Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Wyrm

Dragon - Utagawa Kuniyoshi

I know, I post inordinately about dragons, but hey! It's called Theology and Dragons for a reason, right? That in mind, this post is on writing about draconic villains. It sounded like a fun idea, so I'm going to do it. After all, the evil dragon is a time honored archetype, even if it has become increasingly rare. So, how do you write a draconic villains?

Let's analyze the enemy. If you make a dragon your villain, it's going to fall into one of three categories: the Beast, which is just a basic animalistic dragon, the Sentient, which is a dragon with a humanoid mind, and the Demon, which is self-explanatory. These three all make very different villains, despite their external similarities.

The Beast bears the characteristics of all monsters. Its primary role is to cause destruction: and a lot of of it.  Since it's an animal, the protagonists have to be a lot smarter then it is, which means the emphasis has to be physical destruction. That's the only advantage it has over the protagonists is physical strength, so milk that for it's worth. Make it breath fire, make it's tail a smashy instrument of death: not to mention venomous teeth, claws that can cut through metal like butter-- don't be afraid to overdo it.

The Sentient is more complicated, because psychology comes into play. I could write quite a lot on the mind of a villainous dragon. The Sentient is neither bestial nor numinous, so the authors have a wide range of personalities they can play with. Villainous Sentient dragons are usually proud and overconfident like Tolkien's Smaug; however, what writers sometimes forget that an evil dragon could be given a range of personalities. This dragon can be selfish and insecure, perhaps insane, maybe it desires admiration and infamy. The Sentient dragon works as a human in a dragon's body, and, given it's human mind, the scope for creativity is enormous.

Last of all comes the Demon, the most subtle and deadly of all. Some other time I might try and write about Demons, but that will take considerable strength of will. As it is, we're just dealing with the draconic Demonic. Here's when the numinous comes in. Don't make your demons overly physical. A Demonic dragon will not be slain by stabbing it in  the heart, like the two others before it. No normal weapons can kill this villain. Spiritual creatures require spiritual warfare to slay.

I hope you have enjoyed my largely incoherent how-to's on how to create (and slay) dragons. I hope they can be of use to you!

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