This week we’ll be hearing about that burning question, if you like both werewolves and vampires…
Do werewolves age? Can they die of old age? Are they immortal in any capacity at all?
Let’s find out.
A lot of werewolves we see in folklore do not concern themselves with age whatsoever. It’s never specified whether or not they’re immortal, or – very often – even how old they are to begin with. That’s just not what these stories are about.
That being said, there are a few exceptions and a few implications we can draw…
We do, for one, see some very old (specified as 70-80 years old, or older) werewolves in some stories, namely in Chinese folklore. And it’s even specified that they are eerily spry and alert and far more so than you are! So age is definitely not slowing them down (it’s also implied that they will likely never die of old age). For more info on amazing old werewolf ladies, see this post.
What else? Well, we don’t really see old werewolves in European folklore; not that old, anyway, and certainly not that specific in terms of age; not like the werewolf grandmas who can kick your ass and still move faster, stronger, and hear and see and smell better than you ever could in your silly human life.
We do see a few werewolves in European folklore (and folklore across the Americas) who would seem to be on the older side, but not old enough to qualify as “omg wow you’re old.”
There were plenty of older werewolf healers, sages, warriors, and more, and age didn’t seem to be slowing them down one bit. But then, their age is also not a concern of the story. Regardless, they would very often easily best multiple younger warriors (just ask Kveldulf and other berserkers).
Not because their age was a concern, but simply because them being a werewolf was, and it was scary and a big deal.
However, it’s never really directly specified in myths whether or not werewolves are immortal or mortal. Given some of their abilities and a few specifications in various stories that age doesn’t slow werewolves down at all (and they are, in fact, old or not, pretty much always superior to normal humans), we can pretty easily assume they could be immortal.
We also don’t know if all werewolves age! There have been a few stories here and there in which a werewolf doesn’t seem to age, but it’s never been something brought to the fore.
And why don’t we have specifics for these kinds of things? It’s just never really specified. In folklore, there aren’t these rule-ish guidelines, of course, and asking whether or not a creature is immortal isn’t usually someone’s first concern.
Personally, I like to interpret these things as werewolves being immortal, because I love werewolves, their survivability/toughness, their absolute stubbornness, and… yeah, that kind of stuff. Plus there’s lots of rambling I could do supporting that conclusion.
Plus, magic! And being a werewolf isn’t always super ultra 100% bad!
Anyway, now you know! Were werewolves in folklore immortal? Definite maybe. Was this ever really specified? Nope. Did we ever see one die of old age, or hear about it? Also nope. Were they the kind of stories that would’ve included that? Definitely not.
So the answer is – maybe they were immortal in legend. I vote probably, leaning toward definitely.