One Lump, or Two?

Fantasy settings aren't all swords, spiders, and punching.

Fantasy settings aren’t all swords, spiders, and punching.

There are a whole lot of dragons in fantasy literature and gaming. Metallic scaled dragons that are good, brightly colored evil dragons, Smaug from the Hobbit, Silvara from the Dragonlance books….it’s very easy to name them, to rattle off a few. “How to Train Your Dragon” featured Toothless, and was a pretty endearing film. There’s a whole lot written down on paper, in script form, and in film about dragons. Dragons are depicted as any of various species of large, intelligent, magical, reptilian beasts, each typically defined by a combination of their demeanor and either the color of their scales or their elemental affinity. For example, a commonly presented species of dragon is the red dragon, which is named for its red scales, and known for its evil and greedy nature, as well as its ability to breathe fire. Smaug is a very good example of this.

Reams of material have been written on how best to fight dragons. There is the last third of “The Hobbit” for instance, which was defining in the fantasy genre. Huge amounts of “How to Train Your Dragon” focused on how vikings would FIGHT dragons, instead of training them and working with them. A quick Google search for “Dungeons and Dragons” and “Dragon Fighting Strategies” produces massive numbers of page returns.

It strikes me that no one ever invites the dragon to tea. Maybe they wouldn’t be so peevish and cranky if someone had them over for a tea party once in a while. It seems sensible to me. I mean…if you sleep on a treasure hoard made out of gold and magical loot, and everyone is always waking you up with swords to take it, that’s going to affect your world view, negatively. It’s going to make you downright mean.

Maybe the idea is not to slay the dragons, but invite them to a tea party. It’s entirely possible that all the dragons are princesses that want to be recognized, but all anyone sees is the scales, and the loot. Check the crown in the art above…clearly a princess of some kind.

Who knows, the dragon may have something to share or may simply enjoy the invitation and the space to rest. It could be pretty @#$%ing stressful being a dragon, and dealing with all those “advanturers” and hobbits. I bet the opportunity to just sit quietly relaxed, with a couple of people would be nice, and maybe the dragon just wants a friend to listen. Who knows, what with all the carrying on with swords and looting? There could be a dragon book club, where you invite as many dragons as you feel comfortable, or that your tea pot can serve. You wouldn’t want to run out of tea.

It’s not even at odds with the idea that maybe the dragon is some kind of iconic adversary. You’re not asking it to take over your life. You’re not surrendering to it. You are treating it like an old friend who has something to say and needs your ear. It’s possible that giant, flame blowing reptiles become quite cordial when treated a little decently, like Dr. Doom does. Heck, he is positively gracious if you agree to have dinner with him…Storm and Sue Richards can attest to that. Don’t believe me…Google it.

Why am I yapping about this? It’s twofold…one, I’m trying to solve my problems in new ways, which is what this sort of thing is about. Trying to be a bit more constructive, and a bit less of a mess of anger. Anger has it’s place, but it’s not all that useful sometimes. I spent the last year of my life professionally being pretty @#$% cross, and with good reason. Now, I am completely out of that situation, and can choose to handle things differently.

Secondly…it’s a visually fun, whimsical idea. Behavioral psychology states (and I’m simplifying here) that you should DO things that create the kind of mental states that you want. Doing those things will produce the mental states, and thusly, improve your quality of life. In this case, the art is very much a behavioral idea…I took the time, intentionally, to draw something fun and positive, and be happy with it. The goal was, very directly, to reinforce that set of ideas.

I drew the piece while sitting with old friends, with close friends. While just quietly enjoying the company, being more peaceful than I usually am. The experience of that very much informed the art, although I have been thinking about Tea Dragons all week. There are Metallic Dragons, Chromatic Dragons and Gem Dragons…why not Tea Dragons? Complete with Tea based powers or magic of some kind. That led to the idea of inviting the dragon for tea, which led to the art. and the very positive afternoon.

I also decided to color a piece that I drew in the beginning of June. When I got the offer of the teaching position I hold now, I drew the protagonist and Pony being offered a spot as one of the Knights of the East Side Park. I really liked the way it came out, in black and white, and in fact made a Swatch style watch through with the image, with the watch band in the school colors. I thought about coloring it, and after getting the watch, felt that it would have been a nicer watch with color. I like it, I wear it a whole lot…but really should have made the color version of the image before rushing to make the watch.

At least as far as the color image goes, I’ve corrected the oversight.

I like those three guys, and we haven't seen them again.  Sigh.

I like those three guys, and we haven’t seen them again. Sigh.

And yes, there are three of them. On the Deer Knight’s shoulder, you can see there is a Hamster American. That Hamster is a character too, True Believers.

This was useful, because those guys are wearing the uniforms that I need to have the more senior, tenured teacher characters wearing. Tiger Lady will keep her Ninja like outfit, because I had that vision in mind when drawing her. The Antler Lord will keep his sort of Ren Faire outfit, because he doesn’t have tenure…you see, there’s a method here.

Discussing this, a friend asked me, “Why not have the protagonist’s new outfit be one of those, then?” It was a good question, and I thought about it. It didn’t feel right, but I couldn’t articulate it directly, then. After giving it some thought, I figured it out.

I’m excited about the job, sure…but I don’t exactly “fit in” yet. I’m the New Teacher, and very much an Unknown. Everyone was friendly and kind the other day, and I had a nice time getting to know a group of people that do good work, and seem like a good team. It’s just that in that sense, I’m not yet part of the team, I’m the New Hire. When I fit in better…that might be time for that style of uniform to make an appearance. As it is, I was considering it as a kind of “dress uniform.”

Just like as I get comfortable, I might make a second watch, in color.


One thought on “One Lump, or Two?

  1. All this talk of unusual/positive dragons brings to mind the Luck Dragon from the Never Ending Story. Sort of a cross between a Chinese dragon and a cocker spaniel, as I recall. If you’re looking for a positive dragon role model, he’s one of the best. I hope the new school year is going well for you!

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