Dragons in Fantasy Fiction

Dragons and fantasy fiction often go together. I am fascinated by dragons, as I have read so many different incarnations of this mythical creature. Sometimes they are ancient, majestic, intelligent creatures, at other times, brutal, violent, mindless beasts that burn anything in their path. And there are many shades in between. I like that confusion. When you meet a dragon in a fictional world, you must be wary.


Robin Hobb’s dragons in The Liveship Traders Trilogy and The Rain Wild Chronicles are intelligent, proud creatures, with a wonderful life-cycle and magic attached to them that I’d never read anywhere else before and that really drew me into her series. Tolkien’s Smaug is intelligent, violent, greedy, and terrifying, and has so much presence. Another of my favourites is Haku from Studio Gibli’s Spirited Away, who is part-human part-spirit, and is fearless and loyal, and a different sort of dragon in appearance to the dragons just mentioned. Other series I love that include dragons include the Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey, and Christopher Paolini’s The Inheritance Cycle, whose telepathic dragons are wonderfully written.


So I felt inspired to write a short story about a dragon – my own dragon is a little brow-beaten and in a dark place, afraid to fly. It’s funny to me how sometimes I only understand how I feel when I read back what I’ve written and created that day. I’m looking for a home for that story now.
In the mean time I also painted a dragon on Photoshop Paint, and entered it into a competition. It felt really good to paint something like a dragon, as I usually rely on drawing exactly what I can see (i.e. from real life). Drawing from my imagination doesn’t come easily as it feels as if it goes against what I was taught as a child – to draw what you see. This is sound advice though, and I used plenty of images and ideas to help paint this dragon, though the idea itself was sketched very roughly on a piece of paper. It felt good to put this image out there for that competition, it’s something I’m not very comfortable with. And even though I didn’t win that competition, it did give me some confidence to draw that freely again, and perhaps to share more what I’ve done.


Light and Shadow by Sarah Hodgetts

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