Like the laws of physics, there are laws of magic.
Being a book about dragons, it comes to no surprise that The Tales of Draco deals with magic. This is most visible with Jacob’s run-ins with albores and sorcerers. This may raise many questions concerning the rules of magic in this particular story. Are there limitations to this magic? And just how powerful can someone be if they have the right magical powers?
The element of magic in Rise of the Dragon is not quite drawn out in full detail. This is because Jacob Draco and his friends are new to this whole deal of magic, as is the reader. Jacob learns about things like albores and Master Scepters as he is introduced to them. They were never explained to Jacob beforehand. Therefore, he is not exactly an expert on the subject. Just as if you are reading the book, Jacob has to learn along the way. He doesn’t know everything about magic, but he’ll have a lot to learn.
Like the laws of physics, there are laws of magic. I prefer using the term “law” rather than “rule” simply because I feel that magic is not just an excuse to make the plot flow better, but rather it is a part of the physics we know of. Like every other expense of energy, the magic in The Tales of Draco has limitations. Just how far these limitations may go, that will be revealed in later books as Jacob continues to learn about them. He has yet to unlock the secrets of knowledge concerning magic.
I love animals. They fascinate me in many different ways. I’m always interested in how diverse our world is. You may ask what this has to do with The Tales of Draco and, particularly, the dragons in the book. The truth is, it has a lot to do with the elements in the book. My fascination of animals has a big influence in The Tales of Draco.
For instance, Jacob Draco’s interest in animals and his life on the farm play a big role in the plot. This is what drives him and Clipper to begin their major experiment in Rise of the Dragon. As dragons, they discover their own natural gifts such as using their claws, charging with their horns, or breathing fire among many other things.
So are dragons in The Tales of Draco technically animals? You could say so, in a way as if you classify humans as mammals. Marissa Durfee, my sister and main illustrator, once said that dragons are human, just a different type of human.
We humans have our own knowledge of good and evil, so do dragons. But when you look closer, animals are more like us in many ways. Animals bleed, think, feel, and hurt just like humans do. I’m not saying that I’m against rightful hunting or the use of animals for farming. I’m saying that we should acknowledge their existence. Respect to animals can help us respect ourselves.
A supporting character who was Jacob’s best friend and another dragon was something I thought would help the story a lot.
As I was plotting out Rise of the Dragon, I obviously wanted a faithful protagonist. Who doesn’t? But even when the novel was still in its infant stages, I already wanted a supporting character. I thought the story with Jacob by himself would be somewhat interesting, though I didn’t think it was enough. A supporting character who was Jacob’s best friend and fellow dragon was something I thought would help the story a lot. I didn’t want Jacob to be all alone. This is where Clipper’s role comes from. Another thing that I wanted Clipper to do is to be more than just a side character. I wanted him to have a major roll (just not as big as Jacob’s).
Creating supporting characters can be a little tricky. You don’t want them to be there just for support. All you will have is a supporting element, not a supporting character. At the same time, you want the story to follow your main character. Creating Clipper was slightly difficult for me because of the story’s structure. I wanted one main character, who was Jacob. What I tried to focus on was Clipper’s self-awareness and his personality that is similar but not identical to Jacob. That way Jacob could be more independent as the protagonist. This is why Clipper treats his temper differently from how Jacob does, for example.
After I developed Clipper’s character, I had a lot of fun with him. His dark-red scales and sabered teeth show that he is different from Jacob, but he shares enough traits. Having Clipper as a supporting character who is friends with Jacob felt so much better than having Jacob go about his adventures alone. And it doesn’t end with Clipper. Characters like Chang, Sally, and even Reno also had to be distinct and I had fun with them too.
Creating a character’s personality was very fun for me. I enjoyed creating Clipper’s role as well as Jacob’s and other characters.
There is a reason behind the fact that the protagonist is a dragon.
Being a fantasy novel, it comes to no surprise that dragons are in The Tales of Draco. Many other fantasy novels have dragons as key characters or simply used to support the magical world that we as the reader is not used to experiencing every day. In The Tales of Draco, dragons obviously play a big role. There is a reason behind the fact that the protagonist is a dragon.
Believe it or not, my view on dragons has changed significantly over the years. When I was only a few years old, many movies that my parents would watch that had dragons scared me. Even one of my favorite shows I watched as a child gave me nightmares. But despite the fact that as many times these fantastic creatures frightened me, there were a few television shows that had dragons who did not scare me as much. With that working for me, I eventually overcame my “dracophobia”. Before I knew it, I loved reading about dragons. Both the European and the Asian style of dragons would fascinate me.
