It is no small secret to those who know me that I have a deep and abiding love for dragons. I love them in my art, I love them in my knick knacks, in my books, my television programs, my movies, my everything. Some of my obsession can be traced back to ERAGON, when the beautiful and powerful Seraphina wormed her way into my heart. But a memory stirred in my head the other day, and I realized that my love and obsession with dragons dates all the way back to the second grade, when I read a little book called JEREMY THATCHER, DRAGON HATCHER.
The premise of JEREMY THATCHER is simple. A young boy trying to run away from school bullies takes a wrong turn and finds himself at a mysterious shop. The proprietor tells him he can purchase one item, and Jeremy finds himself drawn towards an egg. He cares for it, it eventually hatches into a dragon, and all the madcap antics of trying to keep a pet secret from your parents ensue. Eventually, the young dragon becomes too big for Jeremy to keep, and he has to return her to the mysterious shop so that she can live free as a dragon should.
As a child, the basic conceit of JEREMY THATCHER captivated me, and not just because it was a secret pet. The dragon (named Tiamat) could communicate with Jeremy telepathically, mostly via images, and could pick up on his moods. It’s been years since I’ve read the book and I don’t remember the exact details, but I remember that bond. I remember Tiamat’s cleverness in setting off the smoke detector in Jeremy’s room so his mom would open the door and she could sneak out and be with him at school. I remember the idea of a creature that *got* you on a level no one else could, and who only you could see (Tiamat was invisible to everyone else). I read JEREMY THATCHER multiple times and constantly day-dreamed about having my own dragon. It was a concept that spoke to my little soul, and it planted the seed that would grow into my life-long love of dragons.
These days, I’m certainly more appreciative of dragons on an aesthetic level. Muscular winged creatures breathing fire is something I will always enjoy seeing in art. But on a more fundamental level, I’m always drawn the tales of dragons bonding with a human. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON. ERAGON. THE LAST NAMSARA. DRAGONRIDERS OF PERN. JEREMY THATCHER DRAGON HATCHER. They’re all about finding a connection with someone who will always understand you, who will always have your back. And that is the most powerful magic of all.