A few years ago, my husband went to a sidewalk sale where a sportswear manufacturer was selling excess jerseys and such. He came home with several that had been demonstrator pieces showing the imprinting options. He isn’t into football, but it gave him something to wear when his company proclaimed a Football Friday at the office.

On such an occasion he wore a dark green jersey with yellow lettering that said DRAGONS. A suspicious co-worker asked, “What team is that?”

He said, “It’s a quidditch team!” All the staff who were readers broke out laughing.

Sporting Dragons

Since dragons are widely known for their ferocity and power, it shouldn’t be a surprise that many organizations have chosen dragons as their team mascots and symbols. Here in the US, there are:

The Dayton Dragons, a minor league basball team.
The Chesapeake Dragons and San Antonio Dragons play minor league hockey.
The Los Angeles Dragons, New York Dragons, and Wisconsin Dragons are minor league American-football teams. (Wisconsin is a women’s team.) Fantasy football, indeed!

Dragons are equally poplar with institutes for higher learning. The Drexel University, Lane College, Tiffin University, and Minnesota State University mascots are all Dragons. High schools like St. George’s School, in my home town, call the Dragons their own.

Internationally, there are at least three Dragon teams in China (ice hockey, baseball and basketball), two in South Korea (football), and one each in Japan (baseball) and the Philippines (basketball). Another three Dragon teams in Africa all play soccer. Teams in Europe play rugby, soccer and American football. No fewer than four Dragon teams play rugby in Australia and the Pacific Islands.

And this doesn’t even cover the sports league for dragon boat racing!

Check this Disambiguation Page for a total list of nearly fifty international Dragon sports teams. Whatever sports you follow, you can find some Dragons to cheer on!

Dragon Encounters 16

Those dragons, they are everywhere!

photo by Deby Fredericks

photo by Deby Fredericks

My final strategy for naming a dragon character is to combine descriptive elements that apply to it. Some will be physical attributes such as wings, talons or claws, scales, etc. Others will imply power and fierceness, or a connection with natural forces.

This is the technique I use in naming my dragons for Flight Rising, the online game I play along with my daughter. The leaders of my lair are Skystorm and Silvermoon, with others such as Shearwing, Leaf In Stream, Poison Wind or Cloud Tiger. When I breed them, I like to combine the parents’ names, so Skystorm and Leaf In Stream clutched out Leaf In Sky. Poison Wind and Ashenclaw yielded Ashenflow, Ashtalon, and Poison Frost.

From this, you can probably tell that Flight Rising has taken over our lives. Quinn and I trade dragons and share advice, even though we belong to different clans. If you enjoy browser games and dragons, and you’re open to your life being taken over, the next enrollment period will be in mid-October.

Another common way to name dragon characters is simply to string together some interesting sounds or bits of words. Truth be told, that isn’t much different than naming any other fantasy character or place.

Because dragons often are fierce, you might incorporate some of the harsher or sharper sounds. X, S, C and K come to mind. One of my friends pointed out last time that the more intelligent dragons will be naming themselves, and dragon speech might have a hissing quality that would call for SH, TH and CH sounds. Z and J give a more guttural effect. For a very large creature, rumbling sounds like R, M and N might occur.

Of course, there are the Pern novels, where every dragon’s name ends in TH. You can immediately tell if characters are human or dragon just from that.

One of my favorite techniques is to build off a piece of a word with some particular meaning. In the movie Dragonslayer, the dragon’s name starts with “verm,” a form of wyrm, which of course means a dragon. The second half, “thrax,” includes both TH and X sounds, and is a sound-alike for thrash, in the beating-things-up sense. You end up with Vermithrax, one of the coolest and most theatrical dragon names ever.

Of my own dragon characters, Carnisha contains “carn,” which is like the Spanish word for meat. Lythiskar includes “lithe” plus a sound-alike for scar. Cazarluun is a spirit dragon with a ghostly glow, so I worked in “luna,” a common name for the Moon.

When writing any character, the name is important. It strikes the tone for who this person is, and sometimes gives background information. For instance, a character named Henrietta might have French descent, while Hiro sounds Japanese. Names can be ironic (a really sweet guy named Dick) or broadly hinting (a dangerous woman named Delilah).

With dragons, the name is even more important. These creatures may be master villains or mere beasts, but they are always tough and impressive. Their names should reflect this. Over the next few posts I’ll be checking out different methods to name a dragon appropriately.

Of course, legend and myth come to mind. We’ve all heard of Hydra and Fafnir. Looking through any dictionary of mythology should give you plenty of ideas. Not all of them are great (the Egyptian god Apep) but you can create variations (Wrath-of-Apep). Although lots of characters actually are dragons or serpents, you don’t have to limit yourself. Minerva, for the Roman goddess, would be a fine dragon name as well.

At the same time, not every dragon’s name needs to be as obvious as Fafnir. Mythology holds a host of lesser known personalities that well suit a dragon. Ahriman is the Persian god of evil, while the Hawai’ian  mo’o Hi’iaka was a great heroine.

What are your thoughts on dragon names?

The Klagenfurt Lindworm

Years ago, I heard part of a legend about fossil skull being mistaken for that of a dragon. After doing some research, I’m happy to share the tale with you.

Klagenfurt, Austria, is a small city with a big story. It’s told that in Medieval times, this part of Austria was wilderness. People started to move in and settle near a lake with marshes all along the edges. Unfortunately, they soon learned that a lindworm lurked in those waters! Livestock and people fell prey to its terrible appetite, until a brave warrior managed to bring it down. Once the area was safe, the marshes were drained, and the historic city was built.

Generations passed down the legend of the lindworm. Then, sometime in the 1300s, the skull of a huge, mysterious creature was discovered near Klagenfurt. Nobody knew what it could be, so they decided it must be a last remnant of the fabled lindworm. This relic was displayed with honor in the town hall.

More centuries passed, and the latest batch of town fathers decided to install a large fountain commemorating the victory over the lindworm. The sculptor, Ulrich Vogelsang, borrowed the lindworm skull to use as a model. The impressive cast iron fountain, which looks about 30 feet long, was installed in 1590. Later, in 1636, a different sculptor added the figure of a heroic warrior confronting the lindworm.

Through various wars and disasters, the fountain and the supposed dragon skull both survived. As science advanced, scholars realized that the fossil skull was actually that of an Ice Age rhinoceros. Although the legend of the lindworm was not real, Ulrich Vogelsang is recognized as one of the first artists to try and represent any animal based on its fossil.