Saturday, August 21, 2010

Here Be Dragons

by Nancy

"Here be dragons," read the margins of old maps, warning of dangers in the seas beyond the known (flat) world. Today, however, we know what's in those spaces, or think we do, and dragons are consigned to the realms of myth and magic.

A book I've been using for research on the current wip says dragons are part of almost every culture on the planet, that they're associated with the Great Goddess and are symbols of power and royalty. Pretty cool.

The book also mentions an herb called dragon blood that's used for a variety of magical purposes, such as those involving love, purification and protection. Some sources say it can add power to particular spells.

Helping carry a long paper dragon is part of Chinese New Year celebrations. King Arthur's surname has come down to us in legend as Pendragon, and Wales historically used a red dragon on its flag. Beowulf fought his last battle against a firedrake, a winged serpent that breathed fire.

The Vikings, as I imagine we all know, carved dragon heads onto the prows of their ships. In Norse mythology, the dragon Fafnir guarded a treasure hoard until Sigurd, or Siegfried, slew him. Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent, coiled around the world with his tail in his mouth and created the oceans.

One of my favorite children's songs is "Puff the Magic Dragon" by Peter, Paul and Mary. If you're too young to know who they are, click on the link. I think "Puff" is probably available from iTunes or from their website. It's a sad song about what happens to our childhood's imaginary friends when we move on, but it has an upbeat ending. And no, I never made the counter-culture associations with it until someone pointed them out to me.

The boy has led us to many fictional and fabulous dragons. Playmobil makes wonderful, if pricey, knights and dragons. One of the boy's favorite Pokemon was the orange dragon, Charizard, who had a very obstinate and independent personality. From Pokemon, our son moved to Yu-Gi-Oh, which featured the Blue Eyes White dragon and several others.

If you like dragons, you should check out the beautiful, detailed children's book Dragonology, which I would never have seen if the boy hadn't been the right age to care when it came out.

Much as Sherlock Holmes's adventures are presented as John Watson's chronicles, the material here is supposedly the result of extensive research by a Victorian dragonologist into types of dragons, preferred foods, ability to fly, ability to speak, and pretty much anything else a person might ponder about dragons.


The boy also had a gorgeous picture book about why dragons left the world, but I can't remember the title. One of his favorite picture books was Saint George and the Dragon (original cover pictured at left), with text by Margaret Hodges and illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman, who won the Caldecott Award for it.

The tale of St. George and the dragon, of course, is an old one. This version comes from Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen, but it's beautifully retold. When the boy weeded his childhood books, we refused to let him discard this one or Dragonology.


Our search for adventure books to share with our young son, who had no bias against stories starring girls, led us to Patricia C. Wrede's wonderful series about Cimorene, a princess who hates court life so much that she runs away to cook for a dragon. When knights come to her aid, she finds creative ways to discourage them because she has no desire to be rescued, thank you very much.

The first book, Dealing with Dragons, is pictured at right. The books are rich in story and humor, and the princess has major but endearing attitude and quick wits. She eventually finds true love. The last book in the series, actually the first published, features her son.


Now the boy is into Naomi Novik's Temeraire series, an alternate history of the Napoleonic Wars in which the armies have air forces mounted on dragons. In the first book, His Majesty's Dragon, a Royal Navy captain captures a rare dragon egg, only to have it hatch on his ship. The dragon, Temeraire, chooses the captain as his rider, changing his life forever.

Novik won SFWA's John W. Campbell Award for the most promising newcomer with this book. The series is now up to six and still going strong. They're on the "must read" list for me, but I'm putting them off until the first of the year, when I'm not teaching, lest I be swept up and unable to stop until I reach the end. The Aerial Corps, as England's dragonriders are known, seems like the Napoleonic equivalent of World War II's RAF, and I'm a real sucker for Battle of Britain stories. And dragons.

As an adult reading Tolkien for the first time, I met Smaug, the greedy creature who has a riddle match with Bilbo Baggins in his cave outside the town of Dale. Given my weakness for archers and Smaug's sly malevolence, it's no wonder I loved the scene where Bard the Bowman's expert shot brought down the dragon. I didn't love the Bakshi version, so I'll be interested to see how this comes across in the forthcoming movie.


The first dragons I remember finding really cool were in Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight (pictured at right with the beautiful Michael Whelan cover that graces my copy), the book that launched her epic Dragonriders of Pern series. The planet Pern suffers from periodic invasions by something called thread--long filament spores that fall from the sky, starting fires and eating through anything they touch. To combat them, the Pernese bond with dragons when they hatch. As pairs, they take to the sky to fight thread before it reaches the ground. The riders feed the dragons stones that help generate fire breath, and the dragons destroy thread before it reaches the ground.

F'lar, the dragonriders' leader, knows a queen egg is about to hatch. Because dragons choose their riders, not the other way around, he needs a selection of girls available to greet the hatchling. When he rescues Lessa, an abused servant, and takes her back to the weyr for the hatching, he doesn't realize she and the golden queen, Ramoth, will win not only the planet's future but his heart.

