Of Dragons and Shadows

Maxfield_parrish__reluctant_dragon
"May I come in, St. George?" said the Boy politely, as he paused at the door. "I want to talk to you about this little matter of the dragon, if you're not too tired of it by this time."  — Kenneth Grahame, The Reluctant Dragon, 1898

Susan here, with a few thoughts on dragons and dragonslayers — what we call a Wench Classic Post, but revisited and refreshed with new thoughts. I wrote my dissertation study on the iconography of St. George in medieval art, so for years I was surrounded not by stacks of historical romance novels in my office, but by images of St. George – alone, with the princess, on a horse, off a horse, with and without patrons, and of course – images of the dragon.

While I was working on the paper, I kept two Gary Larson Far Side cartoons near my desk as inspiration, along with an assorted collection of postcards and dragon miscellany. And dragons feature on the covers, and in the titles and the stories, of many of the books on my bookshelves. I particularly love them. But what is it about dragons that fascinates us? Dragons and dragon-like monsters
Rogier1000exist in nearly every culture and occur in innumerable myth cycles from cultures all over the world.

Here’s a look at some of the symbolism and a few thoughts on why that dragon has so much appeal –  St. George too, who was pretty hot in the 14th century. A major hero and the subject of many paintings, sculptures, stained glass panels, reliquaries, tokens and other art objects, as well as stories and poems, and of course, intercessory prayers. If St. George could defeat the dragon – and therefore the devil – he was certainly a saint to appeal to in times of trouble.

In most images, St. George is in the act of killing the dragon–-thrusting the spear into its side (religious connotations there), or more commonly, down the poor creature’s throat “to breke its harte” as one medieval text put it. One could feel sorry for the poor dragon, just being its draconian self, doing what it must do, and along comes this guy on a horse . . .  St. George was well established early on as a martyred saint, his martyrdom involving not dragon-slaying, but various tortures and multiple executions that included fire, drowning, beheading, and even being rolled downhill in a flaming barrel.

Chi ro initial 12th centurySomewhere around the 6th century, in Byzantine imagery, he begins to appear with a dragon. In England, he quickly becomes an early favorite saint. Soon images of Saint George contain not only the dragon, but a princess, particularly one in need of a rescue. St. George also pops up in medieval literature, again with the princess. George was a superstar in medieval England and parts of Europe. He’s sometimes paired with the Virgin Mary in images, and sometimes he marries his princess, who, according to one epic medieval French tale, was pregnant before their wedding. In that same account, George is secretly the twin brother of the dwarf Oberon, king of the fairies.

George was one of the few saints, perhaps the only one, to cross over into the truly secular arena. He was the movie star hero of his day, killing dragons and rescuing princesses for the sake of chivalry and adventure rather than religious fervor. Very likely the Saxon English responded to him early on because St. George reminded them of Beowulf and Grendel, and the various Viking and Germanic/Saxon tales that include dragons. They understood and enjoyed George, with his dragon and his princess and his many heroic deeds. Newly Christian Britain retained a pagan flavor in their beliefs (and that still exists today). There are plenty of classical ties too—Bellerophon and Chimera, and Perseus and Andromeda, that can be factored in to the mythic origins of this very old tale.

George was not the only dragonslayer, though perhaps the best-known: there was also Beowulf, as well Dicksee-Chivalry-1885as Siegfried and Fafnir, Lancelot, Sir Guy of Warwick, Sir Bevis of Hampton, the Archangel Michael –- the list goes on, and expands greatly as one looks at other cultures, Germanic, Norse, Celtic, Chinese, Japanese, and so on. Dragons sometimes appeared, along with sea-monsters, on early medieval maps.

To the medieval mind, dragons represented evil, the devil, sin – negative, frightening, powerful forces to be vanquished and conquered. St. George and other dragonslayers had to call up within themselves the strength, discipline, virtue, faith, and purity necessary to defeat the dark forces of evil. That’s a large part of the dragon mythology, that dark side of the self. Like vampires, werewolves, and so on, dragons too can be what Joseph Campbell called the shadow side of our inner self:

“The nature of your shadow is a function of the nature of your ego…It is the backside of your light side…the monster that has to be overcome, the dragon. It is the dark thing that comes up from the abyss and confronts you the minute you begin moving down into the unconscious.”

