In the fantasy novel The Saint of Dragons by Jason Hightman, Dragons, also known as Pyrothraxes, Serpents or Serpentines are portrayed as a malevolent, sadistic race dedicated to causing pain and suffering for human beings and accumulating power for themselves. They are heavily influenced by the stereotypical evil dragons of mythology and faerietayles.
Role in storyEdit
In the Saint of Dragons series (which comprises two books so far), the premise is that Dragons have evolved and live among humans. They look much the same as ever but are now bipedal and stand at seven foot tall. They use their magical powers to disguise their appearance in public. Using their magic and superior intellect they have clawed their way up to high-ranking positions in society but are not content to be rich for they also want everyone around them to be poor. Dragons thrive on human misery for their power and are thus dependant on the humans whom they consider inferior to themselves. As a result the Dragons despise humans. Dragons can only be killed by Deathspells, incancations which must be spoken to destroy them. In order to destroy a Dragon one must hold their hand over the Serpent's heart and recite their Deathspell. Every Pyrothrax has a different Deathspell.
Aside from their great intelligence and immense physical strength, Dragons possess impressive magical powers. Their magic has a tendency to leak out of them however and attract insects to swarm around them. The malign energy emanating from them can cause severe misery for those around them and supernatural phenomena. It also causes their firepower to go out of control when they are near to each-other.
Most Dragons are pure evil but the Black Dragon of China is an exception to this although he does have some sadistic tendencies. The second book of the series Samurai shows a more sympathetic portrayal of Dragons with the somewhat pathetic Ice Dragon trying to make a name for himself in the world and the villainous but incredibly lonely Tiger Dragon, Issindra. One of the main themes in the book is that good and bad exist in everyone, even Dragons.
The Dragons all detest one-another and are too busy fighting amongst themselves to focus their energies on eradicating the human race.
Most of them are also somewhat obsessive compulsive what with Venemon the White Dragon's obsession with the colour white, Brakkesh the Venetian Dragon's obsession with jewellery, Russki's obsession with cats, Najiko the Japaneze Dragon's obsession with keeping things clean and tidy and the Ice Dragon's need to write everything down.
Despite their power however Dragons are quite cowardly, most of them more likely to run away from battle than fight. The most notable exceptions to this are Najiko, Venemon and Brakkesh.
They are more long-lived than most humans but are by no means immortal as their lifespans are relatively short when compared to most magical creatures in fiction. The oldest Dragon in the series is no more than a mere two hundred years old. Most of the Dragons the main characters face in the series are already old, weak or dying which in addition to their cowardice makes them relatively easy to defeat.
Like most Dragons in fiction, Hightman's Dragons have a liking for material wealth and beauty as exhibited by Venemon and Tyrannique's fascination with art and taste for beautiful women (similar to the liking for "fair maidens" which most Dragons seem to have in fairytales) and Brakkesh's love of jewels.
On an interesting sidenote, Pyrothraxes have a love of baths. Both Venemon and Russki have large extravegant bathtubs.
List of Dragons in the seriesEdit
- Venemon the White Dragon of Manhatten: The main antagonist of the first book, Venemon is the brother of the Dragon who killed Aldric's brother at the start of the book and who was in turn killed by Aldric. Arguably the most powerful Dragon in the world at the time of The Saint of Dragons, he is an obsessive compulsive and is obsessed with the colour white. He also has an interest in art and lusts after Alaythia whom he later attempts to sacrifice to the Serpent Queen. In his human guise he is a wealthy New York socialite and a successful artist who paints pictures of various shades of white and places a spell over them so that whomesoever looks upon them sees exactly what they want to see and thus Venemon has amassed a fortune. He is also a powerful gangster and presides over a criminal empire. He owns a penthouse apartment in Manhatten and a small palace in London. Venemon is regarded as highly ruthless and sadistic even by the standards of Dragons and is the one responsible for the death of Simon's mother, the great Magician, Maradine. A very ambitious individual but also a pragmatist he wants to release the Serpent Queen from her prison at the centre of the Earth so that Dragons may once again live in harmony and successfully wipe out the human race. Despite despising his brother he wants revenge on Aldric for killing him. Aldric avenges the death of his wife and brother, destroying Venemon at the climax of the book.
- Brakkesh the Water Dragon of Venice: Venemon's second-in-command, Brakkesh is an immensely strong and war-like Dragon who in his human guise is an Italian gangster with an obsession with jewellery. Brakkesh becomes nauseated when away from water for too long and is regarded by many, including Dragons to be insane although most of his kind seem to be at the least just as deranged as he is. Despite his vicious personality Brakkesh is loyal to his master, Venemon. He is destroyed by Aldric at the climax of The Saint of Dragons.
