As a writer, it can often be challenging to describe fictional creatures in a way that does them justice. One such example that many fantasy writers face is describing the grandeur and enormity of a dragon. While working on my latest project, I found myself struggling to express a dragon’s appearance, size, and overall presence in a manner that maintains its mythical essence.
To better understand the many ways authors bring life to dragons, let’s delve into how dragons are depicted in books, films, and television.
Many authors have taken unique approaches to describe dragons. JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit introduces us to Smaug, a cunning and large-scale beast. Tolkien uses metaphorical language to paint Smaug as “something like a monstrous bat.” This comparison allows readers to fathom Smaug’s giant wings that loom over the landscape.
In the Harry Potter series, JK Rowling uses descriptive detail to distinguish different dragon breeds. Between the Hungarian Horntail’s dangerous tail spikes and the Chinese Fireball’s bright red scales, Rowling creates an array of unique creatures for readers’ imaginations.
George RR Martin adds his twist to dragon representation in A Song of Ice and Fire. Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons – Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion – are each uniquely described with colours that reflect their names (black/red, green/bronze, and cream/gold, respectively). Interestingly, Martin doesn’t focus solely on size; he describes how their scaly bodies move gracefully like gleaming jewels under sunlight.
Films often rely on visual representation rather than detailed descriptions. In Guillermo Del Toro’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army, we witness gigantic twin dragons that appear like stone statues before awakening into fierce monsters. The sheer scale of the dragons becomes evident when they dwarf the movie’s protagonist, Hellboy.
Another memorable representation is the Night Fury, Toothless, from the How to Train Your Dragon series. With its sleek appearance, expressive eyes, and retractable teeth, Toothless offers a distinctive image that feels familiar yet represents a new breed of dragon.
Dragons in television series also vary significantly in appearance and size. In Avatar: The Last Airbender, dragons are used as spiritual guides that exude wisdom and grace in their movements. These dragons showcase vibrant colours and patterns on their scales but are not necessarily quite as large as those found in books or films.
Netflix’s The Witcher showcases dragons with multiple limbs and enormous wingspans. The golden dragon’s elegant scale patterns accentuate its regal aura and provide a sharp contrast against its background.
To sum up, writing about dragons can be a daunting task that challenges an author’s ability to paint vivid imagery. Drawing inspiration from literature, film, and television provides several creative approaches to describe these mystical creatures effectively. By exploring these examples, writers are better equipped to give life to their imaginations while maintaining the essence of a dragon’s mythology.