But dragons can have a positive side too. They have some flexibility. They can even be cute ‘n cuddly—like a stuffed toy dragon. They’re often depicted in stories as wise, even humorous, and as guardians and protectors rather than chaotic destroyers.

"Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool! You aren't nearly through this adventure yet." —J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Gund_dragon_fafnerThis positive side of the dragon is easy to respond to, and perhaps most fascinating. The dragon, though it seems evil and violent, has enormous potential for greatness and goodness. Across cultures, dragons represent unlimited power, wisdom, knowledge, the unconscious, the potential of the soul. To tame or possess that power and wisdom is a true achievement, spiritually, mentally, physically – it is truly a magical, mystical power. Dragons may hoard gold and treasure — the treasure of the Self, the powerful life force. And dragons are not to be trusted because they also dwell on the dark side, yet still retain a transcendant power.

Daenerys, Mother of Dragons, in George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, is a St. George Game-Thrones-Season-4-Pictures figure – the feminine equivalent, but rather than defeat dragons, she goes for a greater challenge – she tames them, parents and controls them, bonds with them emotionally despite their fiercely dangerous nature. Part of Dani’s story arc is a truly fascinating dragon mythos.

The dragon, says Campbell, is the shadow–- “the landfill of the self…also a sort of a vault that holds great, unrealized potentialities within you.” The dragon hoards potential in that pile o’ gold – and it is up to the hero, or heroine, to salvage and release it somehow. Like St. George, like Bilbo Baggins, like Daenerys, like us — no one comes away from a dragon encounter unchanged.

Edward_burne-jones st george dragonSo the dragon has strongly positive, ideal, sublime qualities as well as the deepest, darkest stuff, all combined in one entity. Stories about dragons -– dragon quests, meeting dragons, befriending them or defeating them, stealing their treasure or receiving a gift from a dragon, taming or learning from them, are often symbols and metaphors of delving deep within ourselves, learning more about ourselves and about life. To read about dragons – or to write about them – can explore the darker, mysterious side of the soul. Vanquishing or befriending them means we emerge from the cave a bit wiser than when we went inside.

Even those who might not prefer dragon or fantasy stories have read and enjoyed characters that have all the qualities of the dragon persona: Ebenezer Scrooge, for example, is a prime dragon character. He hoards gold, he snarls and spits fire, he goes down deep into the cave over one long night and emerges changed for the better, wiser, and willing to release that hoarded potential within himself.

Some of my favorite dragon stories, beside Tolkien, are those by Gordon R. Dickson – I love his Dragon and the George series – and Mary Brown’s The Unexpected Dragon, and other titles – Jane Yolen’s Dragon’s Blood … and many others. I’ve got a longer list, and I’m always willing to try a good dragon book (or dragon movie!).  

Are you a fan of dragons and dragon tales? What would you recommend? 

Susan 

70 thoughts on “Of Dragons and Shadows”

  1. Fascinating post,Susan. It makes me want to teach Beowulf and Malory one more time. Doesn’t Jane Yolen have a book in which Merlin disguises himself as a dragon to teach young Arthur?
    The dragons I am most familiar with are from children’s books. The #3 grand, now fourteen, went through a dragon phase when he was younger, and the #9 grand is in the same phase now. Between them, I’ve encountered more dragons than I can count. Yolen’s and Yep’s books were the boys’ favorites. The older one also loved Bruce Coville’s Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, which he keeps on a bookshelf even now. My favorite dragon is Kazul from Patricia Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles, a series I have recommended countless times to mothers with young daughters. Your initial quote reminded me of Tony DiTerlizzi’s Kenny & the Dragon in which Kenny, a book-loving rabbit, saves Grahame, the gentle dragon. I love that one too.

    Reply
  2. Fascinating post,Susan. It makes me want to teach Beowulf and Malory one more time. Doesn’t Jane Yolen have a book in which Merlin disguises himself as a dragon to teach young Arthur?
    The dragons I am most familiar with are from children’s books. The #3 grand, now fourteen, went through a dragon phase when he was younger, and the #9 grand is in the same phase now. Between them, I’ve encountered more dragons than I can count. Yolen’s and Yep’s books were the boys’ favorites. The older one also loved Bruce Coville’s Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, which he keeps on a bookshelf even now. My favorite dragon is Kazul from Patricia Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles, a series I have recommended countless times to mothers with young daughters. Your initial quote reminded me of Tony DiTerlizzi’s Kenny & the Dragon in which Kenny, a book-loving rabbit, saves Grahame, the gentle dragon. I love that one too.