I also loved Melanie Rawn's Dragon series, which starts with Dragon Prince. In a land threatened constantly by war, a new ruler and his wife struggle to protect the dragons tradition demands he slay. Doing so may be their best hope of avoiding war. There are six of these, shelved in fantasy but including a lot of romance. Another wonderful book is Barbara Hambly's Dragonsbane, which kicks off her Winterlands series.

There are plenty of other dragons out there. Allyson James's Stormwalker features a shapeshifter dragon as a hero, and Deborah Cooke has a series about shapeshifter dragons, just to name two. One of my favorite guilty pleasures movies is Reign of Fire, starring Christian Bale and Matthew McConnaughey, an alternate future tale about humans trying to destroy the dragons that have decimated them. Dragonheart, with Dennis Quaid and Sean Connery, has lots of fans, and How to Train Your Dragon has done well in theaters this summer.

So what are your favorite stories about dragons or other mythical creatures? A package of books I picked up from RWA National, including a signed copy of Jessica Andersen's wonderful Demonkeeper, will go to one commenter today.

130 comments:

flchen1 said...

Ooh, Nancy! Dragons are such beautiful creatures. I've mostly been reading Shelly Laurenston's dragon shifters, rather than just dragon dragons :)

Jane said...

Hi Nancy,
Dragons are pretty popular in my culture, but I can't think of any dragon stories or myths except in regards to the legend of King Arthur. I'm also fascinated by the phoenix and its rising from the ashes and being reborn.

Nancy said...

Fedora, congrats on the rooster! Tell us more about Shelly Laurenston's books. I'm not familiar with them.

Nancy said...

Jane, we loved the bit in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets with the phoenix. They're fascinating birds.

Helen said...

Well done Fedora he had a lazy day with me yesterday eating Tim Tams so I am not sure what he is going to be like today. Oh and I have a friend that loves Shelly Laurenston's books she speaks very highly of them I must try them.

Nancy
Loved this post I too love dragons and I love the song Puff The Magic dragon . Although I haven't read a lot of books about dragons I did love the movie How To Tame A dragaon we took Jayden to the movies to see it and loved it I also love the movie Dragonheart.
I read Kendra Leigh Castle's series and there were a couple of dragon shapeshifters that I really loved.

Have Fun
Helen

flchen1 said...

Shelly's dragon shifters are the ones she actually writes as GA Aiken--it's a series about a family of dragon shifters. They're a mix of funny and hot and are very delicious reads :)

http://www.gaaiken.com/books.php

Book 4 comes out in September!

Nancy said...

Helen, he's always a handful after Tim Tams. Honestly, you'd think he invented them!

I haven't seen the dragon movie, but I hear it's very good. Tell us a bit more about the Kendra Leigh Castle books?

Nancy said...

Ah--thanks for the info, Fedora!

cories said...

I, too, enjoyed the Temeraire series and the kids book series, My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett, is an old favorite. I didn't like the Dragonology books as much but I'm definitely not the target audience.

Aside from dragons, there are variations on them, wyrm, wyvern, etc., which are all interesting, too.

cories119[at]yahoo.com

Beth Caudill said...

I love dragons. I still have all my Pern books. Gael Baudino wrote a trilogy (Dragonsword) of a woman who crosses over to another world with magic, sorcery and dragons.

A long time ago, I saw a cartoon about a man who traveled to another place and became a dragon. It was called Flight of Dragons.

Kim in Hawaii said...

Aloha! Today is a state holiday (and no school). We participated in the "behind the scenes" tour of the Tropical Mac Farm - private parcel of land that is popular with Hollywood filming. The tour took us out onto the Maunalua Fish pond, where we could look back at the Kooloa Mountains (made famous in Jurassic Park). Our tour guide pointed how the peaks and valleys formed Oahu's own "dragon" (so named long before the Asian immigration).

You mentiond that the Welsh adopted the Red Dragon as its national symbol, which is connected to the prophecy of King Arthur. His father was Uther Pendragon, "Chief dragon".

The Welsh born Henry VII carried the Red Dragon into battle as he claimed the English throne from Richard III (leading to the English heir being named the Prince of Wales).

So it would seem that "Here be dragons" rings true throughout the world!

Becke Davis said...

I adore dragon stories - especially those by Shana Abe and G.A. Aiken. Nora also wrote about a shape-shifting dragon in one of her trilogies. I have a bunch of other dragon books in my to-be-read pile, too.

Becke Davis said...

Another book with dragons is THE CRYSTAL CAVE by Mary Stewart, the first book in her Arthurian series. The red and dragons are symbolic rather than real, but they play an important part in the story.

Anna Campbell said...

Nancy, what a cool post. I love the look of DEALING WITH DRAGONS in particular. There's a lovely Frank L. Baum story about a nice dragon that doesn't like to barbecue people too - it's around here somewhere in a fairytale anthology. I kept reading fairytales way past the age when you're supposed to stop ;-) When I was a kid, I had a firm belief in the existence of mythical creatures. Especially unicorns and mermaids. I mean, come on, they're just so cool they have to be real, right?

