Dragons have captured the imaginations of humans for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. There are countless films, television shows, books, and video games set in a mythical world that has dragons dominating its narrative, often with them sat at the top of the food chain and posing a threat to the mortal humans that inhabit the world.
From J.R.R Tolkien’s The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy to games like Dragon Age and Ghouls and Ghosts, dragons are often used as more than just a mortal threat. Often slaying a dragon will empower a hero with special abilities or riches and fame beyond their dreams.
Here we are going to take a look at just why dragons capture our imaginations so completely, and the roles dragons play in some of our most cherished stories and even our history.
East Versus West
Dragons are a fascinating mythological creature, not just because of their immense size and impressive abilities, but also because of how their legend has crossed multiple cultures.
Western dragons from European myths, and the dragons celebrated in the Eastern mythology of China and Asia, are very different. In Europe, dragons are often a mortal threat that seeks to destroy human civilizations and often horde gold and other riches from the humans that scurry and hide at the sound of their flapping wings or terrifying roar.
The dragons of the East are very different and are often seen as a benevolent and celebratory force of nature. Dragons are celebrated in the East, particularly in China, and are seen as wise creatures that want humanity to thrive and co-exist with them. Whether it is in ancient Eastern texts, or in modern representations like the mystical world of the wise Dragons Luck slot, dragons are a benefit to humans and not a threat.
The Mythology of Dragons
Western religion has had a huge impact on how people feel and interpret dragons and has had a massive influence on the mythology of dragons.
Many of the cultural tropes we associate with dragons have their origins in the Old Testament of the Bible, and many early Christians were convinced that dragons really existed at one time. There are numerous passages in the Bible that allude to dragons, often when discussing the end of the world and Satan. The fire-breathing winged beast has often been used as a symbol of imminent destruction and devastation, and also features in the tales of Judgement Day in the Christian gospels.
This may be where we get the idea that dragons are wise, and in some way ‘all-knowing’, as in Christian prophecy the winged beast will lay waste to the sinners and spare the righteous.
Dragons in Fiction
Since their biblical origins, dragons have found their way into many types of fiction. Sometimes they may simply be alluded to, but never actually play a role, in the story. Other times they can be one of the narrative’s most important elements, and be pivotal to the plot’s outcome.
One of the most recent and hugely popular examples of dragons in fiction managed to do both of these. In the television series Game of Thrones, based on the Song of Fire and Ice series of books, the threat of dragons that were left unseen was pivotal to the progress of one of the series’ main characters who came to be known as ‘the mother of dragons’.
At the beginning of the story, dragons are long gone from the world and the idea they could one day return is often dismissed. When the character brings dragons to life again and returns them to the world of Westeros, this act gives her a mythical status in the world and makes civilizations quake at the thought of her arriving on their shores. The dragons are the source of her power and influence in the world.
The Dragon in Our Minds
Dragons are even influential in psychology. It is thought that many of the tales of knights slaying dragons and being rewarded with success are actually an allegory for defeating your inner demons to achieve freedom from depression and anxiety.
Western culture is filled with tales of brave knights slaying dragons and often finding gold and jewels, and a beautiful damsel that the dragon was withholding from them. Some psychologists and psycho-analysts have posited that these stories are actually tales that encourage people to slay their inner dragons and demons and defeat the psychological powers that hold them back and prevent them from enjoying success and relationships. Dragons are everywhere, even inside of us!
Dragons capture our imaginations and infatuate our minds for many reasons, and have done for centuries. The size and scale (no pun intended) fill us with awe, but their complex mythology allows us to go deeper and enjoy dragons even further.