Recently I posted about Avatar the Last Airbender, a show where, as part of the series background, dragons were hunted to extinction. I mentioned how odd this seemed, that mere humans would be able to wipe out such a mighty race of creatures.
After all, these are very large animals, with heavy scale armor and terrible breath weapons. Fire breath is the current archetype, but poison breath was also widely ascribed to dragons in ancient times. Further, depending on the storyteller, dragons may also be very smart and long-lived, with the cunning and experience this entails. In some legends, dragons could change shapes and disguise themselves. Some writers even give dragons magic and spell-casting powers!
But, as I think about it, there are many books and stories where dragons have nearly been eradicated. This is especially true in children’s books, where a kind-hearted child character will take it upon him/herself to save the last dragon. In books for adults, hunting out dragons may be a way to switch around the stereotype of the rapacious dragon and create “sympathy for the devil,” if you will.
The question remains, how would some relatively puny humans manage to hunt and kill dragons? Or, as I quipped in my Avatar post, why wouldn’t the dragons just fly away?
So this will be my topic as we close out 2013 and start 2014. Any ideas and suggestions from you, my readers, will be gladly accepted. Especially if you can give examples (preferably author and title) where dragons are successfully battled to the death.
Also, since my next post won’t be until New Year’s Day, let me take this opportunity to thank everyone who’s followed my draconic flights of fancy. I so enjoy this community of writers and fantasy fans we’ve built on WordPress. Happy new year to all of you. May your muses be kind in 2014!