Delighting in Dragons

I was very honoured recently when wonderful author and fellow AWB member AFE Smith asked me to write a guest post for her lovely blog Reflections of Reality. In return she has written me a wonderful post on one of my most favourite subjects DRAGONS!! So let me hand you over to AFE.

Welcome one and all to my first ever guest post, and many, many thanks to Lindsey for letting me loose on her blog! I’ll do my best not to wreck the place (let’s hope the phantom tentacles didn’t follow me here).

When Lindsey suggested that I write about dragons for this post, I did a happy little dance. Because, like many (most?) fantasy fans, I Heart Dragons. I have dragon jewellery. I once painted a full-length dragon on my bedroom wall. If I ever get a tattoo, you can bet it will be dragon-shaped.

So what’s so great about dragons?

The short answer to that is, of course, everything. If you were to consult the Official List of Awesome Fantasy Characteristics, dragons would have pretty much the lot. Sardonic intelligence? Check. Power of flight? Check. Vast hoard of bling? Check. Ability to incinerate enemies, treasure-hunters and anyone who has the temerity to be the slightest bit annoying? You got it.

Of course, dragons vary from author to author and world to world. Some are malevolent, some benign. Some can communicate with humans, some can’t (or choose not to). Yet they all share that same fundamental dragonness: the sheer badassery that comes from being a great big fire-breathing flying lizard.

I first fell in love with dragons whilst reading Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series for the first time. Her dragons work side by side with humans to protect their world against the ravages of Thread. Each dragon has a unique and personal bond with a single human that lasts for life, formed in a process known as Impression. Yep, that’s right: the dragonriders of Pern have special best friends/confidantes who just happen to be dragons. I mean, who wouldn’t want that? It’s like Han Solo and Chewbacca, if Chewie could breathe fire and fly.

On the other hand, not all dragons would be so delightful to live with. Many are amoral, selfish, cruel and completely unconcerned with the fates of humans. The dragons in Harry Potter are ultimately wild animals, spectacular but dangerous. Robin Hobb’s dragons consider humans to be nothing more than second-rate servants (a view that’s not uncommon among dragonkind). And The Hobbit’s Smaug certainly isn’t the kind of neighbour you’d invite round for tea and cookies.

Still, that’s part of the fascination of dragons. They may be friendly or mean, on our side or not, but they’re never safe. And maybe that’s why we love them so much – between the covers of books. As Ged observes in A Wizard of Earthsea (which contains some particularly excellent dragons), ‘it is one thing to read about dragons and another to meet them’.

 

A.F.E. Smith is currently working on several fantasy novels, none of which contain dragons. She is coming to the conclusion that this may be a mistake. 

Thank you  to AFE for such a great post and for hosting me too! If you haven’t visited her blog then you are missing out big time! So I should get over there right away if I was you, just click here!

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