As a very young adult in an unhappy marriage, my form of escape was reading. I read and reread Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton and Ursula Le Guin; reading the books to shreds and duct taping the covers together so that I could read them again. When I could not afford to buy a new book I would write the sort of story that I wanted to read, either by hand on school-paper or on my old secondhand IBM Selectric typewriter. I still have quite a few of those tales hanging about the house somewhere, and plan to one day make a book of short stories.
My first exposure to Anne McCaffrey’s wonderful dragons of Pern came in 1967 when I read Weyr Search in my father’s Analog magazine. The pecking order always went this way in regard to Analog, Astounding, or any of the other sci-fi magazines that regularly came to our house: First Dad, then Mom, and then either I or my sister, depending on who was fastest.
When Weyr Search was combined into a book and called Dragonflight I soon became an avid fan of Ann McCaffrey’s work. Anne’s dragons are characters that are as important as the protagonists are in her tales. They are telepathic; each dragon bonds to a single human being when first hatched. They come in various colors which are generally correlated with their size, blue, green, brown, bronze, and gold queens. Bronzes, as the largest males, are by tradition the only ones who compete to win the queens in their mating flights. Queens, however, are always the largest dragons. As their human counterparts are linked mind-to-mind, the humans mate when their dragons mate.
That deep connection which the humans have with their dragon counterparts was very thrilling me, and I have read every book written by Anne McCaffrey and also am thoroughly enjoying the books written by her son Todd McCaffrey.
Another book which features a dragon I that I have enjoyed reading recently is ‘Brother, Betrayed’ by Danielle Raver. ‘Brother, Betrayed’ features a canny old dragon named ‘Fimlarr’. Fimlarr is so old that his metallic golden hide is nearly white.
Raver is currently working on a new book that features a red dragon, Flight Moon, as the protagonist, and I have been told that Fimlarr will reappear as a minor character in the tale. I had the opportunity to talk to her one afternoon, and I was able to ask her what she was imagining when she thought of her dragons as Characters.
Danielle told me, “At first, when I was younger and first dreaming of my characters they were based somewhat on the ‘DragonLance’ sort of dragon, with the color of the dragon determining it’s powers. Then as I started creating my story I realized that the colors would not matter in regard to their powers.”
I then asked her “What sort of people are your dragons, character-wise.”
She replied, “They are very intelligent, and while they are not inherently evil, they can be dangerous. Because they are frustrated by the way that society has treated them, in my new book some of them will seek power by aligning themselves with the villain who is offering them what they see as a fair deal.”
I think that will make them very interesting as protagonists, and will be looking forward to reading that book when it comes out.
In my current series of books based in the world of Neveyah, my protagonists must fight an old waterdrake called Aggie. Aggie is not intelligent in the way that McCaffrey’s and Raver’s dragons are. Aggie is old and alone. He is the last of his kind in the world of Neveyah, and he was captured by the evil priest Stefyn D’Mal and imprisoned in a cavern that lies in middle of an underground escape route where he is forced to eke out his existence by eating the unwary people who would pass though his cave as a way of escaping D’Mal’s hospitality.
Aggie himself is both dreadful and amazing to look at. His skin appears to be clear and almost jelly like in appearance. Tiny eyes glare from his gigantic head; he relies upon his acute sense of smell to guide him to his prey. A spiked crest runs from the center of his massive head to between his huge shoulders. Aggie is three times my largest protagonist’s height at the shoulder, and the length of his body is easily five times that. At the rear of Aggie is a deadly,
whip-like tail that is fully as long as his entire body, and it lashes back and forth, not unlike a cat’s tail. His huge head and gaping maw are attached to a long sinuous neck that swings back and forth, as he waits for whomever it is that he scents coming down the path to his nest.
He is the perfect watchdog, keeping the number of successful escapee’s from D’Mal’s dungeon down to zero. Aggie will make his appearance in the book, ‘The Forbidden Road’ which will be published next year.
This finishes my three-part series on dragons. I love every aspect of dragons and will be trying to find ways to fit them into my work as often as I can! in the meantime, you can read Danielle Raver’s ‘Brother, Betrayed’ and Todd McCaffrey’s newest addition to the Pern family, ‘Dragon’s Time’. Both books are available at the Kindle Store at Amazon.com.