Thursday, September 4, 2014

Reasons why I think that fans of paranormal YA would enjoy Teen Wolf Part 1

If you frequent my blog in the summer time you may have noticed that I'm a pretty big fan of the show Teen Wolf and since I know that most of my followers are book bloggers I'm guessing that most of you have ignored those posts but I'm writing this post to tell you why I think that's a mistake. This post is about the reasons in which I believe someone who is a fan of paranormal YA books would specifically would enjoy the series, I've based a lot of the reasons on this list on things I've seen book bloggers complain are lacking or not done well in paranormal YA books or in YA in general therefore I will be referencing common trends in Paranormal YA and comparing them to the show. I also want to note that there's a lot of reasons that I love this series and not all them will be on the list because I'm trying to keep the reasons somewhat related to paranormal YA.

This show was one that I didn't expect anything from which is probably one of the reasons I ended up enjoying it so much but I feel the need to warn you that this show didn't start off great although I still felt it was enjoyable it took a few episode for me to really get into. The show can be pretty cheesy at times although nowhere near as bad as the movie and in the first couple episodes they put too much attention on lacrosse but soon they realized no one cares about lacrosse and show started to get good by that point. I actually rewatched the first season recently and I enjoyed it but I just feel the need to warn you it might take you awhile to get into the show but I think it's well worth the effort.

                       My  Reasons why fans of paranormal YA should watch Teen Wolf Part 1
1. Alison Argent: One of the main reasons that I decided to write this post is because of how many fans of  paranormal YA seem to be really frustrated by the heroines in every paranormal YA series and when I was reading about what people wanted out of heroine I was reminded of who Alison actually is so I found myself wanting to recommend this series to them but I didn't because people tend to be dismissive of this series. The complaints I was hearing about heroines were well a bunch of things but mostly they were damsel in distress who's life revolved around her love interest but Alison isn't like that. The type of character that most of these people wanted was someone who could defend themselves and had life outside of  her life interest which I feel that both these things are true for Alison's character.
I want to point out to people who haven't seen or even really know anything about the show that Alison isn't actually the main character and is in fact the main love interest for the main character but I assure you that there's a lot more to her character than being a love interest. The first few episodes we really don't see much of Alison so it takes a couple episodes to really get to know her although I have always really liked her but my love for has definitely grown a lot over the seasons.
Alison is from a family of hunters(of pretty much all supernatural creatures not just werewolves like the first season implies) which is something that she doesn't know at the start of the series and her family keep this big secret from her does contribute quite a bit to her storyline in season 1. Although she has no knowledge of her family's hunting ways it's something that it's implied that her parents were both hiding it from her and trying to prepare her for this role with how they had her get into archery when she was younger and considering that she said she sucks at all her other past hobbies I'm willing to bet that they discouraged those, I also think that this makes her weapons skills that she develops to be more believable since she was already good at archery pre-series and it makes sense why she did with her background. I like that a big part of Alison's conflict comes from her knowing her family is keeping something from her and that she doesn't really know who she can trust in her life and that of course ends up influencing a lot of her choices in this series in a way in which the audience can always understand her reasoning even if they don't agree with it.
Another big thing I think that fans of paranormal YA will enjoy about Alison is that she hates the idea of ever being the damsel in distress and that she actually seeks out ways to make herself stronger and really their are very few times in which she needs be rescued and as of season 3 she's probably the most badass character on the show. One of the things have I always loved about Alison is that she seems to have this self hatred when it comes to feeling weak which is something that has led to some pretty great scenes and makes her character very interesting to me. One of my favorites is after she had been in a situation for the first time when she thought she was going to die and she still had no clue about the existence of the supernatural she had this lovely quote "That night in the school, I felt utterly weak like I needed someone to come and rescue me. I hate that feeling. I wan to feel stronger than that. I want to feel powerful." I just love how Alison being faced with mortal peril made her go out and find away to empower herself rather than just make her want to run away or just accepting the danger like most YA heroines and I love that over the course of the series Alison continues improve herself and that she is more than capable of taking care of herself.