    Reply
  3. Fascinating post,Susan. It makes me want to teach Beowulf and Malory one more time. Doesn’t Jane Yolen have a book in which Merlin disguises himself as a dragon to teach young Arthur?
    The dragons I am most familiar with are from children’s books. The #3 grand, now fourteen, went through a dragon phase when he was younger, and the #9 grand is in the same phase now. Between them, I’ve encountered more dragons than I can count. Yolen’s and Yep’s books were the boys’ favorites. The older one also loved Bruce Coville’s Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, which he keeps on a bookshelf even now. My favorite dragon is Kazul from Patricia Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles, a series I have recommended countless times to mothers with young daughters. Your initial quote reminded me of Tony DiTerlizzi’s Kenny & the Dragon in which Kenny, a book-loving rabbit, saves Grahame, the gentle dragon. I love that one too.

    Reply
  4. Fascinating post,Susan. It makes me want to teach Beowulf and Malory one more time. Doesn’t Jane Yolen have a book in which Merlin disguises himself as a dragon to teach young Arthur?
    The dragons I am most familiar with are from children’s books. The #3 grand, now fourteen, went through a dragon phase when he was younger, and the #9 grand is in the same phase now. Between them, I’ve encountered more dragons than I can count. Yolen’s and Yep’s books were the boys’ favorites. The older one also loved Bruce Coville’s Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, which he keeps on a bookshelf even now. My favorite dragon is Kazul from Patricia Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles, a series I have recommended countless times to mothers with young daughters. Your initial quote reminded me of Tony DiTerlizzi’s Kenny & the Dragon in which Kenny, a book-loving rabbit, saves Grahame, the gentle dragon. I love that one too.

    Reply
  5. Fascinating post,Susan. It makes me want to teach Beowulf and Malory one more time. Doesn’t Jane Yolen have a book in which Merlin disguises himself as a dragon to teach young Arthur?
    The dragons I am most familiar with are from children’s books. The #3 grand, now fourteen, went through a dragon phase when he was younger, and the #9 grand is in the same phase now. Between them, I’ve encountered more dragons than I can count. Yolen’s and Yep’s books were the boys’ favorites. The older one also loved Bruce Coville’s Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, which he keeps on a bookshelf even now. My favorite dragon is Kazul from Patricia Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles, a series I have recommended countless times to mothers with young daughters. Your initial quote reminded me of Tony DiTerlizzi’s Kenny & the Dragon in which Kenny, a book-loving rabbit, saves Grahame, the gentle dragon. I love that one too.

    Reply
  6. I quite like the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey – a future sci-fi meets a medieval society on another planet series of books where the dragons in question were genetically created from fire lizards by early colonists. Strong female protagonists in both the adult books and the YA books in the series.

    Reply
  7. I quite like the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey – a future sci-fi meets a medieval society on another planet series of books where the dragons in question were genetically created from fire lizards by early colonists. Strong female protagonists in both the adult books and the YA books in the series.

    Reply
  8. I quite like the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey – a future sci-fi meets a medieval society on another planet series of books where the dragons in question were genetically created from fire lizards by early colonists. Strong female protagonists in both the adult books and the YA books in the series.

    Reply
  9. I quite like the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey – a future sci-fi meets a medieval society on another planet series of books where the dragons in question were genetically created from fire lizards by early colonists. Strong female protagonists in both the adult books and the YA books in the series.

    Reply
  10. I quite like the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey – a future sci-fi meets a medieval society on another planet series of books where the dragons in question were genetically created from fire lizards by early colonists. Strong female protagonists in both the adult books and the YA books in the series.

    Reply
  11. I was going to mention the Dragon and the George series, but you beat me to it. I am more in favor of the modern “non-dragon” dragons than I am of the medieval ones. Anne McCaffrey’s Pern for example; and Mercedes Lackey’s Joust series; the Jane Yolen you have mentioned. I think there’s more, but it escapes my mind just now.
    Excuse me while I go put on Peter, Paul, and Mary “Puff, the Magic Dragon!”

