Dragons are one of Earth’s most well-known mythical creatures. They are oft depicted as god-like in power, mostly because of the “Chinese Dragon”. He is really called a Long or a Yang. This fellow has become a mascot for fantasy environmentalists, and he traditionally has a horse head and snake tail. His body has nine joints. Demonic eyes, snake neck, stag antlers. Eagle claws, clam belly fish scales. Tiger soles, a lump on its head to fly and a camel head too.
THE BASIC IDEA
The basic dragon comes from the Balkans (Near Greece and Macedonia). There it was mostly a snake and was found in such myths as Cupid and Psyche from Metamorphosis, Hercules, and others. Later as more cultures adopted it the figure evolved wings, fiery breath, all that good old stuff. In Heraldry sometimes the dragon was called a Wyvern. This creature is in Amulet, where they raid airships. South America and many other cultures have the idea of a snake with feathers like the Quetslquatl (Or however you spell it, it isn’t how it was written in the Aztec script so as long as the sounds are right…) and the Cockatrice. (More on those later.) Why dragons were so widespread I do not know, but they were in Rome, Scandinavia, Native American, and Chinese and Japan, sort of.
WYVERNS AND WHY VERNS
Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. That was funny. So, many other cultures have this thing, to wit Babylon’s Sirrush found on the Ishtar gate (sacred to Marduk)the Basilisk, the Quilin, the Sea serpent and the Wyvern. The Basilisk is of course found in Harry Potter, where it is a monster that paralyses those it looks in the eye. It is the king of the serpents but funnily tiny, at least according to Pliny, in mythology. It leaves a trail of venom like a snail. It is hatched by a rooster from a serpent or toad egg, the opposite of the Cockatrice, it’s bitter enemy, which hires weasels and mongooses to defend chickens and shintys against toads and their spawns. Not to mention catoblepas. The Quilin is only similar because of its relation to the Chinese dragon. This is the “Chinese unicorn”. They appear whenever an illustrious ruler or sage walks past and are sacred pets, afraid to walk on the grass for fear of harming a single blade. This is a good idea actually because they are covered with fire like the Balrog of Kazad-dum.
Sea serpents are more a tale for later, like Godzilla. They are not dragons at all, just big lizards. Wyverns, or Lindworms, are sometimes associated with cold weather and ice, venom, and having only two legs as opposed to four or none. They are like a lesser cousin to the dragon and are rip-offed by water-wyverns which have a fish tail. They are getting a bit more of a following nowadays, because of boredom with the dragon stereotype now so firm, but deserve a lot more.
THE BIG GUNS
I… AM… SMAUG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Smaug is pretty scary, and the movie makes him even scarier. This is not the cute wittle good dwagon.
Smaug is probably one of the last survivors of the War of Wrath, where Elves, Men, Dwarves, and Valar teamed up against Morgoth, the first Dark Lord of Arda. This was the end of the first age and basically changed the world forever, the great forests were wiped away, the Seas rose, and the Valar receded from the company of mortals. The Valar totally destroyed the orcs and most of the Balrogs and were about to win when Morgoth unleashed his dragons. They caused this huge lightning storm and totally were just awesome. But then the eagles came. Again. The greatest dragon, Ancalagon the Black, blotted out the sun, but Earendil slew him. Later Smaug and a few other remnants snuck into the Withered Heath in the East of the Blue Mountains. Here they mixed with Cold Drakes and Serpents and Great worms. When he was powerful enough he attacked the Mountain and you know the rest of the story. He was eventually the last of the Fire Drakes. Many other fantasy series have used dragons, notably How to tame your Dragon books, and Eragon books, and the race is pretty clichéd. But they retain their awesomeness. Dragons, with a few tiny exceptions, seem to fit into medieval fantasy rather than sci-fi, although creatures like dragons are a thing for those who do not want to admit that fantasy is just as cool as sci-fi. Dragons as a symbolic thing; well it traditionally was sin and evil, referring to Satan and such things. Harry Potter, D&D, song of Ice and Fire, Dragonheart, King Ghidhora ( Godzilla fans thumbs up. And you will get more credit in Giant monster creepy authority.), and other popular thingys use the Dragon. What I said earlier about Evil Satanic dragons is partly true, but now that I am in fantasy I feel I should make the distinction, Red is commonly Evil, Silver is Good. Green is Plant or Wood element White is Ice or Air element, Black or Brown is Earth Element, (Red also can be Fire when it is good) Grey is Metal or Ore if it has spots, and Blue is Water. Other elements are Aether, Nexus, and Gold. These are evident in fantasy such as Ninjago. Dragons are in Game of War, which I know from personal experience because my Kingdom is being attacked by one. Also don’t forget Pete’s Dragon!
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