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The Penguin Book of Dragons

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Two thousand years of legend and lore about the menace and majesty of dragons, which have breathed fire into our imaginations from ancient Rome to Game of Thrones A Penguin Classic The most popular mythological creature in the human imagination, dragons have provoked fear and fascination for their lethal venom and crushing coils, and as avatars of the Antichrist, servants o Two thousand years of legend and lore about the menace and majesty of dragons, which have breathed fire into our imaginations from ancient Rome to Game of Thrones A Penguin Classic The most popular mythological creature in the human imagination, dragons have provoked fear and fascination for their lethal venom and crushing coils, and as avatars of the Antichrist, servants of Satan, couriers of the damned to Hell, portents of disaster, and harbingers of the last days. Here are accounts spanning millennia and continents of these monsters that mark the boundary between the known and the unknown, including: their origins in the deserts of Africa; their struggles with their mortal enemies, elephants, in the jungles of South Asia; their fear of lightning; the world's first dragon slayer, in an ancient collection of Sanskrit hymns; the colossal sea monster Leviathan; the seven-headed "great red dragon" of the Book of Revelation; the Loch Ness monster; the dragon in Beowulf, who inspired Smaug in Tolkien's The Hobbit; the dragons in the prophecies of the wizard Merlin; a dragon saved from a centipede in Japan who gifts his human savior a magical bag of rice; the supernatural feathered serpent of ancient Mesoamerica; and a flatulent dragon the size of the Trojan Horse. From the dark halls of the Lonely Mountain to the blue skies of Westeros, we expect dragons to be gigantic, reptilian predators with massive, bat-like wings, who wreak havoc defending the gold they have hoarded in the deep places of the earth. But dragons are full of surprises, as is this book.


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Two thousand years of legend and lore about the menace and majesty of dragons, which have breathed fire into our imaginations from ancient Rome to Game of Thrones A Penguin Classic The most popular mythological creature in the human imagination, dragons have provoked fear and fascination for their lethal venom and crushing coils, and as avatars of the Antichrist, servants o Two thousand years of legend and lore about the menace and majesty of dragons, which have breathed fire into our imaginations from ancient Rome to Game of Thrones A Penguin Classic The most popular mythological creature in the human imagination, dragons have provoked fear and fascination for their lethal venom and crushing coils, and as avatars of the Antichrist, servants of Satan, couriers of the damned to Hell, portents of disaster, and harbingers of the last days. Here are accounts spanning millennia and continents of these monsters that mark the boundary between the known and the unknown, including: their origins in the deserts of Africa; their struggles with their mortal enemies, elephants, in the jungles of South Asia; their fear of lightning; the world's first dragon slayer, in an ancient collection of Sanskrit hymns; the colossal sea monster Leviathan; the seven-headed "great red dragon" of the Book of Revelation; the Loch Ness monster; the dragon in Beowulf, who inspired Smaug in Tolkien's The Hobbit; the dragons in the prophecies of the wizard Merlin; a dragon saved from a centipede in Japan who gifts his human savior a magical bag of rice; the supernatural feathered serpent of ancient Mesoamerica; and a flatulent dragon the size of the Trojan Horse. From the dark halls of the Lonely Mountain to the blue skies of Westeros, we expect dragons to be gigantic, reptilian predators with massive, bat-like wings, who wreak havoc defending the gold they have hoarded in the deep places of the earth. But dragons are full of surprises, as is this book.

