[DWJ] Dragon history question

Dorian E. Gray dorianegray at gmail.com
Tue Jul 13 14:03:41 EDT 2010

Philip said...

> My question is, when did dragons in Western fantasy start to lose their 
> evil stereotype?
> Of the great innovators of modern fantasy, Tolkien was still writing about 
> a traditional inimical dragon in "The Hobbit" in 1937;  and Nesbit's 
> collection "The Last of the Dragons and Some Others" (early 1920s I think) 
> contains IIRC only inimical dragons.

Not so!

(BTW, most of the stories in "The Last of the Dragons" were previously 
collected in "The Book of Dragons", pub. 1900 and available on Project 

And at least two of the stories that I can think of feature non-inimical 
dragons; in "The Last of the Dragons" itself (not in the earlier collection, 
btw), the dragon is not at all keen on eating the princess, and actually 
prefers petrol - it subsequently comes home with the prince and princess, 
and eventually turns into the first aeroplane.  And in "The Dragon Tamers" 
(which is in the earlier collection), the dragon eats bread and milk, and 
purrs, and is generally rather pleasant to the humans it comes in contact 
with (of all of whom the same cannot be said).

Until the sky falls on our heads...

Dorian E. Gray
dorianegray at gmail.com

"Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between 
the disastrous and the unpalatable."
- J. K. Galbraith 

More information about the Dwj mailing list