In the battle between the MONSTER and the MONSTER HUNTER, who is truly monstrous?
I’ve been thinking about this lately because some of the new incarnations of vampire hunters, zombie eradicators, etc. in paranormal and action fiction are pretty darn violent. Is the hunter as bad as his prey? I’m going to say — sometimes… yeah.
Think about the real “monsters” of nature, the killer whale, giant squid, hungry shark, territorial bear, charging rhinoceros, prowling tiger… I can hear you saying that they are NOT monsters. You’re right. They aren’t monsters. They are simply creatures acting in accordance with their innate needs. Most of them are no longer hunted — at least not legally — and some are even protected in the wild from land-grabbing humans. They were all once thought of as monsters and hunted by men, and a few women, who saw themselves as valiant defenders of defenseless people.
We now acknowledge the right of the shark to hunt for dinner and the Moma bear’s right to chase hikers from her home. Couldn’t the same be said of the werewolf hunting his monthly mean? Should he forage for berries when the blood lust of a carnivore runs through his veins? I’m not saying yes or no, it’s just something to think about.
When we get to witch hunters, the questions grow in volume and intensity. The real witches of history were mainly women with special knowledge and/or enviable property. The skilled mid-wife with an encyclopedic memory of herbal cures and poisons was sometimes a threat to the men at the top of the village’s hierarchy. A widow, or unmarried daughter, with a plot of desirable land stood in the way of her neighbors. It was easy to accuse such women of supernatural powers and consorting with demons. Add an avid witch hunter to the mix and a tragedy unfolds.
Some monster hunters truly are the scary side of the equation.