    Reply
  12. I was going to mention the Dragon and the George series, but you beat me to it. I am more in favor of the modern “non-dragon” dragons than I am of the medieval ones. Anne McCaffrey’s Pern for example; and Mercedes Lackey’s Joust series; the Jane Yolen you have mentioned. I think there’s more, but it escapes my mind just now.
    Excuse me while I go put on Peter, Paul, and Mary “Puff, the Magic Dragon!”

    Reply
  13. I was going to mention the Dragon and the George series, but you beat me to it. I am more in favor of the modern “non-dragon” dragons than I am of the medieval ones. Anne McCaffrey’s Pern for example; and Mercedes Lackey’s Joust series; the Jane Yolen you have mentioned. I think there’s more, but it escapes my mind just now.
    Excuse me while I go put on Peter, Paul, and Mary “Puff, the Magic Dragon!”

    Reply
  14. I was going to mention the Dragon and the George series, but you beat me to it. I am more in favor of the modern “non-dragon” dragons than I am of the medieval ones. Anne McCaffrey’s Pern for example; and Mercedes Lackey’s Joust series; the Jane Yolen you have mentioned. I think there’s more, but it escapes my mind just now.
    Excuse me while I go put on Peter, Paul, and Mary “Puff, the Magic Dragon!”

    Reply
  15. I was going to mention the Dragon and the George series, but you beat me to it. I am more in favor of the modern “non-dragon” dragons than I am of the medieval ones. Anne McCaffrey’s Pern for example; and Mercedes Lackey’s Joust series; the Jane Yolen you have mentioned. I think there’s more, but it escapes my mind just now.
    Excuse me while I go put on Peter, Paul, and Mary “Puff, the Magic Dragon!”

    Reply
  16. Dragons, their myths and symbolism, fascinate me, and have since I was very little. And for some reason I’ve never found dragons scary, even back then.
    Jungian analyst Marion Woodman included in at least one of her books (perhaps The Pregnant Virgin) very interesting St. George/the dragon/and a virgin painting, which I recall as being medieval…in it, the virgin was holding a leash attached to the dragon’s neck, and looking upset rather than grateful that St. George was killing her pet.
    Do you by any chance know the name of that painting, Susan? This fabulous post of yours started a train of thought I’d love to explore, but a diligent search of Google images hasn’t helped.
    Love this post…it’s going in my Dragon Links folder, and thank you!
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  17. Dragons, their myths and symbolism, fascinate me, and have since I was very little. And for some reason I’ve never found dragons scary, even back then.
    Jungian analyst Marion Woodman included in at least one of her books (perhaps The Pregnant Virgin) very interesting St. George/the dragon/and a virgin painting, which I recall as being medieval…in it, the virgin was holding a leash attached to the dragon’s neck, and looking upset rather than grateful that St. George was killing her pet.
    Do you by any chance know the name of that painting, Susan? This fabulous post of yours started a train of thought I’d love to explore, but a diligent search of Google images hasn’t helped.
    Love this post…it’s going in my Dragon Links folder, and thank you!
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  18. Dragons, their myths and symbolism, fascinate me, and have since I was very little. And for some reason I’ve never found dragons scary, even back then.
    Jungian analyst Marion Woodman included in at least one of her books (perhaps The Pregnant Virgin) very interesting St. George/the dragon/and a virgin painting, which I recall as being medieval…in it, the virgin was holding a leash attached to the dragon’s neck, and looking upset rather than grateful that St. George was killing her pet.
    Do you by any chance know the name of that painting, Susan? This fabulous post of yours started a train of thought I’d love to explore, but a diligent search of Google images hasn’t helped.
    Love this post…it’s going in my Dragon Links folder, and thank you!
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  19. Dragons, their myths and symbolism, fascinate me, and have since I was very little. And for some reason I’ve never found dragons scary, even back then.
    Jungian analyst Marion Woodman included in at least one of her books (perhaps The Pregnant Virgin) very interesting St. George/the dragon/and a virgin painting, which I recall as being medieval…in it, the virgin was holding a leash attached to the dragon’s neck, and looking upset rather than grateful that St. George was killing her pet.
    Do you by any chance know the name of that painting, Susan? This fabulous post of yours started a train of thought I’d love to explore, but a diligent search of Google images hasn’t helped.
    Love this post…it’s going in my Dragon Links folder, and thank you!
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  20. Dragons, their myths and symbolism, fascinate me, and have since I was very little. And for some reason I’ve never found dragons scary, even back then.
    Jungian analyst Marion Woodman included in at least one of her books (perhaps The Pregnant Virgin) very interesting St. George/the dragon/and a virgin painting, which I recall as being medieval…in it, the virgin was holding a leash attached to the dragon’s neck, and looking upset rather than grateful that St. George was killing her pet.
    Do you by any chance know the name of that painting, Susan? This fabulous post of yours started a train of thought I’d love to explore, but a diligent search of Google images hasn’t helped.
    Love this post…it’s going in my Dragon Links folder, and thank you!
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  21. The St George Cross is also the Georgian, not just the English flag, as he is also their patron saint. But so few people know about poor Georgia (unless they’re thinking of the US state!) many don’t know this…
    Honestly, when I think of dragons, the first thing I think of is the early 80s film The Flight of Dragons(!). One of the defining films of my childhood. 🙂
    As you can see, you’re an expert on this, and I’m… definitely not… 🙂

