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mark211Are dragons the most compelling fantastical beasts in Fantasy Fiction?2017-07-23 05:14:01
mark211I appreciate that most people are here are more inclined towards SF and/or Horror than Fantasy, but even so there is a fairly healthy Fantasy contingent in the stories and writers here on QM. So, in honour of the release of the seventh and final season of the HBO version Game of Thrones - Are dragons the most compelling fantastical beasts in Fantasy Fiction? 2017-07-23 05:15:52
mark211Why or why not? Or maybe prefer other beasties - the Cyclops from the Odyssey is another perennial classic and for anyone such as myself who grew up on Tabletop RPGs such as Dungeons & Dragons, there is a huge range of monsters out there - ogres, orcs, goblins, wights, balrogs, lizard men, harpies, fire giants, ice giants, wyverns, wargs, ... well, you get the picture. So tell us about your favourite - or least favourite - mythical beastie. What you like or don't like about them, which seem to capture the imagination more strongly than others and so on.2017-07-23 05:18:57
r.tornelloCompelling? NO2017-07-23 12:46:42
r.tornelloThey are just one tool in story telling. In the West they are bad. In the East they are good but compelling, nope.2017-07-23 12:48:10
mark211Really? I have to say I'm strongly inclined to disagree, but - possibly at least - as a European images of dragons might seem much more part of the landscape here than in North America. The idea of these coils of energy slumbering under the earth, waiting to boil up and explode at any time ... as a kind of folkloric science I find it quite intriguing. Gold, silver and so on are mined from rocks many or most of which are beneath the earth. And what else is beneath the Earth? A mantle comprised of increasingly liquefied molten rock.2017-07-24 11:34:39
mark211I should point out I have no idea where the idea of the dragon came from and it seems unlikely that dragons were an early explanation for volcanic eruptions - although I guess you never know. A British Historian - Tom Holland, I think - has already tried to suggest that many monsters from legends across the world are actually ways of explaining fossilised remains of dinosaurs. The North American Plains Indians (I don't recall which particular tribe) have the legend of "The Thunder Horses" apparently, which this historian suggests are a way of explaining dinosaur remains.2017-07-24 11:38:00
r.tornelloNo not compelling. I've used them in a few stories. One as the main player with Asian origins, the other as a player to the main character in A Dark kNight. Compelling? 2017-07-24 15:11:53
IronspiderAre dragons a compelling fantastical beast? Compelling - powerfully irresistible; overwhelming... I'd guess so, if only from a physical viewpoint - a fifty-foot-long, heavily-armoured, fire-breathing lizard would certainly warrant serious attention. However, and I have the same grumble about vampires in fiction, few 'dragons' seem to live up to expectation. Of those I can name, only Smaug acts in the traditional fashion. Like the modern depiction of vampires, dragons seem to have been downgraded to a 'mild annoyance', rather than 'harbinger of doom'. As with any 'monster', unless it's for comedic effect, I prefer them monsterous.2017-07-25 02:00:55
r.tornelloYou all seem to see dragon = Monster is a WESTERN response to The Dragon. It's so totally opposite the Eastern tradition.

In writing they are a tool. Sometimes they are the local air force (Game of Thrones) along with the battle fleet. And some other times they are the watchers, or gods.

2017-07-25 08:39:39
Ironspider@r.tornello - I guess I should have mentioned the western bias! East and West do seem to have a very different view of the dragon concept; though in my limited knowledge of Eastern mythology I understood dragons to be the personification of various natural forces, so ambivalent rather than friendly. I wonder why there is such a difference?2017-07-25 23:27:07
dandrew72I think the problem with dragons is that, at least in contemporary fiction*, they've been underutilized. Think about it. We are all guilty of sitting down to write something and we typecast the dragon we place in our tale, don't we? I believe there is room to incorporate dragons in ways that are broader than the span of their wings and that produce results that burn hotter than the flames they blast from their throats. Or in other words, dragons bring a lot to the table, maybe no more or less than other creatures but still a lot. * I used fiction deliberately here instead of fantasy as I'm considering a story in which I use a dragon outside the typical fantasy setting. 2017-07-26 02:46:52
WessonThe ability to create or re-invent mythological beasts is an underrated talent in my opinion. There are many spectacular creatures in Western lore other than dragons but sadly they aren't used that often. Unicorns are supposed to have healing powers, Sylphs control the air, Undines are water women who don't have a soul unless they marry a human man. The boogeyman, or bugbear, seems to be a Welsh monster that scares children into behaving. There's an even wider variety if you move into demonology. Belphegor, for example, represents sloth and invention. Granted, I got all this information from video games but I'm sure there's at least a sliver of truth in there. 2017-07-26 08:14:48
r.tornello@ironspider, review at the metaphysical differences between East and West. Natural forces and benign ans more,to a large degree. There are evil dragons too but the writings do not place the dragon as an evil thing. Look at the Asian Zodiac. Look to see how the Dragon is personified. 2017-07-26 08:58:21
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