Happy St George’s Day. To celebrate Team Gollancz are sharing our favourite dragons with you. What’s your favourite dragon? Have we missed him/her off our list? Let us know in the comments below.
Gillian: For me, the best dragon of all time is Chrysophylax from the brilliant story Farmer Giles of Ham by J. R. R. Tolkien, about a farmer who accidentally becomes a hero – and is then asked to take on a dragon! It’s a lovely, light-hearted, fun tale that parodies the traditional dragon-hunt tale to very entertaining effect.
Simon: My favourite dragon is The Dragon Griaule in the Lucius Shepherd stories of the same name. 6,000 feet long and with a mouth like ‘the vault of a cathedral that has been invaded by the jungle’. He lies in state like a range of hills and the people in the stories live their lives in and around him. He’s an extraordinary creation. Good luck Georgy boy…
Jen: My favourite fictional dragon is Maur from Robin McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown. A very evil dragon. So malevolent and powerful that relics of him cause problems well into future books. A fiery fictional heroine who goes from royal outsider to dragon slayer and saviour of her kingdom. Honestly, what’s not to love.
Mark: My favourite is in GEORGE AND THE DRAGON by Christopher Wormell, in which a dragon terrorizes a kingdom, but we discover he is terrified of mice… and then a mouse named George moves into the cave next door. Here’s an adorable three-year-old reading it:
Sophie: My favourite dragon is Kilgharrah from BBC ONE’s MERLIN. Inspired by Dinas Emrys dragons in Arthurian legend, ‘The Great Dragon’ predicts that the destiny of Albion lies in the Merlin’s hands. Voiced by the legendary John Hurt, It’s his callous sense of humour and resonant laugh that make him my #1 Dragon!
Darren: Having been regularly beaten with the Obvious Stick when young, I’m going to plump for Smaug, the Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities, as my favourite. Two reasons: firstly, for the way in which his superficially light-hearted badinage with Bilbo masks a truly sinister nature (nothing too dark for the young audience); and secondly, for ingenious manner in which Tolkien (presumably) retroactively fits him into the greater narrative of the War of the Ring and the end of the Third Age of Middle Earth.
Robin: My favourite literary dragon is Kazul in Patricia C. Wrede’s Dealing with Dragons series. She’s so smart and practical – she hires a princess to cook and clean for her, she understands the value of a good book and she (rightly) sees knights and princes as nothing more than annoying distractions from the more important things in life. She’s my kind of hero.
Nina: The dragons in Seraphina are unlike any you will have come across before. Living alongside humans in the kingdom of Goredd, made into human shape in order to fit in with society, they are rational, clear thinking. Different. An uneasy trust is held and in the midst is Seraphina, musician, unusual, and at court for the first time. Mysteries unfurl and plots deepen as a murder looks draconian…Rachel Hartman is a genius. Wonderful and odd, and a dark and twisty read for escaping into a world of dragons unlike any other.