May. 6th, 2017

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George R.R. Martin: dragons are huge ferocious beasts who answer to a master  

Tolkien: dragons are annoying, talking assholes

One interesting thought on this:

Fairy tale dragons? They’re like Smaug. They’re arrogant, talkative, they hoard treasure, they eat virgins. They’re amoral rather than evil, but they are intelligent monsters.

The dragon in Voyage Of The Dawn Treader, the one indirectly responsible for Eustace’s draconic curse is along the same lines.

At that time that is what a dragon was. There was a general consensus in western literature that dragons were, well, that.

In Medieval stories, dragons are to be killed by brave men. Gawain fights “wyrms” - a kind of wingless dragon. St. George slays a dragon. So does Beowulf. So does King Arthur. To be a worthwhile myth hero you have, at some point, to slay a dragon.

Early modern and nineteenth century dragons - we see one counter example - Faustus chariot is drawn by dragons in “Doctor Faustus.” The first really solid “friendly dragon” story is The Reluctant Dragon, which became a 1941 Disney film. That is the first story I can find about a dragon that befriends a human - but it’s friendship, not “human masters dragon.”

The second friendly dragon is E. Nesbit’s “The Last of the Dragons” who decides he’d rather hang out with the princess than fight the prince (the first example of subversion of the dragons eat maidens trope that I can find).

But they’re the minority.

In the 1930s, when Lewis and Tolkien were writing, dragons were the bad guys. The rare exceptions were dragons deciding not to act like dragons.

Then something happened.

That something probably started with a 1948 children’s book called “My Father’s Dragon - about a kid who runs away to Wild Island and rescues a baby dragon. Heard of it? If you’ve studied kid lit, sure, it won a ton of awards. Otherwise…nope, and certainly in Dawn Treader, written in 1950, dragons were still bad.

In the 1960s we start to see a couple more “good” dragons. But it’s almost always the same thing. Dragons are bad, except this one. This is a special dragon.

Then in 1967 John Campbell ran a story in Analog named Weyr Search. Heard of that one? Yup.

It was part of a novel called Dragonsflight, written by Grand Master Anne McCaffrey.

And she completely changed what dragons were.

Anne’s dragons were gentle, genetically engineered protectors who bonded to a human rider at birth and were “mastered” by that rider - the dragons offered instinct, but the reason came from the humans.

Anne McCaffrey was one of the first female authors to write science fiction by women about women - and while she had a number of flaws and was honestly a better worldbuilder than writer she inspired a lot of people.

And changed our view of dragons as a fantasy trope.

Since then most fantasy writers that include dragons have them as friendly and willing to be ridden by humans. Even the “good” dragons in the DragonLance novels.

In other words: In the space between Tolkein and Martin, who’s first short story collection was published in 1976, almost a decade after Weyr Search Anne McCaffrey turned dragons on their head.

Daenerys’ dragons owe more in their lineage to Ramoth than they do to Grendel, the dragon slain by Beowulf.

(In other words, literary evolution is fascinating).

Did… did people not assume Daenerys’ dragons came from the lineage of Anne McCaffrey’s dragons (and indeed fire lizards)?

My instinct is that this also correlates to some extent with the broader shift (courtesy of increasing urbanization, in part) in cultural views of predators, from “nasty beasts to be extirpated” to “wild & majestic frands,” though of course I couldn’t prove it.  Credit to McCaffrey, though, for sure.

The shift is observable in microcosm in Le Guin’s Earthsea series: in “The Rule of Names” (1964) and A Wizard of Earthsea (1968) the dragon is Smaug-ish, whereas by The Farthest Shore (’72) Orm Embar and Kalessin are powerful allies, and by The Other Wind (2001) dragons are not just friends, but family. I dunno whether Le Guin would cop to being influenced by McCaffrey, though; maybe she had in mind that dragons would become family all along.  

Actually the dragon in Voyage of the Dawn Treader used to be a man, one of the lost men that the crew of said ship have gone to find. He became one due to putting on cursed jewelry and so Eustace ended up making the same mistake. The only difference is that Eustace eventually regained his human form while the cursed guy, well, died.

This is still drawing on the image of the classical dragon. Eustace’s story mirrors perfectly the story of Fafnir, the dragon of Norse mythology, a man who became a dragon out of greed for treasure.
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I saw this around and thought it would be fun for Nate, given he’s had a rough time in a lot of my fics.

A = Aftercare (What they’re like after sex) 

Cuddly. Very, very cuddly. And sleepy. After sex there is nothing Nate wants more than to wrap himself around his partner and hold him as he falls asleep. It’s the best feeling in the world.

