Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

Wolves typify dangerous wildness. The Little Red Riding-Hood Fairytale provides a classic example; the creatures' mere presence in the Alternate-World Britain of Joan Aiken's The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (1962) is redolent of Wrongness. In Dante's Inferno the wolf symbolizes betrayal, with the "sins of the wolf" being punished in the inmost circles of Hell; in the Norse myth of Ragnarok, the wolf Fenrir (Fenris) will ultimately eat the Moon. Children suckled or raised by wolves are likely to become Heroes, like Romulus and Remus (see Myth of Origin) and Rudyard Kipling's Mowgli. Wolves, often under the name "Wargs", appear as servants of Evil throughout J R R Tolkien's sagas of Middle-Earth. Good wolves are rare, though a Talking-Animal specimen features in Gordon R Dickson's The Dragon and the George (1976). [DRL]

see also: Werewolves.

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.