Big Badass Wolf

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Direwolves. Not snugglypuppywolves. Direwolves.
"The jackal may follow the tiger, but Cub, when thy whiskers are grown, remember; the Wolf is a hunter. Go forth, and get food of thine own!"

Sleek predators, with cunning pack hunting behaviors, impressively menacing doglike appearances, and, of course, the ever-frightful howl. As one of the top predators in the Northern Hemisphere, wolves were feared as rivals for people of the past, who had to compete with wolves when hunting, and, in times of famine, lost livestock to lupine predation.

Perhaps for this reason the Wolf occupies a singular place in Western folklore and fiction. Among all the predators of folklore, few have been as demonized as wolves, who almost inevitably appear as savage, cunning, endlessly rapacious and irredeemably evil. It is the Big Bad Wolf who devours Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother and the boy who cried wolf; wolf packs that haunt the dark forests. Indeed, in fiction, the wolf almost seems to function as an entire species of evil twins to the tamer, more noble dog. Even when they are good, they are by no means nice. In many aspects, wolves are more similar to humans than any other animal. And well, Humans Are the Real Monsters. It may be these above factors that have uniquely contributed to the popularity of werewolves. While nearly every animal can be given human-like characteristics, with werewolves it also (in fact usually) works in reverse. Being fierce predators, wolves reside partially within the amoral, cutthroat natural world, but being social creatures, they also display the beginnings of civilization. Hence, a man that starts becoming influenced by more of the former starts to look like a wolf.

But as industrialization progressed across the globe and wolves no longer posed as much of a threat, people came to understand wolves differently. The primary reason people disliked wolves - their predation of livestock - was largely forgotten as most people no longer had any experience of livestock themselves. In reality, pure-blooded wild wolves almost never prey upon humans (wolf-dog hybrids and feral dogs are more likely to attack), and display many positive attributes - cunning, cooperation, and great beauty - that gradually elevated them from wicked monsters to respected, even admired predators. It helps that they are devoted to their cubs, who are fall-down cute (they look like dogs; or, more accurately, dogs look like them). For good reason too. After all, dogs are descended from wolves that decided that Man made a better partner than rival.

In keeping with this new, more palatable image of the wolf came a wave of idealized portrayals. Far from being wicked agents of evil, these wolves are proud, majestic, noble protectors of nature, often wise in their own right and sometimes even allies of the forces of Good. Indeed they are almost treated like lions of Europe and North America, or at least a handsome variant of dogs with more personal dignity. Even when wolves were not intrinsically good creatures, they still carried with them a healthy dose of Badass.

Most modern portrayals of wolves range between these two extremes. On the one hand, there's still something chilling about the sound of a wolf's howl, and they look just enough like a dog to be unnerving. On the other hand, having a lupine ally, pet, or character definitely falls under the Rule of Cool, a law that many fictional wolves benefited from.

In reality wolves fall under neither extreme, much like human conceptions of any animal. While normally nonaggressive to humans, wolves can still be dangerous if cornered, and attacks on humans, albeit very few, have been documented, although these are generally attributed to conditions such as rabies. They are also a major danger to livestock in many areas where ecological damage and/or competition with human hunters has made prey rare.

This is a Cyclic Trope/Evolving Trope.

One of the examples of Animal Stereotypes. Wolves' image is commonly transferred to the faction of Petting Zoo People styled after them.

Compare The Big Bad Wolf, Canis Major, Animals Not to Scale, Our Werewolves Are Different, Everything's Worse with Wolves and Hell Hound.

Examples of Big Bad Wolves


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The Wolf in Chirin no Suzu. Ruthless and vicious, he kills whatever he can sink his fangs into—including Chirin's mother.
    • Subverted because Chirin soon grew fond of the Wolf, seeing him as a father. In fact, near the end, after killing Wolf, he soon felt sad and realized that revenge wasn't satisfying.
  • Coyote Stark from Bleach can summon an army of wolves from fragments of his own soul...that explode.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The wolf shown in the beginning of the film/comic 300 is just demonic and threatening enough to be classified as this.
  • Bigby Wolf from Fables is a definite bad ass wolf with how he took on the Empire and his whole secret agent thing.
    • Not the mention that he's the original Big Bad Wolf upon whom all the legends are based.
      • Also EXTREMELY big, standing up to about seven feet at the shoulder.
  • The latest Promethea encounters the original Big Bad Wolf concept on her first jaunt into the Immateria. It's probably the only thing in the entire series that's really capable of killing her. By nature, the Big Bad Wolf can only be killed in its own story, by its own plot characters. Anyone else- ANYONE else- just falls into the role of "hundreds of victims."
    • Promethea also points out that part of why he can kill her is because he's a much older concept than her. Being one of the primal fears of mankind makes you a special kind of deadly.
  • Fenris from the Lucifer comics manages to take revenge for his fellow mythologies by hijacking Jesus , stomping into a story arc almost entirely populated by Judeo-Christian characters. When one challenges him for this he points out that before humanity cowered before demons they feared the wolves beneath the trees, proceeding to pretty much become the Big Bad through raw Badassery.
  • One of these guards the Roark family farm in Sin City, as seen in The Hard Goodbye. Marv has two encounters with it. He first meets it when investigating Goldie's death. The wolf attacks him and he knocks it unconscious, then pets it and explains that he would never kill him, it's his owner he's after. The second encounter involves Marv sawing Kevin's arms and legs off, tying the wounds off with turnequets to keep him alive but letting enough blood to get in the air to attract the wolf, which comes and starts eating Kevin to Marv's approval.
  • Snake-Eyes from G.I. Joe has a pet wolf called Timber depending on which comic you read.


Film[edit | hide]

  • The Grey runs on this trope, with wolves being the film's primary antagonists, especially the Alpha. The wolves are shown as cunning and brutal, often attacking from stealth or when the humans are otherwise compromised. The film does mention several times that the only reason the wolves are so vicious is because the crash victims have wandered too close to their den.
  • Snow White a Tale of Terror. They even have glowing yellow eyes, and eat at least one human.


