October 14, 2008

The origin of Twilight's werewolves

The official Sam Uley MySpace pageThe Quileutes have always had magic in their blood. However, we have not always possessed the ability to shape-shift into wolves. In the beginning, we were spirit warriors. Kaheleha was the first great spirit Chief that we know of. When the tribe's land became threatened by a much larger tribe, Kaheleha lead the Quileutes to victory with their magic.

Our last great Spirit Chief, Taha Aki, was known to be a man of peace. However, there was one spirit warrior name Utlapa who did not agree with Taha Aki's ways. He wanted to enslave the neighboring tribes and gain power over more of the land. When Taha Aki became aware of Utlapa's wishes, he banished him from the tribe and prohibited him from ever using his spirit self again. Utlapa was furious, and took advantage of his first opportunity for revenge. The moment Taha Aki left his body in his spirit form, Utlapa stole Taha Aki's body and then killed his own body so that there was no body left to return to. Taha Aki was stuck in the spirit world, with no way to warn his tribe.

Taha Aki eventually came up with a solution that would change the lives of the Quileutes for generations to come. He entered the body of a large wolf, and the wolf shared his body with Taha Aki's spirit willingly. As both man and wolf, he went back to his tribe. At first they tried to kill him, but then they realized that the wolf was not an ordinary wolf. One of the warriors disobeyed his orders and entered into the spirit world, thus learning the truth. When Utlapa realized what happened, he killed the warrior before he could tell the others what he had discovered. Taha Aki was so enraged, so full of human anger, that his emotions were too powerful for the wolf's body, too human, and so he transformed into a man. Thus, the werewolves were created.
Comment:  Is there any evidence that these are real rather than made-up Quileute legends? The "spirit warrior" part might be legitimate, but when you get into the human wolves, I start to doubt it.

The Quileute names sound almost Polynesian. Russell Bates better not learn that or he'll come up with another of his crackpot theories.

I wonder how the Quileutes would feel if Meyer did fabricate their spiritual beliefs? Unfortunately, some might approve because the publicity was good for their tourism. Those who disapprove might be unwilling to speak up in public.

For more on the subject, see Quileute Werewolves in Twilight.

P.S. It's cute how every Twilight character has his or her own MySpace page. Be friends with your favorite fictional vampire or werewolf!

Below:  "I'm a sophisticated Quileute Indian, but I like to snarl and howl and rip things apart with my fangs and claws."


dmarks said...

From the author's site:

"There was no thought of werewolves in my mind as I wrote it. The Quileute (Quill-yoot) legends Jacob tells Bella in chapter six of Twilight are all genuine Quileute stories that I learned when I was researching the tribe (which is a real tribe with a truly fascinating and mystical history). All actual Quileute legends, except for the vampire myth about the 'cold ones.' I latched onto the wolf story (the actual Quileute legend claims that the tribe descended from wolves transformed by a sorcerer) because it fit with my sketchy knowledge of vampires and werewolves always being at each others' throats (ha ha, pun intended). The dream Bella had of Jacob transforming into a wolf to protect her had no foreshadowing significance at the time. It was just my way of letting Bella's subconscious articulate the situation."

Anonymous said...

Yes I would have to agree that these names do sound 'Polynesian'. I am a native from western washington and know my language which has ties to the language of the Quileutes and the words/names sound a little off for the area.

Rob said...

Thanks for the info, DMarks. Now we're getting closer to the truth.

Of course, just because Meyer says she's using "all genuine Quileute stories" doesn't mean she is. See Twilight vs. Quileute Legends for more on the subject.

Anonymous said...

I love the twilight series and I agree that a lot of the legends in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga are inaccurate. However, it is a fiction novel, therefore, it is not true. She never said herself that all of the legends in her books were true in the first place.

Rob said...

Read the quote from DMarks again. What Meyer said was:

"The Quileute (Quill-yoot) legends Jacob tells Bella in chapter six of Twilight are all genuine Quileute stories that I learned when I was researching the tribe (which is a real tribe with a truly fascinating and mystical history). All actual Quileute legends, except for the vampire myth about the 'cold ones.'"

That sounds definitive to me. According to Meyer, her werewolf legends are "all genuine Quileute stories" and "all actual Quileute legends." Where's the wiggle-room in this claim?

So yes, basically, she did say all her werewolf legends were true. And I called her on this falsehood. Feel free to enjoy Meyer's fiction, but don't tell us she didn't fib about its authenticity. Because clearly she did.

“The Cold Ones” said...

As with most great stories their is often times a common theme of good vs evil. The real quileute legends seems innocent in that the tribe was created from wolves by a traveling Trickster. Thus the creation of the quileute wolf pack and vampires make a perfect adversary as they are both strong and heal quickly, although the story makes a slight change in that the vampires are able to dwell in the sunlight. The author spins the story from and adult adolescence perspective of a teenage girl to again bring a side of innocence to the overall theme.

Kenya said...

I was wondering, where you originally got the story of the Quileute tribe and the wolves. I distinctly remember it coming from a book that my grandmother has but I'm not quite sure. And if you could let me know that would be great. Any source will do :D
thank you

ron black said...

I and my two brothers of the Black family are grandsonsof a Quilete chief.
My mother use to tell us stories of Quileute legends and didn't include wolfs and know that the movie is fictional anyways. Everyone around this area is seeming to get a financial benefit except me and my two retired brothers. Is there a chab]nce of receiving compensation for the use of our name? Thank you.