distant past.  I particularly love the theme of the series because it is presented, almost universally, from the voice of Alucard – who appears to be looking for a man who can slay him.  Alucard defeats, generally with great ease, all of the monsters that come against him.  Even the man-made monster, Alexander Anderson (aka Paladin), from the order of Iscariot is unable to stand against Alucard (though he comes the closest of all, because he is the closest to man).  And he continually argues that only a true man, presumably a courageous, virtuous man, can slay a monster.

Random skull...it could have been a vampire, you never know...or it could have been Yorick from Hamlet...

Compare this to Twilight,  in which the combined themes of emotional/romantic love and man cannot kill monsters are dominant, and we can see that the significant differences between the two are not at the surface/power level only.  The themes of Twilight not only seem (remember I haven’t read the books so I’m going off of what I’ve seen and heard in movies and from fans) to encourage the least successful, and most destructive kind of teenage love, but they also emphasize the weakness, frailty, and overall undesirability of the human condition.  This is diametrically opposed to the general themes of ancient myth.

So, in light of this analysis, it is my assessment that Hellsing is far better than Twilight in every meaningful respect…oh…and Alucard would eat the entire Cullen family for breakfast.

The Hellsing Ovas can be purchased on Amazon starting with volume 1, here.  However the Ova series is not yet complete; the Manga series, which is complete, can be purchased starting with volume 1, here.

The Twilight books can also be purchased on Amazon, here.

I’m not going to tell you where you can get the movies because, while I can’t comment on the books, the movies are horrible anyway.

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My new book Among the Neshelim is available in eBook format from Amazon here, and Smashwords here.

Among the Neshelim

‘Understanding. One little word, and yet it means so much. We spend our lives pursuing it in one form or another. We long for it, we seek it, but it is always a rare commodity.

Chin Cao Yu, priest and scholar, has sacrificed all he held dear in its pursuit. Now he undertakes the journey of a lifetime, a journey among the mysterious Neshilim, a people of power unlike any he has seen before. This journey will turn the world he thought he knew upside down and challenge all of his dearly held beliefs. Has he found the ultimate truth or the ultimate lie? And what will he do with it when he learns?’