Warning: I devour any and all books, movies, or shows that feature dragons. I’ve exhaustively researched dragon mythology. I unintentionally convinced a guy to smuggle a short dragon sword out of the country for me. I make a living by arguing with awful people about the semantics of domestic violence.* I have opinions about dragons and writing. And I have ZERO tolerance for misuse of these magnificent creatures.
So, without further ado, I present…
The Five Dragon Books You Should NEVER read, or The Draconic UnMentionables.
Dear Authors, when you squander the brilliance of dragons, you earn my enmity until the end of time.
I am here today to warn my fellow readers. No one should suffer as I have suffered. No one should be pulled in with promises of draconic glory, only to see the glorious creatures debased and defiled.
Le Morte D’Arthur by Thomas Malory.
You expect me to believe a dragon could be defeated by any of these collection of utter tools? They spend too much time raping, being raped, committing adultery, abandoning their illegitimate children, picking pointless battles, and generally screwing around with shit they don’t understand, for me to accept any of them could kill a dragon.
Get eaten by a dragon? Yes. Kill a dragon? Hah! I call BULLSHIT.
I have no interest in Arthurian legends. Malory is the defining work, and Malory didn’t have the decency to have a dragon taken down by an actual heroic figure. Instead he portrayed the dragon as a rabid dog. Because that was the only way he could convince anyone Sir Prance-a-lot could do something other than sex-up his best friend’s wife.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling.
In this book, the purported good guys capture dragons from all over the world. Then they drug and transport the captives, along with their clutches, to England, so that a handful of sociopathic kids can torture them with magic and steal their eggs in a ridiculous sporting event.
Where is the Wizarding Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals when you need them? It was just soooo horrific when the bad guys kidnapped a handful of muggle families and used magic to torture them and steal their children for the enjoyment of the masses at a ridiculous sporting event. HOW did no one see the obvious parallels in their treatment of dragons?!
Guess who never picked up that later Harry Potter books or movies?
The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey.
They may as well call this series the Rapingtimes of Pern. Rape and sexual assault are the norm. In the first book alone, we have our so-called heroes:
I want to love Pern. I really do. The dragons are exceptional. But dragons are not quite awesome enough to erase the never-ending rapeathon and creepy gender roles.**
Black Jewels by Anne Bishop.
Once upon a time there were two dragons. The lady dragon flies all over the world, shedding her scales in order to imbue various species with magical powers since her race had died out.
That’s an awesome magical origin story.
Until the remaining dragon spends the next couple hundred thousand years mutilating himself to increase the power of a bunch of sadists who slaughter, rape, and torture their way through the centuries. Um, no. When your species’s legacy is abused to this extreme, you rain fire down on their asses.
There are additional problems with the world-building. The non-magical races never manage to make any technological advances in hundreds of thousands of years? Bull and shit. Look at what human society accomplished in the last 2000. Take a page from The Legend of Korra, Ms. Bishop. Magic and technology are not mutual exclusive. Unless the magic-users are constantly working to suppress technological innovation, Lorn isn’t the only one who should be picking off these megalomaniacs.
In His Majesty’s Service by Naomi Novik.
Dragon slave labor. No. No. No. No. NO! These dragons are so much more powerful than the runty humans enslaving them. Rise up against your ridiculous imperialistic overlords! I’ll start reading again when Temeraire leads a slave rebellion, and eats all those Royal assholes. Southern BBQ style.
All of the above stories are epic draconic FAILS. One-and-a-half stars. Tops.
If you already read them, it’s not too late! You can purge this horrible dragon-abuse from your memory by exposing yourself to unparalleled dragon awesomeness. I’d like to refer you to my previous post on the BEST examples of literary dragons. Go there. Read those. And avoid the aforementioned abominations evermore.
*Most recently I’ve been debating the legal significance of synonyms. Strangling is a crime of domestic violence, but certain jackhole attorneys maintain choking does not fit that definition. There are similar debates over throwing into furniture vs shoving into furniture, and hitting vs smacking.
**Pern earns minor redemption for a homonormative society. All the blue and green dragon riders are gay, the brown dragon riders are bi, and the gold/bronze dragon riders are heterosexual. We even meet an asexual dragon. Go Ruth! Most queer-identified nerds have at least dabbled in Pern, leading to many hilarious quips about color-coding for convenince. I was once in on a “what color is your dragon” t-shirt campaign (I didn’t participate mostly on the principle that I would get stuck wearing white. Bo-ring). But welcoming queer people into your ruling class doesn’t stop all the roofies and rape. Sorry Dragons, Pern still fails.