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Of Wolves and Men

Of Wolves and Men

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When I first read the script, I read all six episodes in a day – I just couldn’t put them down. As I was reading, I would be thinking “I really want to play that scene” and then I’d read the next one and think the same. When I got to episode five, I read this particular scene and I just instantly thought, “right, I’m in”. I’ve been looking to play a different kind of character and I just loved Molina’s journey. It’s been nice to do the comedy, stupidity and lightness of him. I think audiences will be hooked on WOLF because you just can't see where it's coming from or where it's going. That is, for me, the definition of a great thriller. With some, you can quite often see perhaps who's being set up, who will turn out to be the killer or the wrongdoer. But here, you really can't tell. It is extremely thrilling.

Imagine a wolf moving through the northern woods. The movement, over a trail he has traversed many times before, is distinctive, unlike that of a cougar or a bear, yet he appears, if you are watching, sometimes catlike or bearlike. It is purposeful, deliberate movement. Occasionally the rhythm is broken by the wolf's pause to inspect a scent mark, or a move off the trail to paw among stones where a year before he had cached meat."I am in a small cabin outside Fairbanks, Alaska, as I write these words. The cold sits down like iron here, and the long hours of winter darkness cause us to leave a light on most of the day. Outside, at thirty below, wood for the stove literally pops apart at the touch of the ax. I can see out across the short timber of the taiga when I am out there in the gray daylight.” An extraordinary book, one that I must highly recommend not only for anyone with an interest in wolves, but also for anyone interested in humanity’s complicated and often frustrating history with wildlife. The first section of the book, giving as complete a description of the wolf as is possible, is the most enjoyable to read, and will debunk many of the common misconceptions popular knowledge insists on. The following sections detail different aspects of how human civilizations have (mis)understood and treated wolves; these sections are harder to read because the content is more frequently tragic. However, they are no less important to read if one is to understand the state of wolves today. We do not know very much at all about animals. We cannot understand them except in terms of our own needs and experiences.” Barry Lopez has dedicated his incredible career as a writer and thinker to exploring the confluence of nature and culture. Most of his fiction explores the subject through the lens of individuals, scientists and shamans and aesthetes, historical figures and travelers. Most of his non-fiction is place based, though the focus ranges from cities to islands to the entire Arctic.

Although one wonders if the Navajo or Hopi were farming at the same time did they viewed the plants as holy. As illuminating as the book is on its chosen subject(s), Lopez frequently reminds the reader of just how little genuine knowledge we have about wolves, or wild animals in general for that matter, and he has included a quote from Henry Beston that I think perfectly encapsulates what Lopez himself is all about:Matilda is very devoted and quite dependent on her husband so it’s very difficult for her to find herself cut off from him, as they are quite early on in the story, because she looks to him to be steady, calm, reassuring and have that patriarchal male wisdom. Matilda is highly intelligent, but it feels to me that her intelligence hasn't anywhere to go, particularly if she hasn't been working or in a situation where it could be fed or flourish. The people of hunting societies had immense respect for wolves, amazing animals that could survive long arctic winters without tools, clothing, or fires. Both wolves and humans were highly intelligent and social species who spent their lives living in a similar way, on the same land, pursuing the same prey. Wolves were natural predators. Their bodies were perfected for the hunting life by a million years of evolution. Humans were odd creatures, incapable of effective hunting without the use of a collection of clever technology. Eskimos periodically died of starvation, but wolves rarely did. Enter Sandman • Sad But True • Holier Than Thou • The Unforgiven • Wherever I May Roam • Don't Tread on Me • Through the Never • Nothing Else Matters • Of Wolf and Man • The God That Failed • My Friend of Misery • The Struggle Within

The last part focuses on medieval European folk tales about wolves. Compared to Native Americans, European stories show a conspicuous absence of actual wolves, a reflection of ecology but more so of modes of production and religious politics. The medieval compendium of knowledge about natural history, the physiologus, is full of folk remedies premised in religious allegory. It makes explicit what is now a post-modern revelation for young environmentalists: our ideas about nature are social projections, not Truth (a point Lopez makes subtly by placing scientific perspectives on the same playing field as the rest). Can you tell us a little bit about the two narratives, how they're intertwined and how some of the characters never meet? These guys give us a pretty bad time but not only that, they want to be heard and they want an audience. Honey has got a captive audience in us in the scene where the wonderful Juliet Stevenson, who plays Oliver’s wife, is hanging upside down while he trots out his opera performance from the Barber of Seville. On the surface, it’s a crazy, cruel comedic scene but it reveals how, on different levels, people can be and what they want from each other. When I read the scripts, I found it really hard to put them down – I wanted to get to the next episode but I was so frightened when I was reading them, I had to go upstairs and read them beside my sleeping husband because I was too scared to be sitting alone in the kitchen. I think Megan has done a brilliant job with these scripts, really skillful and it’s incredibly challenging to keep everybody's stories alive through six episodes but she has really kept us on our toes. Being able to play characters in these very extreme states was a big enticement as well. To reduce my own review, I think he is saying despite all the modern marvels, we don’t really know ourselves, and how we treat wolves is a very clear expression of that.In relation to Lucia, Matilda hasn’t really gone on the journey with her daughter to discover what it is that’s disturbing and upsetting for her, so there’s a sense of irritation and disappointment as well as love. But during the course of the series, in this very extreme situation, I think she discovers how profound her love of this daughter is and that she would indeed die for her to prevent her daughter suffering at all.

Barstensvol met buitengewone, vermakelijke en baanbrekende verhalen en personages: geïnspireerd door gisteren, vandaag geleefd, zet de toon voor morgen. HISTORY leeft! The section on the Middle Ages was a little disappointing, in that Lopez (not a medievalist) seems to buy into popular ideas that they were a uniquely depressing, oppressive, and ignorant time, caught between the lights of Rome and the modern era. He may be right about how medieval culture in general viewed the wolf, but I am less confident that he really understands the context of the time. Still, he wrote this in 1978, when his view was more standard, I believe, and frankly medievalists are still fighting against that perception. The section of the book certainly isn’t bad: there’s a lot of good research into medieval bestiaries and other texts, and overall Lopez’s conclusions about the medieval view of wolves do help me understand the attitudes of later eras, since they are so closely linked. Molina is a bit of a hapless criminal - he’s not the brightest, but he has some great ideas. He’s part of a double act with Honey, played by the brilliant Sacha Dhawan, who take the Anchor-Ferrers family hostage, although he’s probably not the ideal person for this job. In one sense Of Wolves and Men is not really so much about wolves, rather wolves are the alien species Lopez uses to expose how Mankind tries to understand the world, and how fear and misunderstand and plain stupidity inform that understanding (or more accurately our mis-understanding) I think they're mostly unsettling because they're pretty incompetent and they have a penchant for the theatrical - Honey in particular, but Molina is a bit of a liability. They become desperate when things start to go wrong and there’s lots of other outside factors that keep putting more pressure on them which forces them to become more and more desperate. You then see them resort to more desperate measures the more the pressure builds.I can see how some people here see more immediately obvious meaning to this song, as you can with most songs, such as drugs, alcohol etc etc yada yada Nuvole all'orizzonte: qui analizziamo l'inserimento del lupo nei miti dei nativi americani, la sua origine e il suo significato simbolico. in the wolf we have not so much an animal that we have always known as one that we have consistently imagined.”



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