Who Needs Magic?

Not every dragon has magical properties or abilities. Mercedes Lackey’s Dragon Jousters comes to mind. They’re basically cold-blooded horses, for all intents and purposes (except they come in pretty colors; no such thing as a blue pony). A Tale of Two Castles and How to Train Your Dragon are a couple more examples.

Some have limited “magical” property. For instance the Pernese dragons have telepathic abilities and a few other miscellaneous supernatural talents, like teleportation through space and time. In Dragon Slippers, dragons and humans alike have the capability to perform magic, thereby leveling the playing field. For the most part, the magic they use (called alchemy in the book) is fairly mild.

Then you have the superpowers. In Emily Rhodda’s Deltora series, the dragons serve as guardians of the kingdom, magically connected to the land. The evil dragon Maur in The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley has the power to create discord and confusion, even after his death. The Kin in The Elvenbane have not just the power of telepathy but also the ability to take on other physical forms. In my own writing, dragons have the power to see the future and are mostly immune to the effects of magic used by others.

Whether dragons have innate powers of their own, have minor supernatural ability, or exist simply as enormous winged beasts capable of eating a man, they’re all formidable. You can’t argue that the dragons of Jousters aren’t a little scary in the wrong hands, even if they don’t have the personality and power of the Kin in The Elvenbane or Shardas in Dragon Slippers. In the end, big claws and teeth, coupled with the tons of armored muscle, are what give dragons—even the magical ones—the biggest punch.

Personally, I enjoy all three categories of dragons. I think the variety is fun. Does anyone else have a preference?

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