The Twilight franchise won over many young people with its vampires and werewolves, but it also came under fire for taking creative liberties with the details about these classic monsters. The werewolves are less controversial than the vampires in a lot of ways, but their physiology is still pretty unique compared to other werewolves in cinema and fiction.
Twilight Werewolves Are Actually Shifters
The first thing to know about Twilight’s main wolves is that they aren’t real werewolves. A group called the Children of the Moon were werewolves, but due to their ability to easily kill vampires, the Volturi killed the vast majority of them, so they’re rare to this day. The wolves in Forks, Washington are actually shapeshifters; although, they’re mistaken for werewolves and often regarded as such by the fandom. They are descendants from warriors of the Quileute Tribe, and they could originally roam the world incorporeally, talk to animals and communicate with each other telepathically; however, after Chief Taha Aki’s leadership, these warriors became wolf shapeshifters.
Shifting Is Genetically Passed Down From Taha Aki
For many years, the wolfpack was made up of the male descendants of Taha Aki, the original wolf shifter. He passed this gene onto the Black, Uleys and Ateras families, who would continue his legacy by passing on the shifting ability to the following generations. The shift is triggered by the scent of vampires, which signals the need to protect the tribe, so the number of wolves who shift is directly proportional to the number of vampires they’ll need to fight in the area. The transformation is most common among young adults and sets off a growth spurt as well.
Leah Clearwater Is The First Female Wolf
Leah Clearwater unexpectedly shifts into a wolf after experiencing mood swings and intense rages. In the book, her first shift is so shocking that it causes her father to have a fatal heart attack. Leah shifts in order to make their pack big enough and strong enough to fight the approaching vampires, but it has a profound psychological effect on her. She’s especially upset because she believes her physiological changes will prevent her from having a child since her menstrual cycle has stopped. Furthermore, as the first known female shifter, it’s unclear how “imprinting” works for her.
Wolves Imprint On A Mate
Quileute shapeshifters have soulmates, and imprinting is how they realize this. A shifter first sees a woman – the process is exclusively described for opposite sex partners – and from that moment on, she’s the shifter’s first priority. The woman can be anyone, and shifters cannot choose who they imprint on.
There are two controversies surrounding imprinting. One is the issue of consent, and the other is that shifters can imprint on anyone, including children or, in Jacob’s case, a fetus. The wolf will be a part of their imprintee’s life in whatever way is appropriate for the imprintee’s age, starting as friends and eventually becoming romantic partners. This means that the imprintee’s future is practically set for them without them having a say, as is the case for Renesmee, Bella Swan and Edward Cullen’s daughter.
Wolves’ Appearances And Personalities Are Connected
While all the shifters are part of the same pack, each member’s wolf form is distinct to them. Some physical attributes carry over from their human form, like the length of their hair, but the appearance of the wolves seems to be dependent on the shifter’s personality. For instance, Sam Uley has black fur because he’s more cold and standoffish, while Quil Ateara V is chocolate-colored because of his sweet personality, at least this is what the two characters seem to believe in the story
Wolves Have Enhanced Abilities
The Quileute wolves exhibit many enhanced abilities common of werewolves and other supernatural creatures. They’re about as fast as the Twilight vampires, able to run up to one hundred miles per hour in their wolf form. Even as humans, they’re faster than the average person and stronger. They’re strength increases when they’re in their animal form, and their bodies are larger than the average wolf. They run hot at about 108°F; therefore, they can withstand cold temperatures. This also means vampires have a hard time touching them in combat. Furthemore, they have enhanced senses and, as mentioned earlier, are telepathically linked.