For this week’s dragon post, I thought that although finding some nice pictures of dragons would be excellent, I wanted to write something about dragons, since I haven’t done that properly since my ‘Dragons of the World’ series at the end of last year. So I rummaged around a little bit and came up with today’s topic – almost dragons.

What do I mean by that? It struck me that in a fair few novels, stories and other media that are around, you can have dragons, but you also have creatures, often small ones, that are related to dragons, but not dragons.

SparklingExamples: In the Dragonriders of Pern has fire-lizards, arm length miniature dragons (which the dragons are rumoured to be bred from), Natural History of Dragon series by Marie Brennan has sparklings, again, tiny creatures that resemble dragons but often highly debated as being related to them. The Penneykettle dragons from The Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris d’Lacey are different from the dragons of the old tales.

Of course, these are different from pygmy, tiny, nano, or just generally small or juvenile dragons. Dragons come in a large variety of shapes and sizes. For instance, in How To Train Your Dragon book you have nanodragons, which are almost too small to be seen with the naked eye, and in the TV show you have Fireworms, Smothering Smokebreaths, and Terrible Terrors, but despite being small, all of them are regarded as dragons.

So what’s the point of them? I always viewed almost dragons as some sort of bridge, whether narrative, or biologically, or socially. A narrative bridge would be that you meet the almost dragon, and successful interaction with it can lead you to the larger dragons, or there’s some plot device that the almost dragon fulfils that the dragons don’t. I’ve got, well, a couple of ideas for dragons novels in my head, and they do use almost dragons. The ones in my current idea are almost exactly like dragons, except tiny and they don’t have the elemental breath. I’m also hesitant to write a dragon novel, because I love dragons so much and when I do write the novel I want it to be something I’m really proud of. So, that’s mostly in the background right now.

fire lizards menollys broodBiologically, there’s a few stories where dragons evolved from almost dragons, or almost dragons have some sort of genetic link to dragons. Dragonriders of Pern is a good example of this without going into too much detail. Social links sort of cross over with the narrative stuff I mentioned above, dragons are usually intelligent, and almost dragons are often less so, but good interactions with them lay ground work for future interactions with both types.

Actually, having said about novel ideas, I do have an idea where there are almost dragons, and the dragons (or dragon, singular, as is actually the case) can change their size, from the almost dragons, up to the size of mountains, so they can blend in with the almost dragons when they need to. Size changing seems like a cool mechanic to explore as well, and allows for greater plot movement, because if you were the size of a mountain, then there’d only be certain times where that’s useful.

Before I ramble on too much, I’ll finish there. But can you think of any other book or shows or movie that employ almost dragons in them? I’m sure I’ve missed some, and I love getting new books recommendations.