Something that I really enjoyed about Alison is that the reason she's involved in the supernatural world isn't because of her boyfriend (although he happens to be a werewolf) but because of her family. I like this because you know how dangerous being involved with the supernatural is usually dangerous in this type of series even if the guy your dating would never hurt that doesn't mean that someone else from that world wouldn't so knowing that Alison would've become part of that world regardless of who she dates makes it easier to understand why she would choose to be with someone who's part of that world. I also liked the conflict it created with her having a family of hunters who do have a code about who they do and don't kill that's supernatural but only her dad really follows it and that leaves the rest of her family killing or at least trying to kill a whole lot of innocent people who happen to be shape shifters so although her family calls themselves protectors they're really just killers. On the other hand at the same time Alison starts her hunters training she's also working with Scott trying to keep everyone safe, I really love that because of her relationship with Scott she was able to view werewolves as people rather than just animals or monsters like most other members of her family did and I think that this empathy that she developed towards the supernatural through that relationship is a very important thing because it keeps her seeing them as people and not targets which is something that keeps her from becoming a psychotic killer like other members of her family did. I also like that Alison was doing more good working with a werewolf than with her family who were suppose to be protecting against the supernatural.
Towards the end of season 2 Alison ended up going to a pretty dark place after loosing someone close to her and being manipulated when she was in an extremely emotionally vulnerable place, while I didn't like Alison's actions when she was in that dark place but I liked that she was able to go to the dark place and able to come back from it. To be clear by dark place I mean villainous place and I'm sure you've noticed that going to a dark place like this is something that's fairly common for the male love interest to do in Paranormal YA but have you've ever noticed that if a female character goes to a dark place like this she is considered to be evil and is never redeemed. Well I really loved that with Alison she was able to go to a dark place but did come back from it and was able to be seen in a heroic light once again.
 I also really loved that at the beginning of season 3 that Alison wanted to basically prove to herself that she was still a good person even though she had done bad things, I liked that her redemption arc(if you can call it that since it isn't really in the traditional sense) was all about proving her worth to herself not to anyone else. I love that Alison refused to stay out of the conflict in season 3 because she saw that her friends where in danger and she knew that she could do something to help them and she did what she could to help save the most people with both of the season 3 plots. Also what I loved most of all was how Alison changed her families code from "We hunt those who hunt us." to that of "We protect those who cannot protect themselves." I really loved her taking charge in general but I especially love the emphasis she puts on protecting others rather than eliminating a threat like the former code did.
While I could probably write more about my love for Alison Argent I feel I already said a lot but basically I think that she's the type of character that most paranormal YA fans are looking for someone who is part of a romance but also a hero in her own right, someone who is strong but still vulnerable.
2. Mythology: I find that in most paranormal YA series that the mythology is either very simple or just never fully explained to reader because it either is something that main character wouldn't need to know so the reader isn't ever told it or it's something that the main character does know and therefore doesn't explain it in great detail. Giving a mythology info dump is something that often slows down the pace of a story and can be rather boring and since novels are only a few hundred pages long it's easy to understand why this would be an area in which the author would want to shorten but it's one that I think is needed. Teen Wolf isn't perfect with giving out mythology stuff always but it has given us quite a bit of information on quite a few supernatural species over the seasons although it was given gradually it was still pretty effective to me at least.
Werewolves: The main supernatural creature of the show is of course werewolves and before I started watching the show I thought that werewolf mythology was simple and boring. I originally thought that the only thing there is to know about werewolves is that they turn into a wolf on the night of the full moon, have heighten senses and maybe something involving packs. This show turned out to expand quite a bit on the werewolf myth while the moon makes a werewolf want to shift it's not usually into a full wolf(which seems to be difficult ability that few have mastered although not a lot has been said about it so far) it's this partial thing where the werewolf face grows hair and there eyes glow a certain color(more on that later) and their nails become claws but after a werewolf learns control they can stay in normal human form even during a full moon. Also werewolves don't only shift on full moons in this series but whenever their heart rate raises which makes the whole being a werewolf thing more interesting and useful(or rather a bigger problem) than I originally thought it was going to be.
