Editor’s Note: It has been just under a month since the recent werewolf attack upon our school. In that time many opinions on the existence of these creatures have been spouted, both publicly and privately. Many of us have had no hesitation in voicing our thoughts on the poor individuals cursed with lycanthropy, putting out articles, debating in classes and clubs, and even accusing friends of being such. Today, The Owl Post is printing two separate opinion pieces, detailing both sides of the debate. Neither of these submitted pieces should be taken as the opinion of the Owl Post as a whole, but as an opportunity for students to let their voices be heard and to inform others on their thoughts. Read them, and form your own opinions regarding the matter. I ask only that you remember, this school has seen division before and it was only through unity that we survived.
Side: Wild As The Creatures They Become and Twice As Dangerous
Barely more than two weeks ago, our school suffered a terrible attack where a student was mauled in the Forbidden Forest. Since then, word has come to us that the perpetrator of this attack was a werewolf. Yet, even knowing this, many students remain convinced that these creatures are actually their friends and that they have a place within wizarding society. This is false, and it’s time you knew the facts that werewolf apologists won’t tell you.
While it’s true that the wolfsbane potion allows werewolves to maintain their human mind during a full moon, thinking that it is a complete solution to the danger they pose is foolish. First, wolfsbane potion is one of the most difficult potions in the world to make. It took until the 1970s for someone to successfully create a recipe, after millenia of werewolf attacks. Only a highly skilled potioneer can make it correctly, and those are rare. One can’t simply walk into any potion shop and grab a bottle. It goes without saying that the vast majority of werewolves are not skilled enough to create it themselves.
Second, the difficult brewing process coupled with rare ingredients used in its creation means that wolfsbane potion is expensive and not every werewolf can afford to purchase it. I assume our school provides the potion to students, but what happens after they graduate? Werewolves are notorious for having trouble holding down jobs, which makes it doubtful that they’ll have enough money to buy a full dose every month. For those of you counting, wolfsbane must be taken every day for seven days, the week of a full moon. Some months, as evidenced in January, have two full moons. That’s seven to fourteen very expensive potions per month.
And lastly, even if a werewolf does get the potion, they have to take it perfectly, which means every day for a week leading up to the full moon. A single missed or badly made dose and they transform into savage, mindless beasts. Considering they have to take it every full moon for their entire lives, there’s a lot of room for error and a big chance they’ll miss at least one dose somewhere along the way. It’s not safe to assume that every werewolf can afford the potion and that they will take it correctly every time, especially when the consequences are so dire.
Left unchecked, werewolves would eventually kill or infect every non-werewolf they could reach. Unlike actual wolves, they don’t kill out of hunger. Instead, they are driven to spread their disease and cause pain. Even today, there are at least ten werewolf attacks in Great Britain every full moon, with an even greater number of off the record attacks on muggles. That should be enough to give any muggleborn student pause. Not only can muggles not defend themselves the way a wizard can, but the bite of a werewolf is lethal to them. As such, whole families have been slaughtered by werewolves. Without a magic-user present, muggles don’t stand a chance.
By allowing werewolves to attend school here, we make them seem normal and tame. Students start to think that werewolves are harmless and they don’t want to learn how to defend against them, as evidenced by the hesitance often witnessed in werewolf themed Defence Against the Dark Arts classes. Some students have even protested the subject of werewolves being taught in Defence Against the Dark Arts, as if they should not be classified as dark creatures. When you’re more concerned about hurting someone than dealing with the reality of a savage beast attacking you, you die. That’s the simple reality of werewolves. No matter how they act untransformed, no matter what kind of person they might be as a human, once they transform, they’re a threat to every person they come across.
We would also do well to remember that werewolves joined with You-Know-Who and attacked our school during the Battle of Hogwarts. They willingly, gleefully fought on the side of Death Eaters. If they’re willing to murder children on behalf of the most vile wizard in modern history, I don’t think we can say that they’re necessarily good people.
