Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Dragon and the George

Back to the challenge. Gordon Dickson's whimsical fantasy The Dragon and the George is the second of the D's and the 24th book overall.

The storyline of The Dragon and the George is basic, light hearted quest fantasy with one major twist. The dragon is in fact Jim Eckert; an assistant English teacher at Riveroak college who has become inadvertently trapped within the body of a dragon called Gorbash in an alternate medieval England, the 'george' is Jim's fiancee Angie. In this reality the dragons refer to the humans as 'georges'. It's an amusing reference to legendary dragon slayer Saint George.

No sooner has Jim worked out his situation and visited a cranky, old wizard by the name of Carolinus to do something about it, than Angie is abducted by an evil dragon and carried off to the dread Loathly castle. Before Jim can get Angie back he'll need to gather a band of brave companions to help him. There's Sir Brian, the bluff, good-natured, but none too bright knight, the proud Aragh; an English wolf, the warrior woman Danielle and the Welsh archer Dafydd. They will also be assisted in their endeavours by Danielle's father; the Robin Hoodish Giles o' the Wold and his band of outlaws, Gorbash's gruff, but good at heart grand-uncle; Smrgol, a timid mere dragon by the name of Secoh and Carolinus.

Friendships are forged and perils are faced, despite that you never really feel that any of the characters are in actual mortal danger. It may have been that I've read a number of similarly themed books over the years, they were quite popular for a while, but I was strangely underwhelmed by The Dragon and the George. It did seem to be one of the first of this kind, but other authors took on the same fish out of water theme and improved upon it. I couldn't name one if you asked me, they were always a very disposable type of fiction, but that may have been why Dickson's book left me a little cold. It was well received at the time and a decade and half after Gordon Dickson returned to the concept and wrote a further eight Dragon Knight books.

If you enjoyed The Dragon and the George and wanted something similar there are Gordon Dickson's Dragon Knight books, C.S Lewis' 3rd Narnia chronicle: Voyage of the Dawntreader also features the theme of a human in a dragon's body, there's also Christopher Rowley's Bazil Broketail books, which concern sentient battle dragons and the human boys who look after them.

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