In this series an important part of the werewolf mythology have to do with pack structure which means that werewolves are divided into three groups alphas, betas and omegas. The alphas as I'm sure pretty much everyone already knows are the leader of their packs, an alpha's eyes would turn the color red when they shift, their the strongest type of werewolf because they gather the strength of the rest of their pack and to become an alpha one usually has to kill the last alpha to steal their power but this isn't always the case. Alphas are also the only kind of werewolf who's bite can make a new werewolf. It should be mentioned that the bite of a werewolf either kills you or turns you so it's pretty much fifty percent chance you won't survive the bite. Betas are werewolves that are part of packs and omegas are the ones that aren't and are known to be the weakest type. Betas and omegas either have gold or blue eyes those with blue eyes have killed someone while those with gold eyes haven't.
In this series werewolves can have wolfs bane and mountain ash used against them. Wolf's bane is poisonous to werewolves and if it gets into their bloodstream it will kill them but if werewolves inhale or drink it they will only experience hallucinations. Also worth mentioning that it seems like no matter what species you are if you drink wolf's bane you will hallucinate but only werewolves will hallucinate if they just inhale it, I don't know why that it is. Mountain ash at this point has mostly been shown to be used as a barrier to keep werewolves out of or trapped in a certain area.
The abilities that werewolves in this series seems to have are the ability to shift, increased strength, heightened senses, increased speed, extremely increased healing abilities, can take other living beings pain away from them and although not mentioned very often can apparently sense emotions. It should be mentioned that if a werewolf feels that they don't deserve to heal or something that this may cause their healing abilities to stop working.
Hunters: Through out YA paranormal series there are quite a few examples of people who fight against the supernatural and I have to say that there are a lot of different versions of what that means through out the genre. I also noticed that it differ from series to series whether or not the hunter was a type of supernatural or not.  In this series hunters aren't a supernatural species themselves but they have a long history and set of traditions that they follow. There are apparently a whole network of hunter families in the Teen Wolf universe but the only one really see is Alison's family the Argents whose last name means sliver in France and they seem to be primarily known for hunting werewolves but have hunted all different sorts of supernatural creatures. The Argents have a code that they only hunt those who hunt us, but the only person that seems to really follow that code is Alison's dad so it's not all that effective. Another code that it's implied that all hunters have is that if they get bit by an alpha that they will kill themselves rather turn into a werewolf. Hunters in this world seem to use all kinds of weapons whether it be guns, crossbows, knives or tasers everything seems to be used during hunting. Also apparently women are the leaders of hunting families which is why Alison was able to change her family code at the ending of 3A.
Kanima: The kanima is something that I'm pretty sure I've never encountered in any other series that I read especially since it's the word that took me the longest to learn how to spell and my first reaction to it when I saw it was what the hell is that. The kanima turns out to be this wer-lizard that can paralyze people with it's venom and is pretty much impossible to kill seriously it has got shot in the head several times through out the season and just got right back up. The kanima's is a weapon vengeance and is basically a werewolf gone wrong brilliantly the reason they basically said that a person would become a kanima is because their an asshole and this shape reflects who they really are inside although later on they might've changed the reason to identity issues.
Druids: Sadly we haven't gotten a lot of details on what a druid is because all the druids on this show so far have been pretty mysterious therefore we don't know a whole lot about their abilities. What I do know is that druids have magic but it seems to be a pretty limited form of magic so that their magic can't be used as just an easy way to destroy all their enemies in the series. The abilities that the druids seem to have is mostly based on their knowledge of how to use certain herbs to combat the supernatural as well as having a unique effect on them do their abilities as well as a few ceremony type things it seems. Druids also are known to be advisors for the alpha's in werewolf packs and they offer advice on how to proceed in a certain situation and their primary goal seems to be to maintain a certain status quo in the supernatural world.
