Shortly after I began writing the first book of Hooper’s Dragons, I discovered an uncomfortable aspect of my project.
I really didn’t know much about dragons. Not a good thing if you're going to write a book about dragons.
I took stock of what I knew: Smaug from the Hobbit, Elliot in Walt Disney’s Pete’s Dragon (the original, not the latest movie), Mushu of Walt Disney’s Mulan, Toothless in How to Train Your Dragon, Draco in Dragon Heart, and of course, Komodo dragons. You know, those giant lizards that live on several islands in Indonesia.
As you can see, the sum of what I knew about dragons seemed to come mostly from movies. I needed a bit more than that to write an epic fantasy story so it was Google time.
A few days later, I resurfaced, quite amazed at how the lore of dragons is infused in almost every culture in the world and seems to go all the way back to when humankind first kept records.
What’s more, dragons are as unique as we humans and don’t just come in what I would call the European model (think Draco in Dragon Heart) or the Chinese model (think Mushu in Mulan—only bigger).
Dragons as big as skyscrapers or as small as pixies. Two wings, four wings, one tail, two tails, three tails . . . You get the idea.
Name your color and there’s a dragon scale to match. Green, gold, silver, blue, red, and, well, every color of the rainbow and more.
Some spew dragon fire, others ice. Some fly, others can’t. Some are godlike with divine powers while others are pretty ordinary and plain.
Did you know that dragons have personalities? From cute and mischievous like Elliot to sage philosophers such as Draco.
Some dragons are very, very good and some are very, very evil, and some pick and choose if they want to be good or evil on any given day. Know anybody like that in the real world?
Fire-drakes can be friendly, they can be inimical, and they can be both at the same time depending on their mood, their desires, and their plans. Does that sound familiar or what?
In other words, other than looking like a dragon, they can be pretty human under all those scales.