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Viking ZX

Author of Science-Fiction and Fantasy novels! Oh, and some fanfiction from time to time.

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OP-ED: I Have a Confession to Make – I Can’t Stand Dragon-Rider Books · 7:59pm September 17th

So the other day I was on Amazon, doing the usual bit of browsing, when I spotted one of those little advertisement bars that Amazon uses to get eyeballs on products by advertising things “like” what you’ve purchased or are interested in. To what should be no one’s surprise, Amazon has figured out that I like the book Axtara – Banking and Finance. Which isn’t exactly true, since I love that little book and its characters. Like isn’t a strong enough word.

Anyway, naturally I browsed this little recommended section because hey, I love Axtara, and Amazon thought these books were similar. It’s not always right, but I’m always down for a good dragon book, so I gave it a look. Even clicked on one that from the title, looked a little promising. Lots of reviews, high rating, all about dragons—

Oh wait. Scratch that. It wasn’t about dragons, but about dragon riders. That’s right, yet another book where dragons, intelligent or not, are reduced to glorified flying horses for a surely-not-just-like-every-other-fantasy-protagonist human.

To borrow from River City Ransom: BARF!!!

Look, I’ve always enjoyed dragons, ever since I was a kid. But I never enjoyed books about dragon riders (with one exception) because, well, honestly they never go past the trope. Again, with that one exception. The dragons are just mounts. Spiny, scaled, flying mounts that may or may not breathe fire. Worse, often they’re intelligent, as in fully sapient, but just fine living in a stable, being treated like a beast of burden, and generally only talking so that the protagonist has someone to talk to to reassure them that they’re “doing the right thing” or whatever.

Does it not bother anyone that a massive swath of dragon books involve treating a sentient being like a piece of property? If the dragon were human, we’d call it “slavery” and YA Twitter would descend with torches and pitchforks to burn that author’s career to the ground … even if the book were about how wrong it was and how the cast overcame it or fought against it.

But hey, if they’re not human, that makes it “okay” I guess. Sure, buy and sell the sapient species. They’re made to be mounts anyway! It’s what the universe intended!

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Comments ( 4 )

You should read the Pern books, Anne McCaffrey.

I'm not very widely read, so the first thing my mind jumped to was How To Train Your Dragon. I was a little nervous to hear your opinion there since it's one of my all-time favorite media franchises. I breathed a big sigh of relief when you didn't eviscerate it! :rainbowlaugh:

Outside of that, great writeup! Dragons being treated as evil to be slain or scaly horses to be ridden is definitely an overused trope, and I'm just glad you've been breaking the mold and doing things your own way. I wouldn't have it any other way! Now I should probably go read Axtara. That's been gathering dust in my library for too long.

Crud, one series I read which started out (which was already against the norm by being from the perspective of the sapient dragons rather then another generic human protag) even went so far as to, by the end of five books, have the dragons create dragon riding and allow themselves to be subjugated by humans.

Age of Fire series?

I was thinking the inheritance series (Eregon)

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