Well hello there! I’m your approachable (right? Do you think I’m approachable?) modern dragon, coming at you live from the lair! Thanks to everyone who reached out with encouragement over the last post. And whoever dropped off the lamb chops–wow, I have got to get that recipe.
I’m a modern dragon. Read here where I introduce myself a little.
For today’s topic, I’ve noticed a lot of misinformation or maybe just confusion out there and I think maybe I can help clear up some misconceptions about dragons, especially the modern kind.
Looking for info about how things were back in the day?
Check out my companion post featuring facts about “classical” dragons!
What do I know about modern dragons?
As I mentioned earlier, I’m not saying I’m the exclusive source on dragons or dragon-related information. And yeah, I wasn’t around during The Great Dragon Purge, and I’m proud to say my relationships with townsfolk and princesses have always been quite cordial.
That’s no accident, by the way–we had to work at it, and there were definitely some tense moments from time to time, especially following an especially dry summer when I had hay fever and sneezed and the village green may or may not have caught fire.
So I’m the first to admit I may have some blind spots, and not just the kind directly in front of my massive, scaly snout. Still, I think I can offer some valuable perspectives on what it’s like to be a modern dragon. Or at least, what it’s like to be this modern dragon. I hope these help. And please keep the questions and (voluntary!) food offerings coming.
10. A modern dragon enjoys baking.
How dragons, or at least certain Western dragons, got a reputation for being uncivilized, is beyond me. I mean, yeah, I know there are stories, especially about Western dragons. But as a modern, sometimes urban dragon (I travel a lot for work), I take pride in some of the simple joys of life: soaring through the clouds, chasing lightning bolts, enjoying a nice cup of tea, and baking a delicious loaf of bread.
Not too surprisingly, being able to breathe fire comes in extremely handy for baking. I have come to enjoy baking so much that a few years back my best friend Rana and I got this beautiful stone hearth. She designed it as a surprise for me. (She’s also my primary taste tester: I do most of the baking.) One of our mainstays is the New York Times’s famous recipe for no-knead bread. I can show you some photos once my iPhone gets fixed. There’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh bread wafting throughout the lair.
9. A modern dragon enjoys banking.
You might be familiar with one of the stereotypes about Western dragons: greedily sitting atop a hoard of gold deep within their lairs.
Not me! I am a modern dragon and I find the electronic banking system more convenient than storing mountains of gold at home.
Don’t get me wrong; there’s something very satisfying about about the whole “I’m a dragon on top of a pile of gold” thing. And sometimes when I
get back from a raid get my paycheck, I like to admire the check for a moment before I deposit it. But that’s about the extent of it. Keeping the money lying around on the floor of your lair risks losing it, not to mention the risk of theft from lair tourists. So, yeah, I’m pretty much sold on banking.
I do most of my banking online, though, and I try to avoid going into the brick-and-mortar branch because the Bank of America security guard always glares at me. Sadly, like many humans, he doesn’t seem to trust giant winged lizards. And that’s the sort of reason I started this site. If I could just reach people like him, maybe one day he’d come around and we’d both feel comfortable with the proverbial and literal dragon in the room.
8. This modern dragon does not enjoy raking.
It practically goes without saying that every dragon should have a lair. And if you ask me, every lair should either be deep underground or high in the mountains, to offer sufficient protection and refuge for a relaxing existence.
But there’s no reason the modern dragon has to do all the yardwork. Come now.
That’s why I moved to a condo lair. Yeah, the condo board can be a pain sometimes (though they do mean well), but they take care of all the landscaping and groundswork.
That’s really a fantastic benefit, especially when you consider the mess the horses leave behind after the knights stop by for a, uh, friendly chat.
7. This modern dragon gets a thrill out of regenerative braking.
Oh scaletails am I excited to tell you about this one. So, there’s flapping, which is how a dragon generates lift and takes flight, and then there’s swooping, when your wings are stretched out more or less static, and you ride the air currents. It’s not unlike how birds coast through the skies.
