Fantasy often brings to mind images of magic, wizards, mayhem, and dragons. I've loved hearing stories about dragons, both good and bad, since I first started reading fairytales. The great thing about these creatures is that they are so captivating that they have appeared in nearly every culture of the world since ancient times. Chinese, Japanese, even Native American cultures all had some sort of dragon- whether they breathed fire or not! Dragons may never have really walked the earth, but they are part of the world's history- and are a figurehead for fantasy.
My favorite fantasy books of all time have included a dragon (or other mystical winged creature) in some way, shape, or form. Eragon and the rest of Christopher Paolini's Inheritance books are probably the most well-known dragon novels right now. I have read and re-read every one, and Paolini makes Saphira and the other creatures so real, I can almost imagine flying with them through their travels.
Even the Harry Potter books featured dragons in The Goblet of Fire.
But I am a firm believer in a classic tale- and you can't get much more classic than J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit or Anne and Todd McCaffrey's the Dragon Riders of Pern. Tolkien's Smaug may have been the villain of The Hobbit, but he was the epitome of a gluttonous, winged jewel-thief.
The Pernese dragons are probably my ultimate favorites, though. While they aren't technically magical, they're genetically engineered, plus they have telepathic and teleportation abilities. Later in the series, the dragons even discovered that they had telekinesis! Anne McCaffrey's books cross the bridge between science-fiction and fantasy. The adventures that the dragons and their riders get into are amazing, making the Pern books an epic fantasy saga that is never to be forgotten.
So go out, grab a fantasy, and grow wings! You never know where your dragon will take you next!
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