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March 2015

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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

St George and the Dragon

I know many of you are deep in script writing month, but we are down to only five months to prepare for NaNoWriMo. In my book, that amounts to near panic. I should do the dishes before then!

I have decided to scale back my novel ambitions for November and deal with something that doesn't feel like three years research and an insane month. So instead of the Letters from the Revolution, I am thinking in terms of an allegory called St. George and the Dragon, in which St stands for Steven, not Saint. Here is the synopsis as it currently stands.

Steven George has always known that he is the one who would slay the dragon. He doesn't remember if he volunteered, was drafted, elected, or inherited the task. He has spent his life being respected and cared for by the people of his village because of what he would one day do.

The story opens on the day that Steven is leaving the village to find the dragon. As he leaves, he reviews the five significant people in his live who have prepared him for this day--Mother, Lover, Teacher, Priest, and Mayor/Elder.

After he leaves the village, Steven meets four people, each of whom he first suspects of being the dragon, revealing that he really doesn't know what the dragon is. The fellow-travelers are Tinker, Gypsy, Pilgrim, and Soldier. They travel together giving him advice and swearing they will back him up until they reach the signpost. Then each of the four friends follow their own roads and leave Steven to follow the sign pointing to the dragon.

Steven finds the dragon and carries on a dialogue with it in which the dragon tries first to scare him away, then to bargain, then to tempt Steven. Each of these efforts fail and at last, Steven rises to fight the dragon.

During the battle, each of the opponents land heavy blows, some physical and some psychological. Steven refers to the dragon as a dumb beast, the dragon to Steven as an ignorant bumpkin. At last, Steven deals a fatal blow to the dragon whose agony washes over Steven so that he understands at last that he has killed an intelligent and valuable creature.

In the aftermath of the battle, Steven, through the dragon, discovers that the dragon was a part of him and gave him purpose which he has now lost. After the dragon is dead, Steven stays at the dragon's lair and rebuilds, ultimately wearing the dragon's skin to keep him warm. As time passes, he becomes the dragon and upon going down from his lair to the village where he had grown up, he finds a child being raised to become the dragon slayer.

I have a rough storyline and enough knowledge of what the story will be to start asking a ton of questions. So I'll keep this updated with the progress as I head toward November. Here is a sample of the kind of questions I'll be asking over the next few weeks, just to get your opinions and advice.

  1. When Steven George first actually sees the dragon, why doesn't he go straight to work killing it instead of sitting down to engage in dialogue?

  2. Is the dragon really Steven's father (father-image)?

  3. Does Steven attempt to go back to the village after the dragon is dead and tell them that the dragon wasn't bad after all?

Okay, just the first few questions on my mind. There will be more. (Many, many more!)

x-posted to wayzgoose and nanowrimo

Comments

> Then each of the four friends follow their own roads and leave Steven to follow the sign pointing to the dragon.

This had better be a long enough journey that a) it's a meaningful commitment for them to say they'll go that far with him, but b) Steven can't really blame them for not going the whole way when they bail out.

1. The dragon starts the conversation by saying something so surprising or profound that Steven is convinced to wait a while and learn more before fighting.
2. No. Too cliche. Cue sound of Darth Vader breathing.
3. I don't think so. If I were Steven, I'd feel completely betrayed by anyone in the village who ever contributed to his feeling that he had to do this thing--which, as you make it sound, is everybody. I wouldn't want anything to do with them. At a loss for what to do next, I'd probably stay at the lair since the now-dead dragon is the being I'd feel the most empathy with, but I'd be telling myself that this was just until I figured out what to do with the rest of my life. But of course, I'd get habituated to it and the more I stayed there the more I'd empathize with this dragon I'd slain. It could get to be an obsession, with me first affecting the dragon's speech patterns, then maybe some of his physical mannerisms, then only finally putting on the dragon's skin (maybe I'd preserved the hide immediately after the battle before the remorse had set in) as a culmination of this process by which I'd psychologically transformed into the dragon. Something about the skin would cause it to fuse with me, turning me physically into the dragon as well. But no, I don't think I'd go back to the village. Not until after I was dragonized.
It just occurred to me that the reason Steven would preserve the hide right after the battle would be because at that moment he still _expected_ to go back to the village, and needed proof. But the village being a long ways away and all, he figured he'd better preserve the hide before setting out. After all, it would be a shame if it rotted along the way, and besides, who wants to carry a big smelly uncured hide for that long? I would imagine, too, that before the remorse sets in that Steven would probably indulge in some fantasies about the hide hanging up in the big palace that the villagers would surely build for him, or maybe as a big floor covering in front of his throne.

Regardless (and on a related subject), IMHO there just has to be a psychological component to him finally putting on the dragon skin. I mean, how can there _not_ be a psych aspect to wearing the skin of your enemy. He's got to do it for some reason that's not so, well, mundaine as "Brr, sure is chilly today. Guess I'll wear this old dragon skin I've got lying around..."