When Game Of Thrones premiered earlier this month, thousands of viewers watched with awe as The Mother of Dragons entered the gates of Winterfell with the Unsullied behind her and her two gargantuan dragons high above. Despite being CGI, the dragons were both impressive and terrifying. And this has reminded us of the prevalence of dragons in popular culture, such as Smaug from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and the adorable Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon.
Most people know and believe that they are mythological creatures that have made appearances in various ancient cultures over the years. The only kind of dragons that exist in the modern world is the Komodo dragons found on Komodo Island, Indonesia. However, they look nothing like the fire-spitting, awe-inspiring creatures that we read about or see on screen. So, the question remains: were they real?
A Brief History of Dragons
Nobody can say for sure when dragons started appearing in popular culture, but it does go back to Greek and Sumerian civilization. Sometimes, they were portrayed as useful animals and other times as destructive. However, with the advent of Christianity, the portrayal of dragons changed drastically. They were thought to be related to Satan. Leviathan from the Book Of Job described a massive monster that sounds a lot like a dragon. “Its breath sets coals ablaze, and flames dart from its mouth, ” — a dead giveaway, right?
Did They Exist In Real Life?
It is hard to say whether dragons were completely mythological or not. For years, mysterious giant bones were dug out of the earth and could not be traced back to any animal. Since many of these people from ancient times had no knowledge of dinosaurs, coming up with the idea of dragons seemed logical. A number of books have been dedicated to its research, and the popularity of dragons has not waned, appearing extensively in numerous shows and books. Various kinds of dragons have been described over the years. Authors have talked in detail about their food habits, their habitat, their body parts, and general attitude. It might occur to us that if dragons weren’t real, how come so much detail about the animal came into existence? The Church even came up with saints who slew dragons — St George, The Dragon Slayer!
Modern-Day Dragons From Komodo
As mentioned before, the dragons of Komodo Island are the only known existing dragons on earth right now. These so-called dragons are a kind of monitor lizard with a forked tongue. They can be aggressive which has given them a bad reputation. It was also believed that a certain kind of bacteria in their mouth or saliva made them very poisonous, too. However, that turned out to be a myth, and these modern-day dragons continue to thrive in Komodo Island. In recent news, the local government has ordered a temporary tourist ban on the island because of illegal poachers.
Despite being a mythological creature, dragons continue to thrive in our imagination today, and it looks like they will remain so for thousands more!