Folklore[edit | hide]

  • Most portrayals of wolves in folklore and the Disney Animated Canon canon, including:
  • Werewolves in general, though modern writers like to mix things up a bit.
  • The Big Bad Wolf perception of wolves is directly responsible for the modern Swedish name for wolves: varg, meaning "killer" or "strangler". Folklore had it that saying wolves' proper name (ulv) would call them, or at least cause bad things to happen, which lead to wolves being called what they were seen as (murderous brutes). Problem was, this became so wide-spread and went on for so long that varg ended up as the proper name for a wolf, and the folklore about speaking their name being bad remained...


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel His Last Command, Gaunt remembers how Colm Corbec would tell stories of wolves circling "the stranded, the unlucky, the lost" to bring them down; his current situation, being stalked by an unseen Chaos creature, reminds him.
  • The mutant wolves in Gone (novel) by Michael Grant.
  • Maugrim the talking wolf in CS Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia.
    • An evil werewolf appears in Prince Caspian, as well.
  • In William King's Warhammer 40000 novel Space Wolf, the aspirants hear and fight giantatic wolves during their training. Ragnar's having actually killed one alone, while being trained, is the source of his name "Blackmane". (They are also threatened with the prospect of becoming "wulfen" wolf-like creatures, and one does.)
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, the Stark children all have direwolves as pets. Some of them grow mean badass.
    • Bran is a warg or skinchanger, too...
  • The werewolf Fenrir Greyback from Harry Potter is quite... disturbing, to say the least. He delights in biting young children to turn them early, and was not opposed to eating someone (Dumbledore) in the climax of Harry Potter. Note: this person was still alive.
    • Of course, the other werewolf from Harry Potter was caring, intelligent and friendly, except for his 'furry little problem'.
  • The Wargs and werewolves of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion are classic Big Bad Wolves, although the Wargs are not entirely natural creatures.
    • In The Silmarillion, there is a wide chasm between the noble and intelligent dog Huan and the evil, bestial monster-wolf Carcharoth, who was bred by Morgoth specifically to slay Huan.
  • Gmork from the book (and movie) The Neverending Story.
  • Matthew from Bones of Faerie when he changes into or is forced into his wolf form.
  • Genius Bruiser Werewolf Derek from the Darkest Powers series. His wolf form reflects his human form in that he is massive, muscular, and weighs over two hundred pounds. He's pitch-black from nose to tail, with very green eyes that have a tendency to appear as if they glow, and it's mentioned by Chloe that his canines are as long as her thumb.
  • Many of the members of the coyote tribe from the Hank the Cowdog series fit the trope's description, despite not actually being wolves. Rip, Snort, and Scraunch the Terrible the most notable.
  • The Canim from the Codex Alera are a ten-foot-tall, superhumanly-strong humanoid wolf species who live on a continent far to the west of the human realm of Alera. They are widely-considered one of the most dangerous of the many creatures in the world that the Alerans regularly fight, but it isn't until the third book in the series that we really see their armies in action. It turns out that they regularly live for many centuries, and they're very good at engineering and mechanical design, on top of their Blood Magic, and their commanders are smart.
  • The Cadge Lupus in Terok Nor.
  • The beast Harley Mac Finn turns into in The Dresden Files when his family curse comes on him. Murphy describes it as an "Ice Age looking thing" and it sounds very much like the direwolves of our racial nightmares...

Dresden: "...it's been nearly a hundred years since the wolf went extinct in most of the United States. You've got no idea, none at all, of how dangerous they can be. A wolf can run faster than you can drive a car through most of Chicago. His jaws can snap your thighbones with one jerk. A wolf can see the heat of your body in the complete dark, and can count the hairs on your head from a hundred yards off by starlight. He can hear your heart beating thirty or forty yards away."


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • All over the place in Teen Wolf, naturally. Especially in the case of the Alpha.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer had several. Veruca was the truly evil one, but Oz and Nina couldn't control themselves in wolf form for most of their screentime. Oz did learn to control his transformation after he went to Tibet in season 4.


Mythology[edit | hide]

  • Fenris, the giant wolf fated to devour Odin himself, is the ultimate expression of this trope; ironically he is arguably justified for his revenge, having been imprisoned in horrible pain for a crime he had yet to commit.
    • Norse Mythology also features Fenris' sons, Hati and Skoll, who are destined to devour the moon and sun.
      • It's worth mentioning that the Norse word for them, "vargr" (and thus its English form "warg") derives from Protogermanic "wargaz", which meant "strangler".


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Dungeons and Dragons had Dire Wolves, Worgs (taken from Tolkien's "Wargs") and Winter Wolves, all very dangerous.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The final boss of Suikoden II, the beast rune, which is shown to be the embodiment of feral and murderous evil, is presented in the form of a massive, two-headed wolf.
  • Treble is an Evil Counterpart Combining Mecha robot wolf.
  • Oh, yes. Wolf O'Donnell. Only at first, though.
  • The wolves in Metal Gear Solid will attack you (but not Meryl, they seem to like women) on sight, unless you have Sniper Wolf's handkerchief or use a trick that involves Meryl.
    • Or sitting in your cardboard box until a Wolf walks up and pisses on it, allowing you to walk around inside your box... smelling like a wolf. Nobody ever said Snake's methods weren't unorthodox but they get the job done.
  • Madfang Ragewolf from Patapon 3. Although, he's more of a comedic badass (to lighten the mood after a serious event)
  • Great Grey Wolf Sif from Dark Souls. Big? Check. Lightning Bruiser? Check. Cutlass Between the Teeth? Check. Said cutlass being a legendary hero's BFS? Check. Wants nothing more than to guard his old master/partner's grave that you intruded, visibly limping due to injuries from your attacks? Check.
  • Some of the wolves in The Path are bad, some may be and some are left for interpretation.