Kim in Hawaii said...

I would like to pass along some "research" for the Golden Rooster. Back to our trip today to the Mac Nut Farm, we were surprised by the swarm of wild roosters and hens. And we soon learned what enticed them. As the Samoans demonstrated how to open coconuts, the roosters and hens stormed the stage area to pick at the coconuts. They love the sweet delight.

So the next time the Banditas hosts a party in Lair, I suggest Lars and Sven refrain from serving Coconut Daquaris unless the Golden Roster wants some competition.

ilona said...

My husband and I love dragons so much I have a tattoo of one and we have hundreds of them around the house. I think it's because he is Welsh and I spent a long time in the far East as a child so we both grew up with dragons around us :D

Book-wise I've been a fan of the Pern Dragons for years :D I also like Jane Yolen's Pit Dragon trilogy and Mercedes Lackey's Dragon Jousters. One of my favourite dragons stories is Flight Of Dragons by Peter Dickinson (though the animated film based on it is better).

barb said...

have a good time with GR Fedora

Hi Nancy .... I have never read any books with dragons... have read about shape shifters so looks like I will have to add some more books to my TBR pile ... I might be showing my age but I do remember Puff the Magic Dragon

Blodeuedd said...

I am with you on Reign of Fire, that is my fav dragon movie, so cool :=)
As for in books, can't say that I have met any dragons that have stayed with me

Minna said...

Dragon stories? Well, one of my favorites is Anna and the King of Dragons by Karen Harbaugh.

Laurie said...

I too read and enjoyed My Father's Dragon. A young boy Elmer runs away to an island to rescue a baby dragon and all of his escapades along the way. It's my son Eric's favorite story. There were two other stories in this series: Elmer and His Dragon and the Dragons of Blueland. Author Ruth Stiles Gannett

PJ said...

Wonderful blog, Nancy! Dragons are such fascinating creatures, aren't they? My youngest brother turned me on to McCaffrey's Pern series many years ago. (He's a huge fan)

I love Susan Kearney's Pendragon Legacy Trilogy that was released in 2009-10, especially LUCAN, the first book in the series. The books feature dragon shapeshifters and a fascinating twist on the legend of King Arthur.

Virginia C said...

I still love "Puff, the Magic Dragon". Just try to not think about the puffing and inhaling. Blank it out from your mind...just hum along : )

Dragons are very sexy, in a slinky, fiery, powerful, forbidden kind of way : ) Mythological flying men-beasts-of-war! Dragons are associated with wisdom and longevity. They are masters of all of the elements of nature, and they can take many forms. Dragons are fierce warriors and can be victorious in any circumstance. That mojo definitely works for me in a hunky dragon hero : )

Margay said...

I'm almost afraid to admit that I haven't really caught the whole dragon buzz, though I did love the Peter, Paul and Mary song. I think my favorite mythical creature is still the mermaid - just the idea of it fascinates me.
Margay

Barbara Monajem said...

My favorite dragon stories are kids' books. One is There's No Such Thing as a Dragon by Jack Kent. A little dragon shows up in a boy's room one morning, but everyone keeps insisting to the boy that there's no such thing... so the dragon gets bigger and bigger and bigger... but I won't give away the whole story. It's a great one for reading aloud to toddlers.

I also loved The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch. It's a fun twist on fairy tales -- a princess-liberation story in a whole new way.

Christie Kelley said...

I love dragons, Nancy! But I have to admit, I don't read about them. I leave that to my 18 yr old. He has a multitude of books on dragons, including Dragonology. When he gets back from the community golf outing with my husband, I'll ask him for his recommendations.

Donna MacMeans said...

Laurie -

I read nancy's blog and was trying to remember my favored dragon stories from when I was little and couldn't remember them - until you mentioned My Father's Dragon. That's it! The dragons of Blueland. I even recall framing a picture I drew of them - sitting in a circle with their various patterns - to hang in my son's bedroom. Thank you for that.

I love dragons, in part because they have the gift of flight. They're beautiful mythical creatures and I'm not surprised there's so many books out there in all genres with dragons. They're a delight to the imagination.

Deb said...

Hey, Nancy and Banditas, I haven't posted much lately with school starting, but have checked in every day.

I'm not much into dragons, but have seen 3 of the books you've talked about. Shary had a picture book of "Puff the Magic Dragon" which came with a CD of P, P, and Mary's version of the song. We've also looked through Dragonology and I have St. George at school. Activityvillage.com has awesome coloring pages for St. George's Day and other holidays. Also, for fun, when Chinese New Year's rolls around, I have the kids color dragon masks or fans.

My school just ordered leveled books for our library and one set is "Medieval Tales" which includes Beowulf. I'm going to look/read it and see if it would be on level for some of the boys in my class...

P.S. Sorry for not underlining and such, but my computer won't "do" the HTML tags.

Linda Henderson said...

I haven't read that many dragone books, but my favorite kids movie is Pete's Dragon. I had to buy it for my grandkids, they love it. I will take under advisement all these dragon books, I'll be looking for them. I love fairy tales and mythology too, even at my age.

