Sunday, August 22, 2010

A World of Dragons

No, it’s not another Playstation or Xbox game. I found some interesting things about dragons while researching my new book with Ellora’s Cave, Dragon Witch. Dragons appear in a number of popular movies: Dragonheart, Eragon, Dragon Slayer, Neverending Story and others.

Dragon mythology can be found in most cultures throughout the world. The two most common types are the European dragon and the Chinese dragon. But there are many others I came across and each have interesting characteristics. Most dragons are huge reptilian-like creatures, with either one or two sets of lizard-like legs, a long tail and able to emit fire from their mouths. Dragons with no front legs are called wyvern.

The European Dragon has bat-like wings protruding from its back. These dragons are hatched from eggs and are known to viciously guard treasures, hidden in a cave. European dragons are usually depicted as malevolent.

Chinese Dragons resemble a snake and can have many legs. They are said to possess great wisdom and magic. Chinese dragons can take on human form (Ancient shapeshifters-ha!) and were thought of as benevolent.

One of my characters in Dragon Witch, Kai, is a shapeshifting dragon with an interesting lifecycle. I did find a few shapeshifting dragons in my research but none with the peculiar traits that Kai has.

The Eight Types of Dragons:

1. The Naga - A wingless dragon from India. They prefer watery dwellings and sometimes guard treasure like the European dragons.
2. The Bakunawa – From the Philippines. It’s a deity that looks like a serpentine dragon with 2 sets of wings and a large mouth. Bakunawa translates to “moon eater” or “man eater”.
3. The Yilgean – From Siberia – A reptilian dragon depicted as a man-eater.
4. The Korean dragon – Similar to the Chinese dragons. They were supposed to be peaceful and kind and like watery places—rivers, ponds, lakes and oceans.
5. The Niòhöggr – From Scandinavia. A Norse legend and a nasty one. It lives below a giant ash tree, trapped in a seething caldron of corpses. An equivalent of Hell.
6. The Zmaj – In the Republic of Slovenia – Three heads, green scaly skin and fire-spitting. All the usual traits associated with dragons.
7. The Chuvash dragon – The European part of Russia. Winged, fire-breathing, but can shapeshift from dragon to human and back.
8. The Cuélebre – A Spanish dragon from Auturias/Cantabria. It’s serpentine, winged and has colorful scales. They’re immortal and hoard treasure and fairy-like blonde nymphs.

Dragon Witch will be available on September 15th.


Amber Skyze said...

Interesting post. I love the new cover. Can't wait for this to be available.

Kathy Kulig said...

Thanks Amber. Syneca does wonderful work. And you're a sweetheart to say you're looking forward to the book. I was excited to see a couple people on Goodreads had tagged it 'to be read'. Weird, I hadn't tried to post it there yet.

N.J.Walters said...

Love your cover. And I'm all about the dragon being the good guy, not the bad guy. *g*

Bart said...

Congrats on the new book, Kathy. Great cover!

Kathy Kulig said...

Thanks NJ. I'm with you about dragons being good creatures.

Thanks so much Bart, I love the cover too.

Pamela K. Kinney said...

Love the cover. But isn't there more than than just the dragons you mention. Like Wyvern. Lots more.
Anyway, you book sounds interesting.

Marsha A. Moore said...

Thanks for an interesting post. I'm a dragon fanatic! :)


Kathy Kulig said...

Hi Pamela, You're right. I mentioned Wyvern in the beginning as dragons without front legs. I listed 8 main types but I'm sure if I dug some more into the history of dragons I'd find more from other cultures. And thanks so much for your comment about the book. :)

Hi Marsha, Thanks. And me too. I think dragons are very cool.

Chas @ LLL Reviews said...

How exciting! I am definitely eager to read some PNR with Dragons!=)