Poll: Dragons! Feral or Smart?


Temeraire by artist Todd Lockwood


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!

  • I like when they’re a little bit of both, like in Melanie Rawn’s Dragon Prince books.

  • Deb in Atlanta

    Temeraire is a fascinating dragon, smart without being sickly sweet and savage. I love his growth throughout the books from a newly hatched dragon with nothing on his mind except food to a fully adult dragon, versed in poetry & philosophy.

  • shawn

    I think there needs to be a mix, but I think intelligent if I had to choose one.

  • ilvos01

    That is a hilariously large landslide on the votes

  • Mitzi Giles

    I prefer my dragons as apex predators, and there ain’t no dumb ones/ There may be some apex predators who allow humans to interact with them-thinking specifically of workers studying wolf packs who had been accustomed to them, who suddenly find the wolf pack driving them with snarls and nips to take cover and keeping them pinned down for hours, who suddenly change back into sweet normal wolves and let the humans come forth- to discover grizzly spoor and tracks close to where they had been- so the wolf pack acted to protect the human, but couldn’t explain to it, and caused the human fear thru the very actions designed to protect them. dragons may not be able to communicate well but there are probably both good and bad ones amongst the apex predators..I have several favorite dragons. One is the dragon in the JRR Tolkien book Farmer Giles of Ham, who basically signed up to “act out” the peoples fears of dragons every couple years and pretend to be defeated by Farmer Giles. Then there’s Mark Dagon and Serpent from an old indy comic book I loved called Southern Knights. Both of them had lost their family to marauding humans, but Mark Dagon shapeshifted to human to learn more about these strange beings who had swarmed over the face of the earth, searching for good he could find in them, and Serpent shapeshifted to become part of the soft underbelly of human criminal activity, learning more and more about the temptations, and what traps and lures could be set for them that she could then lead them to destruction.
    And of course Anne McCaffrey’s dragons of Pern, which totally stand alone and above in the dragon firmament ,,,I wanted a girl to impress a fighting dragon long before Mirrim impressed green Path, because Mirrim is basically a Headwoman, not a weyrwoman, and doesn’t really fight. And the impression of Xhinna to her blue fighting dragon was skipped over in the books – in one book you have the young queen rider Fiona taking wounded dragons and young hatchlings back between times to raise and heal and train and return to the fight against Thread, and suddenly Xhinna has a mature blue dragon?? We should have seen the hatching, the struggleto be accepted by the other werylings, the blue growing and learning also.
    I am also fond of a dragon named temraire for some odd reason.

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