There is also a dark druid in this series known as a darach who seems to have a lot more magical power mainly due to using blood sacrifice to gain these powers. The type of sacrifice that is used to get this powers is human sacrifice and the darach draws power from virgins, warriors, healers, philosophers and guardians.
Banshees: Another group of supernatural species I don't see often and before this series I kind of thought that a banshee was either dead or a type of fairy neither of these things seem to be true in this series. Banshees are mainly known for screaming when death is near and that part is true in this series but it seems to be a bit more complicated than that with it being sometimes the scream comes as the person is dying and sometimes it happens before and that means that they death is actually able to be prevented and sometimes the scream seems to be for something that isn't death is sort of close and finally it can be used to lure someone back since banshee screams are extremely loud to werewolves like they can hear it from across down and still feel the need to plug their ears. Also it seems that banshees are haven't lured to places by their abilities to find dead bodies or clues that will lead them to a dead person for reasons that the banshee could not explain. Banshees other main part of their ablility seems to be their hearing ability which leads them to able to hear things by coming in contact with certain objects and the accuracy of what they hear seems go up with the closer  the connection they have to the person and it seems that it has to be related to death or near death experiences to work. While it hasn't be touched on clearly it seems that banshees can hear and sometimes even see the dead in some way but since the only banshee we know doesn't really understand her abilities or know how to control them it's a bit unclear of what all of them are since banshees seem to be pretty rare in this world seeing that it took everyone so long to figure out that she is one.
Kitsunes: A kitsune is a benevolent fox spirit who is still a trickster and they seems to occur naturally in this world through family lines. Kitsunes come in seven different types and therefore each type has different abilities. The one that we really learn about kitsunes from is a thunder kitsunes and was able to suck up a bunch of electricity and have a sort of lightening power that can repair a sword. It seems that being a kitsune gives the ability to be good at using a sword as well as having healing abilities that allow them to live an incredible long time and I think increased agility. Kitsunes also have tails and the older the kitsune the more tails they have they can have up to nine tails and by breaking the tails the kitsune can summon oni(demons)to do their bidding which in this series was to find and destroy the nogitsune.
Nogitsunes: A nogitsune is a malicious fox trickster spirit that unlike a kitsune doesn't occur naturally but rather is a spirit that needs to possess a human host in order to be able to survive. The nogitsune feeds off of chaos, pain and strife therefore it will be causing a lot of those things once it takes over it's host completely and while uses those tactics to take over their host as well. The nogitsune seems to be associated with flies for some reason and can also use those to manipulate or even take control over people who it is not possessing at the time. The nogitsune often plays tricks and will use things such as what the relationship it's host body had before it took over it with the people around it and use that in order to get it to protect him or give him either chaos, pain or strife in some way. The nogitsune is for most of the season the only thing that can destroy the oni but still seems to be afraid of them probably because they are getting stronger. The nogitsune seems to be something that can't be fully destroyed even after it leaves it host but rather it has to be trapped.
3. Friendship: One of the things that I find paranormal YA does the worst is friendships especially friendships that existed prior to the beginning of the series this is largely due to two major things. 1. Most paranormal YA series are romance centric which leads to everyone but the main character and the love interest falling out of focus or 2. Said friend isn't supernatural therefore never finds out about the supernatural stuff which causes distance in the friendship and for said best friend to be easily forgettable due to having no importance to the plot and rarely being around or even mentioned by the main character. Teen Wolf on the other hand doesn't do this at all even though there is romance it's not to the point that it takes over the whole series and Stiles found out that Scott was a werewolf before he did and he's been helping with werewolf problems ever since. The friendships are one of my favorite parts of this show because friendships are an aspect that is so often ignored in all teen series so it's nice to see a show that values it.
