The Dire Wolf

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The Dire Wolf

The species that is known as the dire wolf is a large and powerful ancestor of modern wolves and dogs which is now extinct. It has, however, left a rich legacy in myths and legends across many northern countries where it once roamed as one of the most feared predators of all time. This paper traces the way that the dire wolf has been represented in myths and legends of the past, and also in the stories, films and computer video games of the modern world. The exact species which gave rise to all the legends is the Canis dirus and it lived in the Pleistocene Epoch (2.6 million to 11.700 years ago) in both North and South America (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2012, p. 1). It was considerably larger than the modern gray wolf,
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This game shows the dire wolf as both a fearful enemy and a loyal fighter in battle, and this reflects an appreciation of its qualities to contribute towards good or evil outcomes. In the music genre, the band “Grateful Dead” immortalized the dire wolf as “six hundred pounds of sin” which was grinning outside the window at a hard-drinking, hard-gambling man. The chorus of the song “don’t murder me” implies that the dire wolf has come to take the man’s life. The dire wolf symbolizes all the wrong that a person has done in the past, and the likelihood that cruel retribution will come one day. These examples outlined above have shown that the dire wolf has maintained its fascination for human beings long after its extinction. Its combination of force, cruelty and cunning, along with enormous size, and tendency to roam in packs serve as an example of power even in very harsh conditions. It has connotations of majesty, and also cruelty, especially when dealing out justice and revenge. Even in the twenty first century it has the power to cast fear into our modern imagination.


Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Dire wolf”. 2012. Retrieved from: . [Accessed 18 November 2012]. Web.
Game of Thrones. Developed by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. United States: HBO, 2011. Television film series.
Grateful Dead “Dire Wolf” No date. Song Lyric. Retrieved from [Accessed 18 November 2012]. Web.
Larrington, Carolyne. The Poetic Edda. New York:

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