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How do you like your dragons?
Posted: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 12:59 AM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 245

I've encountered it a lot as I've gone through my writing career.  I love putting dragons in my books.  Every time I do and I mention it to someone, they ask if I've gone with Western or Oriental dragons.  (The question wordage changes every time, but the sentiment is the same.)

My answer?  I generally go with the Oriental dragon, wingless, more like a giant snake gliding through the air.  I find them more elegant than the Western dragons with their wings and lizard-like appearance.

Am I alone in liking to use this sort of dragon?  Are there other types that I may have missed?  (I'll admit that my research into the different dragon tropes has been limited but these are the two big groups I've encountered as I've built my different worlds that I write in.)

Posted: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 1:10 AM
I don't know if it's just what I've become accustomed to or what, but I love the western dragon. I love the wings spreading out in the sky and the dragon taking flight. I'm a big fan of Saphira in Paolini's series... However, my favorite dragon was in Grendel. Either way, I love the idea of a mysterious dragon... or a dragon with an odd trace of magic. Think of Chronicles of Narnia when Eustace becomes the dragon for his greed! It's beautifully magical and at the same time progresses the plot forward. I know the name of the dragon in my trilogy already, and I think thats almost as important as the type of dragon you are incorporating. The right name goes a LONG way in authenticity... I think of Paolini's second dragon, Thorn... It just doesn't seem as cool to me.
Alex Hollingshead
Posted: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 1:16 AM
Joined: 5/2/2011
Posts: 61

I grew up with Western dragons, and my loyalties lie with them. Also, they are much less likely to be able to speak, at least in the books I have read. I don't like dragons who can speak (outloud or telepathically) with humans, personally. Though that is a feature of many a Western dragon, too, so... yeah. I just say Western because I grew up with Harry Potter, Dragonheart, McCaffrey, and whatnot. And wings are awesome.
Mike R
Posted: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 2:06 AM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 6

Western all the way, a great huge burly beast with powerful wings and a stout tail. They are built for battle, mayhem and destruction. How can you not love that?
Rachel Russell
Posted: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 1:02 PM
Joined: 4/29/2011
Posts: 27

I have to say that I prefer the Western dragons as well. I like them either as intelligent creatures that can speak, or as savage beasts that go marauding about. I like them magical, or just plain winged reptiles. Either way, this style of dragon is featured in my favorite books, from The Hero and the Crown to Elvenborn. I'm permanently attached to them because of that.

However, I do like the Oriental dragon, and don't mind at all reading books that feature that style of dragon. It just isn't the type of dragon I would personally write.

Oh man. Anyone remember Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real that was aired on Animal Planet several years ago? That was heaven to watch.
Posted: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 4:01 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 224

I'm with Ted on this one, I like my dragons mean and vicious... that said, I don't like them being stupid either.

I enjoy the dragons best when they view the humans as a food-source. And I like when there are stupid ones AND intelligent ones, just like people.

I like Robin McKinley's dragons... they're smart in a sense, dumb in others... and are treated as pests and animals. Very dangerous animals, that can very easily kill.

And the bigger they are, the smarter (and harder) they are.... it is a nice take on dragons.
MB Mulhall
Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 3:53 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 81

I admit I have a love for all things Asian and I love an Asian dragon a la Spirited Away. He definitely has a violent side to him too.

To me it totally depends on the story. Asian dragons come off as more spiritual beings..mentors and whatnot where as Western dragons come off more as weapons to me. I do like that both are often intelligent and loyal but they can be both good and evil.
Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 4:07 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 245

Spirited Away is actually what started me on my love affair with the Oriental dragon. (We watched it in my 12th grade English class. Except I was sick the first day of watching it so I was rather confused.)
MB Mulhall
Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 4:49 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 81

It's one of my all time favorite movies I love that Miyazaki didn't make him all docile and friendly. He fights, he comes back all bloody and agitated and snapping. While we don't see the actual fight, it's obvious that he's battled.

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