What is your opinion of the pop culture ways Dragons are seen as?
I largely find it irritating. We are convenient to cast as the villain. We are portrayed as needlessly destructive without reason. The dragon usually dies at the end, and this is usually considered a victory.
We are not animals, and we are not allegories. We are dynamic creatures with complex motivations.
I long for the days when we were worshiped by pagan cultures. Humans once understood that they were part of the balance, not its masters, and that we were part of the same balance. They knew then that the balance was necessary. They accepted that there was benefit to be had from treating a dragon with respect and acceptance. Yes, some of us hunt humans. I did. I also taught them magic.
Given the ability to exterminate the wolf, the deer would not do so. Only humans took that path. I speak from the knowledge of having spoken to them. I also eat them. My best friend is a hare. We’ve spent long hours discussing philosophy and ethics, and concluded that the desire to dominate their environment is a human trait.
So they cast me as a monster.
I humourously read The Hobbit as a story about a dragon who overthrew a corrupt king and guarded people from a cursed treasure, and was killed for being justifiably pissed when they repaid him by breaking into his house to steal shit. I loved Smaug as a character, as portrayed in the movie. Overall I’d give the movie maybe three stars because the pointless elf love triangle killed it for me, and I always hated how Smaug was treated. If they’d just left him alone everyone would have been fine. Thorin was a selfish bastard and Gandalf should have known better. The book was marvelous, but even as a child I found both the end, and the purpose of their quest distressing.
I love Game of Thrones, and those dragons are at least interesting. They have personality, and intelligence. I would prefer that they speak, or at least communicate in some fashion. I will be rather pissed if they can’t make it to the end of that without killing any dragons. But I am prepared for the likelihood that one of them will die when they get to Westeros.
Draco (Dragonheart) is an excellent depiction of some dragons. There are dragons who make the choice not to see humans as prey. I am not among them. But this means they picked a kind of dragon who was palatable for a human audience who want to see themselves as still above nature. In order for a dragon to be a protagonist, he had to agree that humans are somehow above other animals.
The dragon in the television program “Merlin” was even better. In terms of being the wise teacher with centuries of knowledge, and in terms of his blue and orange morality. But they subverted his nature repeatedly, and frankly I felt they didn’t go far enough.
I would see a story wherein the protagonist is forced to struggle with the ethics of needing the help of a dragon who has to be convinced not to eat said protagonist the first time they meet; and finally concludes that the dragon is entitled to their nature and it’s nothing anyone has any right to judge.
And for the love of the gods, I’ve had enough of two dimensional monsters with no dialogue and no personality.