Now that everyone is all gaga over Game Of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings (and, yeah OK, Harry Potter) it’s maybe, almost, finally safe to be out of the closet as… you know…. a dragon book reader. A swords and sorcery type. A speculative fiction fan. A world-building enthusiast.
I always have been.
I think Lloyd Alexander was my gateway… From today’s perspective, his books lack a depth of character and originality… but, in 1980, there WEREN’T as many to choose from! Ok, fair enough– I encountered Lloyd Alexander and Madeline L’Engle at about the same time. And, dangit, when my classmates were reading Judy Blume and gasping and oohing over “Did she get it? Did they DO it?” I was walking down the hallways with my books open in front of my face, completely lost in the Alexander’s Welsh-mythology inspired world of Prydain, or stretching my fifth-or-sixth-grade- brain to encompass L’Engle’s description of a tesseract– folding space/time to travel. A quantum leap, basically.
From there, it was short leap for me to the harder stuff– like Susan Cooper’s the Dark is Rising series. Welsh mythology again, deeper and richer. And Anne McCaffery– specifically the Harper Hall trilogy, occupied much of my seventh grade year.
After that, all bets were off. I was mainlining Tolkein, Piers Anthony, and Charles DeLint.
I was always kind of underground about this penchant of mine. It’s so hard to convince skeptics that with swords and sorcery, like with any genre, I guess, there is quality brew and there is swill. I avoid the swill, as best I can, but it’s hard to judge these books by their covers. And, as I have written about before, there are some series to which I say, with frustration and desperation, “I wish I could quit you!”
This is Alden, asleep with the “Dragonology” book by his side.
We got home from a northside party (way. cool.) at 9 PM which is Way Late in Aldenland, and so I hustled him into bed, but he wanted th
is book. We dug around, found it, and he was sleepily talking about every single thing as I tucked, filled water bottle, and got the room bed-ready. “Mama? This one’s a frost dragon. Look at this cool green one. What’s this one?”
9:05, “Night night.” I leave, light on, the lil dude looking at dragons.
9:15, This picture, then lights out and done.
Sleep tight, dude. Dream of dragons.