Tuesday, October 5, 2010

31 Monsters of October, Day 5: Dragons

Real World Origin:

In-Universe Description:
Dragons are mythological creatures found in a variety of cultures. They are usually large reptilian creatures and are often serpentine or snake-like. In some myths they breathe fire or are poisonous. Many dragons are described as winged creatures. Although dragons figure in the legends of many cultures, European and Asian dragons tend to be the best known.

The European dragon appears to have originated from the legends of Greece and the Middle East. With some exceptions, dragons in Europe tended to be evil, destructive creatures with bat-like wings. Many of the earlier legends described dragons as giant snakes, whereas later stories described them more like giant lizards or dinosaurs.

Asian dragons were often very different from European dragons. Although their bodies were also depicted as long and snake-like (but with four short legs), they were wingless and were considered to be benevolent creatures. They were often associated with water.

Modern fantasy literature and films have often included dragons. For example, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit introduces the treasure-hoarding dragon Smaug as the novel's primary villain. In addition to a variety of other mythological creatures, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series features several breeds of dragon, such as the Hungarian Horntail and the Norwegian Ridgeback.

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