Thinking about dragons

ShadowDragon2

I was feeling non-writer creative today, and made this. I like it so I decided to post it. I took the picture last year sometime while out on a trip with friends. The main reason I took the picture was because a while ago near the same spot, I took the family blueberry picking. At the time I had told the kids the place was very near middle earth (which the adamantly refuted because obviously middle-earth is in New Zealand, and we don’t live there). Since this looked like the dead marshes to me at the time, I took the picture to try and convince them I was right. The text says something mundane in a now-defunct version of Petath, the writing system of the Jai people in my book. I think it’s more fun not to know.

Dragon biology

Fig. A

Figure A.

Instead of focusing on getting those last few chapters of my book done, I’ve been finding anything and everything I can to avoid working on it. Given there’s no deadline, it’s not essential to I finish until I’m ready, and so it doesn’t really matter. That said, I was musing the other day that my blog has the title of On Writing Dragons, and I haven’t ONCE written about dragons. When I started the blog, I decided I would limit the actual discussion of my story to a minimum. With that in mind, I’m not going to talk much about the dragons in my story, at least not until the first book is published (see that -I’m being optimistic today!) Anyhow, I figured now is as good a time as any to broach the subject. Some time ago I saw a blog, not the first and probably not the last, discussing considerations of the biology of magical creatures, like dragons. I’ve supplied a figure (figure A) for discussion on the biology of dragons.

Now, there are a ton of problems with dragons, what do they eat? How do they fly? How do they breathe fire without combusting?

First, consider that the wings are entirely too small to lift a 25 ton animal. The question of how much thrust is needed and the required surface area of the wings is the sort of thing to ask on ‘what if?’ Over at xkcd -Someone should do this, because it would be awesome reading in his next book, which I will buy, even without an answer. I suspect dragons would require jet engines.

It turns out that dragons have some features that make it work out. I’ll draw your attention to the super-light bones and internal organs (Fig. A) Even then, they’ll likely to be too heavy to take off. Good thing their tiny wings are also magical!

What about the fire-breathing? Again, I draw your attention to Fig A. Note the magical internal organs. Somewhere in there is a magical gizzard that makes the fire -probably. These magical organs also provide far more nutrition from any meal than would be ordinary. Thus, a sheep or cow every now and then is satisfactory.

In conclusion, dragons are magical, fictional creatures, well accepted in all varieties of fantasy. Their biology is magical, and irrelevant to the story you’re telling, unless your protagonist is studying dragon biology. Even then, trying to explain it removes the magic from the story, so don’t bother worrying about it.