    Reply
  22. The St George Cross is also the Georgian, not just the English flag, as he is also their patron saint. But so few people know about poor Georgia (unless they’re thinking of the US state!) many don’t know this…
    Honestly, when I think of dragons, the first thing I think of is the early 80s film The Flight of Dragons(!). One of the defining films of my childhood. 🙂
    As you can see, you’re an expert on this, and I’m… definitely not… 🙂

    Reply
  23. The St George Cross is also the Georgian, not just the English flag, as he is also their patron saint. But so few people know about poor Georgia (unless they’re thinking of the US state!) many don’t know this…
    Honestly, when I think of dragons, the first thing I think of is the early 80s film The Flight of Dragons(!). One of the defining films of my childhood. 🙂
    As you can see, you’re an expert on this, and I’m… definitely not… 🙂

    Reply
  24. The St George Cross is also the Georgian, not just the English flag, as he is also their patron saint. But so few people know about poor Georgia (unless they’re thinking of the US state!) many don’t know this…
    Honestly, when I think of dragons, the first thing I think of is the early 80s film The Flight of Dragons(!). One of the defining films of my childhood. 🙂
    As you can see, you’re an expert on this, and I’m… definitely not… 🙂

    Reply
  25. The St George Cross is also the Georgian, not just the English flag, as he is also their patron saint. But so few people know about poor Georgia (unless they’re thinking of the US state!) many don’t know this…
    Honestly, when I think of dragons, the first thing I think of is the early 80s film The Flight of Dragons(!). One of the defining films of my childhood. 🙂
    As you can see, you’re an expert on this, and I’m… definitely not… 🙂

    Reply
  26. LOVE the one you found, Susan, but it makes me realize I dated the painting I’m looking for incorrectly. Based on the depth of field, perspective, in “my” painting, it must be more recent. Kind of reminds me of Flemish tapestries…oh well, eventually my mind will cough up something!
    Have you ever notice how the dragon’s suffering is normally depicted with such relish? Plenty of blood and agony, with George all heroic and staunch.
    Thanks for the help!
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  27. LOVE the one you found, Susan, but it makes me realize I dated the painting I’m looking for incorrectly. Based on the depth of field, perspective, in “my” painting, it must be more recent. Kind of reminds me of Flemish tapestries…oh well, eventually my mind will cough up something!
    Have you ever notice how the dragon’s suffering is normally depicted with such relish? Plenty of blood and agony, with George all heroic and staunch.
    Thanks for the help!
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  28. LOVE the one you found, Susan, but it makes me realize I dated the painting I’m looking for incorrectly. Based on the depth of field, perspective, in “my” painting, it must be more recent. Kind of reminds me of Flemish tapestries…oh well, eventually my mind will cough up something!
    Have you ever notice how the dragon’s suffering is normally depicted with such relish? Plenty of blood and agony, with George all heroic and staunch.
    Thanks for the help!
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  29. LOVE the one you found, Susan, but it makes me realize I dated the painting I’m looking for incorrectly. Based on the depth of field, perspective, in “my” painting, it must be more recent. Kind of reminds me of Flemish tapestries…oh well, eventually my mind will cough up something!
    Have you ever notice how the dragon’s suffering is normally depicted with such relish? Plenty of blood and agony, with George all heroic and staunch.
    Thanks for the help!
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  30. LOVE the one you found, Susan, but it makes me realize I dated the painting I’m looking for incorrectly. Based on the depth of field, perspective, in “my” painting, it must be more recent. Kind of reminds me of Flemish tapestries…oh well, eventually my mind will cough up something!
    Have you ever notice how the dragon’s suffering is normally depicted with such relish? Plenty of blood and agony, with George all heroic and staunch.
    Thanks for the help!
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  31. Hi Sonya – Oh, absolutely, Georgia! 🙂 All those gorgeous icons, who could forget Georgia’s special relationship with St. G, which is far older than the English relationship because of the Byzantine culture. I have a small painted St. George icon from Russia displayed on one of my bookshelves. Truly beautiful. Thanks for the reminder!