B = Body part (Their favourite body part of theirs and also their partner’s) 

Nate is very fond of his own hands, although these days they tend to be a bit nicked and scarred, and usually stained with engine oil. They are precision instruments not only for building, but for pleasure. Making his partner shudder and gasp under his hands is far more satisfying than building any number of water purifiers. As for his partner- well, probably a tie between Nick’s smile, and his metal hand. He first fell in love with Nick’s smile, and his hand is- well, Nick is very, very good with it.

C = Cum (Anything to do with cum basically… I’m a disgusting person)

Nate certainly doesn’t mind it, even enjoys feeling his partner’s fluids on him, although with Nick that’s not much of an option. Sex can be rather sloppy between them, but they both love it.

D = Dirty Secret (Pretty self explanatory, a dirty secret of theirs)

A little after blowing up the Institute, Nick and Nate took a holiday to Far Harbor. Nick wanted to see and Dima and Nate- Nate wanted some time at the Nucleus. The last few months had been very hard. They went their separate ways for a few days, and Nate stayed with Ware and Devin in a small alcove sheltered from the worst of the radiation. It’s not much of secret, but during that night, Ware and Devin made Nate an- offer. An offer Nate was suddenly, electrically charged to accept, to the point he stammered completely blankly for about a minute, then almost ran out to spend the rest of the night mediating by the submarine. Maybe it’s natural to feel attraction for two of his friends, and maybe it’s completely acceptable to polyamorous in this new world, but- well, maybe there is a part of Nate that is determinable old world, and he feels pretty bad just for considering it.

E = Experience (How experienced are they? Do they know what they’re doing?)

Not really much before Nick. Not counting the non-consentual and thankfully completely forgotten way Shaun was conceived, prior to that all he had was a quick but very fun encounter in a pre-war gay nightclub. He sometimes wondered what happened to the man he’d given that blowjob to. He was nice, and had offered to take Nate home for an orgy after he’d gotten his friends together. He hopes he managed to get away from the raid, and didn’t suffer too much in the war and its aftermath. Since meeting Nick, Nate is getting very good, although he’d never imagined an engineering background would come in so useful.

F = Favourite Position

Sex tends to be rather creative out of necessity, but Nate prefers being face-to-face, he gets to see Nick’s face, and return the favour by playing with his circuits. At least, that’s what he would say if asked. In fact, although he feels a bit selfish even thinking it, nothing quite compares to the evenings when Nick gives him a rim job, because- oh wow.

G = Goofy (Are they more serious in the moment, or are they humorous, etc)

Nate tends to start sillier, pulling his and Nick’s clothes off and making jokes, rolling together on the bed, but when they get started Nate tends to go- quiet. Still smiling, happy and sweet, but he falls silent and it’s like every part of his sharp, brilliant mind is just- fixed on this moment, every touch, every kiss, every caress. Nothing exists but this.

H = Hair (How well groomed are they, does the carpet match the drapes, etc.)

Nate is fairly well groomed. He is rather meticulous about staying clean and washes regularly. He doesn’t have much body hair normally, and tends to shave underarms and legs, and even a little of manscaping to keep things neat. His hair is thick and dark, and tightly curled.

I = Intimacy (How are they during the moment, romantic aspect…) 

Oh goodness yes. He and Nick are rather evenly matched there. When in the moment, there is nothing but the other. The rest of the world falls away. He is definitely a romantic, although again, sometimes it can be a bit hard between Nick being a synth and Nate being basically unable to eat normally or drink alcohol, so again, they get creative. Nick gets a lot of flowers, there are a lot of evenings spent under the stars, just talking.

J = Jack Off (Masturbation headcanon)

This is rarely something Nate does alone, Nick is usually all to happy to give him a hand, but on the odd occasions he is alone, Nate tends to be rather straightforward. He tends to grip himself on the edge of pain, strokes hard, and his fantasies sometimes tip over into full masochism, things that he still doesn’t feel wholly comfortable in sharing for Nick.

K = Kink (One or more of their kinks)

As above, Nate is rather into a lot of the elements of BDSM. Nick has been happy to join into the bondage aspect, and they have a lot of fun with handcuffs and silk bindings. Nate hasn’t been too sure how to bring in the domination and masochism yet, he doesn’t know how Nick would react to the invitation to hurt him, order him around, or- and oh Atom he wishes- put out his cigarette on his skin. He gets hard just thinking about that alone.

L = Location (Favourite places to do the do)

Maybe a bit unimaginative, but their bed. Yes, it’s a lot of fun to be bent over Nate’s office desk or be cuffed to a chair while Nick teases him for hours but after it’s all over, all Nate wants to do is cuddle, and there’s nowhere better than a bed for that.

M = Motivation (What turns them on, gets them going)

Nate likes a routine, just knowing they’re going to have an evening together at the end of the day always makes Nate flush happy with anticipation and does a lot to lay the groundwork. But sometimes, just watching Nick smoke, look at him with raw desire when Nate’s dressed up, or just- smile sometimes. When they’ve done something good, helped someone, and in that moment Nick is entirely happy within himself and the world just feels so right- Nate can’t get them away to somewhere quiet fast enough.