So, here’s a really cool thing. One of the ways dragons can fly such fantastic distances is that when they swoop, the air passing under their wings actually builds stamina. It’s kind of like regenerative braking on a Prius.
Also, as a dragon, I looooooooove regenerative braking on electric cars. Extremely satisfying.
6. A modern dragon isn’t too concerned with rankings.
Drogo the Wise, from way, way back in the Age of Elders, famously once said: Nobility isn’t being better than your fellow dragon, but rather, being better than your former dragonet self.
So, yeah, if you know anything about me, you’ll know that I’m not trying to compete with other dragons, or say whether one dragon is better than another. We dragons are all in this together, especially if we want to understand one another and if we want humans to understand us.
5. A modern dragon loves back scratches.
My enormous green reptilian eyes roll back in their sockets with anticipatory delight just thinking about this one. After a long day of swooping and soaring, or maybe just sitting in the office with your wings tucked neatly behind you while you work with your team to get the Smith report in on time, there’s nothing a modern dragon likes better than to go back to the lair for a good back scratch. I’ll write more about back scratch techniques later! It’s gonna be soooo relaxing. ::drool::
4. A modern dragon probably will not eat you.
As long as you respect the modern dragon, the modern dragon will respect you. Earlier I wrote about what to call a dragon when you meet one. Don’t mess with the dragon and you should be fine. Probably. You should probably be just fine.
3. Dragons are more like cats than you might think.
My cat would probably tell you that cats are more ferocious than dragons, and that may be true when you compare certain cats to certain dragons.
Also true is that dragons can be extremely catlike.
I’ll write a future post on this, but, for starters, both cats and dragons:
- Like to pounce
- Are very friendly or ignore you
- Can be extremely playful
- Can be very deadly
- Enjoy snuggling
- Like to nap
These and other dragon-cat similarities are worth further exploration. Everyone’s best buddy Toothless, for instance, is extremely cat-like. Also, I’m very impressed with Toothless’s patience in agreeing to be filmed in the How to Train Your Dragon series of documentaries.
2. Breathing fire is not easy.
I’m struggling a little bit with this one because although Western dragons in particular are known for breathing fire, I’m not the best at it. I think the most accurate way to put it is that I’m inconsistent.
If I need to vanquish an enemy with some fire, no problem! Thankfully, I never have had performance issues in that situation. (Also, I really prefer deescalation and flight to fighting. It’s been over 25 years since I’ve been in a true fight, I’m proud to say.)
But if I’m using some fire to cook, or to do a demonstration, or if I’m feeling a little irritated or angry, I sometimes overdo it on the fire. And that’s not very pleasant to be around.
As an aside, the mechanics of how dragons breathe fire are fascinating and probably have something to do with this. I’ll write about that at some point.
But for now the thing I need you to know is that it’s not just as simple as “Oh, the modern dragon is a dragon and can breathe fire, no biggie.” No. It’s not always easy being fire-breathing. And, acknowledgement, it’s not always easy being around fire-breathing creatures.
1. Happy wagon, happy dragon
Okay, here’s the last dragon fact for the time being! You may have heard that some dragons have a reputation of being very nervous, or easy to provoke, or both. But maybe even in part to try to combat that tendency, in the Misty Mountains where I’m from, we have this saying:
“Happy wagon, happy dragon.”Traditional dragon saying
You probably get the gist; what it means is that if the important parts of your life are going well, you should be happy and not scorch the small prey. It can be incredibly difficult to put this philosophy into practice, but I have found that in my own life, repeating the phrase can be helpful to keep me centered. Even if I’m frustratingly awake at night, constantly anxious that there might be knights clanging toward me from over the closest hill. If I repeat that mantra–happy wagon, happy dragon–I feel better.
So there you have it–ten facts you might not have known about dragons! Well, about modern dragons. Okay, about this modern dragon. I hope you found these interesting and maybe even helpful for your own interactions with dragons you might encounter in your own life.
Looking for info about how things were back in the day?
And as always, don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or comments, or with guest post ideas so we can help people get comfortable with the modern dragons who lurk and bake and swoop among us. There’s plenty of room in the lair.
Very truly yours,