Scott and Stiles: The friendship between Scott and Stiles is probably the biggest reason I decided to watch the second episode of this show because I just loved every scene they had together and I still love pretty much all their scenes. These two have one of those friendships in which they have been best friends forever and I've always found it believable that they have been which something that I can't say for a lot of other series that try to sell life long friendships. I really love that from the first episode it has always been Scott and Stiles working together to figure stuff out and while this does tend to lead to whole lot of the blind leading the blind type of situations it strangely seems to work for them.
I really love the constant use of we between them because it shows that to an extent that something doesn't just effect Scott or just effect Stiles it effects both of them in a way since they are so close to each other. I like that after Scott had went through his first full moon as a werewolf that Stiles told him "We'll get through this." like it was the most natural thing in the world there was never any question about it because Scott being a werewolf didn't really change the way that Stiles thought of him. I love that Scott and Stiles are almost always together and that it's often assumed by multiple characters  through out the series that if one of them is around the other is close by. I liked that they seem to think that as long as they're working together that they'll be able to solve all their problems even though neither of them are really equipped to handle the things that they have to do and often times have no clue to what the answers to their problems are but working together and being beside each other gives them a certain level of comfort.
I really love how the idea of them hurting each other seems utterly incomprehensible  to them even when the they know the other could be in a state in which they are not really themselves therefore there's a good chance they would do things they would never do otherwise. I love that they just truly believe that the other would never hurt them and that when circumstances make one lash out the other in some way they just seem completely shocked by it. I'm sorry for being so vague with this part but it would be a really long explanation that would be filled with spoilers which I'm trying not to have too much of in this post.
Another thing I love about this wonderful friendship is that they can't imagine their lives without one another and I loved that when Scott was driven to suicide by supernatural forces that Stiles was the one that talked him down from it by telling him that he was going to do this that he would have to take him with him, it was a very moving moment and the fact that Scott was snapped out of it by the power of friendship rather than the power of romantic love just shows how this shows recognizes the importance of friendship. I also love that for most of the second half a season 3 was Scott doing everything he could to find away to save Stiles and I kind of loved his line in the final "The plan is to save you that's the only plan I'm going with." I really love their friendship which is delightfully entertaining, has a lot of depth to it and has also made me cry on multiple occasions, I know I probably said too much about them for a post like this but I love their friendship so much I just couldn't help myself.
Alison and Lydia: The friendship between Alison and Lydia is quite a bit different from that of Scott and Stiles since it is one that's a lot newer with it having only started in the first episode of the series and there's a bit more conflict within the friendship since they obviously haven't known each other as long but it is still a great friendship. One of the reasons I think this friendship is important is because there's nowhere near enough strong female friendships in paranormal YA and I know that this is something that most fans of the genre wish there was more of and this friendship is a good example of how friendships can be done in this genre. Another reason I love this friendship as much as I do is because I believe that this friendship does have quite a bit to do with both characters development with how Alison lets Lydia know that she doesn't have to hide her intelligence get people to like her and how Lydia shows Alison that being girly doesn't mean your weak, I just enjoy that these two help each other at least start to overcome some of there deepest insecurities simply by being friends.
I like that there are plenty of scenes of the two of them confiding in each other and that there are times when they work together to figure things out as well. I love that the team of them are very clearly protective of each other although in different ways considering that they have very different skill sets. I just really love the amount of love that this two girls have for each other and I love that their friendship didn't fall apart like I thought it was doomed to in season 1 but stayed strong until the end.
There will be probably at least two more parts to this recommendation but since this post is something I've been working on for like a year now and it's already pretty long I have decided that it would be best if I posted it in parts so that I could finally give you guys this post I've been promising you for so long. I have several more reasons to watch this show already listed but if you guys think of anymore things you want me to talk about regarding YA and Teen Wolf I'm very open to suggestions on what else to write about, please leave me a comment on your thoughts on the post whether or not you're a fan of the show, just interested in it or haven't  even heard of it before reading this.

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