Janga said...

I'm a huge Patricia Wrede fan. She's the first name on my list when someone asks for recommendations for books for girls. Cimorene is a wonderful antidote to the passive princess syndrome.

John Mullan wrote one of his "Ten Best" articles on dragons for The Guardian recently, and I couldn't believe he omitted Wrede's Enchanted Forest dragons, Yolen's Pit Dragon trilogy, and Kenneth Grahame's The Reluctant Dragon. I love Bruce Coville's Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher too.

Although most of my favorite dragons are from children's stories, I also enjoyed Shana Abe's Drakon series and Dragon Lovers, the anthology with offerings from some of my favorite writers--Jo Beverley, Mary Jo Putney, Karen Harbaugh, and Barbara Samuel.

Linda Henderson said...

Sorry, I can't type today. I meant I hadn't read many DRAGON books.

Nancy said...

Cories, I'm not familiar with My Father's Dragon. Can you tell us something about it?

You said: Aside from dragons, there are variations on them, wyrm, wyvern, etc., which are all interesting, too.

One of my favorite t-shirts shows a red dragon surrounded by books and says "Book Wyrm." I got it at DragonCon.

Anna Sugden said...

Great post, Nancy. I haven't read many dragon books, but I love mythical creatures! Mermaids and unicorns and centaurs and phoenixes and so on - I think that was part of the appeal of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (apart from it being so cool to walk into a wardrobe and out the back into another world!)

Of course, for obvious reasons, I'm rather partial to St George *g*.

Nancy said...

Beth, there's a track at DragonCon devoted just to Pern. It's called Weyrfest, and they always have a big contingent march in the parade.

Those other books you mentioned sound interesting.

Nancy said...

Kim, how cool about the Oahu dragon.

The history bits are always interesting, too, (though I prefer the red rose to the white) the threads that run through where we might not expect them.

Nancy said...

Gak! Too early!

I like my roses WHITE, NOT RED. Ack!

Nancy said...

Becke, I've been getting seriously into Nora's paranormals since reading the Sign of 7 trilogy earlier in the summer. Is the shapeshifting dragon in the ones that starts with Morrigan's Cross? Or in a different one?

Nancy said...

Just FYI, there will be a winner announcement posted just before midnight, eastern time. I'll have my winner from before conference, which I realized I'd never posted, Katharine Ashe's winner, and today's winner in that post.

Nancy said...

Becke, I haven't read Mary Stewart's Arthurians in years, but they're on my keeper shelf. A friend gave me the first one for my birthday when I was in college, and I blitzed right through the rest. That was also the year before my summer in England, so the books were fresh in my mind when I stood on the cliffs at Tintagel for the first time. I love those books.

Nancy said...

Anna C., I didn't know about the Baum. I'll have to ask the dh, who teaches Baum, about it.

I also read fairytales (and comic books) long after most people stopped. I loved the Andrew Lang "color" fairy boks.

Nancy said...

Kim, that's fascinating about the coconuts. I guess pina coladas are out, too. :-)

Nancy said...

Ilona, how neat that you have all those dragons in your life! I'm not familiar with any of the books you mentioned, but they sound cool. I think Laurence Yep also has a YA dragon book. We may have read it to the boy, but that was a long time ago.

It's interesting that you like the film adaptation of the Dickenson better than the book. For me, it's usually the other way around.

Nancy said...

Barb, I like your rooster!

I hope you enjoy the dragon shifters. You know, I still sing along on those rare occasions when "Puff the Magic Dragon" comes on the radio.

Nancy said...

Blodeuedd, I like the part at the end of Reign of Fire, when they're in the city fighting the dragon, the best. But I also like the ruined castle HQ of Christian Bale's group.

Nancy said...

Hi, Minna--

I'm not familiar with the book you mentioned, but I like Karen Harbaugh.

Nancy said...

Laurie and Donna, those books sound interesting. Since there are several, I'm surprised we didn't run across them in our search for books to read to the boy.

Nancy said...

PJ, Todd McCaffrey comes to DragonCon frequently. If your brother likes Pern, he might want to brave the chaos some year and check it out. The Weyrfest is the Pern programming track.

Nancy said...

Virginia, that's an interesting bit of dragon lore. Thanks for sharing.

I read that PP&M denied any counterculture associations with Puff. I decided long ago just to enjoy the song and ignore the rest.

Becke Davis said...

Oh my gosh - how could I forget to mention "How to Tame Your Dragon," one of the best movies I've seen all year? It's WONDERFUL, and it's based on a book (I think it's part of a series).

"Reign of Fire" is a little gruesome in parts, but it's a really good movie. My husband watched it for the first time recently (I think I watched it with the kids when they were in high school) and we've been talking about it a lot.

It offers a very cool theory - that dragons are kind of like cicadas; their eggs are buried deep underground and hatch in cycles. Only where cicadas go in 13, 17 year cycles, the dragons hatch in cycles separated by thousands of years.

Nancy said...

Margay, I like mermaids, too. Superman's first love was a mermaid, Lori Lemaris, who left him because she couldn't live in his world and he couldn't stay in hers.

