How Fantasy Creatures Can Alter Human Interaction With Nature

How Fantasy Creatures Can Alter Human Interaction With Nature

For every fantasy writer, he/she must utilize zoological research to materialize his/her story's setting.


A key component of world-building is not just what types of fantasy creatures should be included, but how to find the connections between them, the environment, humans, religion, and geopolitical entities such as kingdoms, empires, city-states, and tribes. Creatures such as dragons, griffins, and mammoths can change warfare, migrations, human survival, and the very ecology itself.

The Targaryen dynasty especially proved this point, by escaping the destruction of Valyria and settling in Westeros. Though they did more than setting up their own little nation on Dragonstone Island, rather they conquered the entire continent of Westeros and subjugated entire kingdoms, all through the use of dragons as instruments of war. This can only be possible in regions like pre-Targaryen Westeros when there was no presence of dragons or any other form of the animal capable of fighting against such creatures because it would mean that there would be no defense against conquest by the dragon-riding invaders.

A foreign invading group would bring disasters foreign to the native population. This parallels the use of guns and diseases brought by Europeans when conquering the rest of the world. In the case of the Americas, the indigenous population was not immune from smallpox until the Europeans brought it, which indirectly decimated them.

If foreign agents like diseases can cause this type of damage to entire populations in the real world, then foreign creatures, such as dragons, can prove to be apocalyptically destructive in the fantasy world. A notable example of a dragon that fits that description is Smaug from "The Hobbit" who conquers an entire castle of dwarves and converts it into a lair surrounded by a hoard of gold. This is when fantasy creatures cannot be tamed and become a destructive force.

When these creatures are tamed, they retain a symbiotic relationship with their human captors that transcend use as weapons. In the case of Victor Milan's "Dinosaur Knights," (which is a fantasy novel that replaces dragons with dinosaurs) the hides of dinosaurs are made into protective armor, which would make sense considering how dinosaurs are also used as instruments of war and the only rough surface that can protect the owner from a war-hadrosaur's bite is the skin of a dinosaur who's skin is already adapted enough to withstand bites and scratches.

The uses for attack and defense would ensure that there is a cycle of dependency between humans and dragons. Of course, the use of dragons would go beyond being used in warfare. If these types of creatures have the ability to be domesticated and rode by humans, fly at great distances, and breathe fire, then the possibilities of traveling the world would be quite literally boundless. This is especially true when Jaenara Balaerys, a Ghiscari dragon-rider, explored all of Sothoryos, one of the continents of the "Song of Ice and Fire" series.

Can you imagine that level of exploration becoming more commonplace as more creatures are introduced? This would be where readers would find a more clandestine and complex system of warfare which consists of entire theaters of war consisting of dragons. While there would be ground warfare with armies of cavalry and phalanxes, there would also concurrently be dragon-riders from above.

Even though fantasy creatures do not exist in real life, it can be argued that the very image of them was enough to change human interaction with nature, by inspiring superstitions, mythologies, and sigils on coats-of-arms. The inspirations for dragons also existed within the real-world, specifically by theories that dragon myths came from ancient observations of dinosaur fossils, which lead to the speculations of a race of dragons (and what leads Milan to include dinosaurs in his fantasy series).

Of course, this opens up Pandora's box, but all of the world's evils do not pop out, but the creatures from every mythology around the world. Not to be too political, but a lot of the most popular fantasy works consist of mythological creatures from European interpretations, such as dragons, dwarves, elves, etc. If European dragons can exist in a fictional world, who is to say that Chinese dragons cannot also exist in this world? If multiple mythologies can exist in one cosmopolitan mythopoeia than the possibilities would be endless when it comes to migration patterns and cross-breeding.

What if dragons become an invasive species, by outcompeting all the other animal life and out-consuming all of their prey and plant life? If one were to apply eco-literary theory to dragons in mythology, it can be argued that they would be catastrophic to humans and the environment. Perhaps the human civilizations would focus less on their own squabbles and more towards that scaly threat to their crops and livestock.

However destructive dragons are to everything living and nonliving, it is definitely obvious that these creatures define the animalistic power within fantasy. Dragons do more than provide the fantasy label, rather they dramatically reshape the connection humans have to the biosphere in their world. The existence of dragons plunges the reader into a world of epic uncertainty, leaving behind the doldrums of daily life and into the world where humans and creatures that represent the former's power can exist.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B just dropped the hottest summer single yet. It's called "WAP" and we're going to get into all the intoxicating lyrics.

This song empowers females and their sexuality. These women put the ridiculous music industry female beef to bed, and I mean tucked away in a coma.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Write Down The Holy Grail Recipe Everyone Begs You To Make

Because everyone has a signature cocktail, cake, or pasta they bring to every potluck.


From back when I used to bring my mom's classic white chocolate chip cookies to preschool on my birthday to now stirring up my signature tequila cocktails at every friends' barbecue, I've always had a couple of standby recipes in my culinary rotation.

Keep Reading... Show less

Meet My Cat: Cheshire, The Stray Turned House Cat Who Lives in Michigan

I never considered myself a cat person, but Chess immediately stole my heart.

Madelyn Darbonne

In 2016, a stray cat gave birth to a litter of three grey kittens on my aunt and uncle's property. I had never considered myself to be much of a cat person, but these furballs immediately stole my heart. I got to watch them grow up until they were old enough to leave their mother's side.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Binge-Watch A TV Show —And Then Write A Review About It

Writing your favorite and least favorite things about a show could not be more fun.

Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

Looking for a new show to binge? Stop scrolling through your options and listen.

Sometimes a good show doesn't come down to the genre or the actors involved, it comes down to the fact that it is simply a GOOD show. If any of these things sound appealing to you, you should definitely watch.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been bleaching my hair since I was in seventh grade. Yes, you read that correctly, seventh grade. That's nearly 10 years of maintaining a very light shade of blonde that too-often brings about dryness and brittle strands.

Keep Reading... Show less

Chances are if you're here, you're probably interested in writing an open letter. Yay! We're excited to have you.

Of course, not all open letters are created equal. In fact, there's a recipe to writing one for Odyssey that'll get featured on one of our many verticals. When it comes to Swoon specifically (for those new around here, that's our dating and relationships vertical), we receive dozens of open letters each month, many of which are all very similar.

Keep Reading... Show less

With a new phone comes great responsibility: Do not break it! And the best way to do that is with a case. However, picking a case can be a challenge. No need to fret, I am here to help break down some of the best cases for the new iPhone SE 2020. Honestly, I think it's going to be impossible to choose!

Keep Reading... Show less

To some who have been out of the dating world for a while, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things after being single for some time. So, I asked 26 people what they think is important to know before looking for love again, here's what they had to say.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments