Friday, 2 September 2016
Apparently, "'...firedrake...'" (p. 63) just means "dragon." In Alan Moore's Miracleman, it means a pyrokinetic.
Holger has to face the fantasy cliche of a dragon. Does Poul Anderson describe the dragon so that we recognize it and also learn something new about it? -
fifty feet long;
snake head large enough to swallow a man;
flame and smoke from the fanged mouth;
a whiff of sulfur dioxide;
hissing "...like an angry locomotive..." (p. 64);
afraid of water;
therefore, unable to chase Holger and co into a river;
vulnerable to helmetfuls of water thrown into its mouth;
is not killed but retreats.
How can its metabolism generate fire? (Digestion is like slow combustion. The dragon can speed it up?) How can it fly? In an sf series, Anderson carefully explains how a heavy body is able to fly.
Don't take refuge in a cave. The dragon can suffocate you in there. Yes, we learn quite a lot about a dragon in two pages of Anderson's text.