Part three! Best number and my favorite of the magical creatures: Dragons. Remember to read part 1 and part 2, if you have not already. If you have, or you don’t want to, buckle down and let’s talk about dragons.
I feel as if I have spoken about, in length, that dragons are my favorite mythical creature. Not surprising, it seems like it is that way for many people. Which sorts of dragons? That’s always the question. There are all sorts of dragon related books out there. I suppose, that’s why I am so heavily invested in them, because you can always find something in a dragon genre that you like. I feel as if I must format this post the way that I have my previous ones, and so thus.
This is actually a very dichotomized conversation, because depending on the culture, there is a different take on dragons. There are also different looks to dragons in different cultures. It is for that reason that I am going to split up the next few sections into multiple parts each for those differences. The two major differences we are going to get are: East vs West. I will touch on the other “types” as well, however. Let’s go.
What are dragons?
Simply put, they are large creatures of absolute power and supremacy.
Eastern Dragons; Large serpentine creatures with fur. They can fly but often times have no wings and either no legs or front most claws. There are multiple different types of looks to Eastern Dragons and I do recommend looking into all the different types in the links I’ve provided below.
Western Dragons; Large reptilian creatures, with four legs, a tail, and wings.
Not to be confused with Wyverns that have two legs and use their wings as sort of arms
or Drakes that have no wings (most of the time).
Dragons are powerful creatures that inspire hope and fear depending on the culture.
Dragons in History and Culture
This is very specific to the cultures in which they come from, but I am going to break this down to Western and Eastern for European and Chinese. Other types of dragons have branched off of these two types and there are other types within other cultures, but for the purpose of this, I will focus on European and Chinese.
European (Western); They have been standards of power, and meant to be slayed as ultimate evils. Dragon slayers have massive power in this and the highest achievement of power for a person is dragon slayer. They are written in Christian traditions and chivalry traditions, as evil factors.
Chinese (Eastern); They are one of the twelve animals of the zodiac. People are said to be descended from dragons. They are symbols of balance, wisdom, and knowledge. They are awe inspiring in a positive way.
There are many traces of dragon like creatures through out many cultures in the world and through much of history, so I recommend reading into it more.
What do they represent?
In western culture dragons represent:
- Untamed Nature/Unknown
In eastern culture dragons represent:
I do recommend reading up on eastern dragons because colors, and looks have different meanings.
As you can see western versus eastern dragons represent similar but vastly different things. One is a symbol of good/balance and the other is a symbol of evil.
Why do I like Dragons?
I like dragons because I like the power and mystery of them, as well as their versatility. Nothing is supposed to be stronger than a dragon, which is why they are so dangerous. However sentient creatures that can fly, have magic of a sort, and can absolutely wreck a city? Count me in.
I love watching them, reading about them, and imagining what it would be like to live in a world with them. Depending on the type, that’s a questionable world to live in, however… Why dragons? I wish I had a better reason than that they are awesome.
But that’s just it. They are awe inspiring or awesome. That is why I like them.
How do I like to read about Dragons?
There are six primary forms of dragons in literature, and in that sense, dragon books can be split into one of those categories. These categories are the way I classify them, and are, in no way, the formal classifications of dragons. They are: Dragon Riders, Dragon Shifters, No-Speak Dragon Enemies, Yes-Speak Dragon Enemies, No-Speak Dragon Symbols/Allies, Yes-Speak Dragon Symbols/Allies. Two are allies, two are enemies, and two that are symbols or allies. Let’s break these down one by one.
Dragon Riders; As the statement says. These are books about people who have dragon partners where they fly upon the backs of dragons. These dragons are sentient in their own way, but often very animalistic in nature. I love the partnership dynamic between rider and dragon. It’s always so beautiful. In these books, I like to have complexity and magic involved. I also find that these stories tend to led themselves to higher fantasy.
Dragon Shifters; These are dragons that can become humans. These stories often are interesting in their own ways. I like reading them for the human and dragon dynamic when the dragons are humans in a way. It’s sort of like werewolves, but with massive scaly fire breathing monsters instead. In these books I actually like political drama and romance drama more so. I think that since they are more human, they are more realistic fantasy in some regards. Except in the instance where the dragon shifter is a side character, in which case the book can be higher fantasy there too. But if they are the MCs I like dramas.
No-Speak Dragon Enemies; These sorts of dragons are more animalistic in nature. They are not easily controlled and are not necessarily wise. They are powerful and dangerous, but more in the monster category. In the books with these enemy dragons, I like them to be dangerous, a bit scary, but overall intimidating. They should not be pushovers.
Yes-Speak Dragon Enemies; These are the dangerous and scary dragons that are sentient in the way that we would recognize easily. They may speak in riddles, and hold mass amounts of power. Dragons that can speak tend of be the most intimidating of all creatures, good or bad. They should also not be creatures that are beaten easily, because of how powerful they are. In the books with these dragons, I like otherness. I want them to feel different, speak different, act different, with their own morals and values. I like to see them dangerous, imposing, and powerful.
No-Speak Dragon Symbols/Allies; These are going to be the dragons that are awe inspiring and in myth. Things that people will not interact with, but are in the story as present features. They can be guides, symbols, or even just within the world as creatures.
Yes-Speak Dragon Symbols/Allies; Opposite of the enemy counterpart, these dragons are the ones who can give wisdom, advice, and create a strong sense of control and balance. They are powerful and hold mass amounts of power. They may not be good, but to the MCs they have not become an antagonist.
In general, I like reading books about dragons for the dragons and how society interacts with them. In the case of books where the dragons are truly awe inspiring, or leave a lasting impression on me, I remember those dragons. Out of all the types of mythical creatures I can get, I don’t think that I ever particularly get bothered by any portrayal of dragons in any of the six forms above — as long as I know what sort of book I’m signing up for.
Dragons are my favorite, and so I’ll read just about anything. (so long as that favoritism remains, I suppose)
Alright, so that’s everything. This has been a fun series. As always, if you want different content let me know. Otherwise, we will see what the future Wednesdays have out for me. I’m not sure. It’ll be something fun, probably.
As always until next time,