Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dragons

Of course, next to dwarves, dragons are my favourite creature to draw and paint. I seldom represent good dragons. For some reason, to me, dragons are almost exclusively an obstacle to overcome, a cunning adversary or villain to act as foil to the cause of good, the valiant knight. That is not to say I have not spent time exploring goodly dragons or that I don't reserve a special place in my heart for them. Indeed, I am very fond of Krynn's metallic dragons and some other notable serpents of friendly and noble disposition.

Primarily, however, dragons are a primordial force of evil. Perhaps this is because they are so huge, so symbolic of malevolence, so awesome, that even in their goodness they represent a terribleness.

In most fantasies, the line between good and bad, black and white, is so clearly drawn that the individuals belonging to either side must be exaggerations of normal human experiences and concepts in order to emphasize the struggle within us. Good is good only when compared to evil. Dragons represent the larger than life, ultimate obstacle. The dragon slayer, the walker through the valley, is the one that will come out the other side stronger for having faced his challenge, the amplification of his fears and demons.

And it is for this reason, I feel, that I must relegate dragons to the evil side of the spectrum. Sure, there may be those few good dragons that still and will capture my imagination and heart, but I have fought enough of them to know that even the good are not what they seem. To slay a dragon you must be wary of their tricks, sound of heart and mind, and courageous, even when defeat seems immanent. To be bold in the face of ultimate suffering, to fight when you want to give up, that is what fighting dragons is about.

I think about this struggle frequently these days. A friend recently lost his fight with a most foul wyrm, Cancer. This post is for you, my friend. Goodbye, Shawn. You fought bravely, and you will be missed. I haven't had a proper time to grieve for you, until now, your passing was such a shock. Your fight is done. May you rest well. God knows you deserve it...

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