Here Be Dragons!

Posted 23 April, 2014 by Rinn in Misc. / 34 Comments

St. George
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In honour of St. George’s Day today – the national day of England – I wanted to talk about dragons! Why dragons, you ask? If you don’t know the story of St. George, in its most condensed form it is the traditional tale of a brave knight rescuing a princess from a dragon. Of course that’s not the whole story, and if you want to read it in more detail, you can do so here, but I won’t go into it on the blog. So, to celebrate this day I wanted to talk about dragons in fiction. I’ve marked spoilers, so please only click ‘view spoiler’ if you’ve read the book (or in the case of A Song of Ice and Fire, watched past series one of Game of Thrones).


Smaug

Smaug, from The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – Smaug is the main villain of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, a huge red dragon who captured the dwarf kingdom of Erebor, along with all of its treasure, one hundred and fifty years before the main events of the book. It is not until the latter half of the book that the reader meets Smaug – and realises just how clever he is. He toys with Bilbo Baggins, rather than killing him outright (it is for this reason that I’ve given him four for ferocity – he doesn’t just kill on sight). Like traditional dragons of lore, he loves gold and sits atop his treasures in the halls of Erebor. He is also known as Smaug the Magnificent or Smaug the Golden. View Spoiler »


Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion

Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion, from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin – the ‘children’ of the Mother of Dragons, aka Daenerys Targaryen, these three are the first known dragons for at least one hundred and fifty years. Three hundred years earlier, dragons were used by House Targaryen to conquer the world, but were believed extinct by the time of the War of the Three Kings. View Spoiler » They grow throughout the series but as of book five (A Dance with Dragons) are still not fully grown. They can be commanded by Daenerys, but are still wild beasts at heart.


Hungarian Horntail

Hungarian Horntail from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling – this is the dragon that Harry Potter has to evade during the first round of the Triwizard Tournament. Harry really drew the short straw here – Hungarian Horntails are notorious for their ferocity and are considered to be the most dangerous breed of dragon. It has both a spiked head and tail, able to use the latter like a club. Not only is it huge and deadly, but also very fast – proved by how easily it was able to keep up with Harry on his Firebolt.


Saphira

Saphira from Eragon by Christopher Paolini – at last, a slightly friendlier dragon. Saphira may have a human companion, and she may not attack people on sight, but in the heat of battle she is vicious and strong. Bonded to Eragon Shadeslayer, she was one of the only known female dragons of her time. Her name comes from the blue colour of her egg, and her surname (Bjartskular) means ‘bright scales’.


There are so many more dragons I could discuss – books like Seraphina, Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series, games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Dragon Age and Drakan come to mind – and so many more.

Which are your favourite dragons from fiction, video games, TV or film? How do they compare to these four?


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34 responses to “Here Be Dragons!

    • My friend Freya (well actually, the Freya below!) has recommended the Pern series many times, and I’d love to read them one day =)

      I’ve not heard of Dealing with Dragons, but I like the sound of this princess, haha! Way more interesting than a damsel in distress.

  1. My favourite dragon is Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. HE’S SO ADORABLE. I think he’d rate pretty lowly on all of the categories to be honest haha. But he rates very highly for adorableness, intelligence and loyalty 😛

    I really really really need to read The Hobbit. I’ve seen the two films that are out, but obviously those have been padded a lot with random new content, so that’s totally not the same thing. I thought I’d wait until I’ve watched all three movies before reading the book so I don’t get ragey about how things have been changed and all that haha
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    • Eeep, I LOVE that film! It’s adorable. Yes, I don’t think he’d score too highly if we were rating him this way, but he’d definitely do well on other categories. Are you going to see the second film?

      READ THE HOBBIT NOW NARA! NOW! There are quite a few additions (obviously, with the book being ~300 pages and the three films about two and a half hours each), but so far I’ve enjoyed the extra stuff.

    • YES! That would be great. I was thinking of Akatosh when I was writing this 🙂 And Spyro didn’t even occur to me, even though I played Year of the Dragon to death.

    • I’ve only read one or two of Tamora Pierce’s books, and sadly they weren’t from that particular series. A dragon called Kitten? Why’s she called that? 😛

  2. Freya

    Oh so definitely Pernese dragons! <3 😀 I wouldn't say they have the ferocity of some but they are just so cool! Much love from my teenage years!

    Toothless is of course completely adorable and I will be seeing How to Train Your Dragon 2 when it is out!

    I think the Dragons that Robin Hobb writes about are also fantastic because they have the indifference to the short lives of humans, but their life cycle is really interesting and how at the heart of things though they are majestic creatures they are really just spoilt brats! 😛 😀

    • I spotted one of the Pern books in the charity shop the other day, but it wasn’t number one – and I think I have too many books to just buy a random one in a series and hope to spot the others soon 🙁 Some day I shall read them!

      I want to see it to, loved that film 🙂

      Well I’ve not read any Robin Hobb yet… but looks like that will be changing soon anyhow 😛

  3. Happy St. George’s Day! (is that a thing people say in England? :D) I loved reading this post – it’s interesting to compare all the different dragons – some I haven’t met yet (like the GoT one). I don’t know if I have a favorite dragon, although I agree with the above commenters that Toothless is really adorable. I guess I go more for adorable over ferocious. 🙂
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    • Sadly, it’s not! Apparently something like two-thirds of the people don’t even know that it IS St. George’s Day, and we don’t typically celebrate it. If only we did… it would mean another day off work 😉 I’m sure some places celebrate it with various traditions, but I don’t know of anyone who does myself.

      If I had the time/space/patience to compare ALL the dragons then I would attempt it… but I think I’d need even more categories 😛

  4. I just read Seraphina by Rachel Hartman and thought the dragon mythology she used was really interesting (dragons who can take human form, etc). If you haven’t read it, I definitely recommend it–super interesting!

    Also, I think there should be a million more books about dragons, they’re such fun creatures! 🙂

    • I have it, I want to read it soooooon! It has such a pretty cover too 🙂

      I’m sure there are loads of books about dragons – we need a master list or something 😉

    • YAY! Another video game fan 🙂 I just got the ‘Dragon Age: World of Thedas’ book that has loads of history etc about the series and I’m so excited to just sit down with it and soak it all in <3

      I'm going to try and read Seraphina in the next few months. Hopefully 😉

    • As I mentioned above, I still need to read that book – and it will be soon! >:o

      Haha, I know what you mean about ‘cheesy quest’ books – but some fantasy is just perfect that way 😉

  5. What a fabulous feature! I am partial to Maur of Robin McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown. He was my first dragon 🙂

    But as far as NICE (or at least reformed) dragons go, R. Dragon of Rosemanry Manning’s classic British book series if my favorite.
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    • Thanks Michelle! I didn’t realise Julie Kagawa was writing a series on dragons – I’ve only heard of her fae series, and haven’t actually read any of them. Might have to look into that 🙂

  6. This is such a cool post, Rinn! 😀 I loved reading about the dragons, and their ratings on the scale. 😛

    Also, omg Saphira! ♥ Dragon of my childhood! Kind of. She’s one of the dragons I vividly remember from my earlier days of reading.

    As for other dragons, any of the ones in the Discworld series. From the huge one in Guards! Guards! to the little ones that Sybil takes care of. 😀
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    • Hehe, thank you! 🙂

      I haven’t read Eragon. It’s on the list… somewhere. I think my sister was quite into the books, but I heard that the film wasn’t too great?

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