in protest against this post (has this guy actually ever read a book with a dragon in it?!) i give you (in no particular order) ten of the ACTUAL best dragons in literature:
1. Smaug, THE HOBBIT (Tolkien) (and the only one The Guardian got right): the grand-daddy of all bad-ass dragons in fantasy for all time. ’nuff said.
2. Temeraire, of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire Series: this dragon manages to be FUSSY and PRIM, in addition to giant and deadly. what’s not to love?!
3. Kalessin, THE OTHER WIND (Le Guin): if you haven’t read Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea novels, i am sad for you. the original trilogy is wonderful, but the Tehanu books (TEHANU and OTHER WIND) are far and above my favorites. go forth and read them.
4. Eustace, VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER (Lewis): poor kid. if you leave out all the lit-crit that usually accompanies talk of the Chronicles of Narnia, Eustace’s misadventure is something straight out of an honest-to-god fairy-tale — vaguely lesson-ee, but mostly just creepy as all get out.
5. Snow Tiger, NAAMAH’S KISS (Carey): i love me some Jacqueline Carey, and i feel safe in declaring that i like the Moirin books better than the Phedre books. like Eustace, Snow Tiger is an unfortunate human caught in the grips of the supernatural — but way sexier, not to mention bad-ass.
6. Falkor, NEVER-ENDING STORY (Ende): seriously? i have to explain this one? i think not.
7. Mayland Long, TEA WITH THE BLACK DRAGON (MacAvoy): no one else, as far as i know, has ever read this book. and yet, it is one of my all-time favorites. short, intense, well-written, a fantastic present-day fantasy that i cannot even compare to anything else in the genre. pure unadulterated story-telling. READ IT.
8. Norbert, HARRY POTTER & THE SORCEROR’S STONE (Rowling): see Falkor.
9. Alamarana, ELVENBANE (Lackey): not only is she a dragon with an excellent internal life, but she is a shaman who can call LIGHTNING. how cool is that?
10. Heart’s Blood, Jane Yolen’s The Pit Dragon Trilogy: this whole series is ridiculously good. and the tear-jerker of the second book, HEART’S BLOOD? oh my.
alright, let’s hear it. who did i miss?