Webcomics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Captain Scarblade and Balthazar in Neopets, though Balthazar has a more sympathetic shade of light.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • In Early Medieval times someone who was declared Outlaw (outside the protection of the law, legalizing a Vigilante Execution) was a Wolfshead, meaning that the offender was to be hunted down like a wolf. In other words when the authorities said someone was a Complete Monster, they compared him to a wolf.
  • Older Than Dirt: This goes back all the way to Hittite law: "If anyone abducts a woman and if those who go after/behind, three persons or two persons, are killed, there will be no compensation. You have become a wolf. UR-BAR-RA." "Ur bar-ra" basically means "Begone, you."
  • There really were dire wolves. The largest wolf ever known roamed North America for a few hundred thousand years until going extinct 10,000 years ago. You can go see their skeletons at the La Brea Tar Pits museum in Los Angeles. Then you can get down on your knees and thank the universe that they're all dead.


Examples of Big Badass Wolves[edit | hide]

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Koga from Inuyasha.
  • Garurumon/WereGarurumon/MetalGarurumon in Digimon Adventure, literally the best friend Yamato has ever had.
    • His spiritual successor in Digimon Savers, Gaomon/Gaogamon/Machgaogamon/Miragegaogamon.
      • Well, Gaomon and his evolution feels more dog-like than wolfish. "Gao" is Cantonese for "dog".
    • A better example might be Kouji from Digimon Frontier, whose Digimon forms are Wolfmon/Garmmon/Beowulfmon/MagnaGarurumon (Lobomon/KendoGarurumon/Beowulfmon/MagnaGarurumon).
    • Dorurumon is bringing back the lupine badassery in Digimon, complete with being a powerful character with a rebellious attitude.
  • The wolves portrayed in the film Princess Mononoke. Wolves in that movie were enormous, the size of quarterhorses, could run unbelievably fast, and leap enormous heights. They were portrayed both as noble creatures who just want to protect their own and even saving a little child and raising her as huge bastards who kill indescriminately and apparently like to eat the people they killed. The movie is actually a subversion of the trope that nature and animals are inherently good and humans and technology are bad. Actually, neither the animal spirits nor the people of the Ironworks are any better or worse than the other.
  • The entire premise of the anime Wolf's Rain. However, the titular pack from the episode "Fallen Wolves" have given up on being Badass and make a living through scavenging and even enslaving some of their pack to humans—much to the disgust of Kiba's pack.
  • Zakuro Fujiwara from Tokyo Mew Mew, a wolfgirl, is a Tall, Dark and Bishoujo Broken Bird and one of the strongest Magical Girls on the team.
  • Holo from Spice and Wolf. Both extremes exist here; Holo is seen as a gentle and playful trickster, but when she takes her full wolf form everyone is frightened by her. At the end of the first season there's also a pack of wild wolves, led by a bus-sized wolf deity that even unnerves Holo.
  • Sajin Komamura from Bleach is revealed an anthropomorphic wolf (The Guide Book confirms this, but his red fur causes some to mistake him for a fox) with a huge sense of personal loyalty, particularly directed towards Yamamoto. One of the toughest characters in the series, he has blocked both Kenpachi Zaraki and Kaname Tousen's swords with just his forearm. Curb stomped Poww Choe Neng in his released form with a single strike, which Tousen reveals is his normal way of fighting after being punched across Karakura with no damage.
    • Even when defeated, Komamura demonstrates huge resilience having refusing medical treatment after taking a Level 90 offensive kidou from Sosuke Aizen, returning to the fight mere minutes after Tousen's released form's ultimate attack appeared to cave in most of his chest, and counter-attacking Aizen twice despite having had his hand cut off and slashed through the waist. Komamura does all of this while arguably jobbing more than Renji.
    • It should be noted when Komamura's not in battle, he's basically a Gentle Giant, who cares deeply for his dog Goro and is well liked by children despite his supposedly frightening appearance.
  • Duran from Mai-HiME was Natsuki's Childe, took the form of a giant, metal wolf whose super power was ice. Want to know what fueled him? Love.
  • Arf and Zafila of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. Wolf familiars whose fangs and claws can rip through steel.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, Kotaro's summoned spirits, the Inugami, are usually fierce and relentless in their hunting during combat, but even during - depending on Kotaro's team alignment (or mood) - they can be depicted as almost majestic and beautiful. That still doesn't stop them from acting puppy-like on occasion (they are technically dogs). Kotaro later shows an ability to become a monsterous wolf at full power.
  • Free from Soul Eater, calling him a "werewolf" is somewhat an understatement; his specific power is Nigh Invulnerability.
  • War Wolf from Corrector Yui. Very powerful as a Corruptor, and also very powerful as a Corrector.
  • The Captain from Hellsing is a Made of Iron werewolf who is one of the strongest characters in his series. In Hellsing: The Dawn, he fought Walter and Alucard (Hellsing's resident God Mode Sue) at the same time and won. And despite being a member of an evil Nazi organization bent on starting World War 3, he seems to have an incredibly strong sense of honor, refusing to fight any humans he doesn't have orders to kill, and has a sense of chivalry for fellow warriors (he even decided to spare Heinkel, against orders). He also is incredibly loyal to the Major.
    • And if it counts as a "wolf", there's Alucard's Hell Hound transformation/familiar as the inverse of the Captain. It's a vicious killing machine that only serves Alucard because it was enslaved to do so. It actually turns on its master when Walter releases it from him (or was being controlled by him).
  • The God-form of Rayearth.
  • Hatsune from Zettai Karen Children, although she doesn't have to transform to be feral.
  • Jyabura, from One Piece transforms into such a wolf as his Devil Fruit power.
  • Everyone imagines Sakaki as one of these in Azumanga Daioh and goes gaga. Sakaki imagines... something else. A cute widdle wolf puppy.
  • Sasami finds a wolf in one of the Tenchi Muyo! manga volumes, an escapee from a zoo transport. Notably, all the girls (being not from around here—namely, Earth) have no idea what a wolf is until educated.
  • Snarl in Transformers Cybertron has a wolf for an altmode.
  • Subverted by the player-character Ohka the Werewolf in .hack://Legend of the Twilight. She's only really badass when she's in human form, although she retains her wolf ears and Cute Little Fangs. Despite her protestations to the contrary, when she's in 100% wolf form she acts like a big, lazy dog.
  • The Battle Wolf in Toriko—One of its kind once averted global extinction by single-handedly killing the entire race of Death Gores that were causing it, not even allowing them one leaf of the forest in which it lived in (yes, the Death Gore is a Herbivore). And in an encounter with the Devil's Serpent, a snake rumoured to have been the Battle Wolf's competitor in the ancient days...it only lasted three pages. On top of that, said Battle Wolf was just exhausted from giving birth, and nearing the end of its life, having given all it had to give birth to its child. In the end, she died standing up, proud like the king it was cloned from, which was the same Battle Wolf mentioned earlier.
  • Gabu from Arashi no Yoru ni.
  • Digimon knows how awesome this trope is - there's one in almost every series, typically partnered with The Lancer. Even big cats aren't nearly as common.[1] The most prominent examples from the franchise are Garurumon of Digimon Adventure, Gaogamon of Digimon Savers, and Dorulumon of Digimon Xros Wars.
  • Fenrir in Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • John Talbain from the Darkstalkers series, a Half-Human Hybrid who also knows kung-fu.
  • In the G.I. Joe comics continuity originated by Marvel Comics, Snake-Eyes has a wolf named Timber who is his on-again, off-again pet. He and the wolf both spook the nearby townspeople so bad that it's rumored he's a werewolf. When he's reactivated and brought into G.I. Joe, he leaves Timber behind. One of the two characters who came to get him asks the other about his leaving "that poor animal" without any support. The other points out it's a wolf, not a dog, and it "doesn't eat Alpo".
  • In Elf Quest the reader is repeatedly reminded how badass the wolves are. Even the elves (well, some of them) are part-wolf.
  • Swiftkill and Bloodspill from the The Black Blood Alliance.


