"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies...The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R Martin

03 June 2013


From legend and mythology to The Hobbit and A Game of Thrones, the dragon is a perennial favorite in the fantasy genre.

With its fiery breath, scaly armour, and baleful, malevolent stare, the dragon became the ultimate symbol of evil and corruption in European folklore and mythology. Often serving as a stand-in for Satan, or the power of evil gods, dragons spread death and hopelessness throughout the land. Only heroes of uncommon valour, courageousness, and purity could hope to battle these monsters and emerge victorious. Those that did became legends. They became dragonslayers. The list of dragonslayers is small, but it is filled with great and legendary names. Hercules, Beowulf, Cuchulain, Sigfried, Lancelot, and Saint George all battled to the death with dragons. Other heroes such as the Danish King Frotho, the French Saint Mercurialis, the Polish champion Krak, and the Russian warrior Dobrynya Nikitch might be less well known to western readers, but also fought and defeated dragons. This book will retell the greatest legends of this select group of warriors, while examining the myth of the dragonslayer in a historical, mythological, and even theological context.

My Review of Myths and Legends - Dragonslayers: From Beowulf to St. George

I’ve always been fascinated by dragons and have eagerly devoured any fantasy stories with them in. So this book really is the perfect book for a dragon lover like me. It explores in depth the myths and legends surrounding the beasts and their evolution throughout the ages in regards to their appearance and behaviour. It is an easy and quick read full to the brim with background stories and concise information. Each section also tells briefly the story of the particular Dragonslayer and his foe.

It begins with the tales of Ancient Dragonslayers such as Hercules and Cadmus. I particularly enjoyed reading about Cadmus, the founder of Thebes. I love Greek Mythology so enjoyed the references to the Greek Gods and how Cadmus fought and killed a great serpent. The book then goes on to discuss Norse Dragonslayers, Beowulf and Sigurd. Having recently studied Beowulf I appreciated re-reading about the dragon in that epic tale and how it greedily guarded a horde of treasure. As a lover of Tolkien it brought to mind the great dragon Smaug who sits upon a massive pile of gold and treasure in his story The Hobbit. My favourite tale of all within this book was Sigurd the Volsung. It is such a heart-wrenching tale of heroism and tragedy. It has made me want to read more about the epic tale and read Tolkien’s The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun. The book moves on to discuss Holy Dragonslayers and Medieval Dragonslayers. I enjoyed reading these sections but loved hearing more about The Ancient and Norse Dragonslayers. The last section on Dragonslayers Around the World was an added bonus as it was so interesting hearing about dragons in regards to Native Americans and the Maori tribe of New Zealand. This book just fed me so much information I devoured it all and it has undoubtedly cemented my love for dragon mythology even more.

The illustrations and pictures in this book are truly beautiful especially the ones illustrated by Peter Dennis. They are so vivid, bright and detailed. Along with the fantastic legends and context within this book, the illustrations really do make it an enjoyable and thoroughly interesting book. I would definitely recommend this book to all lovers of mythology, fantasy and dragons.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love reading all of your comments so please leave me a little one below :) Also, Lost in Thought blog is a free award zone. Thank you for the thought!