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Saturday, December 13, 2014

With a higher IQ than Smaug

"I'm ho-o-me!" or, Mr and Mrs Dragon

A detail from a cult illustrated book: Die Drachenfedern (The Dragon's Feathers), first published in 1993, with the amazing plates by Ol'ga Dugina and Andrej Dugin. From the viewpoint of fantasy lore, the interesting novelty -- in the illustrations, not in the text -- is that the Dragon is endowed with intelligence and speech, like Tolkien's specimens, but he makes something more than collecting useless treasures. He is an alchemist, a magician.
In connection with this, the countless details added by the Dugins, a married couple themselves, give a quite different meaning to the whole story. Signs of the Dragon, in fact, can bee seen in every page: giant eggs, dragon-shaped helmets, little reptilian critters, etc. The impression arises that the W/Lizard only "makes as if" he is deceived by his wife, revealing her the secrets that she, in turn, will pass on to the young hero of the story to help him accomplish his "mission." The Dragon probably knew everything about it, and now enjoys observing the consequences. The result is that the young man will succeed in marrying his sweetheart, but they won't look very happy: the worst curse has fallen on them, the curse of gold.