Commercials[edit | hide]

  • Chip was for some reason actually changed into a wolf in the recent Cookie Crisp commercials.


Fairy Tales[edit | hide]


Literature[edit | hide]

  • The varg (this is what the wolves call themselves) from The Sight, especially the ghost wolves.
  • Remus Lupin from Harry Potter.
  • The werewolves from Blood and Chocolate.
  • In White Fang, wolves are presented as harsh and savage, but the hero, being part dog, eventually rises above his instincts to become "tamed"... After being forced into dog-fighting along the way, although "fight" is perhaps not entirely accurate - "execution" comes closer. It got to the point where they had to tie him up for the start of the fight, otherwise he'd kill the other dog before it had finished its preliminary snarl-and-threaten routine.
    • Once the dog had finished its routine, it would almost certainly not be any more merciful.
  • Another Jack London novel, The Call of the Wild, has a dog doing the opposite: after being forcefully taken from his comfortable life on a large estate and then forced into becoming a sled-dog in the Yukon, he eventually joins a pack of wolves and becomes the leader.
  • The Canim from Jim Butcher's Codex Alera are anthropomorphic Big Badass Wolves. They actually fit this trope both ways - most of the Alerans hate and fear them because of their great skill and physical power and ruthless raiding habits, but Tavi learns to have a great deal of respect for their culture. The Canim generally are treated as the Alerans' Worthy Opponents.
  • The wolves of David Eddings' The Belgariad are, if not totally idealized, still treated as clever and admirable predators rather than ravening monsters.
    • The fact that one of them, The Woman Who Watches, is a protagonist and Belgarath's wife (and Polgara's mother!) probably plays a part in this. Poledra's being a wolf doesn't come up much, even in Polgara or Belgarath. Belgarath mentions that he just tries not to think about it much - even deliberately overlooking things that he really should have noticed - and Polgara just comments that her mother "doesn't think the same way humans do" and muses that her heritage probably plays a part in how she reacts when she has to hide the last surviving member of the Rivan monarchy.
  • Brophy in Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule, a former soldier who was turned into a big wolf by magic.
  • The wolves of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time, while technically not fond of humans, are still more admirable than not. Indeed, they are in fact apparently meant to fight alongside the forces of good during The Last Battle.
  • The wolves in Rudyard Kipling's original Jungle Book(s), although the tiger Shere Khan subverts some of them into Big Bad wolves until Mowgli attacks them with a burning branch.
    • Special mention to Raksha (Mother Wolf) for going Mama Bear and standing up to Shere Khan to protect Mowgli.
  • The wolves of Discworld, as described by Angua, are seen as Big Bad but are really Big Badass wolves.
    • Angua is a very biased source of information on wolves.
    • The Fifth Elephant: All ordinary wolves in the book are pretty damn clever in their own element, and have no desire to get involved in matters they don't understand. Save for the one Angua apparently had, er...special relationship with some time ago.
  • Most of the Royal Wolves in the Firekeeper series, particularly Blind Seer, although there is the occasional Jerkass. Cousin Wolves, by comparison, are just animals.
  • Owing to their status as emblems of House Stark (arguably the "protagonist" house), the direwolves in A Song of Ice and Fire fit this to a tee.
    • The wolves in A Song of Ice and Fire are symbolic pets. Jon's is white, separate from all the rest, and he had his eyes open already. Arya is "lost" in the world, and similarly her wolf is wild and untamed (not to mention both are killers). Lady was obedient to the point of death, which bodes ill for obvious reasons for Sansa.
  • If short story "Dracula's Guest" is anything to go by, Dracula can turn into one of these, or at least cause them to do his bidding. It's mostly an excuse to snuggle a hurt, scared Jonathan for warmth.
  • In the children's book, "The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig" (no prizes guessing what it parodies), three young wolves are sent out into the world by their mother and are promptly harassed by a big bad pig. The wolves are far smarter than their porcine counterparts and bricks are their starting point-unfortunately, their antagonist is also quite a bit cleverer than his counterpart, and uses heavy demolitions to bring down their ever-heavier fortifications. Finally one of the wolves gets the bright idea to make the house out of flowers, and the pig is converted to the side of good by the pleasant aroma.
  • The Avalik River Pack in Julie of the Wolves and its sequels, especially Julie's Wolf Pack.
  • The trellwolves in A Companion to Wolves make a good example.
  • Grimya in Louise Cooper's Indigo series. Indigo herself in shapeshift form may also count.
  • Aargh/Aragh from Gordon R. Dickson's The Dragon Knight novels, a rather large, very proud and powerful English wolf. It's implied that all English wolves are like him.
  • The Dresden Files has several Big Badass Werewolves, some Big Bad Werewolves, and one Big Badass... anti-werewolf? Tera West is a real wolf who turns into a human, and is disgusted by how some evil werewolves are acting, because animals don't kill for fun, only to get food or to protect themselves or territory.
  • In Robert E. Howard's The Hour of the Dragon, Conan the Barbarian's rescue of an old woman is assisted by a wolf, which turns out to be tame.
  • The entirety of The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness - the first book is called "Wolf Brother", and its all about a boy and his wolf.
  • Although the accuracy of Farley Mowat's Never Cry Wolf has been disputed, it cannot be denied that the book helped change a lot of minds about the true, and far less threatening, ways of the North American wolf.
  • A regular battle morph in Animorphs was wolf, at least for Cassie. The others (save Tobias, who was still in Shapeshifter Mode Lock at the time)have also used them on occasion.
  • The wolves in Guardians of Ga'Hoole. They now have their own series, Wolves Of The Watch.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]


Music[edit | hide]

  • The wolf from Peter and The Wolf is certainly Bad, though it is arguable how Badass he is considering how easily Peter catches him. Then again, maybe that just goes to show how much of Badass Peter is.


Mythology[edit | hide]

  • On the flip side from Fenris are the wolves Geri and Freki who sit at the base of Odin's throne and accompany him on the Wild Hunt. They're described as being able to devour all that is put in front of them.
    • If you go back far enough the Valkyries rode wolves the size of war horses, which is infinitely more badass than the way that you see them in art and popular media.
  • One of the symbols of Ancient Rome, before being supplanted by the eagle, was the wolf. This grew out of legends that Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, were literally Raised by Wolves. There is a famous sculpture, the Capitoline Wolf, that depicts Romulus and Remus and their wolf mother (though only the she-wolf is ancient; the twins were added in the Renaissance).
    • Its worth to note that, contrary to modern perceptions, the romans didn't adopted the wolf because of any inherent "specialness" atributed - they hated the animal just as much as everyone else around them. Rather, the story is symbolic of how vicious the romans saw themselves to be.
  • In old Slavic Mythology, some gods were said to take wolves as their avatars, and the animal is a potent symbol of otherworldly power. The animal was so respected that the neighboring nations were said to believe Slavs sometimes turn into wolves themselves.
  • In old Turkic mythology, the Wolf was the Turkic people's ancestor and the Turks' primary symbol throughout the centuries. Even today the gray wolf is Turkey's national animal.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Since 3rd edition Dungeons and Dragons, players have it suggested that wolves aren't there for killing (Werewolves are still fair game, though). The biggest example: the default animal companion for a druid is a wolf.
  • Fenrisian Wolves from Warhammer 40000 take the "big" and the "badass" to, well, 40k levels, sometimes growing to the size of a tank. They're the sometime companions, sometime foes of the Space Wolves chapter of Space Marines, who both revere the wolves and hunt them as a ritual of manliness, wearing their tails and their pelts as trophies. (The Space Wolves themselves are big badasses who call themselves Wolves.)
    • According to the background, the only way for a Space Wolves Marine to get a pack to follow him is to become the pack leader- by killing the previous one (as part of that ritual of manliness, usually. Doing it with a gun doesn't work.).
      • Presumably wolves, with their acute sense of smell, are able to smell the old pack leader on those who have gone head-to-head with them, and Fenrisian ones are smart enough to know that anyone who can take out the old top dog is not one to be trifled with.
    • In the latest codex, certain champions can ride especially large wolves.
    • The Space Wolves' Primarch was actually raised by a pack of these.
    • There are no wolves on Fenris...
    • What??! When did this happen? Yes there are.
      • The Horus Heresy establishes that the wolves on Fenris aren't actually wolves. It becomes a sub-plot in the Thousand Sons vs Space Wolves books.
  • There are a number of wolf-based cards in Magic the Gathering. Most of them are green or white cards and emphasize cunning and teamwork.
  • Essentially the point of Werewolf: The Apocalypse and Werewolf: The Forsaken.
    • There's even a trait that drives home the 'big' part of Big Badass Wolf. The book's numbers indicate that it causes the werewolf to weigh anywhere between 1500 to 2500 pounds in their Crinos war-form.
  • The Vargr in Traveller who are wolves and other canines genetically engineered by the Precursors . They are great merchants and pirates. But they are incapable of organizing and so aren't as effective in a straight fight as guess who.