30 review for The Penguin Book of Dragons

  1. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    I received an Advanced Read Copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book is well researched and well written covering the history of dragons in every area of the world. Much of it is dense with information that will be new to most who only know dragons through popular fiction. Recommended to those who enjoy dragon literature.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Vinay Ayilavarapu

    "Dragons were living and breathing monsters...., but they were always a distant threat, their menace mitigated by time and space." - Scott Bruce After reading Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea books and Tolkein's Hobbit, I found the Book of Dragons to be an excellent companion piece. LeGuin's dragons are ancient magical creatures that are revered whereas Smaug from the Hobbit is a wrathful, cunning & jealous beast. The former's inspiration lies with eastern myths and the latter with the west. Here Bruce S "Dragons were living and breathing monsters...., but they were always a distant threat, their menace mitigated by time and space." - Scott Bruce After reading Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea books and Tolkein's Hobbit, I found the Book of Dragons to be an excellent companion piece. LeGuin's dragons are ancient magical creatures that are revered whereas Smaug from the Hobbit is a wrathful, cunning & jealous beast. The former's inspiration lies with eastern myths and the latter with the west. Here Bruce Scott presents a survey of Dragons from folklore, myths, encyclopedic entries, satires, religious texts, children's stories, and poetry. We can trace the shifting attitudes towards these creatures over the centuries. The Dragon as a wrecking machine: "Sleek dragon of spite, and soars by night Ensheathed in flame; him the land-folk Do sorely dread." - From Beowulf A knight in shining armor dashes to rescue his princess and secure the treasure. In the process, he saves the village from the creature's tyranny. As an allegory: "when he arrived at the clearing, he saw a dragon holding a lion by the tail and burning its flanks with its flaming breath. My lord Yvain did not waste time observing this marvel. He asked himself which of the two he would help." - From The Dragon And The Lion Political forces shove the clay to fit a mold. Thus, creating either an elegant allegory or a ridiculous tale. Dragons are also represented as symbols of paganism, the devil, Saxons or Normans. As a historical footnote: "There be some dragons which have wings and no feet, some again have both feet and wings, and some neither feet nor wings, but are only distinguished from the common sort of serpents by the combe growing upon their heads, and the beard under their cheeks." - A World Full of Dragons We trace the tradition of encyclopedic entries from the Roman to the British empire. In the process, we gain a better understanding of the unknown and in turn, learn to be tolerant towards them. As a silly, gentle, and kind companion: " 'Dragon! Dragon dear!' 'WHAT?' shouted the dragon. 'Say that again!' and they could hear the dragon coming towards them through the darkness of the cave. The Princess shivered, and said in a very small voice: 'Dragon-Dragon dear!' ....... 'Whatever's the matter?' said the Prince. 'Nobody', sobbed the dragon, 'ever called me 'dear' before!' " -Your Kindness Quite Undragons Me The last two tales make the Dragon a lovable neighbor or an adorable pet. Finally, as a benevolent spiritual being: "The gratitude of the Dragon King knew no bounds. The whole family came and bowed down before the warrior, calling him their preserver and the bravest warrior in all Japan." -My Lord Bag of Rice The divine serpentine grants boon for those with a kind heart. Regards, Vinay A

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nathaniel

    A perfect book for your bedside or coffee table. Great to pick up and put down. Good for cocktail party bon mots. Is otherwise uninspired.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    I love mythology and dragon stories, and that is exactly what this book is. Various stories that tell about dragons, both good and bad. It’s 322 pages of dragon lore. I enjoyed it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  6. 5 out of 5

    Aimelle

  7. 4 out of 5

    Beverly Greer Goodes

  8. 5 out of 5

    Julia

  9. 5 out of 5

    C

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lex

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

  12. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

  13. 4 out of 5

    K.C. Strittmater

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  15. 4 out of 5

    Corey Posey

  16. 5 out of 5

    lily

  17. 4 out of 5

    Srivari Traders

  18. 4 out of 5

    David

  19. 4 out of 5

    Scissor Stockings

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cyril Kheirallah

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brian Smith

  22. 4 out of 5

    Christos Dardamanis

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carlos

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lucila Castro

  25. 4 out of 5

    James Maloney

  26. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  27. 5 out of 5

    Buddy

  28. 5 out of 5

    Julia Sinclair

  29. 4 out of 5

    Elron

  30. 5 out of 5

    Holden Turner

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