As I work on a million other things and await the return of Through Dragon Eyes (my latest manuscript) from my editor, I thought I might delve into a bit of the research that went into writing the book.
“Dragon images have been found on the Ishtar Gate of Babylon, on scrolls from China, in Egyptian hieroglyphs and Ethiopian sketches, on the prows of Viking ships, in bas relief on Aztec temples, on cliffs above the Mississippi River and even on bones carved by Inuits in climates where no reptile could live.” – Donald G. McNeil Jr., The New York Times
Where Did Dragons Originate?
“Long ago the land on Earth was one big mass. Creatures born of the oceans climbed upon the shores, but another type of creature was forged in the depths of fire. Our ancestors. Where they first stepped foot and claw on the cool surface was the land now called Dragon Mountain.” – Earthana, Wise One, Through Dragon Eyes by Catherine Milos
There are a number of theories on where the ideas, myths, and legends surrounding Dragons originated.
Stanford Scholar, Adrienne Mayor believes dragons were the result of discoveries of dinosaur bones. I tend to agree with her conclusions, after all, myth is often based on reality. The skeleton of Dinosaur Dracorex hogwartsia looks very much like the Euro-Western’s common depiction of a Dragon and possesses all the facial features of traditional Asian Dragons.
Amphibians, Reptiles, and Birds all hold characteristics of your typical Dragons. Smithsonian.com posits “A giant, lumbering croc? Might be easy to mistake for a dragon.”
There are real-life Dragons: 10 AMAZING REAL-LIFE DRAGONS – BBC EARTH. They don’t breathe fire, but one of them does fly.
What are Dragons Like?
“None of the animals is so wise as the dragon. His blessing power is not a false one. He can be smaller than small, bigger than big, higher than high, and lower than low.”
–Chinese scholar Lu Dian (AD 1042-1102) via The American Museum of Natural History
The temperament of a Dragon is varied, depending on source, circumstance, and the Dragon’s mood.
In myth, literature, and legend, they range from gentle, wise, giants to fearful embodiments of evil. More fearful descriptions like that of Grendel (Beowulf), Fáfnir (Fáfnismál) and Smaug (The Hobbit) often herald a message like the mythical figures and stories they represent.
The form of a Dragon is left up to the imagination. Serpentine, clawed, whiskered, finned, sitting on top of a pile of gold. I tried to take advantage of the wide ranging shapes, while staying in the traditional scaled Dragon frameworks. Some of my Dragons can fly, some can swim in the ocean or in molten lava.
There are even depictions of feathered Dragons (as some Dinosaurs are known to be). Some Dragons are a mashing of elephants, lions, eagles, bears and other animals too.
Types of Dragons
The types of Dragons are as varied as the number of books that exist. Okay well maybe not that varied, but almost. Some of those include:
- Humanoid Dragons like those made popular in Dungeons and Dragons (which has surprisingly few Dragons) and television shows like Supernatural
- Feathered Dragons
- Water Dragons
- Frilled Dragons
- Fire Drakes
- Amphiptere / Amphithere / Amphitere (winged serpents)
- and even the unicorn occasionally falls under ‘Dragon’
For more comprehensive lists of Dragon types and races see:
Some claim Dragons exist, they’ve seen them. More often than not these claims are debunked. When they aren’t it’s because there is no proof or access from outside parties to alleged proof, however, for fun, you might be interested in:
Dragons in Myth, Literature, and Movies
Personally, I believe in Tad Cooper and you should too.