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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Portraying Dragons in Christian Fantasy


An interesting topic keeps surfacing at my book events. And it always opens with the question: "Do you think it is ok to have a good dragon in your story?" Then they'll say something about how the Bible portrayed Satan as a dragon and so those creatures represent evil.
I decided to post about this after seeing Seth's post about dragons in literature on his blog.

So, why have I chosen to use both good and evil dragons in my series "The Sword of the Dragon"? There is, of course, the most prominent dragon in "Swords of the Six" the powerful Albino who is also a prophet of God. And there is a trinity of sorts in my series which consists of Albino the dragon, Patient the Shepherd, and Ulion the Invisible One.

Does it go contrary to scripture for me to use dragons as leaders and examples of good?
No. Upon examining Scripture we find that Christ was represented by a lion (and C.S. Lewis used Aslan to represent Christ in "Narnia") but at a later time we read in another verse "...Satan himself walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
The lion is magnificent but deadly, as are dragons. And dragons were also a creation of God and he called all things that he created "good". It is the corruption of sin that makes that which should have been good, evil. Perhaps we should carry this thought further to say that writing a book wherein all members of a certain species (if portrayed as sentient) are evil, then that is not a Biblical representation. All souls are condemned based on the choices they make. If their works are good, or if they are evil. Salvation comes through Christ alone, but choices determine an individual's path in life. There should be good dragons and bad dragons to give examples of the path to God and the path to condemnation, and of how magnificent can be the follower of God and how base can be the purveyor of sin.

7 comments:

Nathan R. Petrie said...

WOOT! Great post. People are always so shocked when I'm reading draconic books, or writing them lol. They were creatures just like anything else was a creature. Which is why I like the Lion of Judah/Prowling Lion argument. And even if they weren't a creature, though I think they were, the fact that in a few verses they personified Satan doesn't make them evil. Satan was personified by a lot of things....do they have to be evil?
Plus, when Christian Fantasy involving good dragons came around....that's a pretty original idea for Christian reading. So why not? lol

K.M. Weiland said...

Interesting. I'd never considered Christians having a problem with dragons. I tend to believe our myths of dragons are merely the offspring of our ancestors' memories of dinosaurs.

Scott Appleton said...

I do believe, if memory serves correct, that the word 'dinosaur' was not invented until the mid tolate-1800's. The word dragon is used in the reformation bibles and the Leviathin and Behemoth were dragon/dinosaur-creatures. Has anyone else noticed that a lot of commentaries try to say that the creatures mentioned in the Book of Job are an elephant and hippo? That is ludicrous! Neither has a tail like a tree!

Nathan R. Petrie said...

What bothers me more than the Behemoth=elephant thing is the Leviathan=Crocodile. Really? A fire breathing crocodile :P lol

Seth said...

I believe you put that very well. Dragons are not evil, but they make good evil characters. Or very good protagonists as well for that matter.
Also, thanks for the shout out about my blog.

Wayne Leeke said...

At first I was going to post a reply expressing what I think about this subject, but it became too long, and I ended up making it into a blog post.

http://thelastknights.blogspot.com/2010/02/dragons-and-fantasy.html

This is an interesting subject that I would like to put more thought into.

Beorn said...

HAH! Hippo... yeah, that's totally what dragons are.
My study Bible also suggests this... those Bible note-writing guys need to study up on dragons a bit more thoroughly.

WELCOME TO THE WRITING SITE OF SCOTT APPLETON

"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." -Proverbs 16:24

In a world where morality is forsaken and Christ neglected, wholesome books are uncommon. The themes of my writing are love, self-sacrifice, and honor.

I see my generation turning from God to the gods of this world. I see homes torn apart in the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. Children are murdered by the millions every year . . . without ever seeing the world outside their mothers' wombs. Through fiction I strive to encourage those who are willing, to stand against these things and be heroes and heroines; chivalrous, gentle, full of righteous indignation, and the fear and love of their Creator.