Friday Favourites: Beasts

By The Hodderscape Team

Posted on September 12, 2014 in Friday Favourites with tags Animals, Werewolves

This week Cecilia Ekbäck popped onto the blog to tell us a bit about the origins of her upcoming novel Wolf Winter. We all agreed that wolves are pretty ferocious, but are they the baddest beasts in town? Team Hodderscape decided to pick out some of their favourite beasts.

The Two-Headed Snake


Warm-blooded,  furry quadrupeds be damned,  though I do have the softest spot for fun-loving Baloo in the Disney Jungle Book, who I profoundly resemble — as I’m sure all my Hodderscape co-workers would agree. No, today I’m in  a cold-blooded, reptilian frame of mind. My beastie exists only in the pages of the Rough Guide to the USA , edition circa 1994. It is that phenomenon of nature,  the two-headed snake. Something chimed when I heard that World  Fantasy Convention 2011 would be held in San Diego. Had I not read decades before that one of these mythical creatures, one of the very few ever captured, was on display in that city? A long plane ride and two shorter bus journeys afterwards I stood at the gates of one of the most famous zoos in the world. Faster than you could say ‘Herpetology’ I had bought my ticket and rushed to the  Reptile House. A few dozen spitting cobras and mossy frogs later I was informed that, sadly, the famous snake had passed away, probably around the time that guide was written. By coincidence, the two-headed snake reappeared in my life with Nick Brown’s fun first novel, Agent of Rome, The Siege (read about how the two attached snake’s heads fight each other over a live rat they’ve been given for dinner…) .

– Oliver



I understand that beasts are a thing.  But I’m a city-girl; big, beast-y animals seem unreal to me. Like, I know they exist: I have patted cattle and ridden horses, and seen tigers at the zoo. But they don’t feel, well, beastly. I’m used to small animals, which may fit the definition of ‘beast’ but which no one could describe as beasts. My cats are adorable, for example, but they hunt and kill flies. I mean, they’re essentially furry, mobile (and lazy) venus flytraps. So I’m going to have to pick my beast from the legions of mythological creatures – which means there can be only one. Long my favourite mythological beast: Cerberus, three-headed canine guardian of the underworld.  He’s also got a serpent’s tail and the claws of a lion. And sometimes a mane of snakes, because the ancient Greeks were really into snakes as hair, apparently. Anyway, Cerberus is big and scary and good at his job (I assume; how many people do you know who’ve made it back out of the underworld?) and thus gets my vote for baddest beast around.

– Anne



Ah, the majestic beast that is the tiger. Beautiful, elegant, glorious, lethal  – he makes a mean addition to many a great book, film or TV episode. Here are just a few of my favourite tiger appearances:

1.       Shere Khan in The Jungle Book

2.       Richard Parker in The Life of Pi

3.       Tigger in Winnie the Pooh

4.       Rajah in Aladdin

5.       The tiger in that episode of Castle where Beckett and Castle are trying not to get eaten by a tiger by climbing on top of an upturned freezer, while handcuffed together – genius

– Naomi




From Joan Jett loving Kalix in Martin Millar’s Lonely Werewolf Girl to the repressed scientist turned slavering beast in Werewolf of London, werewolves take on many forms. They range from rebellious (and unusually hairy) teenagers to gothic monsters who howl across the moors. Unlike with vampires and Dracula there’s not really a canonical werewolf book, so it’s taken on lots of different forms and comparing werewolves across different films and book is a pretty interesting way of looking at the concerns and interests of different writers and eras. What’s the difference between man and animal? Has modernisation gone too far? Would we be better off with a furry coat? All questions that people have explored through werewolves.

But, first and foremost, werewolves are cool! They go through guesome transformations (see the above one from Company of Wolves), they tear things to pieces, they howl at the moon, and some of them have pretty great abs.

– Fleur


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