Nancy said...

Barbara, we loved The Paper Bag Princess, too!

Nancy said...

Christie, I'd bet your boy and mine have some of the same books!

Minna said...

Nancy, Anna and the King of Dragons is one of the stories in the book called Dragon Lovers.

Becke Davis said...

Nancy - I've also been to Wells, Tintagel, Stonehenge and to Wales - which all figure in the Arthurian legends. I love those stories, although it's difficult to separate fact from fiction.

There's an interesting article here, challenging some recent publicity placing the Round Table in Chester, England: http://bit.ly/94OFU6

Nancy said...

Deb, don't worry about the html tags. We don't especially care. :-) It's much more important for people to chime in around here than it is for the coding to be right.

The medieval book sounds interesting. Dorling Kindersley has done a lot of YA medieval reference books. As far as I know, though, there isn't one on dragons.

I hope your school year goes well. Mine starts next week.

Nancy said...

Linda, I also love fairy tales and mythology. As my stubborn allegiance to comic books demonstrates, I see no reason to let age determine my interests.

And don't worry about the typo. I do that all the time. And flip flower colors. :-/

Nancy said...

Janga, those all sound like YA books, which sometimes get overlooked. That's sort of hard for me to believe, considering that the YA crowd has a huge contingent of dragon fans, but it happens.

I have Patricia Wrede's Regency books in a combo edition I got from the Science Fiction book club, and I like them a lot. They don't have quite the attitude level of Cimorene, but they're fun.

I think the worldbuilding questions for writers on the SFWA website (www.sfwa.org) are hers, if I remember right.

Nancy said...

Anna, I can see as how you'd like St. George. I've been to Dragon Hill, but the only activity at the time was kite-flying.

I like mermaids and phoenixes, too.

Nancy said...

Becke, I'd forgotten that cyclical theory about dragons from Reign of Fire. Yeah, it's a bit gruesome. I close my eyes for those parts. :-)

Nancy said...

Becke, I've never been to Wells. Or, alas, to Bath or lots of other places I'd like to see. *sigh*

I did go to Viriconium, aka Wroxeter's Roman City, which has some interesting Arthurian tie-ins.

Thanks for the link on the Round Table. I've seen the one in Winchester, which is a medieval reconstruction, not the real thing, but I hadn't seen this article.

Becke Davis said...

Nancy, the shapeshifting dragon, Larkin, is in book 2 of the Circle trilogy, DANCE OF THE GODS.

It's really good, but I agree with most of the comments I've seen from Nora fans that the third book in this series is my favorite (in THIS trilogy - my favorite overall is the Three Sister's Island trilogy).

Nancy said...

Becke, thanks. I just finished the Three Sisters Island trilogy, which I started on Jeanne's recommendation. I thought it was great.

Becke Davis said...

I haven't been to Viriconium, but I can highly recommend Bath and Wells. And if you go for another visit, be sure to go to Wales, especially the ancient cathedral town of St. Davids. It's the westernmost point in the British Isles, and I have fond memories of it.

We should put together a group and go over for a visit, hang out with Anna S.!

Nancy said...

Becke, a group tour would be great fun! I've always wanted to go on the one the Richard III Society puts together, but I've never made it. An Arthurian one would be way cool.

Becke Davis said...

There's a big Agatha Christie convention in Harrogate - I want to go to that someday.

Nancy said...

Becke, you mentioned Harrogate. Doesn't that figure in one of Georgette Heyer's books?

An Agatha Christie gathering would be fun.

Caren Crane said...

Nancy, I love dragons! This post was a delight to read and awakened my slumbering inner dragonrider. *g*

The Dragonriders of Pern series (along with the related Dragonsong series) was my very favorite series EVER. I have read every delicious word of it numerous times. As a matter of fact, this post is prodding me to read them all again. What magic have you wrought, evil enchantress?

My first serious dragon love affair, though, was with Patricia McKillip's The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. Teh dragon in that book, Gyld, was by no means tame. He was a treasure-hoarder and quite unpredictable, as dragons should be.

Of course, the dragon Smaug in The Hobbit was another favorite of mine. *sigh* Oh, and I had almost forgotten the Mary Stewart Arthurian series. When I read The Crystal Cave, it was like magic. I read the first three and just now saw there is a fourth that I never heard of. I would need to re-read the entire series before tackling that one!

My youngest was a devotee of Eragon and the other books in the series. She ate them up, but didn't love the movies as much.

Dragons are awesome.

Caren Crane said...

I would definitely go on an Arthurian tour, Becke and Nancy! Of course, I haven't even made it to Dragon Con yet and that's just in Atlanta. Hm...

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

One of my favorite movies is Dragon Heat. I also like Eragon movies and books. Other than that I have not read many dragon books. I am most definitely old enough to remember Puff the Magic Dragon, a musical/dragon version of The Velveteen Rabbit in my mind.

Nancy said...

Caren wrote: As a matter of fact, this post is prodding me to read [the Pern series] all again. What magic have you wrought, evil enchantress?

Bwahahahaha!

