Many fantasy and mythological stories include dragons in some sort – both in Western and Eastern cultures. It’s not often that there are shared mythological creatures, though dragons are quite different depending on where you are, what you’re reading, and what sort of influences the author had while writing about dragons. The European dragons are typically more lizard-like and are generally seen as being more evil than the Eastern dragons, which are more snake-like and are seen to be benevolent.
Living in a Western culture, it’s no surprise that a lot of the fantasy I read has a very European type of dragon in them. I think one of the main draws to these types of dragons for me is because it typically means great adventure – the courageous and errant knight going off to battle a dragon in order to save the princess, in order to win great amount treasure (as dragons tend to hoard all things sparkly and shiny and gold), or in order to win great renown. There is danger, but as the Western dragons are evil, you know that the person taking on the dragon will win out – it’s good versus evil, after all, and good usually always wins in fiction.
Below I’ve listed my favourite books with dragons in them. While most of them are the traditional European dragon, there are a few (The Neverending Story and The Ice Dragon) where the dragon isn’t evil as expected – expecially in The Neverending Story, where the dragon is a luckdragon, and much more like an Asian-inspired dragon.
- J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit. Originally Published 1937.
- C.S. Lewis’s The Dawn Treader. Originally Published 1950.
- Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story. Originally Published 1979.
- J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Fourth book in the Harry Potter series. Originally Published 2000.
- Obert Skye’s Pillage. Originally Published 2008.
- Beowulf. Written at some point between the 8th and 11th century.
- George R. R. Martin’s The Ice Dragon. Originally Published 1980.
- Robert Munsch’s The Paper Bag Princess. Originally Published 1980.
- Jennifer Fallon’s Hythrun Chronicles. First book in series is Medalon. Originally Published 2004.
- Shanna Swendson’s Damsel Under Stress. Third book in the Enchanted, Inc series. Originally Published 2007.
Sadly, I haven’t read too many stories with the Eastern-sort of dragons in them – unless you include various manga titles. I have seen many subbed Asian movies (which I positively love) and a bunch of anime, but not too many novels. Can anyone recommend any good ones?