- Tyrannique the Parisian Dragon: A debauced, hedonistic French intellectual, Tyrannique despite being an immensely powerful and fearsome Dragon is lazy and somewhat cowardly, even by the standards of his species. He has a taste for the finer things in life and is something of a womaniser. He has a liking for fine wine and thus when he burns down a building with his fiery breath the smoke is known to cause inebriation when inhaled. He also loves the taste of paint and has a tendency to eat paintings and drink pure paint. Tyrannique has a peculiar evil laugh and a hatred for children. His skin is covered with blotches of paint as a result of all the art he consumes. He is the final Dragon in the first book to be defeated when he is destroyed by the Black Dragon at the climax of the story. As a result of all the paint he has devoured the sky sheds multi-coloured rain upon his demise.
- Russki the Red Dragon of Russia/aka General Polokov: A schizophrenic Dragon who poses as a fascist Russian general and head of the Russian military, Russki hears the voice of every human he has ever devoured all talking inside his head, shouting radical ideas at each-other that contradict his own and thus he is constantly in a foul mood. He has a fondness for Tchaikovsky and an obsession with cats. He appears to be a parody of the stereotypical Bond villain (complete with trap-door for his enemies in his mansion) but is much less intense. He is by his own self-admission "dull" and somewhat tired and aged.
- The Black Dragon of China: Arguably the only Dragon in the series who is not pure evil, the Black Chinese Dragon is extremely old and attracts Simon's sympathy when they first meet. He tells Simon that there are just as many good Dragons in the world as bad and that he is one of the "Light ones" however this proves to be a ruse when Simon arrives in London with him only to fall ito a trap by the Dragons. Unlike most Dragons, the Chinese has a conscience which later gets the better of him and he saves Simon, Aldric and Alaythia from Venemon's clutches and assists them in defeating the White Dragon. Despite his considerable age, the Black Dragon is very powerful and succeeds in destroying the formidable Parisian Dragon Tyrannique. His constant companion is a pet canary.
- Najiko the Japanese Dragon: The main antagonist of the second book, Najiko is the head of an international medicinal corporation and presides over a large hospital in Tokyo. He keeps patients suffering in a painful drug-induced slumber in his penthouse apartment for him to derive sadistic pleasure from. An extremely proud and somewhat narcissistic individual, Najiko is an obsessive compulsive who has a preoccupation with the Japonese theory of Yin and Yang and is determined to maintain a balance in his emotions. His favourite word is equilibrium. He doesn't like to feel joy because he believes he will feel disappointment and doesn't like to feel anger because he is above it. Najiko is also obsessed with cleanliness and tidyness and finds insects intensely annoying. He is notable for his gold and silver armoured plated scales and crown of horns. He also sports a gold prosthetic leg which he isn't particularly fond of. Najiko has a rivalry with Issindra the Tiger Dragon of India with whom he has made a truce at the beginning of the second book of the series, Samurai but whom he is planning to betray and make his slave. He also had possession of a scroll confering unlimited firepower upon any Dragon who holds it. He plans to use this weapon to conquer the world but he is defeated by Simon, Aldric and Alaythia with the help of the Samurai Dragonhunters of Asia.
- Issindra the Tiger Dragon of India: One of the main antagonists of Samurai, Issindra also had a cameo appearance in the first book of the series. She is a vicious creature who maintains the guise of a beautiful Indian supermodel in her human form and rules over a fashion corporation from her palace in Bombay. She has a rivalry with Najiko the Dragon of Japan but has formed a truse with. They plan to mate and produce a new race of Dragons with which they will conquer the world but Issindra is unaware that Najiko has plans of his own. She is imprisoned in her palace at the climax of the book after the defeat of Najiko but breaks free and captures the Black Dragon. Despite her megalomaniacal and narcissistic tendencies Issindra is a deeply lonely and unhappy individual who wants children as a means by which to end her solitude.
- The Ice Serpent of Switzerland: The Swiss Ice Dragon is an ancient Pyrothrax half black, half white and is one of the few Dragons in the series who is not rich or powerful. In his human guise he is a well-kempt history teacher and struggling poet. He is dying and his blood and fire are starting to freeze as the result of the cold enviroment around him. Realising that he has done nothing with his life he plans for Issindra and Najiko to get together and sire a new race of Dragons which he can add to the Dragon History Book he is writing and thus he will be remembered for all eternity. He believes that everyone in the world, human or otherwise despises him although this is probably due to his paranoia although it must be said that he is not particularly nice to anyone except Issindra who he seems to have a crush on. After Najiko is destroyed however and the Japanese Dragon's firespell goes out of control the Ice Dragon realises his plan is thwarted and surrenders himself to the flames. A tragic and haunting character.