So long as werewolves walk among us, no one is safe. I hope that students take the constant threat they pose seriously and keep their guard up. In these dark times, the bright lights among us need to band together and help those who haven’t yet learned the truth. Attacks have already come to our gates. Who knows when they’ll find their way inside of our walls? Be wary, keep your guard up, and protect yourselves.
Side: Deserving of Compassion, Understanding, and Unity
There has been much discussion regarding werewolves. The attack upon students on the last full moon in the Forbidden Forest has been the catalyst for such conversations. Some are quick to raise their metaphorical pitchforks and decry all werewolves, whilst some are quick to defend them. This article beseeches the student body to pause a moment and consider all facts before casting their own judgment.
Werewolves are wizards and witches, like you and I. Upon the complete rising of the full moon, they become wolf-like creatures who do not retain their human mind during the time of their transformation. They suffer from a magical illness called lycanthropy which is spread by contact between saliva and blood; essentially, a witch or wizard becomes a werewolf when they are bitten by one during the full moon.
There is no cure; however, there is the Wolfsbane potion that allows a werewolf to retain their human mind during their transformation. This potion renders them as harmless as they are typically all other days and nights. A simple potion, though expensive, completely mitigates the danger they pose to society. Does this sound familiar? After all, those of veela heritage are required to take calming draughts daily at Hogwarts to offset their fiery temper. Why? When angered, they turn into a dangerous harpy-like creature capable of throwing fireballs. Yet no one stands on their pedestal to condemn those of veela heritage and demand their expulsion from school and society as a whole. This is because society still views them as the witch or wizard they are. I ask you to question what makes werewolves any different.
The loudest amongst us who vilify and denounce werewolves also immediately point to historical implications. They will hastily argue how you-know-who gathered werewolves to his cause. A cause that at its core promoted the systematic discrimination of muggles and muggleborns, and advocated the concept of pureblood supremacy. The irony of this rationalization is that their condemnation of werewolves is founded on the very notion that because they do not suffer from lycanthropy they are better than those who do. They also neglect to acknowledge how by virtue of the wands we carry and use to channel our magic, we have the potential to be even more dangerous. After all, a transformed werewolf cannot use their wand.
The population of magical Great Britain is approximately 5000 strong. Of those 5000, there is an estimated 20 werewolves. Those who demand the execution of all werewolves, perpetuate the belief that hundreds of witches and wizards are attacked and turned each month. They feel this justifies their call to murder all werewolves, but the banners they fly rest on flawed logic. Werewolf attacks are not the standard, rather it is the statistical anomaly.
From a mathematical perspective, the werewolves in magical Great Britain compose .4% of the magical population. If those 20 werewolves would each turn one witch or wizard a month, the werewolf population would grow to 40. The second full moon, their number would rise to 80. Each full moon the population doubling, until the ninth full moon when their number would rise above 5120 — essentially, all of magical Great Britain would be werewolves. Keep in mind that the proponents for the genocide of all werewolves claim that hundreds of attacks happen each month, so by their estimate it would take less than three months. Except Hogwarts was established in the 10th century, and the werewolf population is still only a small fraction of that of our magical society.
Fear is powerful. Fear is crippling. Fear causes people to ignore logic and reason. Fear gives people a platform to perpetuate myth and to claim them as fact. Fear is the reason why it is so easy for some to dehumanize those wizards and witches amongst us who suffer from lycanthropy. When a werewolf is turned, they are shunned from society and often their loved ones. Some grow to hate what they have become, some may search for a cure, some may seek underground werewolf communities. They endure a lonely life and at every turn are treated as second class citizens. Just because, the disease they did not ask for, transforms them into a werewolf for 12 nights, less than 4% of a year.
Times like these are filled with uncertainty and ambiguity. The best recourse is never quickly spewed hate, vitriol and bigotry; instead, it should encompass true fact checking. And perhaps, after that, understanding and compassion.