Toys[edit | hide]

  • Bionicle has the Iron Wolves- big badass cyborg wolves. Sadly, not released as actual sets, though there have been some pretty cool fan creations of them, which became canon under the approval of LEGO.
  • Hero Factory sees Bulk get a wolf motif in an animal-themed arc. One of the enemy sets from that line, Fangz, is a badass robot wolf from top to bottom.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In Skyrim, you can become a werewolf and any nearby wolves will fight for you.
  • Ain MacDougal in FEDA: Emblem of Justice.
  • The Rawulf race from Wizardry games are playable anthropomorphic wolves. This is a unique take on them—as they have a well-rounded build, but with more Piety than most races, making them a good choice for Lord (think of Paladin), Valkyrie, and Priest classes. Rarely do you see a wolf-like race associated with support!
    • The thought of a race made up of wolflike beings who are exceptionally pious (and therefore presumably exceptionally obedient) really evokes the idea of dogs more than wolves.
  • Okami:
    • Amaterasu, the sun goddess who takes the form of a white wolf.
    • There's also the entire Oina tribe. And Oki. Especially Oki.
    • Shinranui probably deserves her own mention as well, considering she travels from the past to help Amaterasu, and is the previous incarnation of Amaterasu at peak power. She looks pretty badass too, with the Solar Flare and alternate design. All in all, Shinranui is probably the only person in the game who should inspire more terror than Amaterasu. Who regains her former strength as an Eleventh-Hour Superpower. Sucks to be Yami.
    • Subverted in the sequel Okamiden with the adorable puppy Chibiterasu, however. He might be badass and a wolf, but big he is not.
  • Wolf O'Donnell of the Star FOX series. Originally presented as a generic "evil Star Fox", the later games showed him to be a gruff pilot with a sense of honor, teaming up with Star Fox in many an occasion. Super Smash Bros.. Brawl even has him as being taller than Fox (Although his stance puts him lower).
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Link turns into a Big Badass Wolf in the Twilight Realm. Later in the game, he gains the ability to turn into the wolf at will.
  • Tiger of the Wind from Monster Rancher is another combination, (overly) proud and often rather ruthless yet brave and loyal to the point of death.
  • Blanca from Shadow Hearts: Covenant. Not someone's wolf pet/companion, not a talking wolf (Though we do get to hear his thoughts and communications with other wolves), not a side character. A white wolf, on its own, as a member of your party. If that isn't Badass, this Troper doesn't know what is.
  • Luceid, the Guardian of Desire from the Wild Arms series, takes the form of a wolf and is frequently the only Guardian strong enough to take a physical form without a medium.
  • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn has a pair of wolves, Volug and Nailah. Nailah is especially badass as she is one of the laguz royals that can stay in animal form indefinitely, but Volug also remains in wolf form for all of Part I.
  • Shamans in World of Warcraft have the ability to turn into a Ghost Wolf for faster travel as well as summon Spirit Wolves that tend to tear up anything they can.
    • The Orcs ride large, befriended wolves as mounts in the strategy game. The supplementary material has the bonded wolf as one of the orc's closest companions.
    • With a few exceptions, the portrayal of any wolf that isn't a Random mob is a noble creature/spirit to be respected.
      • And in one case, even a wolf you do kill is also respected and revered by the local natives, even if none truly mourn Ghost Howl's death due to his unfortunate insanity. Still, one of three particular spawn points of said mob puts it in a good spot to eat newbie characters without any chance for retaliation.
    • There's also the Worgen, such as the Sons of Arugal, original members of the Druids of the Pack, and the Gilnean Worgen (which are playable).
      • Heck, one such Gilnean Worgen picks up a STAGECOACH and starts BEATING PLAYERS WITH IT.
    • Goldrinn...goddamn, Goldrinn. The guy is best known for possessing King Varian Wrynn, being utterly wrathful, being the source of the Worgen curse, and tearing out the throats of legions of Burning Legion demons.
      • Goldrinn is revered as a minor god for good reason. Even the Orcs respect the Wolf-God (though they call him Lo'Gosh).
  • Wolf pets are available in Lineage2 at a very low level, and are accordingly weak and squishy. However, once they reach a high enough level, they can be evolved into a Great Wolf, which is considerably more useful and very Badass in appearance.
  • Mightyena in Pokémon. It looks more like a striped hyena, but its behavior is more wolf-like in that it lives in packs and knows the move Howl. It's Dark-type, but is described as being very loyal to a skilled trainer.
    • Arcanine, Suicune and Manectric. These are Big Badass Fire, Water, and Electric wolves, respectively.
      • While Manectric could probably pass as a wolf, Arcanine and Suicune are foo dogs.
  • The Fenris Wolf Brood in Age of Mythology. They are huge wolves that get stronger and faster as their numbers increase. The scenario editor also includes a Fenris Wolf hero named Ornlu.
    • Ornlu appears in Age of Empires II as well, as a super-powerful wolf you must kill during the first mission of the Genghis Khan campaign.
    • And Tyr's god power, Fimbulwinter, causes the sky to go dark and snow to fall as packs of wolves attack enemy town centers with surprising effectiveness.
  • One of the earliest characters you can recruit in Suikoden II is Shiro, who can basically pass off as a white baddass wolf. If you get a Double Beat rune early on (Killer Rabbits on the way to Highland and around the Rebel Fort drop them frequently), he absolutely mutilates the first half of the game, gaining ludicrous stats at level-up and attacking twice every turn. It's only after you start sharpening your weapons above level 10 and gain rare armor that Shiro's dominance starts to wane, but he's still a viable ally to the very end. And he fits the big part, as well, being that Kobolds can ride on him and he's bigger than the main character. Big Badass Wolf, indeed.
    • A more proper example is King Diulf of Suikoden Tierkreis. He's the king of the Furious Roar tribe, and a very powerful and loyal ally.
  • Shining Force series has a badass staple wolf character.
