From ancient Babylon to modern TV, stories of the mythical beasts have always fascinated us. These favorites explore dragons in a wealth of forms, including intergalactic species, Victorian obsessions, and even endangered, struggling animals.By Alexander Huls
Game of Thrones has introduced much to Monday-morning conversations: walking human icicles, Jon Snow knowing nothing, and especially Daenerys Targaryen’s fearsome and cool dragons.
I’m not sure if it’s still cool to call something “cool,” but it’s hard not to use that word when something inside of me does enthusiastic fist pumps of childlike wonder when seeing Daenerys’ dragons taking flight or treating an entire navy fleet like it’s an easily ignited Duraflame log. Of course, lovers of fantasy fiction have long known that feeling thanks to dragons being staples of the genre. But a post-Game of Thrones world seems to have swelled interest in the mythical creatures beyond their previous marginalization as the concerns of geeks. And it’s not hard to see why so many have been converted to the thrilling appeal of dragons.
What is the appeal — which can be traced back several millennia to ancient China and Sumeria — in the first place? Certainly part of it is mankind’s Icarus-like thirst for the freedom of flight, which dragons offer. It may also be the immense power that dragons possess which, when wielded by a person, can turn the weakest individual into a formidable force, or turn the tide on the most hopeless of situations. It’s also hard to deny that dragons represent something of the ultimate pet — a fantastical extension of the loving connections we form with dogs or horses.
But in the end it may just come down to good old-fashioned wonder. Here, in addition to Game of Thrones, are six more novels where you can find that wonder and confirm that dragons are cool.