They have been in the fantasy lexicon for millennia!
But over the years, dragons have been portrayed in very different ways. Sometimes they are mindless beasts, a part of the landscape for characters to overcome, more dumb flying lizards with wings than celestial beings. Feral. Powerful. The top of the food chain. Sometimes they are companions to humans, able to speak. Smart. Capable of compromise and care. Sometimes they are gods. Omnipotent in their respective setting.
At all times though, they are dragons. And they enrich whatever fantasy story they are a part.
For me, I prefer dragons like Saphira. Smaug. Dragons who live
My favorite such dragon is Temeraire from Naomi Novik’s bestselling series that begins with His Majesty’s Dragon.
While Saphira is a perfect companion to Eragon, and while Smaug is a formidable foe for Bilbo Baggins, Temeraire is a perfect combination of intelligence and savagery. He looks at human travails and inequities as an alien would, as a child would. Seeing the world through his eyes can be shocking. The great Celestial dragon philosophically keeps the reader not only entertained but thinking.
And the relationship between Temeraire and his Aerial Corps Captain Will Laurence is one of the most poignant friendships in the genre.
Blood of Tyrants, the new Temeraire novel, sees that bond broken, when Captain Will Laurence is washed ashore in Japan with amnesia. No matter how ludicrous a device that sounds, Naomi Novik makes it work and the most fascinating part of the story is how Temeraire deals with his good friend’s “disappearance.”
I was thinking about the book and dragons in general when I thought, “I wonder who else loves Temeraire?” And then I thought, “Maybe some people don’t. But why wouldn’t they?” And that led me to, “They wouldn’t because feral dragons are more interesting to them.”
So my Friday Poll today is: How do you like your dragons? Feral? Or smart?
To each their own, right?
Vote below and then share who some of your favorite dragons are!