Dragons are a superb example of myths…and of magic and perhaps mayhem as well. Read on for more dragon love from Tamara MacFarlane!
I am standing in the recently re-opened Tales on Moon Lane bookshop, thinking about the wonderful theme of Myths, Magic and Mayhem. It is a theme that perfectly sums up most bookshops: packed with legendary tales, like cauldrons overflowing with magical possibility, sprinkled with a large pinch of mayhem, sending booksellers whizzing around like magicians to find you the most wonderful books. Most of the best books also have a large dose of these elements bubbling away inside them …
Myths, magic and mayhem would, in fact, be a perfect subtitle for Dragon World! It is full of the wonderful myths that surround these extraordinary creatures. Myths that exist in every culture, from every part of the world. Myths that have been handed down through generations over thousands of years, reshaped and reimagined with each retelling to create the beautifully formed stories that we are lucky enough to be able to read today.
I have always been fascinated by dragons. As a child, I was sure that I could see dragons peering out at me between the leaves in the trees on woodland walks, lurking beneath the watery reflections in the local lakes and rivers, scouring the land for food in the cloud formations above my head. But really researching the extraordinary tales of these magnificent beasts led me deep into a world of magic and mayhem; a world of dragon battles, dragon dances, dragon curses and dragon creations, each myth more magical than the one before.
Bringing these myths and legends to life for a new generation of readers has been an intriguing and joyous journey from beginning to end. I discovered cultural divides in the way that dragons are portrayed, from the fearsome, fighting, ferocious beasts of European folklore to the wise, kind, protective and powerful dragons that evolved in Asian legends. About halfway through my research for Dragon World, I found my favorite dragon, the Korean Imugi. Legend has it that on the eve of her 17th birthday, a chosen girl will find a dragon-shaped mark on her shoulder, indicating that she will be the next Imugi, a dragon of great wisdom and benevolence. Had I read this story before I turned 17, I would have spent many evenings hoping to find a dragon mark on my shoulder. As it is now way too late for this, I may just make this my next book, so that I can imagine that I am the chosen one. How would I use my powers, I wonder? Would I find a special human friend that needs my help? What challenges would cross my path and how would I overcome them?
That is another story for another time, but while I am dreaming up that one, I hope you will uncover your own favorite dragon, or even create a dragon of your own; a dragon that I am sure will become the thing of great myths, breathing out magic, setting off to create just a little mayhem …