    • Shining Force has Zylo, a bad-ass lord who essentially is one of the overpowered characters in the game.
    • Shining Force II has Gerhalt, who goes from wolf-man before promotion to man-wolf after, gaining massive claws in the process.
    • Shining Force III has Frank, a wolfling donning American-Indian clothing.
    • Shining Soul II has Sachs, a wolfling using knives and claws, and is considered one of the broken classes because of the knife skill.
    • Shining Tears has Volg, a former Beastman Commander who now runs a tavern, who raised Mao away from the Beastman city to prevent her for being shamed. Despite being old, he fights quite well.
    • Shining Wind has Rouen, a pirate king of a Chinese-inspired town who went AWOL to investigate the happenings on the world. He's also voiced by Tetsu Inada so that makes him more badass.
    • Shining Force Neo has Baron, who takes the next logical step after Rouen by being a Big Badass Wolf Ninja Wolf. With a monocle.
    • Shining Force EXA has Duga, captive turned feral but then rescued by the main characters. He is large and fights using ice attacks.
  • Lang-Gong of Arcana Heart. A wolf whose spirit became the Arcana of Fire.
  • Z.W.E.I. from Soul Calibur V fights using an arming sword and a werewolf spirit called E.I.N. that he can summon at will.
  • While he's not technically a wolf, Shi-Long Lang in Ace Attorney Investigations seems to actively be trying to be one. He refers to his team as his 'pack', uses wolf metaphors constantly, and howls when he's in distress. Even his appearance is vaguely lupine, with hair perked into ear shapes and what appear to be fangs.
  • In Diablo 2 is introduced a new class, named Druid who can turn into a Werewolf. Which makes the character a monster when it comes to hit-and-run tactics. Run to a massive group of enemies, wipe out one third, run, heal, wipe out.
  • Mabari War Dogs from Dragon Age: Origins are...well, DOGS, not wolves, but they deserve a mention for the simple fact that these fighting dogs are trained to be able to break ranks of pikemen and UNSEAT MOUNTED KNIGHTS. Best of all? You can GET one in your party.
    • Rogues who take the sub-class of Ranger can summon wild animals; guess which is the first available?
  • Yugo from Bloody Roar transforms into an anthropomorphic Big Badass Wolf.
  • Shadow, Jack Slate's massive husky from Dead to Rights is able to kill mooks with incredibly ease as well as drag back whatever they've got on them for Jack, to the point where in Slowbeef and Diabetus' Let's Play of the game they portray Shadow as the real Marty Stu of the game.
    • It also doesn't help that most of the art work that features Shadow makes him look like a big grey wolf.
  • Fenrir in Final Fantasy XI, particularly Wings of the Goddess, where you finally get to witness the Great Beast's ravaging of the Yagudo Theomilitary and Dark Kindred forces.
  • Alien Soldier has "Wolfgunblood & Garopa". It's an anthropomorphic cyborg cowboy wolf with a rapid-fire Arm Cannon, riding a Mechanical Horse that chases the player character down a tunnel for no apparent reason. You wouldn't believe until you see it for yourself here.
  • Sylvan from Romancing SaGa. Cluadia's female wolf protector.
  • Brad Fang, a wolf-like humanoid in Contra: Hard Corps.
  • Great Grey Wolf Sif from Dark Souls is a Big Badass Wolf...and we mean big. The player character only comes up to his chest, and in the area where you fight him, there are many swords stuck into the ground, and corpses littered around. His opening cutscene shows him leaping off a great stone tower towards the player, removing a Big Fancy Sword from the ground with his jaws, and flipping it to the other side dramatically. Prepare to Die.
  • Volk from Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits was a humanoid wolf species of the Deimos (monsters) that wielded an axe. He starts the game with a hatred of the humans, but he ends up fighting alongside some in the last half of the game for the greater good.
  • Monster Hunter Portable 3rd introduces Jinouga, a gigantic lupine monstrosity with the ability to generate electricity from its body, and its red Subspecies from 3G.
  • In Solatorobo, the Precursors to the Caninu were the Wolves, who were both highly skilled in the magical arts (unlike their decedents) and good with technology, first providing robots to Shepherd during the Hundred Lilies War five hundred years ago. Sadly, they never appear in the game proper and are only mentioned in lore.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The wolves portrayed in Balto.
    • And also in the sequel, particularly Balto's mother and the shaman Nava.
  • Silverbolt of Beast Wars takes the form of a wolf with eagle wings.
  • Tiger from Monster Rancher, acting as the Aloof Big Brother to the gang and an Ineffectual Loner, though when it comes down to it, he will leap to his friends' defense without a moment's hesitation.
  • The Big Bad in Kung Fu Panda 2 has an entire army of wolf warriors.
  • This may not count, but in the episode of The Simpsons called Cape Feare, grandpa Simpson is in front of the Simpson house and says "I'm cold and there are wolves after me" (cue scary howl... in the middle of the day). Also, in one epside, Groundskeeper Willy goes mano-a-wolf-o with an escaped Alaskan timberwolf, "Whose jaws can bite through a parking meter."
  • Young Justice has Wolf, a big white wolf and one of many wild animals injected with the Kobra venom (a combination of Bane's steroids and the blockbuster formula). Starts off as a Big Bad Wolf that Superboy fights, but fights alongside him after Superboy removes the mind control collar, and decides to stay with Superboy instead of return to the wild. The Super Strength granted by the venom makes him a very useful fighter.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Lobo, the King of Currumpaw, a wolf from the 1890s. Hunters tried poison, bear traps, hunting parties, and everything they could throw at him, but were unable to catch him. Finally, a group of hunters including Ernest Thompson Seton captured Lobo's mate Blanca and killed her, then used her scent to lure Lobo to the traps. When they finally found Lobo, all four legs were in traps. Upon seeing Seton, "Lobo stood up and howled". He died shortly after being caught. Seton's book (Wild Animals I Have Known) portrayed Lobo as a Hero Antagonist, whose downfall was his devotion to his darling mate.
