Thursday, May 1, 2014

Fire Inside the Mountain—Dragon Awareness Day

A Special Bulletin from the Warriors-in-Hero-Training School of the Round Table, issued via carrier tern from the desk of renowned Headmaster Sir Galgadin.

Fire Inside the Mountain - Copy

It has come to my knowledge that many among the so-called “learned” in the modern world have a dangerous tendency to scoff at “legends” of fire-breathing beasts.

To this, I have but one thing to say:

“Never laugh at live dragons.”
J.R.R Tolkien

To which of course they would reply, “But there is no such thing as live dragons.” After which, they would burst into another fit of mocking laughter … right before perishing in a fiery blast.

I do not intend to attempt changing mainstream views on dragons in general. Short of shoving a few dozen world-acclaimed so-called scholars into the dragon’s den, I cannot think of any way to convince them that dragons do in fact exist and have a sweet tooth for barbeque.

(I hear slow smoked scholar is considered quite the delicacy in dragondom.)

Instead, I shall let the wise speak for me. Brilliant scholars have been writing about dragons for quite a bit longer than my pen has been scratching a page. Perhaps their words—and not mine—shall help awaken this sleeping world to the knowledge of the peril it lives in.

After all …

“ … it is one thing to read about dragons and another to meet them.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea

Among the many scoffers, there are also many who think dragons are the easily-befuddled, easily-slain creatures of bedtime lore. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are cunning, powerful, devious, masters of deceit and treachery, and for all the fire burning within their chests, they are utterly cold hearted.

“A dragon should never be engaged in conversation as they are inveterate liars and tricksters, though if you're actually talking to a dragon, you're pretty much toast anyway.”
John Stephens, The Fire Chronicle

Toast? Not sure that’s quite a strong enough a word for it. Think barbeque. Seared steak. Shishkabob.

And dragons unfortunately aren’t the sort of things you can ignore either. If one moves in nearby, you can expect death and destruction to follow in its wake, as notable dragon-scholar J.R.R Tolkien noted in The Hobbit.

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

So just what should one do if a dragon moves in nearby?

There are many varying suggestions:

Double check your life insurance policy … Head for a top secret bunker in the hills … Offer your livestock as sacrifices to appease the fiery beast …

Or if all else fails, you can always send for a dragon slayer.

This ad was discovered posted on craigslist.

Any takers?

In general, it is wise to remember that dragons are fearsome beasts … proud … arrogant … and with good reason.

“My armor is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!”
“Smaug” J.R.R Tolkien, The Hobbit

And yet even the fiercest dragons have a weak spot.

“I have always understood,” said Bilbo in a frightened squeak, “that dragons were softer underneath, especially in the region of the—er—chest; but doubtless one so fortified has thought of that.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Find the dragon’s weak spot and strike hard, my friend, lest you and your family be counted among the growing number of deaths attributed to dragon-related accidents every year.

I should like to leave you with one final piece of dragonish wisdom. If at all possible …

“Meddle not in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.”

Sir Galgadin
Signing off

Do you have a favorite dragon-ish quote? Share it in the comments!


  1. Terrific post!

    The scoffers would do well to read in the book of Job, Chapters 39 through 42, where the "behemoth" and "liviathan" are described by God. These descriptions sound like dragons to me. I've actually read where Bible scholars and theologians believe that dragons existed at one time on Earth, and these descriptions are very convincing.

    Favorite dragon quotes are ones you mentioned and quotations from Anne Elisabeth Stengl's Heartless:
    "People always forget. We must make them remember. ... Are you ready to burn, sister?" (Diarmid).
    "I am your father, mother, sister, and brother. You are my kin now. ... "You cannot live without your fire." (The Dragon King addressing Princess Una).

    I also like the female dragon Vollys in Gail Carson Levine's The Two Princesses of Bamarre.

    God bless.

    1. The dragons in the Tales of Goldstone Woods series are fantastic. They give you the shudders and make you feel sorry for them at the same time!

  2. My current story has a dragon, and the character that will need to face the dragon thanks Sir Galgadin for compiling this advice.

  3. There are plenty of friendly dragons out there, but you should always be on your guard when interacting with dragons, I've heard that we taste very nice.

    1. I have heard talk of friendly dragons. Doubtless there are realms where dragons are noble beasts, where the brave ride dragons instead of slaying them. Personally, I have yet to encounter one who did not try to kill me on sight. :)

  4. “A powerful dragon crying its eyes out under the moon in a deserted valley is a sight and a sound hardly to be imagined.”
    ― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

    I've always liked this one. :)

    1. I like that one, too, Brooke! :)

    2. Oh, that's a great one! It's been too long since I've sat down and actually read the Narnia books. Time to put them back on my to-re-read shelf. :)

  5. As Bilbo's father used to say 'Every worm has his weak spot'.

    I always thought that a dragon's weak spot would be in the mouth. Shoot an arrow and there you go. Just be sure that the dragon is not breathing fire at you. Make them laugh instead.
    Make 'em laugh
    Make 'em laugh
    Don't you know everyone wants to laugh?
    (Ha ha!)
    My dad said "Be a dragons slayer, my son
    But be a comical one

    1. I like it. Quite the inventive way to slay a dragon! I'm sure the fell beast would never expect it.

  6. I have a quote from my own story. (I do realize I'm tooting my own horn -- it's the only quote I could think of. Sorry.)
    "A dragon is a dangerous beast, but the danger lies not in their teeth, claws, or fire. Nay, those are the least harmful weapons they carry. They real menace of a dragon is its whisper. Subtle and unnoticed, their quiet persuasion can twist the soul of the most righteous man." --

    1. Reminds me of the dragons from Anne Elisabeth Stengl's Tales of Goldstone Woods.

  7. “I do not care what comes after; I have seen the dragons on the wind of morning.”
    ― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Farthest Shore

    “Come not between the dragon and his wrath.”
    ― William Shakespeare

  8. I don't have any quotes to share (you've already listed several favorites), but I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading this post!

  9. "Have you ever seen an immortal die?" Dragonwitch by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

    Also, I love quotes from Vollys from The Two Princesses of Bamarre, the awesome dragon in The Dark Lord of Derkholm, and also Kazul.

    "I like cherries jubilee, and I like her." --Kazul, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles

    1. I love The Enchanted Forest Chronicles! They make me smile every time I read them. :)

  10. Did you seriously find that add on Craigslist?

    1. It's on their list of best Craigslist ads. I saw it somewhere else and traced it back. Crazy, isn't it? You have to love the sense of humor that would lead someone to post something like that.

      So tempted to write one of my own now! :) Something about ogres in the attic ... or trolls in the basement? Or perhaps a princess locked in a tower trying to get in touch with her "Prince Charming." What do you think? :)


Love hearing from y'all, so please join the conversation! All I ask is that you keep all comments friendly with the goal of starting enjoyable conversations about fantasy and good books with other novel lovers! Overly negative comments will be banished to the netherworld and the less than pleasant company of the various balrogs, trolls, and monsters already imprisoned there.