When I began thinking of the storyline for Rise of the Dragon and the rest of the series, I tried to think of different ways on how my story could differ from any other fantasy book. This was when I noticed that dragons in fantasy were usually the main antagonist or a secondary character, depending on the book. I had never read a book where a dragon is the main protagonist. With this realization, I asked myself what the life of a dragon is like. What are a dragon’s common thoughts? What are his urges and instincts? I was then thinking about the philosophy of humans overcoming natural instincts. Thus, I decided that dragons in The Tales of Draco were naturally evil, though this evil can be conquered. With this wonder of what a dragon is thinking, this is also why the book is in Jacob’s point of view.
With these reasons, I decided to make Jacob a human who becomes a dragon. That way, Jacob can describe his feelings and thoughts in a way that we as humans understand better. It is not easy overriding a dragon’s instinct. And Jacob may even have to fight against this instinct as an outside force.
In Rise of the Dragon, most of the book takes place in our world. The second earth, Elsov, is not introduced until chapter twelve. And even then, all that is known about this world is that there are fairies, nymphs, grøls, and bleakly explained regions (with the exception of Pearl Forest). If Jacob has many of his thoughts on Elsov after his vision, then why is there little information about this strange world?
One answer to this question is Jacob’s basic understanding of Elsov. When the story is in Jacob’s mind, it also follows his knowledge. After his vision, he knows little about the second earth. As Jacob tells his story, he won’t give anything away about his experiences until they come chronologically.
Another answer comes from the structure of the book. As the series unfolds, more information will be given about Elsov. If I give all the information (including the geography and the inhabitants) at once, then what? My intention for this world is to have its identity unfold as the series progresses. Regions and inhabitants will be revealed later on. In the upcoming sequel in The Tales of Draco, there are many more scenes on Elsov. I also have a map of Elsov that will be revealed in one of the sequels.
The first few books in The Tales of Draco take place in the first earth: our world. The next books, Elsov will play a much bigger role in Jacob’s life.
“This Royal throne of kings,
This scepter’d isle…
This blessed plot,
This earth, this realm,
It seems in our fantastic literature, a European setting is what usually comes into our mind. This is with good reason. When I read fantasy books, I notice that the setting is often comparable to English, Irish, or Norse cultures. I actually quite enjoy this setting. I love reading about knights, castles, dragons, and adventures in lush countrysides. However, like any cliché, this setting can become too redundant in fantasy. The world is much bigger than a continent. I’m not saying that Europe is a bad setting. The Tales of Draco has its fair share of European influence, but I do not intend on having European culture be my only influence. I also love Asian, African, and Native American cultures as well.
So why is the European setting very common in fantasy? The answer comes from Medieval history. Many stories such as Beowulf and The Legend of King Arthur created the path for the fantasy genre to follow. These stories were created in Medieval England, so the setting followed. Even today, many settings take place in Medieval England; and to tell you the truth, the setting could introduce many other painful clichés. Even fictional languages have roots in Europe and before long, these fictional languages start to sound similar to one another.
If you ever plan to write a fantasy story, maybe change things up. Add some Chinese or Middle-eastern cultures. Taking a break from England once in a while may help your story become unique. You could even create a combination of cultures. When other settings are introduced, Europe can once again become the great setting for fantasy as it is and always will be.
Our world and the other world are very different, but can also be very similar.
A fantasy series can have a wide range of settings, from our familiar world in Rick Riordan’s works to the epic, adventurous, and mysterious Middle-Earth in J.R.R. Tolkien’s works. So what is the setting in The Tales of Draco? The obvious answer is our world. Most of Rise of the Dragon takes place in Europe and North America. But what about the world of Elsov? The mystic world of magic and enchanting is also mentioned in Rise of the Dragon. Early in the works of the book, I was deciding to have the entire series take place in our world. Later on, I was thinking about the entire series taking place in Elsov. It turns out I used both settings.
There is honestly no reason for a fantasy/adventure story to be forbidden to be set on our world. There is nothing wrong with having dragons flying over New York City or dwarves using automobiles for convenience. The main reason why most of Rise of the Dragon is set in our world is because I wanted the elements in the book to be comparable to our everyday lives. If you have ever been to any of the cities or countries mentioned in the book, you can envision yourself in a place where a dragon once stood. You yourself live in a fantasy world!
Now think of a magical world like Elsov. It is a place very unfamiliar. When Jacob first learns about the world, he knows so little. Like a world much like ours, there is nothing wrong with a fantasy story set in a place like this. When introduced to a world like Elsov, we envision it as a place completely different from ours. But are they really that different? The landscape on both worlds are very similar. There are living plants and animals. And yes, there is peace and war.
This is the main reason why there are the two different worlds in The Tales of Draco. Our world and the other world are very different, but can also be very similar. When I thought about combining the two settings, I figured how interesting my story could be. It’s a story where we can experience magic and adventure in our world as well as beyond. And even though Elsov only covers few chapters in Rise of the Dragon, more of its secrets will be revealed in upcoming books.