Mythos Monday: A History of Dragons

Welcome to another Mythos Monday.  Here there be dragons.  (I have mentioned everything’s better with dragons, right?)

But why dragons?

Because they’re cool.  That’s why.

I admit it.  I have a soft spot for the scaly beasties.  I like good dragons and bad dragons and evil dragons.  I like dragons who can turn human and humans who can turn dragons.  I even like dragons that are just plain reptilian with no pretenses toward biped whatsis at all.

Dragons make appearances in two of my series.  In the Sunwalker Saga, Morgan Bailey will face dragons for the first time in Kissed by Darkness (book two of the series).  Will they be good?  Will they be evil?  Will they be the size of small horses?  You’ll find out in August.  🙂

I’m currently working on another series which will combine the juicy goodness of paranormal romance with the sheer awesome of post-apocalyptic adventure.  And yes, there will be DRAGONS!  Lots and lots of dragons.

But I promised you a history of dragons.

Merriam-Webster tells us dragon quite literally means “serpent”.  And that was where it all started, with no more exciting a meaning than that.

But we WANT excitement, gol durnit!

According to Wikipedia (and the Beeb – BBC), the ancient Chinese started digging up dinosaur bones somewhere about 300 BC and mistook them for dragon bones.  Yeah, I get that.  I’d probably think they were dragon bones, too.  In Chinese myth, dragons can take on human form and are often benevolent.  I think that’s particularly cool.  I love the idea of a dragon being able to walk among us without anyone being the wiser.

Of course, in Western folklore, dragons are almost always portrayed as evil (Exceptions being Welsh folklore and modern myth.).  In fact, they were often used in art to portray sin.  Puritanism strikes again.

The Romans, being Romans, sort of smooshed the two together, creating a dragon that was half Western and half Eastern mythology.

Every culture had it’s own take on dragons.  Every people had their own artwork, their own mythology.  There was a ribbon of commonality, but the specifics were as far apart as the hemispheres.

To my mind, that’s the best thing about dragons.  You can create your own mythology.  They can be good or evil.  They can even be neutral.  They can be intelligent or animalistic.  Beautiful or ugly.  Wild and savage or mild and meek.  They can be anything you want them to be.  That’s the joy of mythology.  Starting with a basic background and working from there, anything your mind can conceive can be real.  At least within the pages of a good book. 🙂

 

What are your favorite dragons?  Do you prefer the nasty ones?  Or the nice ones?  Do you think dragons can be sexy?  Or will they just eat you for lunch?

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13 thoughts on “Mythos Monday: A History of Dragons

  1. I like the Chinese reverence for dragons in their culture. They have some very cool varieties too! I write and enjoy all sorts, silly/cute and magnificent/mysterious. I’ll look forward to your coming releases!

  2. My favorite dragon is one named Aaron. Yeah, specific, isn’t it. Well Aaron is a dragon-head bust that guards my office and is the oldest of the dragon statues in my office. Some are pewter, others glass, Chinese and Western (and one that looks like a dragon-flying squirrel combo, but I have to type that quietly so he doesn’t hear…).

    In myth and story, my favorites are always the intelligent ones. Good or evil, they had best be smart, whether book smart or hunt smart matters not.

    Great post, Shea 🙂

    1. I am totally jealous of your office guardians. 🙂 Aaron sounds cool, but I’m liking the sound of the dragon squirrel. I mean, come on. How many people can say they have a dragon squirrel in their office?

  3. At the risk of sounding like a child, one of my all-time favorite movies is “How to Train Your Dragon”–not only cool graphics but lots of Pagan themes and reaalllly cool dragons. I wanna pet dragon.

  4. I love dragons, but oftentimes in small, special doses. I actually have a dragon in one of me novels on-hold (ie, paused working on them to finish the one I want to release first). That dragon has evolved into its own side story, a children’s story perhaps, which, though I haven’t written or published it, makes its debut in the story I’m trying to complete now. In it, the children’s book is a bit of nostalgia the main character goes to in times of stress. And why am I telling you all this here? It’s so irrelevant. lol

    I am excited about your use of dragons in the next Daywalker series. This next book is looking more and more exciting. I want it now!

  5. I think anything that can eat you is sexy. Wait… that’s not what I meant! I meant that I like the bad boys, that’s all. Pervs.

    I do love dragon stories, but I haven’t read many lately. I’ve got one in my TBR list currently, well I guess two now!

    I also have to agree with Heather, “How to Train Your Dragon” is great, and not just for kids!

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