Today’s guest post is by Louie Stowell, author of The Dragon in the Library – the first book in an exciting, magical and brilliantly funny new series for 7+, illustrated by Davide Ortu, with a great message about the power of books and reading.
Dragons in literature get a bad rap. Sometimes, they’re just nameless monsters, whose only role is to die at the hands of a noble knight. At best, they’re usually cunning and vicious, with greed in their hearts and destruction on their lips.
When my editor, Tom, asked me to write a post about my favourite dragons, I thought, “Easy! I love lots of stories with dragons in!” But the first one that came to mind was Beowulf… where the dragon doesn’t even get a name. Then, of course, there’s the Hobbit. Smaug is super cool… but his story is a snuff movie, in the end.
Then there’s Fafnir, my first dragon love as a kid. Not a nice dragon at all. Mind you, there is an argument that he’s not technically a dragon: a lot of the best dragons in stories are actually cursed people… see also Eustace Scrubb in Narnia.
Eustace Scrubb, endragoned
There are definitely stories of good dragons out there (Cressida Cowell, I salute you! Christopher Paolini, your service is noted!) but most of the dragon stories I grew up with were relentlessly ANTI dragon.
That never stopped me loving them, though.
When I set out to write The Dragon in the Library, I wasn’t consciously trying to do a PR story for dragons, but in my mind’s eye, they’re actually just large puppies who mean well. Sometimes, they might burn things, but they don’t mean to. Without giving too much away, the dragons in my story are more puppy than serpent. Not that there’s anything wrong with serpents…
David Tennant as the Serpent Crowley, in the recent adaptation of Good Omens
Thank you, Louie! The Dragon in the Library is out now – you can take a look inside the book below: