Monday, 23 January 2012

Happy New Year!

It's the Chinese New Year today, 'Xin Nian Kuai Le' - Happy New Year!

Welcome to the year of the dragon.

Now as a first time Mum I'm a dragon, in fact all first time Mum's are dragons... just see their reaction when harm befalls their child! They fly [off the handle], roar and breathe fire... (joke!).

As a lady born under the sign of the Dragon (a fire dragon at that!), I've always loved dragons. So today I'm going to celebrate dragons in all their glory.

The Hobbit meets Smaug
The first dragon I came across was Smaug in The Hobbit. Now Smaug was not the best example of the noble breed of dragons. His greed for treasure dominated his character, his pride and vanity his downfall.  A red fire breathing dragon with a jewel encrusted underside (with of course one bare patch). A mighty dragon indeed, and so beautifully drawn!

Dungeons & Dragons cartoon
Most dragons were cattle eating, terrible villains throughout most of my childhood reading, but their illustrations were always the best in the book. Rising magically in the background, wings glistening in the light.

Then came the TV programme Dungeons & Dragons, where a group of children were whisked off to a magical land, given magical weapons and little help to find their way home. Of course, the villain was able to call upon a mighty dragon to provide the mortal peril! Thankfully the dragon never seemed to harm the children, or they him (for long).

This was the first time I had stumbled across the multi headed version of a dragon. I wonder if this trait came from the stories of the ancient Chinese 9 dragons?

The Legend of the Dragon Kings
Chinese dragons were always fascinating to me and I was thrilled to find a cartoon series (with subtitles) all about dragons. Well Four Dragon Kings, that walked the world as men but could turn into dragons?! Since this was on very late (I could watch it after my shift working in a pub so er 1.30am ish) I didn't always read all the subtitles so my memory of the story is hazy at best!.

However, here were dragons as I knew they were - proud, noble creatures! Able to show their strength and power to defend themselves or others who needed protection.

Dragon Riders of Pern
I then started to read the Anne McCaffrey books, where the magical creatures were telepathic with their riders. Such beautiful illustrations on the covers of these books.

Now that I'm older and actually can sit through a movie, I've noticed that Dragons have started to appear in films as well as books - Harry Potter has several dragons, Eragorn (yes I read the books first), How to Train Your Dragon, and Dragonheart to name a few. It's not just Pete and his Dragon anymore!
Movies aren't the only place you find dragons these days... they are on our TV screen on a Saturday - Merlin!

And with each story dragon's have become more noble and magical with the telling of their tale. Still fierce wild creatures but with an ancient wisdom to steer us humans on a course that allows us to fulfil our destiny!

Of course those of you that read my tweets and blogs know that there's another dragon in my life. One that is proudly displayed at our front door, on the mantle piece over our fire, and even on the wall over looking my laptop here.... (for those of you that guess it's a photo of my Mother in Law... Shame on you!). I have several of these dragons in my home:

The Red Dragon of Wales (Y Ddraig Goch)
Well being a Fire breathing dragon myself, I was destined to marry a Welshman. Who else carries a dragon on their national flag? 

u-ni-k gifts will soon be giving you the opportunity to own one of our dragons, in our original artwork  on sale, new for 2012 [watch this space].

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