The Purpose(and why Dragons should have swords)

When I was a small child, I remember staring at my reflection in the mirror and wondering why I was who I was.  What made me, me?  Why did I exist?  In retrospect, it was a fairly odd time in my life to have an existential crisis, but now it has brought up a deeper question.  How do we define who we are both individually and collectively?  Why is it that knights hold swords and not dragons?

I always thought it would be cool to see a dragon wielding a massive sword and flying into battles.  But why are such images so few and far in between?  Even in modern fantasy like Skyrim, dragons are still an enemy to be defeated.  Even more pro dragon fiction such as How to Train Your Dragon and the Inheritance Cycle paint dragons as being subservient to humans.

I believe dragons tell us something interesting about overall Western culture.  We view the little guy, the knight, as being the good guy and the large guy, the dragon as being evil.  Even religious texts like the Bible utilize the cultural image of dragons as a metaphor for Satan.  A dragon is a good example of how we view evil as being large, destructive, greedy.  Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way.  A dragon can just as much be a champion for justice as a knight.  Or it can be just as morally ambiguous as humans can often be.

Think of how the Bible describes lions, both Jesus and Satan are referred to as lions but in a different context.  The Lion of Judah is majestic and noble whereas the Lion of Satan is hungry and eager to consume innocent people.  It has to do with legitimacy.

A sword is often considered a noble weapon.  Even with the de-mythification of the medieval period by writers like George RR Martin, our culture still preserves the idea of swords being special(even Martin does this through Jaime giving the sword Oathkeeper to Brienne of Tarth).  To give a sword to someone is to give them legitimacy.  Link is not the Hero of Time until he gains the Master Sword.  So if you give a dragon a sword, it can be a hero or a villain.  It becomes not a mere evil force, but a knight with moral agency.

I plan to explore many topics here, especially in regards to fiction and philosophy, but mainly I hope you take away from this post one thing,

Dragons with Swords are awesome.

 

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2 thoughts on “The Purpose(and why Dragons should have swords)

  1. I would enjoy seeing a followup post that delves into identity and self-creation – is it conditioning, genetics, self-determination? Can we overcome our environment, wiring, and habits to become who we want to be? If we reject social norms, which standards should we adopt/create?
    Best,
    MendicantB

    Like

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