  • A truly spectacular number of furries model themselves on wolves with no attempt at irony or modesty. In fact, this has gotten so prevalent and annoying that there is now a term for these sorts of people: Wolfaboos.
    • Wolves' popularity and prevalence in the fandom means they can end up in any role under the sun.
    • Also, X-rated takes on Little Red Riding Hood are common.
  • Clearly drawing on the reputation and adopting the usual style, wolf packs.
    • Adolf Hitler seemed to have had an affinity of some sort for wolves. His first name derives from Athalwolf, Old High German for "noble wolf", and for this reason "Wolf" became his childhood nickname. He later used it as a pseudonym for himself in the 1920s, ostensibly for security reasons. When his sister Paula Hitler asked him for financial support around 1930 (she was fired from her job in Vienna when her employers found out who her brother was) he granted her request, but insisted that she go under the assumed name "Paula Wolf" from then on. Some of his military headquarters were named Wolfsschanze ("wolf's lair"), Wolfsschlucht ("wolf's chasm"), and Wehrwolf (lit. "defense wolf", probably a play on words with Werwolf i.e. "Werewolf").
  • At least three breeds of dog are intentionally bred to resemble wolves. Of these, two of them are also extremely wolf-like of temperament and not for the inexperienced dog owner, while the third, the tamaskan, is a very friendly and personable breed suitable for anyone with the time and the space to care for it.
  • "Three Toes" of Harding County evaded capture for thirteen years and killed fifty thousand dollars worth of livestock. He was pretty damn big, too.
  • The Beast of Gévaudan a wolf-like beast (or several of them) terrorized the area of Gévaudan (now called Lozère) in the Auvergne region of France for several years during the 1760s, killing over a hundered people. The speculations of what the beast really was range from a ordinary wolf or wolfdog to a Hell Hound or Werewolf. These later theories are in line with the legend that claims it was killed by a silver bullet.
  • Can we just say that the entire species counts? They have been an apex predator of the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere for 300,000 years, and even when domesticated, they prove to still be quite badass.
    • Also, American wolves may not be considered really dangerous, but in Eurasia the story is very different. In Russia alone there were 169 children and 7 adults killed by wolves between 1840 and 1861, and 122 children were killed in India between 1980 and 1986. Througout Europe and Asia, even today, wolves are considered a major threat to people and livestock alike. Also single wolves are known for killing adult moose. MOOSE. ALONE. One can imagine what they can do in packs. By the way, they also kill bison and musk ox... Again, alone.
      • Many Eurasian wolves have partial dog ancestry, and hence are genetically less prone to be frightened of humans, this may help account for this disparity in aggression towards people.
    • Oh well we get along so well together. We both have a social instinct, both revere the Team Dad, and hunt in teams. And they are also one of the few animals that can keep up with humans during long trips. We have been essentially occupying the same ecologial niche.
    • "Smithers, find me that dog! I'm making him my Executive Vice President!"
    • Not to mention the Australian subspecies, the dingo. It might look like your family Labrador Retriever, but it sure as hell isn't, as you will painfully learn if you try to pet one.
  • The Prehistoric ancestors and relatives of modern gray wolves tend to be overall smaller, aside from a few notable exeptions.
    • The Dire Wolf, (which co-existed alongside modern Gray Wolves) which hunted megafauna (mammoths and the like). Averaging 1.5 metres in length and weighing about 57 to 87 kilogrammes. They looked like a larger, stockier Gray Wolf (which vary in size geographically. The heaviest gray wolf on record was of equal size: 86 kilogrammes, but the gray wolf average weight is closer to 33 kilogrammes).
      • There are reports of wolves hunted in Russia and even Northern America reaching over 100 kg, it's has becoming a regular claim that at least two of those are caught every season in Siberia, unfortunately they don't keep records of weight there, only size measures (head, height, etc)...
      • And now, to the Fridge: If there are outlier wolves even in the modern era that weigh over 100 kg, then what must an unusually large Dire Wolf have been like?
    • Bear Dogs. Ancestors of both bears and dogs. Some were fox-like creatures, but many mixed the features greatly—including size.
  • Numerous names (mostly masculine, many of Celtic or Germanic origin) derive from local words for wolf
    • The aforementioned Adolf and its cognate Adolphe and Adolphus (noble wolf).
    • Ludolf (also meaning noble wolf).
    • Conán (little dog).
    • Bleddyn.
    • Faolán or Whelan (little wolf).
    • Lowell (little wolf).
    • Conall (strong dog).
    • Conchobhar or Connor (dog lover).
    • Conrí (dog king).
    • Guadalupe (toponymic for river of the wolf).
    • Radulf and Ralph (wolf counsel).
    • Randolf (shield rim wolf).
    • Rudolph (famous wolf).
    • Sandulf (true wolf).
    • Ulric and Wulfric (wolf power).
    • Wolfgang (wolf path).
    • Ylva (she-wolf).
    • Loup, Lupus, Lyall, Ulf, Vuk and זאב Ze'ev (wolf).
    • Caleb (כלב Ka-Lev) means "like the heart", but is spelt identically to the Hebrew word for "dog", כלב kelev, simultaneously hearkening to the positive traits associated with dogs. Caleb is a Biblical name well-respected in ancient Hebrew times, and has been adapted as a respectable name in various European languages including English. But it's rarer as a given name in modern Hebrew, probably because while כלב kelev still means "dog" in the ordinary sense, it is also commonly used today as an insulting epithet equivalent to "bitch" or "whore". Though Kalev and kelev have one different vowel in modern spoken Hebrew, they are indistinguishable in written Hebrew.
    • Surnames include Wolfson, Lopez and Volkov, (all meaning son of the wolf) Farkas, Lupei, Lupino, Ochoa, Vovk and Vukotić.
    • Wolf itself is also a name.
  • The Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team, especially their previous superstar, Kevin Garnett, and their current superstar Kevin Love.

Notes

  1. There's almost always a version of Leomon, but he's typically a Recurrer, not a main cast member, and his life expectancy isn't usually very good