Mythology with Erin

Adventures in storytelling

Tag: Project

Topic Research: Dragons

Dragons are my favorite mythological beasts, and there are hundreds of ways to use them in stories. Today I’ve researched dragon stories more to see if I’d like to do my Storybook on them. I was impressed by all of the options I found!

I started by looking at this Storybook: A Story of Blood and Fire. It was a unique and complex story that took the side of a shapeshifting dragon. I loved how the author inserted Spotify links on each page with a song to go with each chapter. I always connect stories to music, so I may decide to do something similar for my project.

The first story used in the Blood and Fire storybook was The Celtic Dragon Myth. I like that this myth uses other mythological creatures in addition to the dragon. It’s long, and I like the hero. I also like its use of color as a feature of its storytelling, and I may want to make color important in my story, too.

The second story that I came across was The Dragon and the Prince, which is a Slavic story. I like that it features a quest, and it is actually very similar to the Celtic Dragon Myth. One of my favorite tropes in this myth is that the hero-prince disguises himself as a shepherd. I may want to use a disguise of some kind in my story.

I had many books of illustrated fairy tales when I was a child, and one of my favorites contained Saint George and the Dragon. I would love to incorporate this classic legend into my Storybook. A kingdom is plagued by a dragon who eats women. George, a knight, saves the king’s daughter from being eaten by killing the dragon. Here is the full story, which begins on page 120: The English Fairy Book. Here is an interesting commentary/background for the story: Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art (In fact this entire book has a large section dedicated to dragons). I would really like to see this story with a shift in character roles. What if the princess saved the dragon from the knight? 

I’ve always been interested in the Asian version of dragons, too, so I found a story that would allow me to incorporate some Eastern dragon elements into my own project. In this “Boy Blue” story from China, a herbalist finds the thunder-dragon and gets the Red Cloud herb, which is imbued with the dragon’s essence. He uses the flower to save the emperor’s daughter from illness. I like the idea that the dragons can imbue their essence into other items or avatars, and I think the motivation of searching for a special plant or item from a dragon would be a great start to a story. This story can be found here on pages 80-82: Myths of China and Japan.

Image 1: Statue of male and female dragons holding an egg in Varna, Bulgaria. Source – Wikipedia

Image 2: Saint George and the Dragon by Raphael. Source – Wikipedia

Image 3: Asian dragon painting. Source – Pixabay

Topic Brainstorm

I love big class projects. They can be daunting, but there’s nothing better than coming away from an assignment with a product that you’ve put genuine time and effort into. Some of my favorite large projects in the past have been a homemade geometry textbook, a full-length research magazine, and a huge book report portfolio/presentation. I often pour so much energy into these projects that I refer to them as my Horcruxes; they have pieces of my soul in them. When I’m finished, though, I always have something to be proud of! I’m eager to start my Storybook project, and here are my ideas thus far.

Mythic Heroes/Superheroes
Since I learned about Campbell’s monomyth in high school, I’ve been fascinated by how modern storytelling can parallel old and ancient myths. I especially like thinking of our pantheons of superheroes as a sort of modern mythology. I’d love to explore this idea further by taking classical heroes from different myths, like King Arthur, Theseus/Perseus/Hercules, and even Thor and giving them a modern superhero twist. Or I could take superhero tropes and ideas and project them onto the old myths. Whichever way, it would serve as an interesting way to highlight how human storytelling hasn’t changed as much as we may think it has. Here’s an article about how superhero myths parallel classic myths: Modern Mythology.

Dragons
I love mythical creatures, and dragons are my favorites. I would love to do a project about dragons in myths from around the world, from the European dragons (like the one from Beowulf, which inspired Tolkien’s Smaug) to Asian dragons to more unfamiliar versions like the Naga, which I learned about here at Wikipedia.

Quests
A sort-of sub-genre that I’ve been into recent is the classic quest story, where a hero literally leaves home in search of some object, person, ideal, goal, etc. I just feel like I haven’t read or watched a good one in the past year or so. I would love to do a more in-depth look at quest stories and write a few of my own to satisfy my craving. Here’s the Wikipedia page for “Quest” with a bunch of examples of quest myths and other stories. And here’s King Arthur’s “Quest for the Holy Grail.”

Bears
Bears are one of my favorite animals, and I really enjoyed seeing some grizzly bears in Montana this summer. I think it would be very fun to do an animal-based storybook with bears. Here’s a story about a bear from the Blackfeet Nation, whose traditional lands include the spot where I saw those two bears: Bear and Bullberries. And here’s a Grimm fairy tale that includes a bear: The Willow-Wren and the Bear.

Image 1: DC Comics superheroes Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman. Source – Flickr

Image 2: Photo of a grizzly bear taken by Kevyn Jalone. Source – National Park Serve

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