Cold Spring Press
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Dragons of Fantasy by Anne Petty
New Dragons Book Zeroes in on Glaurung & Smaug!
Tolkien scholar Anne Petty (Tolkien in the Land of Heroes and One Ring to Bind Them All) returns with her analytical expertise focused on one of fantasy literature’s most enduring creatures dragons. Petty takes readers on an adventurous ride over the hills and far away into realms populated by the likes of Smaug, Ramoth, Norbert, and Orm Embar, just to name a few.
The book kicks off with an essay on the techniques of writing effective dragon characters, with examples from many well-known dragon tales, then applies this general knowledge to the works of seven popular writers in the field. In the chapter titled “A Treacherous Twosome,” Petty begins her author analysis with two highly memorable dragons brought to life by the master of epic fantasy, J. R. R. Tolkien: Glaurung from The Silmarillion and Smaug from The Hobbit.
“Glaurung and Smaug are by far Tolkiens two best characterizations of the Western dragon archetype,” says Petty “as evil as they come, with chilling intelligence and terrifying beastly inclinations. Through vivid imagery, imaginative dialogue, and skillful handing of point of view, Tolkien successfully created two of the most memorable dragon villains in early fantasy fiction.”
Petty establishes Tolkien’s dragons as distinctive, well-rounded characters with complex motivations, personality traits, and plot significance equally as effective as the humans with whom they interact. The chapter includes in-depth analysis of such topics as dragonspeech and thought patterns, physical description (especially the dragon’s first appearance), what others say about them, attributes and powers, behavior and personality, power to act (how they affect the storyline), use of humor, and how they serve as allies or adversaries. In addition to the detailed look at these two icons of dragonlore, references to Tolkien’s other dragons such as Chrysophylax and the White Dragon are sprinkled throughout the book.
Petty has also provided an extensive Dragonology section that tracks the history of dragons in myth, art, and literature, and includes a “Dragon Hunter’s Toolbox” of tips and guideposts for further research into the fascinating realm of dragonlore. Other modern fantasy greats whose dragons are given a thorough look are Anne McCaffrey, Terry Pratchett, Ursula Le Guin, Jane Yolen, Terry Goodkind and J.K. Rowling.
Dragons of Fantasy
Anne C. Petty
$14.95, 312 pages
Published by Cold Spring Press, distributed by Simon & Schuster