So you liked Smaug, eh? I wouldn't have suspected this about you. *g*

I love The Forgotten Beasts of Eld! We also read the McKillip Hed series, The Riddlemaster of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire, and Harpist in the Wind. I loved them, and the boy liked having them read to him. They aren't dragon books, though.

If you're that into Pern, you need to go to DragonCon and spend your days in the Weyrfest room. Really. Did you know Anne McCaffrey has a blog?

I'm game for the Arthurian tour. If only I had actual money with which to do it.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Nancy, just out of curiosity, what color is Ermigarde? I have never seen anything except the tip of her tail and what was left after she had a rampage.

Nancy said...

Dianna, that's an interesting association--Puff and the Velveteen Rabbit. I'd never thought of it that way, but it makes a lot of sense.

Dragon Heat? I'm not familiar with it. What's it about?

Nancy said...

Dianna asked: Nancy, just out of curiosity, what color is Ermigarde? I have never seen anything except the tip of her tail and what was left after she had a rampage.

She's green, with hints of iridescent blue in direct sunlight. When she gets mad or irritated or upset, though, she gets a sort of red-gold edging on her scales. This tends to happen a lot when Paolo is around, unfortunately.

He was whining about it last week, and Demetrius told him to suck it up and deal or else quit. Since Demetrius was polishing his sword at the time, Paolo clammed up. I don't think he'll quit. He likes the food here too much.

Janga said...

Nancy, the world-building questions are Wrede's. I've recommended them to several writer friends. I find them useful for the world bbuilding that's part of any kind of fiction.

Have you read Thirteenth Child? I liked it, not quite as much as her Regency fantasies but enough to have read it twice already. It has steam dragons and wooly mammoths. :)

I keep hoping to hear that a second Frontier Magic book will be released soon, but I haven't heard anything. And there's nothing new on her website except a notice of a June 2010 release of an omnibus containing Mairelon the Magician and Magician's Ward. I hope the controversy over Wrede's failure to be politically correct on the Native American issue didn't sink the planned trilogy.

Nancy said...

Janga, I haven't read The Thirteenth Child. In fact, I wasn't aware of it. It sounds sort of steampunk-y, which would draw in several of the banditas.

I agree that those worldbuilding questions are good for any type of book. While a lot of them, like whether there is glass in the windows, work best for traditional or epic fantasy, there's no rule that says you have to use them all. A person can pick and choose the ones that help.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Heeeey, Nancy! One of my fav topics! Grins.

I loved those old maps, btw. And the Dragonolgy graces my shelves as do various porcelain, glass blown, stuffed, articulated - I love them all. Grins.

Gotta love me some dragons.

Hey Fedora, congrats on catching Goldie!

Nancy said...

Jeanne, welcome back! I would love to have some of those Franklin Mint dragons--the gorgeous, sculpted ones--but I lack not only the money to buy them but the space to do them justice.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

For all those who mentioned the Pern series (McCaffrey) Count me as another fan.

Barbara, I ADORE The Paper Bag Princess. Altho I have boys, I bought that one anyway. Grins.

THere's a wonderful and very old book called Artie and the Princess which is vaguely like Cimmorene's tale, Nancy. It has the most delicous illustrations. I love Wrede's Dealing with Dragons stories. I've pretty much loved all her stuff. Her book, Beauty, is the retelling of the Beauty and the Beast and I've like it best, so far, of the retold tales.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Becke said: Oh my gosh - how could I forget to mention "How to Tame Your Dragon," one of the best movies I've seen all year? It's WONDERFUL, and it's based on a book (I think it's part of a series).

It IS a wonderful movie! LOVE it! Hiccup, the dragon boy. Very fun.

The series is by Cressida Cowell and is quite entertaining in a very boy-centric way. (There are lots of bodily fluid jokes) But in true boy-fashion, by two are loving How To Train Your Dragon, the book as well as the movie. It's very different, btw, from the movie.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Caren said: My first serious dragon love affair, though, was with Patricia McKillip's The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. Teh dragon in that book, Gyld, was by no means tame. He was a treasure-hoarder and quite unpredictable, as dragons should be.

OH!! Wasn't he WONDERFUL?? I love that book, and reread it periodically just for the cool themes and the beautiful image of that crystaline "calling room" she had. Grins.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy, I too love the Franklin Mint ones, but also lack the space. And the inclination to dust, alas. The stuffed ones get a periodic fluff in the dryer, and the others get a dusting, but I'm not looking to expand the collection much because of the aforementioned dusting issue. Hahaha.

Thanks for the welcome back. The beach was wonderful in many ways, but I'll be happy to get back in the groove!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

WONDERFUL post, Nancy!

I remember when I first read the Pern books. LOVED THEM!!! Also LOVED Smaug! He was just so decadent. ;-)

Helen, you and Nancy and the rest of our BBs will get to ask Kendra Leigh Castle all about her dragon shifters and her new fallen angels. She will be guesting with us here in the Lair on Sept. 3rd.

