Why Stories About Dragons SUCK

I like dragons.  Big dragons, little dragons, dragons with scales, dragons with feathers... I like 'em.  Yet invariably, I end up hating almost every dragon story I come across.

Why is that?

Because writers see dragons as gimmicks, that's why.

It's like we live in a world where OMGDRAGONS are a substitute for a good story.  Every time a dragon movie comes to theaters, I can be reasonably sure that it's going to be a hackneyed piece of crap.

Take Eragon, for example.  It's like the hideous mutated offspring of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings set atop a dragon.  The fact that there's a dragon that the hero gets to ride tends to distract people from the fact that the story is a gibbering monster.

Dragonheart has a similar problem.  The story is weak and cliched.  Draco's not a great character, either.  Not terrible, but not great.  The only thing that movie has going for it is the fact that there's a DRAGON in it.

That post-apocalyptic dragon movie with Christian Bale... gah, what was that about, again?  What was it even called?  Did that film even have a point?

It's almost as if some of these authors are saying, "hey, ignore the fact that I can't write to save my life and look at this DRAGON!  OOOOOOH!!!!!!!!  DRAGON!!!!!!!"

Now, not everything with dragons is terrible.  Two films come to mind - The Neverending Story and Mulan.  Neither film uses its dragon characters to distract you from a lack of story or plot.

Don't write a story about a dragon.  Write a story that happens to have a dragon in it.  This doesn't mean reduce your dragon characters to fire-breathing MacGuffins, but instead try to write a basic plot that would stand up even if there were no dragons involved.

For example, the plots of Doctor Who don't rely on the fact that the Doctor is an alien with superhuman powers to entertain you.  It's a bonus, but the story doesn't revolve around it.  The basic plots would still work if the Doctor were just a very smart human.

Likewise, the plots of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic would still be entertaining even if the characters weren't ponies (and a dragon).  The fact that the series doesn't treat their species as a gimmick and relies on good characterization and storytelling to entertain is the reason the show has such a wide audience as it does.

But Eragon, Dragonheart, etc... take the dragons out, and all you've got are some very cliched fantasy stories.  And that's why most stories about dragons suck.



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