I know this is supposed to be Science Fiction Friday and dragons aren't, strictly speaking, science fiction. To that, I wish you to imagine me blowing you a tremendous raspberry. I totally count magical realism as Science Fiction, in the wider category kind of thing, and if you do magical realism without dragons why are you bothering?
So, along those lines, buckle up because this is going to be a long one.
My Three Favorite Dragons:
The first research paper I ever wrote, for Junior English, was about King Arthur. And I was like stupidly over-committed to it. Which has ruined pretty much anything popularized about Camelot for me since then.
But the Welsh Red is still my favorite.
First, because his cry was rumored to cause women to miscarry, animals to die, and plants to become barren. All just because he was getting his butt kicked by the Invading White Dragon.
This was, of course, all before the Arthurian Legend where he and the white dragon were fighting under the hill and kept knocking down Tintagel (I vastly over-simplified that, I can give you deeper source material if you want it).
I've never quite gotten how his anger in his defeat came to symbolize all of Wales, but I'm sure it's something tricky and subversive. They're Welsh.
Smok Wawelski is the mythological dragon that lived under Krakow, before it was Krakow. He beat a path of destruction across the city constantly until the king promised the hand of his daughter to the man who defeated the beast. At which point a lowly cobbler stuffed a sheep with sulfur and left Smok Wawelski a snack.
Smok drank half the river and exploded.
Interestingly he gets lumped with the Serbian and Albanian dragons frequently, who I find more interesting because they were known for protecting the crops in their home territories. That's probably a little more help than a big dog.
So when you start talking mythological beasts, the Sumerian ones are, for obvious reasons, going to be the oldest ones, right?
And if we're going to talk about dragons we kind of have to talk about Kur. He was the first, after all. Well, probably the first one we have record of anyway. And there are all sorts of interpretations about Kur. That happens when a myth spans so much of human history.
Just look at the hot mess the Greek Pantheon is.
My favorite use of Kur interprets him as the spirit of the land. And when he was killed, the caused the whole world to flood.