Friday, December 21, 2012

Movie Buff: Everywhere There Be Dragons

I just got finished watching How To Train Your Dragon, a mere two years beyond the movie's original debut.  It's the touching story of a boy who convinces his fellow Vikings to stop murdering dragons, and to enslave them as beasts of burden instead.  Awwww.

Dragons are interesting in genre fantasy, because there's so many varying portrayals, usually in terms of their intelligence.  Sometimes, they're basically human smart, as in, say, Timothy Zahn's Dragonback adventures.  Sometimes they're more cockerspaniel level, as in this movie, or the Discworld series (at least, most are).  And sometimes, they're much smarter than humans, as in Ursala Le Guinn's Earthsea.  Eragon, The Hobbit, the Pern series, Game of Thrones, Dragon and the George, the Farseer Trilogy, Havemercy (Cyberpunk dragon), Chronicles of Narnia, Name of the Wind, Myth, Cretien de Troyes, and Beowulf--lotta dragons.  TV Tropes even has a trope for it, "Our Dragons are Different," looking at how every fantasy series needs its own dragon.  Even more than the unicorn, the dragon comes up.

Dwarves, Elves, even monster races like the goblins and orcs and such are basically there to provide human species proxies, allowing us to displace the human Other onto something that don't exit.  Dragons are (probably) the most common example of the next step, as they're part human, and part animal. 

Not sure where I'm going with this.  Dragons are cool, I guess?  Also, I loved the collection of British (and Scottish) voice actors from the film:Gerald Butler, Robin Atkin Downes, Craig Ferguson, Ashley Jensen, David Tennant.  It's probably culturally insensitive to have so many UK folk play Vikings, but what else can you expect for a show glamorizing dragon enslavement?

Later Days.

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