    Reply
  32. Hi Sonya – Oh, absolutely, Georgia! 🙂 All those gorgeous icons, who could forget Georgia’s special relationship with St. G, which is far older than the English relationship because of the Byzantine culture. I have a small painted St. George icon from Russia displayed on one of my bookshelves. Truly beautiful. Thanks for the reminder!

    Reply
  33. Hi Sonya – Oh, absolutely, Georgia! 🙂 All those gorgeous icons, who could forget Georgia’s special relationship with St. G, which is far older than the English relationship because of the Byzantine culture. I have a small painted St. George icon from Russia displayed on one of my bookshelves. Truly beautiful. Thanks for the reminder!

    Reply
  34. Hi Sonya – Oh, absolutely, Georgia! 🙂 All those gorgeous icons, who could forget Georgia’s special relationship with St. G, which is far older than the English relationship because of the Byzantine culture. I have a small painted St. George icon from Russia displayed on one of my bookshelves. Truly beautiful. Thanks for the reminder!

    Reply
  35. Hi Sonya – Oh, absolutely, Georgia! 🙂 All those gorgeous icons, who could forget Georgia’s special relationship with St. G, which is far older than the English relationship because of the Byzantine culture. I have a small painted St. George icon from Russia displayed on one of my bookshelves. Truly beautiful. Thanks for the reminder!

    Reply
  36. Oh now I’m really curious and have to keep thinking about princesses with dragons on leashes! 😉
    There’s Paulo Uccello, could it be that? There’s a sort of tapestry quality with the distinct shapes and shallow frontal plane.
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paolo_Uccello_047b.jpg
    Or if it’s much later, perhaps this late Pre-Raphaelite version by Sidney Meteyard – it has a Burne-Jones influence, which can have a tapestry quality. No leash, but the princess does look reproachful!
    https://sites.google.com/a/gothicromantic.com/gothicromantic9/gothic-inspired-art/sidney-harold-meteyard-1868-1947

    Reply
  37. Oh now I’m really curious and have to keep thinking about princesses with dragons on leashes! 😉
    There’s Paulo Uccello, could it be that? There’s a sort of tapestry quality with the distinct shapes and shallow frontal plane.
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paolo_Uccello_047b.jpg
    Or if it’s much later, perhaps this late Pre-Raphaelite version by Sidney Meteyard – it has a Burne-Jones influence, which can have a tapestry quality. No leash, but the princess does look reproachful!
    https://sites.google.com/a/gothicromantic.com/gothicromantic9/gothic-inspired-art/sidney-harold-meteyard-1868-1947

    Reply
  38. Oh now I’m really curious and have to keep thinking about princesses with dragons on leashes! 😉
    There’s Paulo Uccello, could it be that? There’s a sort of tapestry quality with the distinct shapes and shallow frontal plane.
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paolo_Uccello_047b.jpg
    Or if it’s much later, perhaps this late Pre-Raphaelite version by Sidney Meteyard – it has a Burne-Jones influence, which can have a tapestry quality. No leash, but the princess does look reproachful!
    https://sites.google.com/a/gothicromantic.com/gothicromantic9/gothic-inspired-art/sidney-harold-meteyard-1868-1947

