A Favorite Fantasy Monster: Jane Yolen’s Dragons

Today I’m answering a challenge from fellow fantasy author Aaron Volner to write about a favorite creature from the world of fantasy fiction. After giving it some thought, I decided that I would write about the dragons from the YA fantasy series The Pit Dragon Chronicles, by Jane Yolen. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Dragons, Lindsay? What a cop-out. But hear me out.

What They Are
The dragons of Austar IV are the center of that world’s ecosystems, economy, and culture. Originally a prison planet, the descendants of the original guards and convicts have carved out a unique life for themselves by domesticating, breeding, and training dragons. From the stewpots to the fighting arenas, dragons are the lifeblood of this hot, desert world.

A full-grown dragon is roughly the size of an elephant not counting its impressive wings and tail. It Their scales come in a variety of hues ranging from mud brown and mottled yellow to vibrant blood red. While most of these creatures demonstrate bestial levels of intellect, it is said that a trainer can develop an empathetic bond with his dragon. I won’t give any spoilers beyond that, as the exploration of dragons and their unique qualities is one of the central themes of the series.

Why I Love Them
I’ve read plenty of stories about dragons, but for me, Yolen’s dragons are the ones that feel the most real. The series is told from the point of view of Jakkin, a bond-boy whose life up to now has been nothing but sweeping up dusty dragons fewmets and mucking out their massive stalls. This perspective -inspired by familiar domesticated animals including horses, dogs, cats- creates a sense of realism in the mundane habits of these fanciful creatures.

As our understanding of these creatures evolves and changes through the story, we realize that these are more than stock fantasy monsters. In this series, they fill up every page and scene with their powerful scent and heart-stopping roars. If you want to lose yourself in a world of dragons, I highly recommend this series, particularly the first book.

Be sure to check out Aaron’s original post about the Darkhound from the Wheel of Time series, and be sure to check out the next installment from author Connie J. Jasperson.

Rules for the Blog Chain:

1. You must write a blog post about the subject of a favorite fantasy creature of yours and why it’s a favorite.
2. The creature may not be from one of your own books.
3. You must challenge one other author to do the same.
4. You may not pick the same creature as the person who challenged you.
5. You must provide a link back to the post of the person who challenged you, and a link forward to the person you challenged once they publish their post, so people can follow the chain if they want.

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