Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Appreciate a Dragon Day

That is today. I had no idea such an observance was in existence, but since it has presented itself to my attention, I feel that it is only right commemorate it. Happy Appreciate a Dragon Day, all of you! I am going to mark the day by appreciating several dragons:

Smaug: Well, he is obvious, right? Smaug is sort of the archetypal dragon, the one we all think of when we think of dragons at all. He is everything a dragon should be - a wicked, wily, miserly beast, red as the gold he hoards and the flame he breathes, huge and terrible. He quite nearly steals the show. The Hobbit might be about the adventures of Bilbo and Gandalf and 13 dwarves, but Smaug is one of the first things one remembers about the book.

Chrysophylax Dives: Smaug's lesser known predecessor, he appears in Tolkien's short story Farmer Giles of Ham. He and Smaug share many characteristics, but Chrysophylax is less clever and more cowardly - a comic dragon to go with a comic hero. Everyone should read Farmer Giles of Ham. It is full of droll humour, wit and plays on words. People whose acquaintance with Tolkien is confined to The Lord of the Rings, will get a chance to see his under-appreciated sense of humour.

Beowulf & the Dragon
Beowolf's Dragon: Fans of The Hobbit will be on familiar ground with this dragon. Like Smaug, his is a great, savage wyrm, who has absolutely no use for his vast hoard, but knows each piece of it intimately. If Smaug is the archetypal dragon, Beowulf's dragon is his father, a terrible creature with all his wickedness, and none of the urbanity that makes Smaug amusing. He is evil, and though Beowulf defeats him, it costs him his life.

Kazul: Normally, I do not much care for revisionary fairy tales and folklore. Dragons are supposed to be wicked, unless one is writing about Eastern dragons, which are good luck. Either way, they are definitely magical and should be treated as such. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede, is an exception to that. For all the tangled enchantment running through her stories, her world is delightfully ordinary (one short story features a Frying Pan of Doom) and her ordinary dragons are exactly the sort of dragon one would expect to find there. Kazul, who is an important character throughout the series, has all the typical dry draconian wittiness, but is utterly lacking in wickedness.

Fire Lizards: Although I never really got into Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern  series, I did read a the Dragon Singer books - three young adult books that are connected to it. I remember enjoying them very much at the time, though that was many years ago, and I have never had any great inclination to re-visit them since. However, the fire lizards - tiny, colourful dragons with a flair for music - were brilliant. I dearly wanted one of my own, and I still love them.


Anonymous said...

Well who was the clever person to think up such a day? Quite genius really.

Smaug and then Kazul - those two dragons are brilliant! I have one - Eustace from "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" He was so good in the movie :)

God Bless

ps - I has a blog now. When it is all ready I will send you the link

Mahri said...

I forgot Eustace! He was brilliant as a dragon, wasn't he? And so much better a person after getting a good, hard look at the sort of person he really was!

I shall be sure to keep an eye on your blog.

Jack said...

I will add Toothless, because I adore him.

I have to read that other book by Tolkien!! I shall go hunting for it soon.
You are right. I get very tired of people saying we HAVE to be a certain way. If we don't fit into their mold we aren't accepted. And it is hard enough without that. It has taken me a long while and is still something I'm learning, to be myself. It is so much easier when I am.

I heard that about Tolkien, I wanted to hug him and thank him for doing re-writes. I also read when Aragorn was named Totter he had wooden feet...

Katrina DeLallo said...

Oh, I love the wee Fire Lizards. They are some of my more favourite dragons. I just wish the rest of her books were so good.

Hoo-rah for Smaug and Chrysophylax Dives! They are two of my more favourite dragons.

What a clever day! Hoot hoot to all dragons far and near.

I also commemorate the last dragon in Merlin.