Many books in the fantasy genre feature dragons as real animals and not as mythical creatures no one has ever seen. They are serpentine beings that spew fire and have both reptilian and avian traits. Despite sharing these characteristics, the role they play in a specific story varies according to the world created by each author. In some books, dragons can speak or have riders, while in others they are the subject of scientific studies. I’ve read a few books which include dragons, all having different parts to play.
When we think about the Harry Potter series, the first word that comes to mind is wizards. But the books in this beloved series also feature dragons, although they are not one of the major elements of the world created by J.K. Rowling. They are used as an obstacle to be overcome in the first task of the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, for example. Dragons, in the world of the Harry Potter series, are generally considered impossible to either train or domesticate. They are seen as dangerous, since they can kill wizards. Nonetheless, there are people trained to work with them.
Dragons assume a more relevant and totally different role in The Memoirs of Lady Trent series by Marie Brennan. This is a fantasy and adventure series where the protagonist, Lady Trent, recalls how she became a famous and respected dragon naturalist. So far, I’ve only read the first two books – A Natural History of Dragons and The Tropic of Serpents. However, it is obvious from the very beginning that in this series dragons are not portrayed as magical or mythological creatures, but as real wild animals that roam free in various parts of the world and that are scientifically studied. Continue reading