Thursday, 13 January 2005

There Be Dragons in Me Eye

Ah... Dragons. Who wouldn't love them? (Besides that virgin who's about to be eaten by one, of course)

My current desktop wallpaper is the cover of Robin Hobb's Fool's Fate (book 3 of the Tawny Man saga). It has two dragons in the midst of a fight (or rather, I think it's their mating dance). Check it out:

(Pix from Amazon.co.uk)

For a bigger picture without the words, go to John Howe's site HERE.

I liked Hobb's dragons in the Liveship Traders trilogy and the Tawny Man saga because they had CHARACTER. They had their own CULTURE. While most fantasy novels tend to have dragons as monsters that go around eating people and wrecking havoc, one tended to CARE more about Hobb's dragons.

My first reading experience with a Dragon was The Hobbit's Smaug.

(Pix taken from Thain's Book)

I always thought Smaug was cool, even though I also thought the name was a little funny, and that little hole in that otherwise impenetrable armor of jewels was a little too convenient.

I'm even planning to get this action figure because it reminds me so much of Smaug:

(Pix taken from Spawn.com)

Other books with dragons that I liked are the Dragonlance books by Weis and Hickman where Dragons are obviously a major part of the book. Terry Pratchett's version of a Dragon in the City Watch Discworld book Guards! Guards! was quite impressive too, even though it was a spoof of stereotypical fantasy dragons.

Even Harry Potter books have dragons, what with Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback, Hagrid's pet dragon in The Philosopher's Stone, and Harry facing off with a Hungarian Horntail in Goblet of Fur.. I mean Fire.

(Pix from Amazon.co.uk)

Though Rowling's portrayal of dragons is still somewhat stereotypical, what I DO like about her dragons is that each country of the world has their own dragons - Hungarian Horntails, Norwegian Ridgebacks, Chinese Fireball, Welsh Green and Swedish Short-snout.

Makes you wonder if there is a Malaysian Madhead dragon somewhere.

I've only read the first two books of Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern books, but her dragons also seem quite impressive and interesting, although I didn't really find the story that appealing to me (I mean, THREADS from the sky? Aiyor). However, her dragons reminded me more of prehistoric flying dinosaurs, especially in THIS cover:

(Pix from BarnesandNoble.com)

Then, there are Chinese dragons. I always thought they looked a little silly, with their long worm-like bodies. I mean, just look at it:

(Pix taken from Here Be Dragons)


Ok, so this one doesn't look too bad. But how about THIS one then:

(Pix taken from China:Dim Sum)

THAT's the kind of Chinese dragon I mean. The green kind with long scaly, worm-like bodies, long moustaches and a weird constipated expression on their faces. Not cool. Not cool at all.

But then again, they are pretty powerful. They had magic, could shape-shift, guarded gods and emperors, and could control the wind and rain elements.

I remember one time the Hong Kong comic Storm Riders took the Chinese dragon and turned it into a Tyrannosaurus Rex-like creature instead. Now THAT was a disappointment.

Anyway, for more information about dragons, check out this site: Here Be Dragons, especially their section on What is a Dragon?. It has all sorts of dragons there, and nice pictures too.

Don't bother going to Dragons.com or Dragon.com though. Those domains are owned by IT companies. Ceh.

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