Lycan and Werewolf are two distinct mythical or folkloric creatures. Although both of them transform into wolves from human, there are considerable differences between them.
Lycan vs Werewolf
The difference between a Lycan and a Werewolf is that the former can shapeshift at any place or time. The latter on the other hand transform automatically on a full moon night and can’t control such transformation. Also, the term Lycan was first mentioned in Greek folklores while Werewolf traces its origin in old English folklore, specifically in the Americas following the Spanish invasion.
A Lycan is a mythological creature of Greek origin. The Greek folklores described Lycan as a naked man who ran through the streets biting anyone he encountered using his bare teeth. Some other folklore described it as lunacy. As time passed, these narratives transformed into what we know today as the story of men transforming into wolves.
Werewolf, on the other hand, is a folkloric creature of English origin. The English folklores described Werewolf as a man who transformed into a wolf at night and gobbled humans, corpses or animals. However, during the daytime, they transformed into human beings.
Comparison Table Between Lycan and Werewolf (in Tabular Form)
|Parameter of Comparison||Lycan||Werewolf|
|Origin||Greek folklores||Old English folklore|
|Nature of transformation||Voluntary||Involuntary|
|Time of transformation||Anytime||Full moon night|
|Appearance||A full-fledged wolf of gigantic size.||A wolf standing on two legs.|
|Effect of Silver||Causes weakness.||Causes death.|
What is Lycan?
It is a mythological character that can turn into a wolf from a human. Such a transformation is deliberate can occur at any time or place. In other words, a Lycan can shapeshift at its will.
Some people consider Lycans to be of Transylvanian origin. But its first mention can be traced back to the times of Greek city-states. In Greek folklore, Lycan is referred to as a naked man running on the streets and biting anyone whom he meets on his way.
Some other Greek narratives describe it as lunacy. Lycan in fact, is an abbreviated version of the term ‘Lycanthropy’ which refers to a mental disorder in which a person thinks of himself as a wolf. It is also used to refer to a viral disease called Rabies that is transmitted to humans through animal bite, especially of stray dogs.
As the narratives of Lycans were passed from one generation to another, the form of the original stories were altered. Consequently, the story of a man turning into a wolf was born. A human being turns into a Lycan when he is bitten by another Lycan.
When a Lycan bites a person, the person feels excruciating pain in his body, as if his body is on fire. But the pain lasts only for a few minutes. Immediately after being bitten, the person transforms into a wolf and can come back to his human form only after receiving his maker’s encouragement.
Lycans are smart, muscular and difficult to kill. They look like a real wolf but bigger and with deadly claws. They symbolize a religious practice. The only weakness that a Lycan has is silver. However, it cannot kill them. They can be killed only if someone causes damage to their spine or separates their skull from their spine.
In popular culture, the mythical character of Lycan has been popularized by the film Underworld: Rise of the Lycans released on 23rd January 2009.
What is Werewolf?
It is a folkloric character that transforms itself from a human being into a wolf on a full moon night and preys on humans, animals or dead bodies. But such a transformation is not in the control of the concerned person. It happens automatically and one cannot restrict it. However, once the night is over, the person returns to his human form.
One can trace the origin of werewolves in old English folklores which were produced in the Americas after the Spanish invaded and settled there. This proposition is further reinforced by the derivation of the term ‘werewolf’ which is a combination of two different words found in old English. The terms are ‘Wer’ meaning ‘man’ and ‘Wulf’ meaning ‘wolf’.
A person is turned into a werewolf when another werewolf bites him. During transformation, the concerned person goes through tremendous bodily changes. His bones lengthen and change its shape, sometimes so forcefully that it creates a rupture in the skin. The process lasts for several minutes and the end product turns out to be a wolf with the posture of a human being.
Just like Lycans, Werewolves possess inhuman strength, speed and agility. They have incredible senses that enable them to track anything. Although they have the power of regeneration but they have weakness that can become the reason of their death and that is silver.
To kill a Werewolf, one needs to shoot or stab his heart or head with silver. Shooting is a safer option as it can save the person from being scratched or bitten by the werewolf.
There can be some medical explanations for the werewolf phenomenon such as food poisoning, hypertrichosis (a genetic disorder that causes abnormal hair growth), rabies or hallucination. Another medical explanation for the werewolf mania can be Pitt-Hopkins syndrome discovered in 1978. It is a medical condition in which the person experiences seizures, difficulty in breathing, aphonia paralytica and intellectual changes.
However, in earlier times, there were no scientific explanations for these conditions. Therefore, mythological creatures like Werewolves were used to describe these unexplainable conditions.
Nonetheless, in modern times Werewolves are nothing but one of the horror icons of popular culture. Their popularity is mainly attributed to the 1941 Hollywood movie, The Wolf Man.
Main Differences Between Lycan and Werewolf
- Both Lycans and Werewolves are mythical creatures concerned with the transformation of humans into wolves. But in case of Lycans, the transformation occurs at the will of the concerned person. While in case of Werewolves, the transformation takes place involuntarily.
- A Lycan can transform itself at any place or time. While, a Werewolf transform itself on a full moon night.
- Lycans are of Greek origin. Whereas werewolves are of English origin.
- When a Lycan transforms itself, it looks like a big wolf with lethal claws. While, a werewolf looks like a wolf with a man’s posture on transformation.
- To kill a Lycan, one needs to injure his spine or separate the cranium from his spine. A Werewolf on the can be killed by shooting or stabbing his head or heart with silver.
In terms of physical strength, Werewolves and Lycans are almost same. Also, both of them are agile and fast. They have superhuman powers and the ability to regenerate them. Besides, they are well-coordinated and possess incredible tracking faculties.
However, Lycans are muscular and smarter than the Werewolves. They are more difficult to kill. Interestingly, the term Lycan is also used as an abbreviation of the term Lycanthropy defined as a state in which a person feels that he is a wolf.