deird1: Willow dressed as vamp!Willow, with text "ceci n'est pas une vampire" (this is not a vampire) (Willow (french vampire))
[personal profile] deird1
The thing about dragons being fictional is that every author gets their own chance to decide what dragons are really like (see also: vampires and werewolves). As far as I can remember, the order I encountered them was as follows:

Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Eustace became a smallish, scaly, firebreathing dragon, who couldn't talk, and hoarded gold. About what I was expecting - but he ate his meat raw, which made, and makes, no sense to me. How is the animal that literally breathes fire going to end up eating its food raw?

Rowan of Rin

A medium-sized dragon, who breathed fire and couldn't talk. Was basically like a big cow who could eat people, from Rowan's perspective. Okay - but kinda boring.

A Wizard of Earthsea

This book didn't really give much info about the dragons, except that they were the only creatures in the world who could lie in True Speech. This was my first encounter with dragons being able to speak, which weirded me out.

The Hobbit

Another talking dragon, with traditional gold hoarding, and a larger size. Smaug was nicely arrogant, which seemed appropriate for a dragon antagonist, but other than that he annoyed me, and I couldn't figure out why. (In retrospect: he eats his food raw, he hoards gold, he doesn't have a rider, and he talks - which still weirds me out.)

Dragonflight, and the rest of the Pern series

Am I the only person who gets really freaked out at the thought of mind-melding? Fantasy series are always talking about "soulbonding" as this awesomely romantic thing, and the very idea makes me want to run far, far away. Plus, the teleporting thing seemed to make their wings irrelevant, the timetravel was dumb, and the colour-coding annoyed me.

Still, I rather love the idea of humans being able to ride dragons - and especially organisations of dragon riders all riding them together. For many years, these remained my favourite dragons despite their many flaws.

Guards! Guards!

I loved the teeny swamp dragons with their screwed up digestive systems. And I loved that the dragon was magpie-ing after shiny objects, rather than hoarding items of actual value.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

More dragons that don't talk! And these ones had different breeds, which was good (as opposed to different colours, which is still dumb).

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Gorgeous and well-proportioned. But that's all we know about them, so I have nothing more to say.


Okay. So, here's the thing. These are dragons which breathe fire - but only some of them. And dragons which imprint on human riders at birth - but only some of them. And dragons which speak English - but only some of them. And dragons which hoard gold - but only some of them.

These dragons, in fact, are genuinely different breeds, and different cultures. There are massive, house-sized dragons, as well as teeny, horse-sized ones. And they can crossbreed to create new variants.

They also have organisations of human riders, with a formal structure. And without every single bit of Pern that I disliked (mind-melding and colour-coding being top of the list).

A Song of Ice and Fire

These dragons are all well and good. But, frankly, Temeraire claimed my heart a couple of years earlier - and there was no room left for another fave.

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