N = NO (Something they wouldn’t do, turn offs)

Nate would like a bit of dominance in the bedroom, but would draw a hard line at even simulated lack of consent. A power imbalance in the bed room (real, not made up for a scene) is an immediate turn off. Things need to be fair, honest and straightforward. Oh, and medical play, but that’s a hard hell the fuck no for him and Nick both.

O = Oral (Preference in giving or receiving, skill, etc)

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Nate loves oral sex. If he had to regret one thing, it would be that he can’t return the favor to Nick because frankly, giving him a blowjob would be just about up there with Nate’s idea of heaven. He enjoys receiving it very much to, but Nate’s a giver ;)

P = Pace (Are they fast and rough? Slow and sensual? etc.)

Often fast to begin with, playful, but slowing as he gets into it and really savours the pleasure.

Q = Quickie (Their opinions on quickies rather than proper sex, how often, etc.)

Well, they’re certainly very nice, but Nate will pass on a quickie in favor of a later scheduling of proper sex. He can go without reasonably well, and prefers to do things properly. Sex without intimacy, cuddling, kissing and just generally taking time to appreciate the one you love is- well it’s just plain not as good, and Nate would rather wait.

R = Risk (Are they game to experiment, do they take risks, etc.)

Oh goodness yes. Nate doesn’t have a ton of hard limits, and hasn’t yet had any triggers for sex, so it’s a reasonably safe place for his issues. He is entirely happy to try anything Nick suggests, although he is a little reluctant to share any deeper kinks, for fear they’d freak Nick out. Nate might not go for public sex- but more out of wanting to take more time to be intimate than being scared of being seen, they’ve engaged in some rather heavy petting while at the Third Rail together.

S = Stamina (How many rounds can they go for, how long do they last…)

Nate does need to pace himself, his eating disorder doesn’t give him a massive amount of energy, and he does have to struggle not to come too fast and end the fun too quickly. That being said, Nick also knows how to get the most out of Nate, and has kept him going through several hours and just as many orgasms many a night.

T = Toy (Do they own toys? Do they use them? On a partner or themselves?)

Handcuffs, silk scarves, and Nat was very, very happy when Nick felt comfortable enough to use a strap on to give Nate a good, hard fucking. Nate would happily use more, but again, he’s not sure how much Nick would be into that, or really how to find or make these things. All the same; collars, whips, paddles, a spreader bar- basically, Nate would be pretty much ready to try anything in a well-stocked kink shop.

U = Unfair (how much they like to tease)

Not so much in bed, but out of it? Oh goodness yes. Nate likes to wear beautiful dresses, high stiletto shoes, and when he and Nick have an evening together- say, in the Third Rail, Nate is a shameless, blatant flirt. All those ‘innocent’ touches, popping something in his mouth to suck on, then drawing it out slowly, everything shouting- I am sexy, I am desired, I am yours. Eventually Nick simply pulls Nate into his lap and returns the favour.

V = Volume (How loud they are, what sounds they make)

Quiet, very quiet. Nate is noisy to begin with, chatty and laughing and rolling around- but gets quieter and quieter as they get into it, until he is almost silent when he finally comes, eyes wide and mouth just open, a half-breathed- oh. Like Nick had just delivered him every secret in the universe, all in a heartbeat.

W = Wild Card (Get a random headcanon for the character of your choice)

It took a while for Nate to get into anal sex, he was a bit uncomfortable when Nick first proposed trying analingus. He’d never done anything like that before and, well, butt=dirty. But he had a good clean and gave it a try, and three hours and four orgasms later, Nate would be ready to admit he was wrong. Would be, if he hadn’t been fucked brainless and limp and drooling face-down on the bed.

X = X-Ray (Let’s see what’s going on in those pants, picture or words)

Nate has, as far as he can make out, a very nice cock. Cut, about 6 inches, nice round head and rather protruding veins when hard. He’s had no complaints, and they get on very well ;)

Y = Yearning (How high is their sex drive?)

Nate can get into the mood quite easily, especially when Nick is involved, but it rarely gets too pressing unless he really had gone a long time without relief. he can let a moment pass quite easily as long as he knows there’s something better coming up soon. He can go without for a pretty long time as long as he’s busy.

Z = ZZZ (… how quickly they fall asleep afterwards)

Very fast, Nate likes cuddling, and being warm and comfortable and close to to his lover, with his body still damp and aching from sex, and he’s usually out like a light in a few minutes. smiling all through the night.
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Iconic Literary Locations in the UK

I think Terry Pratchett described Lancre as a ‘few square miles of south Bucks’ (Buckinghamshire)

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