Sunday, August 5, 2012
Fantastical Creatures: Dragons and Unicorns and Snarks, oh my!
I suppose these are just a few thoughts and musings I've had over the weekend. I've been thinking a lot about fantastical creatures lately. Depending on what fantasy world you're currently immersing yourself in, there are quite a host of them in literature.
Of course there are your run-of-the-mill dragons, goblins, unicorns, trolls/ogres, elves, dwarves, shape-shifters, and other general stuff. The next tier has more specific creatures--specific to the world they inhabit. This would Orcs (Lord of the Rings) which are just a glorified form of goblins, hippogriffs and mandrakes (Harry Potter) and trollocs and Myrdraal (Wheel of Time). And then there are the REALLY twisted ones like George R.R. Martin's White Walkers, J.K.Rowling's Dementors, and Robert Jordan's Aelfinn/Elfinn. (Think freak-you-out-of-your-shorts terror!)
And of course there are the ones that always stay with you. For me, it was the 1980s The Neverending Story that always stuck: Rock Biter, a luck dragon that looks like a golden retriever, except it flies, and the Nothing, which had no shape or mass at all.
Some fantasy writers put their own spin on the classics (most of Rowlings creatures have a place in classical mythology, but she molded them to her wizarding world). Others invent brand new things for their fantasy worlds (i.e. just about every high fantasy writer out there!). Either technique can be fun, challenging, and awesome, as long as it's handled well. I'm just dwelling on this because I'm doing world-building for my high-fantasy story.
So, what are coolest fairy tale creatures you've ever come across? :D