    Reply
  39. Oh now I’m really curious and have to keep thinking about princesses with dragons on leashes! 😉
    There’s Paulo Uccello, could it be that? There’s a sort of tapestry quality with the distinct shapes and shallow frontal plane.
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paolo_Uccello_047b.jpg
    Or if it’s much later, perhaps this late Pre-Raphaelite version by Sidney Meteyard – it has a Burne-Jones influence, which can have a tapestry quality. No leash, but the princess does look reproachful!
    https://sites.google.com/a/gothicromantic.com/gothicromantic9/gothic-inspired-art/sidney-harold-meteyard-1868-1947

    Reply
  40. Oh now I’m really curious and have to keep thinking about princesses with dragons on leashes! 😉
    There’s Paulo Uccello, could it be that? There’s a sort of tapestry quality with the distinct shapes and shallow frontal plane.
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paolo_Uccello_047b.jpg
    Or if it’s much later, perhaps this late Pre-Raphaelite version by Sidney Meteyard – it has a Burne-Jones influence, which can have a tapestry quality. No leash, but the princess does look reproachful!
    https://sites.google.com/a/gothicromantic.com/gothicromantic9/gothic-inspired-art/sidney-harold-meteyard-1868-1947

    Reply
  41. I second any recommendations of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. The dragons are emphatically linked with their riders which function as horses for the riders’ role as knights to keep the planet safe from danger. It is very interesting how she writes about the societal cost of knights when the threat is not obvious. And of course her characters and their personal relationships are very well written.

    Reply
  42. I second any recommendations of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. The dragons are emphatically linked with their riders which function as horses for the riders’ role as knights to keep the planet safe from danger. It is very interesting how she writes about the societal cost of knights when the threat is not obvious. And of course her characters and their personal relationships are very well written.

    Reply
  43. I second any recommendations of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. The dragons are emphatically linked with their riders which function as horses for the riders’ role as knights to keep the planet safe from danger. It is very interesting how she writes about the societal cost of knights when the threat is not obvious. And of course her characters and their personal relationships are very well written.

    Reply
  44. I second any recommendations of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. The dragons are emphatically linked with their riders which function as horses for the riders’ role as knights to keep the planet safe from danger. It is very interesting how she writes about the societal cost of knights when the threat is not obvious. And of course her characters and their personal relationships are very well written.

    Reply
  45. I second any recommendations of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. The dragons are emphatically linked with their riders which function as horses for the riders’ role as knights to keep the planet safe from danger. It is very interesting how she writes about the societal cost of knights when the threat is not obvious. And of course her characters and their personal relationships are very well written.

    Reply
  46. In the Liaden Universe by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller there were dragons that had a symbiotic relationship with sentient trees. The earliest forbear of the clan Korval rescued a tree and now it is part of the family. The clan themselves are known as dragons and it is part of the culture to ascribe various characteristics to the clan members, such as a very long memory and subtlety in seeking revenge for wrongs. I’m crazy about this series.
    Also, McCaffrey’s Pern series was a long time favorite.
    Also, no one has mentioned “How to Tame Your Dragon.” My granddaughter is obsessed with this movie. This perspective on dragons is that they are dangerous but mostly misunderstood and feared. When you get to know them they can be lovely and allow their trainers to fly.

    Reply
  47. In the Liaden Universe by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller there were dragons that had a symbiotic relationship with sentient trees. The earliest forbear of the clan Korval rescued a tree and now it is part of the family. The clan themselves are known as dragons and it is part of the culture to ascribe various characteristics to the clan members, such as a very long memory and subtlety in seeking revenge for wrongs. I’m crazy about this series.
    Also, McCaffrey’s Pern series was a long time favorite.
    Also, no one has mentioned “How to Tame Your Dragon.” My granddaughter is obsessed with this movie. This perspective on dragons is that they are dangerous but mostly misunderstood and feared. When you get to know them they can be lovely and allow their trainers to fly.

