G is for Gannett: Girls and Dragons

I didn't remember the books' plots. I did, however,
remember the dragon's appearance! In some ways,
this series' illustrations ARE what are remembered.
I'm standing in class. Yet another student is trying to convince me to watch Game of Thrones. Because they know I read and write fantasy and because they know I am a passionate devotee of movies like The Princess Bride, many of my students assume that I will adore Game of Thrones.

I dislike serials in general (being forced to watch from week to week), silly politics, and supremely inaccurate history (a little inaccuracy is okay), so I've resisted falling down that particular rabbit hole.

The student can't believe it.

"Game of Thrones has dragons," she says in the type of voice Alex P. Keaton would use to say, "There's money on the sidewalk."

I may not want to watch Game of Thrones, but I understand the passion for dragons. When I was young, I read the dragon books by Ruth Stiles Gannett, the series that begins with My Father's Dragon.

I loved the books, but at this late date, I remembered nothing about them, so I reread the first (there are three). They are shaggy dog/adventure stories. In the first book, Elmer doesn't rescue the dragon until the very end! The later books involve the dragon more.

A few years after I read Gannett's books for the first time, the dinosaur craze hit. I confess, I never felt the same way about dinosaurs as I did about dragons, but I wonder if the passion runs along similar lines. One doesn't have to memorize so many names with dragons as with dinosaurs (Hadrosaurus, Saurolophus, etc. etc.). But both dinosaurs and dragons are big, possibly dangerous, fantastical yet still recognizably "real."

In other words, dinosaurs and dragons are like HUGE pets that won't eat your legs off. I mean, really, they would, but we can pretend that they wouldn't.

1 comment:

FreeLiveFree said...

I went through a dragon phase during junior high. It's astonishing that I wasn't bullied all that much back then.

Of course, being a boy my dragons where more like Smaug than Pete's dragon.

When I was really young I went through a dinosaur phase.

Dragons and dinosaurs aren't so different. The dragon in the Conan the Barbarian story "Red Nails" is a lot like a dinosaur. It has no wings and does not breath fire. I think it was implied to be descended from the dinosaurs.