Dragons in Modern Literature

horatio and poo-poo

Image by dogwelder via Flickr

Firstly, what is a dragon?

Mythology, folktales and religious myths worldwide involved dragons, Chinese to Persian. ‘Dragon’ derives from ‘Drakonta’, ‘To Watch’ – this would perhaps insinuate that their true nature is divine, not evil!

Dragons are generally of a great size and typically breathe fire; however there are numerous accounts of dragons on a much smaller scale, such as the dragon that guarded the Castalian spring, slain by Cadmus.

Dragons are even present in the bible; Nebuchadnezzar (King of Babylon; he ruled for at least 8 years) had a captured dragon stored in the temple of god Bel.

Although dragons do tend to feature in the past, they are evident in modern literature. A book can hold such amazing worlds so much more than a film, where effects come from the imagination, not the pixels. In novels, poetry and drama dragons are observed (usually) as either divine beings or evil beings!

Inheritance ‘Trilogy’ (actually 4 books now!):

The inheritance trilogy follows the life of Eragon, a young farmer who is thrust into an unknown world of ‘adventure’, danger and evil – battling alongside him as the story unfolds is Saphira, his dragon.

In this example, the dragons are portrayed as divine beings, treasured beyond human contemplation.

Harry Potter; the Goblet of Fire:

Anybody, any age, will have heard of – if not seen or read a Harry Potter instalment. In this particular tale, Harry must overcome the might of a Hungarian Horntail! Naturally this dragon breathes fire as that is the general consensus… but still, many do not and it is interesting to see how films and books directed at the younger generation use fire breathing dragons every time.

Poetry – A Dragon’s Lament:

I’m tired of being a dragon,
Ferocious and brimming with flame,
The cause of unspeakable terror
When anyone mentions my name.
I’m bored with my bad reputation
For being a miserable brute,
And being routinely expected.
To brazenly pillage and loot.

I wish that I weren’t repulsive,
Despicable, ruthless and fierce,
With talons designed to dismember
And fangs finely fashioned to pierce.
I’ve lost my desire for doing
The deeds any dragon should do,
But since I can’t alter my nature,
I guess I’ll just terrify you.

~ © Jack Prelutsky!

I’m Liam. I write articles on various forms of mythical creatures, philosophy, spirituality and psychology!
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About Dragon Mystic

I fell in love with dragons when I read Tea With the Black Dragon, and never looked back. Not the clunky winged Medieval dragons that ate cows, the graceful Asian dragons that could fly without wings. Later I discovered the elegant Welsh dragons, red and white, as described by R.J. Stewart in his books on the historical Merlin.
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