    Reply
  48. In the Liaden Universe by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller there were dragons that had a symbiotic relationship with sentient trees. The earliest forbear of the clan Korval rescued a tree and now it is part of the family. The clan themselves are known as dragons and it is part of the culture to ascribe various characteristics to the clan members, such as a very long memory and subtlety in seeking revenge for wrongs. I’m crazy about this series.
    Also, McCaffrey’s Pern series was a long time favorite.
    Also, no one has mentioned “How to Tame Your Dragon.” My granddaughter is obsessed with this movie. This perspective on dragons is that they are dangerous but mostly misunderstood and feared. When you get to know them they can be lovely and allow their trainers to fly.

    Reply
  49. In the Liaden Universe by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller there were dragons that had a symbiotic relationship with sentient trees. The earliest forbear of the clan Korval rescued a tree and now it is part of the family. The clan themselves are known as dragons and it is part of the culture to ascribe various characteristics to the clan members, such as a very long memory and subtlety in seeking revenge for wrongs. I’m crazy about this series.
    Also, McCaffrey’s Pern series was a long time favorite.
    Also, no one has mentioned “How to Tame Your Dragon.” My granddaughter is obsessed with this movie. This perspective on dragons is that they are dangerous but mostly misunderstood and feared. When you get to know them they can be lovely and allow their trainers to fly.

    Reply
  50. In the Liaden Universe by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller there were dragons that had a symbiotic relationship with sentient trees. The earliest forbear of the clan Korval rescued a tree and now it is part of the family. The clan themselves are known as dragons and it is part of the culture to ascribe various characteristics to the clan members, such as a very long memory and subtlety in seeking revenge for wrongs. I’m crazy about this series.
    Also, McCaffrey’s Pern series was a long time favorite.
    Also, no one has mentioned “How to Tame Your Dragon.” My granddaughter is obsessed with this movie. This perspective on dragons is that they are dangerous but mostly misunderstood and feared. When you get to know them they can be lovely and allow their trainers to fly.

    Reply
  51. When I posted earlier, I forgot to mention two books from the 1980s by R. A. MacAvoy: “Tea with the Black Dragon” and “Twisting the Rope.” I haven’t reread these in quite awhile, so details are forgotten. I think back to them from time to time. The black dragon is Chinese and quite different from our usual concept of dragons.

    Reply
  52. When I posted earlier, I forgot to mention two books from the 1980s by R. A. MacAvoy: “Tea with the Black Dragon” and “Twisting the Rope.” I haven’t reread these in quite awhile, so details are forgotten. I think back to them from time to time. The black dragon is Chinese and quite different from our usual concept of dragons.

    Reply
  53. When I posted earlier, I forgot to mention two books from the 1980s by R. A. MacAvoy: “Tea with the Black Dragon” and “Twisting the Rope.” I haven’t reread these in quite awhile, so details are forgotten. I think back to them from time to time. The black dragon is Chinese and quite different from our usual concept of dragons.

    Reply
  54. When I posted earlier, I forgot to mention two books from the 1980s by R. A. MacAvoy: “Tea with the Black Dragon” and “Twisting the Rope.” I haven’t reread these in quite awhile, so details are forgotten. I think back to them from time to time. The black dragon is Chinese and quite different from our usual concept of dragons.

    Reply
  55. When I posted earlier, I forgot to mention two books from the 1980s by R. A. MacAvoy: “Tea with the Black Dragon” and “Twisting the Rope.” I haven’t reread these in quite awhile, so details are forgotten. I think back to them from time to time. The black dragon is Chinese and quite different from our usual concept of dragons.

    Reply
  56. No one has mentioned the dragons in Robin Hobb’s books (Farseer Trilogy, etc) so I will. Becoming a dragon, damaged dragons, loved all I have read so far.

    Reply
  57. No one has mentioned the dragons in Robin Hobb’s books (Farseer Trilogy, etc) so I will. Becoming a dragon, damaged dragons, loved all I have read so far.

    Reply
  58. No one has mentioned the dragons in Robin Hobb’s books (Farseer Trilogy, etc) so I will. Becoming a dragon, damaged dragons, loved all I have read so far.

    Reply
  59. No one has mentioned the dragons in Robin Hobb’s books (Farseer Trilogy, etc) so I will. Becoming a dragon, damaged dragons, loved all I have read so far.

    Reply
  60. No one has mentioned the dragons in Robin Hobb’s books (Farseer Trilogy, etc) so I will. Becoming a dragon, damaged dragons, loved all I have read so far.

    Reply

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