Hemlock Grove’s Werewolf Transformation: Peter’s True Nature

There is plenty of buzz about the netflix original series, Hemlock Grove. It is quite an interesting series. At first I thought it might be a teen series about werewolves, since we’ve seen the many atypical “Vampire Diaries” type of shows lately, but Hemlock Grove took me by surprise. In the second episode, the out-casted gypsy, Peter Rumancek, transforms into a werewolf. From all the werewolf transformation scenes, this one eloquently stuck with me. Peter screams in pain while his flesh rips apart, his spine arches in the reverse direction and more eerily, his eyeballs protrude to the point it violently rips out of his sockets, leaving a hairy wild beast of a wolf.

One can speculate that the transformation symbolizes how animalistic a being is and that the werewolf is a different being that the human, where graphically shown the human body is completely morphed into a wolf.  When Peter transforms due to the full moon (which aligns with folklore regarding werewolves), he knows the transformation will begin and makes sure that he is in a safe area, away from others. He is not cautious about him transforming but more anxious that he may hurt someone around him. He explains that the wolf, although he can hear humans speak to him, the hunger for flesh is quite mind-numbing and that it takes a long time to master not killing all living animals in his vicinity.

Does the wolf signify Peter’s deep urges to kill and eat raw flesh? Does his transformation signify that Peter is actually ashamed of his true nature, he does rip his skin off and his entire body rearranges its skeletal structure… could it be that the wolf is a complete different entity and as Freudians discuss as the “Id”. In this case, Peter the human is the ego and continually battles with his Id, where he feels that others are unable to understand his true nature and keeps as an outcast.

Yet, Peter does befriend Roman Godfrey, where he shows Roman his transformation. It seems as Peter, being very open to Roman, as if his wolf was his truth. Can it be suggested that Peter’s openness to Roman shows that Peter is cautious with his real state that only very few he is very truthful with? Does the werewolf signify Peter’s real state of mind where society (the society that has maimed him an gypsy outcast) is not controlling him; where human authority does not control that realm of his intelligence? Like an onion, Peter sheds layers of oppression and judgment and at the core of his transformation, is his pureness. I feel that the eyes ripping out of his sockets show that in order for Peter to be natural, he must shed his glossed over perception, that is used to blend in with his surroundings, in order to truly see with his eyes. The pain that he undergoes is the suppressed pain that he endures each time he is sought to conform; and the full moon is the time constraint he has bestow on himself so he doesn’t indulge. But, he allows himself to be all of wolf in the transformed state… his true nature. 

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