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Duchesse! I hear ya on the lack of dusting... there's just NO TIME for such unimportant things. ;-)

My son had a green stuffed dragon when he was around your Quinn's age. I named it Urassis as in Urassis Dragon. He kept that name and the toy, esp. once he got the joke about the name. I think he still has it somewhere!

AC

Minna said...

Well, my book wishlist certainly isn't getting any shorter today.

Minna said...

Oh, and Vicki Lewis Thompson has a dragon story, too about nerd dragon Horace:
http://www.vickilewisthompson.com/horace.html

Nancy said...

Jeanne, I haven't seen Wrede's Beauty. I've seen but not read the Robin McKinley retelling of that tale. At least, I think it's McKinley.

You also need to go to DragonCon and check out the Weyrfest track.

Heck, you just need to go to DragonCon anyway!

Leni said...

I am not familiar with dragon stories. I've been reading all of the things that people have been saying about them and I will check out this genre.

lenikaye@yahoo.com

Nancy said...

Jeanne, dust is the major drawback to knick-knacks. I have several varieties of miniature castles and cottages, but the dust thing is an issue.

Nancy said...

AC, another Smaug fan? I guess you're not so keen on Bard the Bowman, then.

Kendra's visit sounds like a greast way to liven up a holiday weekend.

Nancy said...

Uh, that's GREAT way to liven it up.

Nancy said...

Minna wrote: Well, my book wishlist certainly isn't getting any shorter today.

LOL! Neither is mine.

Thanks for the VLT reference.

Nancy said...

Leni, I hope you find some books you like among the many we're all tossing out there.

Kirsten said...

Hi Nancy! I love dragons, and you've got my absolute favorite book up there -- the Dragonriders of Pern. Serious -- favorite book EVER!!

Anna Campbell said...

Nancy, I just checked the book - should have done that first. It wasn't a LFB story (although there was an LFB story in the anthology which is why I got confused). It's The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame which Janga mentioned! Janga, yet again, you have exemplary taste! ;-)

Nancy said...

Hi, Kirsten--McCaffrey's Dragonriders have quite a following around here.

We should ALL go to DragonCon . . .

Nancy said...

Anna C., thanks for checking back. The dh would've been confused. *g* He loves Kenneth Grahame, too.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, I just ordered the Patricia Wrede Dealing with Dragons. It sounds like great fun.

And I love the Drakon Series by Shana Abe. I remember being absolutely bowled over by the beauty of the writing when I read the first one, The Smoke Thief! Amazing stuff!

Pissenlit said...

I luuuuuuuuuuurve dragons! My favourite dragon stories are Naomi Novik's Temeraire series and Anne McCaffrey's Pern series. Good call on holding off on the Novik books till you have free time. I didn't want to put them down once I started.

If you can get your hands on a copy, an absolutely fantastic dragon book is Anne McCaffrey and Richard Woods' A Diversity of Dragons. It's illustrated by John Howe so the pictures are fabulous. It's an oversized(very) hardcover with some short dragon tales(I think perhaps from various series with dragons?). Several years ago, I made the mistake of giving away my copy to another dragon-loving friend and I've been kind of regretting it ever since.

I actually wasn't much of a fan of Reign of Fire. I prefer my dragons to side with the good guys. :D

Nancy said...

Anna, I think you'll get a huge kick out of Cimorene. Let me know how you liked it.

Nancy said...

Pissenlit, ANOTHER Pern fan! There are a lot of us here today.

I also prefer my dragons on the heroic side, but I can deal with the other if I have Christian Bale and Matthew McConnaughey and a castle to look at and lots of stuff blows up.

I hadn't seen A Diversity of Dragons, but it sounds cool. I'll have to look for it.

Cassondra said...

I LOVE dragons. Dream about them frequently.

But I don't usually watch the films about dragons because they so often end badly for the dragon. It seems the "dragons are bad and must be slain by the hero" tradition carries on, and I'm unwilling to watch the dragons be slain. I just can't. :0/

I'm a wuss.

Cybercliper said...

Hi Nancy, I absolutely love dragons - shifters or not. Allyson James has a 3 book series called - what else - Dragon series that has an alternate dimension and dragon shifters. G.A. Aiken also has a series about dragon shifters that is pretty hot! I haven't tried McCaffrey yet, but I've heard some great things about the Pern series. She's been recommended by Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Romance fans so it looks to be a must read series.

Minna said...

I think there must be soon about 2000 books on my wishlist that I keep on BookMooch. If I manage to buy or swap 1 or 2 books, I must inevitably add at least 10 more books (old or new) on my wishlist.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy said: I've seen but not read the Robin McKinley retelling of that tale. At least, I think it's McKinley.

Ooops! Mixed up my authors! It IS McKinley!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna said: It's The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame which Janga mentioned! Janga, yet again, you have exemplary taste! ;-)

Ohhhh and the illustrations by Michael Hague are gooooorrrrrgeous!

Nancy said...

Cassondra, I'm pretty sure the dragon survives at the end of the Sean Connery/Dennis Quaid movie. There's also a movie starring James Purefoy, Piper Perabo, and Michael Clarke Duncan about a knight and a princess protecting a dragon's egg, and it ends happily.

