Sunday, July 20, 2008

CSSF Tour - DragonLight by Donita Paul

The CSFF tour is highlighting Donita Paul and her new book DragonLight this month.

It is the fifth and final book in the DragonKeeper Chronicles. Since it was the last in a series, I didn't feel I could review it and do it justice.

Wait! Don't go. I do have original content this month. Well, mostly original.

I want to ask a question. Is it a problem for any Christian readers to consider dragons as appropriate for "Christian" fiction? I am no means a dragon expert (for that, talk to Snuffles), but I wanted to discuss this idea for a minute.

Dragons have a mixed history. In Western lore and mythology, dragons were usually agents of evil. Since Revelation 12 uses a dragon as imagery for Satan, this was likely a source of dragon prejudice. An early legend of St. George defeating the dragon resonates with many cultures across Europe and some Middle Eastern areas. However, in Chinese folklore, dragons are often agents of good, a symbol of wisdom.

Dragons have had a resurgence in many arenas. The popular book Eragon has given them a good name as well as a high profile. Donita Paul's series has not been the only Christian fiction with a dragon-centric plot. Bryan Davis has released the Dragons in Our Midst series in the CBA realm also.

Does this mean that it is okay to use dragons as a motif for a Christian tale? I'd like anyone's opinion out there before I talk about mine. However, let me close with this quote from Bryan Davis in an interview from CBN back when his dragon books were first being released.

Siepel: What do you say to parents who may be wary of introducing their child to the world of fantasy?

Davis: We have an opportunity to create strong soldiers for Christ by using the power of story, even through the pages of the impossible. If parents will allow fantasy its proper place, as an inspiration toward holiness, allowing powerful images to create God-honoring models in children's minds, authors will be moved to create more of those fantastic images. As the market grows, as book-buyers seek heroes displaying faith-empowered integrity and strength, more publishers will have the freedom to take a chance on these works. Working together, we can use this genre to capture hearts and minds with champions of virtue, images that will reach in and ignite the flame, setting free the hero or heroine that God has implanted in the hearts of children.

Check out the featured author links:
Web site –
Blog –

Also see what others are saying on the CSFF tour below!

*Participants’ Links:
(Just for fun I marked the five who also participated in CSFF’s first book tour, featuring Donita Paul’s DragonKnight back in June 2006.)

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
* Beth Goddard
Mark Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Terri Main
* Shannon McNear
Melissa Meeks
* Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Deena Peterson
Steve Rice
* Cheryl Russel
Ashley Rutherford
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Robert Treskillard
* Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Laura Williams


  1. Seven of us are back, actually. You forgot Valerie Comer and I.

    *shocked face*

    I plan to post later today.

  2. I don't see what the big deal is about dragons or fantasy elements. Why did God give us imagination if we aren't supposed to use it?

  3. Dragons are an issue for some, and I think I can see both sides of it. For my own novel, I am taking the "dragons are always evil" side, but I have to ask the question:

    Did anything God made begin as evil?

    Technically, not even Satan was created evil. So in that sense, if God made dragons, snakes, dinosaurs then they had a purpose and were not intrinsically evil.

    But Satan chose evil, and it is that choice that we often forget.

    So I *can* envision a world where not all of God's created dragons are evil, even if I'm not doing that in my own book.

    Interesting discussion!

  4. Hi, and thanks for the little link there to The Sci Fi Catholic.

    If you want an alarmist Christian book on the subject of dragons in fiction, try Michael D. O'Brien's Landscape with Dragons.

    Part of the problem with this subject is defining what exactly a dragon is. O'Brien, because he finds it useful for attacking sf works that displease him, defines them quite broadly: he even describes the sand worms of Dune as dragons.

    According to my reading, dragons or dragon-like creatures the world over are generally associated with water. Because in some cultures water is associated with the primordial state of the universe and with chaos, the ocean and its draconic personification become enemies of the creator god in, for example, the Enuma Elish or some early Jewish creation myths alluded to in Psalms, Job, and Isaiah. After further development, it was natural to attach this dragon image to Satan.

    The dragon, as a monster, functions well in folklore as a ready-made plot device to display the purity of a virgin (when it is captured) or the boldness of a hero (when it is slain). In other stories, such as some modern fantasy, dragons are full-orbed people with their own cultures and therefore, like alien races in sf, need to be treated in a more complex fashion.

    There is no moral imperative stated in scripture or, as far as I know, Christian tradition, that dragons must be depicted as evil (and at least one "good" dragon appears in the Bible, in the Greek additions to Esther). They have merely been handy in that vein. Whether dragons should be evil, good, or complex in a story depends on the needs of the story.

  5. Dragons are symbols. That's all. Symbols are not good or evil in and of themselvers (and regardless of whether the things they symbolize are good or evil). So I see no reason to avoid using dragons, nor any other symbol, in Christian fiction.

    Of course, dragons (and other symbols) should not be used to convey a message contrary to the Christian faith -- but then, that wouldn't be Christian fiction.

  6. Hi Donita:

    Just discovered your blog by way of scifi-catholic. Gonna add it to my google reader.

    I suspect it depends on what the dragon's philosophy entails. There really isn't much of a balance as far as I see it though, is there? We never see the evils of dragons who have ideas such as reincarnation, becoming gods, etc. And certain cultures that honor the dragon do have dragon philosophies. Dragons appear in all cultures --even in the evolutionary modern-mind as dinosaurs, I'd think-- and we tend to stick with the euro-versions. And there are real dragons such as the komodo dragons.

    I'd say a dragon is as good or as bad as its philosophy but we need more balance instead of kneejerk wyverns and the like. -C

  7. PS. And Jason. Am going to favorite your blog also. Sorry, bad etiquette. -C

  8. No worries Carole - I'm glad you found content worth visiting here. Good comments, one and all! I'm glad this discussion continued with me in absentia. I love soccer season, but it will be nice to have more time when it is over this week.