Werewolves, also known as Lycanthropes and the Children of the Moon, are a species of Downworlders. Like vampires, werewolves are humans infected with a demonic disease, which gives them the ability to transform—or Change—into powerful wolves and gain their inhuman strength and enhanced capabilities.


Lycanthropy transforms a human into a werewolf, a demihuman whose demonic infection causes them to transform into large wolves under the light of the full moon, though they can also Change at will. Werewolves in their lupine form possess unnatural strength and speed comparable to that of demons, with claws and canines strong enough to be able to slash through a chain-link fence or bite through a padlock. While they still bear a little bit of resemblance to their human selves while Turned, their eyes become that of a wolf's, and even their eye color changes to either blue or a bright color ranging from yellow or yellow-green to orange or gold.

In addition to their supernatural strength, grace, and reflexes, werewolves have the same unnaturally accelerated healing abilities as most other Downworlders. They cannot regenerate a severed limb, but they can recover quickly from most mundane wounds.[1]

In human form, they look fairly normal, albeit a little ragged, as many of their kind do not care much about their appearances and do not bother to clean themselves up. Werewolves also retain their superhuman speed and strength while in human form. Werewolves are also mortal; they age and die normally like ordinary humans, though they do grow slightly faster.


Cob wolf

Werewolves attack the vampires at Hotel Dumort

It is unknown what demon, or demon type, is responsible for the first appearance of werewolves; though, there is a conjectured Greater Demon of origin, who is usually referred to by the placeholder name "Wolf" in literature. Despite many supposed descriptions of Wolf in medieval writing, there exists no credible candidate for who he might be. He seems to have appeared, created werewolves, and then left Earth forever.

Lycanthropy is believed to have first appeared in the forests of Central Europe sometime in the thirteenth century. It is believed to have spread rapidly through Europe and then more slowly to the rest of the world. Persecuting and publicly burning werewolves was prevalent in the late fifteenth century and early in the sixteenth century.[1]


New werewolves are created when an existing werewolf bites or scratches a human. Approximately half of the time, a werewolf bite will cause lycanthropy in its victim. In modern times, many safeguards against werewolf bites are in place, and much organizational work has been done by the Nephilim and by werewolves themselves to prevent unexpected attacks. As a result, rogue werewolf bites are a rare occurrence in the modern day.

Aside than being bitten, werewolves can also be born from two werewolf parents, or can be Turned through a spell.

The responsibility of the newly-made werewolf is to gain control of his or her transformation, otherwise known as the Change. With self-possession and proper training to control themselves, werewolves can easily adjust and live among mundanes peacefully without detection, more so than other Downworlders. After the first transformation, it takes a werewolf some time to be able to resist the effect of the moon in its different phases. Many lycanthropes, like Luke Garroway, train themselves to be impervious to the effects of the moon during most of its phases, but even well-trained ones like Luke are still forced into their wolf form during a full moon.

Codex Werewolves

By the regulations of the Praetor Lupus, any werewolf who cannot consciously control his or her Change is deemed rogue, regardless of his or her intentions. This regulation is intended to motivate werewolves to learn to control their Change in order to avoid the consequences from the Praetor; an accidental attack is a disaster for both the Praetor and the werewolf community, and as such, they strongly enforce these rules to ensure the safety and security of unsuspecting mundanes and the werewolf community alike, as well as the secrecy of the latter.

Some werewolves are also born with lycanthropy through their werewolf parents,[2] though not all children of werewolves will necessarily be born with lycanthropy. The child of a mundane and a werewolf has a chance of being infected, but they may also fight off the infection in the womb, thus resulting in a mundane child, while the offspring of two werewolves may or may not become a werewolf. If the child is born an ordinary human, they would bear a few un-ordinary properties.[3] Half- or part-werewolves—or those with the dormant virus—have increased speed and strength and can pass on the virus, but can never Turn into actual wolves.[4]


The only ways to permanently wound or kill a werewolf are either with the angelic fire of a seraph blade or with pure silver. Silver is associated with the moon, and wounds made with silver weapons will not only cause permanent damage to the wounded but will also cause them great pain, as even their enhanced healing abilities are not effective when a wound is inflicted by silver. Any Institute will have a cache of silver weapons in place for just this reason, in case of rogue werewolves.[1]


Many werewolves, like vampires, belong to a group: in their case, a pack, though there are some packless wolves, and those tend to travel alone at night, keeping to the byways and country roads.[5] The Praetor Lupus is in charge of ensuring that all new Downworlders find their place in their respective society, including finding packs for orphaned werewolves.[2]

Each werewolf pack is lead by an alpha wolf. Any werewolf that kills the pack leader will subsequently gain control of the pack.[5] Aside from battle, a werewolf leader can also simply depart and name a new one to replace him/her.[6]

As werewolves, they follow the long held tradition of being mortal enemies of vampires. Maia explains that the the belief is that the demons who passed on the disease to humans that gave birth to vampires and werewolves had been mortal enemies, and, as a result, the prejudice was passed down through their respective races.

Known werewolves


  • Wolfsbane is a plant known to have a negative effect against werewolves in various lores, but it is unknown what wolfsbane does to werewolves in the Shadowhunter Chronicles. The werewolf Jordan Kyle was known to have been growing them on his balcony, and werewolves buy them from the Shadow Market. Simon noticed Jordan's wolfsbane and once commented on the fact that it had silvery leaves.
  • Refined sugar is supposedly harmful to werewolves.[7]
  • While it has been established that it is possible for a werewolf to be born infected with lycanthropy, the Shadowhunter's Codex states that werewolf parents do not pass lycanthropy to their children. This may, however, be due to the fact that the Codex contains mostly knowledge earned by the Shadowhunters, and that most of them simply do not know or believe this.[1][8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The Shadowhunter's Codex
  2. 2.0 2.1 City of Fallen Angels
  3. BabiesCassandra Clare on Tumblr
  4. Lady Midnight
  5. 5.0 5.1 City of Bones
  6. City of Heavenly Fire
  7. City of Lost Souls
  8. Because of the wiki's "series book and Cassie statements trump Codex" rule, the first, being from a series' book, will be the basis of knowledge and will be accepted and considered canon/truth.