Root and Stone

Sci fi/Fantasy image by

Ursula Vernon

I was at the zoo the other day--bear with me a moment, here--and I was drawing the Komodo dragons. One of them was chewing sedately on a dead rat, and it struck me that THIS was why dragons aren't 'real' creatures. A flesh-and-bone dragon in this world is at best an overgrown monitor lizard, with or without batwings. That got me thinking--what's our obsession with dragons? Why do they resonate so strongly? Well, I thought about it for a while, and came up with this from the dregs of anthropology and art steeping in my brain: Dragons, like wolves and demons in other times and cultures, are the face western culture put on wildness--on the vast, unstoppable, inhuman forces that no one wants to ascribe to gods. Dragons always live in the waste, and only saints and heros can stand against them. 'Here there be dragons' could be written 'This we do not control.' Dragons weren't flying lizards, they were mountains, windstorms, mindless violence that required impossible sacrifice to placate or destroy. All renderings of dragons are right, some are just better at portraying that essential wildness. Anyway, philosophical digression aside, this was my stab at it, and hopefully the painting isn't as overworked as the philosophy. (chuckle) It's a drier, more patient sort of monster, but I think it got at my hazy concept of wildness untempered by flesh...or hell, maybe it's just a dead tree and some rocks and a rattlesnake. Either way, ya know?

Published More than a year ago

Category Fantasy

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