And there's a dragon in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I think the dragon came out pretty well in that one.

The boy used to watch a cartoon show about a family of dragons, but it's a bit juvenile for your taste.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Another series which I love and I've mentioned before is Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory's Outstretched Shadow series. There's a dragon in there - very reluctant to come out of hiding, btw - but he's not the main feature. It's a great series, really engrossing.

Nancy said...

Hi, Cybercliper--the Allyson James series sounds like fun.

The Pern books aren't heavy on the romance, but it's definitely there, and F'lar is a really great guy--noble, courageous and kind.

Nancy said...

Jeanne, Mercedes Lackey is very versatile, isn't she?

There's also a dragon in the Rhapsody series by Elizabeth Haydon, which you might like, given your interest in fantasy and science fiction. The books are very dark, and the dragon isn't a major player, but it plays an important role in the third (I think) book.

Pissenlit said...

Nancy - I hadn't seen A Diversity of Dragons, but it sounds cool. I'll have to look for it.

If you come across one, hold on to it. Apparently they're hard to find. *sigh* I gave away my copy in a fit of annoyance at how oversized it was. It didn't really fit anywhere. Silly me.

catslady said...

I have to say Dragonheart is one of my all time favorites. Just the other day I watched Eragon which is about dragons. I'm horrible at names but I've enjoyed many others. I've also heard some other versions of what Puff the Magic Dragon meant lol.

Minna said...

I remember this Finnish clay animation about a young dragon called Justus, who couldn't wait until his wings would grow on his back so that he could fly.

Nancy said...

Pissenlit, isn't that annoying, when you give something away and then later regret it? Especially books!

Minna said...

http://www.yle.fi/pikkukakkonen/ohjelmat/kuvat/lohikaarme_justus.jpg

Nancy said...

Catslady, I've never seen Dragonheart all the way through. Like you, I know there are other dragon movies but can't remember what they are.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Arrrgh, how could I have forgotten Patricia Brigg's Dragon Bones and Dragon Blood? FABULOUS books!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Nancy said...
Dragon Heat? I'm not familiar with it. What's it about?


My bad!! I wasn't proof reading what I wrote earlier, that would be Dragon Heart not heat.

Nancy said...

Jeanne, I have the first in the Briggs set here somewhere (which is where I say most of the books in the TBR pile are, "here somewhere," with a vague sort of facial expression). Didn't we talk about these books at some point?

Nancy said...

Dianna, LOL on the typo! Happens to me all the time. :-)

Becke Davis said...

Cybercliper - I've read all those G.A. Aiken dragon books and really enjoyed them!

Jeanne - I have those Patricia Briggs books in my TBR pile.

Nancy - It's been a long time since I read Georgette Heyer's mysteries, and I haven't actually read her romances yet (though I hesitate to admit this). I have three of them in my TBR pile - does that count?

Dianna and catslady - I forgot about Dragonheart, the movie. I seem to remember it was pretty good.

I never read Eragon but my son read it when he was in high school, and he has since read the whole series. He says the first book is by far the best.

Isn't there a dragon in Shrek, too?

Cassondra said...

Becke said:

Isn't there a dragon in Shrek, too?

Why, yes indeedy. I do believe there IS a dragon in Shrek.

I've even quoted that line Donkey uses. "STAAAAAND back everybody! I've got a dragon, and I'm not afraid to use it."

Becke Davis said...

LOL, Cassondra - I forgot that line!

Nancy said...

Becke said: I have three of them in my TBR pile - does that count?

Only in the way that my having rented The Mummy twice counts as having watched it.

Cassondra won't let me count that, just so you know. :-)

How could I forget the dragon in Shrek? She was so cool!

Nancy said...

Cassondra, I'd forgotten that line, too, but it's great!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

"I'm a Donkey on the edge...."

Shrek rocks. And the little mutant donkey dragon babies are pretty darn cool too in Shrek II.

Grins.

Nancy said...

Jeanne, I didn't see Shrek II. I'll have to check out the little mutant donkey dragons.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

There is a dragon in the Merlin series as well, unfortunately I missed the episodes where he was released and apparently created havoc in Camelot. Haven't been able to catch the rerun either.

Nancy said...

Dianna, I missed that dragon. I haven't loved the Merlin series, but I've seen only snatches of it. What do you think?

Daz said...

Nancy, I love dragons. Have ever since I read Moreta the Dragon Lady by Anne McCaffrey when I was a kid of about 13 years old.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Nancy said...
Dianna, I missed that dragon. I haven't loved the Merlin series, but I've seen only snatches of it. What do you think?


It took me a little while to get into it but I was finally hooked. There isn't really too much tv that I watch regularly. I loved the dragon though, had a major attitude problem.

cories said...

"My Father's Dragon" is an old kids book (published in the 1940's) and in it a boy named Elmer travels to a place where there are dragons and has adventures. It is followed by "Elmer and the Dragon" and "The Dragons of Blueland". I read the three books a long time ago and remember them as sweet and not too scary for small children.

cories119 [at] yahoo.com