The scales are largely, but not entirely, impervious to flame as well, and serve as protection for the more vulnerable flesh and musculature beneath. Similarly the fires they breath become hotter and fiercer. Where a hatchling’s flame can set straw aflame, as it grows, the creature could melt steel and stone. Does this sound familiar? The first thing we associate fire with is a Dragon. Anyone you might ask to describe a dragon will give you a variety of details however the usual response will be that this beast will breath fire, have wings, have horns or sharp teeth and can be bigger than any average size person. Every culture from the West to the East has a different affiliation of this magical monstrous creature. The dragon can be seen as a will of good fortune, holiness, and nobility or a source of destruction, darkness and fear among all the living. There are times it can be turned into a weapon of destruction or an obstacle of some great noble quest or a companion to have as a pet. But where do we stand now in our view of this mythological destructive force of nature in today’s society?
In order to understand what the Dragon is, we have to understand the purpose of the dragon. By definition the Dragon is a monster, an imaginary creature, so far agreed upon, that is typically large and frightening to many. In western culture dating back to the High Middle Ages or High Medieval Period, which brought about great social and political change from the preceding era and the Renaissance of the 12th century including the first developments of rural exodus and of urbanization. In this time frame most people believed that all dragons were evil, deadly and an omen of terrible things to come. Base on the Book of Job, which is the writing section of the Hebrew Bible and the first poetic book in the old testament of the Christian Bible, chapter 41 describes a creature known as the Leviathan.
“Its back has rows of shields tightly sealed together; each is so close to the next that no air can pass between. They are joined fast to one another; they cling together and cannot be parted. Its snorting throws out flashes of light; its eyes are like the rays of dawn. Flames stream from its mouth; sparks of fire shoot out. Smoke pours from its nostrils as from a boiling pot over buring reeds. Its breath sets coals ablaze, and flames dart from its mouth.”
The interpretation of such a description can be based on the creativity of the creature as well a unnaturally large sized bones that have been found but as we now know today, are dinosaurs bones. Not many knew what to make of these findings throughout the earth so a mythical fire breathing dragon seems believable enough. The creativity of describing this beast spans out to many stories throughout the century like Life of Euflamm in which a dragon was slain by King Arthur in the 12 century. Spanning out through the western european world are the works from Jacques de Longuyon story of Les Voeux Du Paon, The Vows of the Peacock, in which Melusine, a beautiful woman who seems faithful but refuses to take communion in church, turns into a dragon and flees when confronted of her misdoings. As we can view the representation of dragons, were merely monstrous reptilian decent that cause havoc and were meant to be slain. Regardless of using the means to define the findings of dinosaur bones the flames of the dragons tales rages on.
However as the trend goes in affiliation to the Monster Theory Thesis VI: Fear of the Monster is Really a Kind of Desire, the dragon purpose changes over the course of history as we now view Dragons as forces of destruction that can be use to our advantage and fantasy. While still retaining the presence of dangerous and powerful creatures, today’s dragons have become our childhood guardians and companions who speak to us on a personal level and provides wisdom for us. A form of media that dragons are soaring into are the screens particularly the loveable Night Fury named Toothless from the DreamWorks animated franchise How to Train Your Dragon. In the franchise we can see how much a dragon is treated in their world. In the first movie dragons are viewed as furiosus unpredictable creatures, similar to how we viewed the discovery of dragons in our world. Then over time the main character, a young viking named Hiccup, befriends Toothless and shows his tribe how dragons are helpful creatures integrating them into their daily lives. In the second film their peaceful ideas are challenge that all dragons should be controlled and used as weapons. Finally in the third film they must set free all dragons and ultimately the world begins to consider them as legends, never truly existed in the first place except for those who where there can remember. This depiction ties in to the Monster Theory as the meaning of their dragons changed over time however still retaining to the stories to pass down to generations to come of adventure and wonder.
Progressing to another franchise the ferocious Dragons from Game of Thrones, a hit HBO series that created a big fanbase, are another interpretation on how we view dragons. Visually they are stunning and are desirable we feel for their safety. If either of the three dragons are hurt the audience will feel sorry for the creatures and their mother. Their mother, Queen Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen Mother of Dragons, treat them as they are her own children that she grew from eggs and hatched them by stepping into a pit of fire along with her dead husband. Once dawn came she step out with three small baby dragons. As they grow older they become unpredictable and a force of destruction but still retaining the obedience of their mother. Seeing these actions transpire shows how dangerous we still view dragon but shows the desire of owning one.
Dragons have made a major impact on our world and will soon continue fanning the flames of ideas of fantasy and adventures. Either by going back to the original idea of the dragon as a mythical hideous beast that brings destruction and terror or perhaps the idea that these creature can become our companions and prosper loyalty and honor. The age of Dragons is vivid and alive as we can see through various images and stories. These tales are soaring through the land reaching the minds of adventurers and storytellers alike.
Radford, Benjamin “Dragons: A Brief History of the Mythical, Fire-Breathing Beasts” April 11 2019 Researcher: https://www.livescience.com/25559-dragons.html
The article, Dragons: A Brief History of the Mythical, Fire-Breathing Beasts by Live Science gives the reader a brief history of what is the Dragon and either it is real to an extent. They are mythical flying serpents that controls the sky and breath fire have been around for generations. From the Eastern to the Western Culture, Dragons have taken many shape or sizes. I am using this blog post in a means to summarize some parts of a dragons history.
Myths and Legend of the World “Dragons” 2001 Macmillan Reference. Researcher: https://www.encyclopedia.com/literature-and-arts/classical-literature-mythology-and-folklore/folklore-and-mythology/dragons
This encyclopedia from literature gives tales and folklore about Dragons in the past few decades. It provides definitions and descriptions of how the creature were viewed. I am using this as a means to understand the multiple perspective of the different kinds of dragons that appeared in our world.
“Life of Efflam” written early 1090 Researcher: http://users.clas.ufl.edu/jshoaf/Efflam.html
This story is a deptiton of one of many King Arthur adventures and in this one he fights and slains a dragon. This tale descriptors details of the beast and how much of a honor it was to slain such a monster. Mainly using this as a means to provide examples of literature and word phrases that were used for Dragons.
Shuker, Karl “Dragons: A Natural History” c1995 https://chf-verso.auto-graphics.com/MVC/#fullrecord/fr/dragons%20history/4e6880d2-7bb4-4842-b0ff-cfcfecc844a1,0,20,0,1,bks,1/55/0
An overview of the world of dragons, from ancient Greece and medieval Europe to pre-Columbian America and ancient China, features lore about the origins, feats, and histories of these mysterious beasts.