Dragon Week: Tokyo Drift - Tor/Forge Blog

Our Favorite Highlights from Dragon Weeks Past

We’ve kicked off our fourth year of all things dragon, but how could we celebrate without looking at some of our favorite articles and round-ups from the past few years? Check out some of our most memorable pieces below and let us know which is your fav!

Dragons Vs. Sharks: Tokyo Drift Style

Graphic of Theodore the Wyvern from The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune vs. the Sharks from West Side Story

A million years ago in 2019, we pit sharks against dragons and kicked off an eternal conflict that has since only evolved. Check out these matchups of dragons vs. sharks from Dragon Week: TOKYO DRIFT!

Dragon Week: Tokyo Drift’s EPIC Dragon-y Entrance Music

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Dragons have style! You know this. I know this. And the contributors to this rundown of select epic dragon theme music definitely know it. Check it out!

How to Survive a Dragon Attack

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Even as we celebrate dragons, we know encountering them in the wild can be dangerous! So we chatted with the experts. People who have spent their whole lives reading about dragons and talking the talk. That’s right. We asked ourselves. Here’s our expert advice on surviving.

The Best and Worse Pop Culture Dragon Slayers

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Today, Blood of an Exile author Brian Naslund joins us to talk dragonslayers. Some are heroes. Some are villains. Some of them should LEAVE THOSE DRAGONS ALONE.

Dragon Week 2020: The Most Dragon-y of Playlists

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What better way to get into a dragon-like mood than with an EPIC PLAYLIST?!?!? We’ve compiled some of our absolute favorite dragon-inspired tunes and artists so you can vibe with the chaotic energy. You can listen to this in order (GOLD, GOLD, GOLD) or put in on shuffle for maximum mayhem.

How to Feed Your Dragon: 4 Great Meal Recipes to Share with Your New Reptilian Friend

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What is the fastest way to a new friend’s heart? Food, duh! Brian Naslund, author of Blood of an Exile and Sorcery of a Queen, is ready to help you win a new dragon BFF with some instructions for some spicy treats. Check out his dragon-friendly(?) dishes below!


Dragon Week: Tokyo Drift’s EPIC Dragon-y Entrance Music

We are so sad that Dragon Week: Tokyo Drift is coming to a close, but we think we figured out the best way to say ‘goodbye’ to such a fun week…and ‘hello’ to some EPIC ENTRANCE MUSIC!! We asked our favorite dragon experts (AKA the TDA staff) what tunes they would want as their dragon entrance music and wow, we got some winners here. Check it out below!

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Anna Merz, Publicity Assistant (she/her)

My dragon song would be “Tokyo Drift” by the Teriyaki Boyz. I mean this song is epic and makes me feel like I can do anything.

Honorable mention: A Calabasas Freestyle by Jaden. The song really speaks for itself, but also has two of the greatest line: “Rap is just one of my fetishes, like a dragon that’s pregnant” and “Shadow boxin’ demons, diggin’ ditches for all of these lizards”. Like let our dragon hearts sing baybeee!

a cat, Marketing Coordinator 

“My Shiny Teeth and Me” by Chip Skylark (Kenny Maness). Clearly my prized draconic feature is my massive set of pristine pearly chompers. Ate no less than five vainglorious knights yesterday and three this afternoon without even a chip, and then requisitioned their armor polish to tend my lovely fangs. Their cries echoed throughout my home sweet lava-filled cavern, harmonizing with Chip Skylark as he crooned his ode to perfect teeth from my lair’s sick surround sound speakers. I love being dragon.

Lizzy Hosty, Marketing Intern (she/her)

“Brutal” by Olivia Rodrigo. I want this to play as I enter because the song is so hardcore that everyone would be so terrified of me that they would let me have free reign of their village. As they should.

Sarah Pannenberg, Digital Marketing Coordinator (they/them)

“Through Asphodel” from the game Hades. Why kill the Bone Hydra when you can BE the Bone Hydra? (and yes, the Bone Hydra is a dragon, I will not be taking questions at this time.) I would delight in murdering Zagreus over and over again while the sweet sounds of heavy metal music blares in the background. Hades son ain’t got nothin on me and my dramatic dragon entrance music, Asphodel is mine!

Jordan Hanley, Marketing Manager (she/her)

My dramatic Dragon Entrance would be “Children of the Revolution” by T. Rex. Not only is the band a dragon, but the song perfectly encapsulates a hot dog eating song, which I imagine dragons enjoy eating. The strong guitar and drum licks sound rather as if a dragon is walking quickly into a room, or perhaps slithering in, as the case may be. This is also a song from the 70’s, which means this dragon is an Elder Gen X’er, which I am, on the inside.

Caro Perny, Publicity Manager (she/her)

“Careless Whisper” by George Michael. When you think of dragons, you think of a powerfully sensual entity, right? Glistening scales, a razor-sharp danger mouth, muscle and bone working in concert to soar into the heavens, or protect a hoard of treasure with equal grace. Plus, dragons are known saxophone enthusiasts. Every other answer on this list corresponds to lesser dragons, because this is clearly the best dragon entrance music. In my draconic form, I slither into the room and dance so memorably that all my foes have no choice but to proclaim “I am NEVER going to dance again”–that’s right! Their guilty feet have got no rhythm, but my CLAWS surely do! And, “Careless Whisper” works no matter what the situation is: am I entering an arena, wherein I shall set my enemies quite literally on fire? Perfect–I want George Michael to be the soundtrack to my victory. Am I walking into my treasure-cave, where I shall be greeted by my many adopted cryptid children? Excellent, this song represents the sounds of comfort and home. Or perhaps I flying to the dragon bar, where I will be setting some draconic loins on metaphoric fire–in that case, pack it in, because it’s all over for you bitches.

Rachel Taylor, Marketing Manager (she/her)

“Golden” by Harry Styles. Not only is this a certified bop, but the title shows off my main dragon priority, gold. Plus, I think this would be a fun song to dance into a room to, putting all attendees at ease before surprising them with any dragon-y rampages.


So, You Woke Up A Dragon? An 8-Step Guide to Survival from Brian Naslund

Place holder  of - 72For our final guest post of Dragon Week: Tokyo Drift, we asked Fury of a Demon author Brian Naslund: What would you do if you woke up a dragon? Check out his step by step guide for what to do if YOU someday wakeup a dragon below!

As a human, the chances of transforming into a dragon overnight are low, but they’ll never be zero. So, it’s best to be somewhat prepared for the possibility.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to surviving and thriving in your new situation.

By Brian Naslund

  1. Don’t Panic

Behind dragonslayers, panic is your worst enemy. You don’t want to lose your cool and accidentally demolish a nearby school with a bunch of wild tail swipes. That will for sure come back on you, even if it was an accident.

So, take a few deep breaths. You can even try that Navy SEAL box-breathing technique. If it’s good enough for the SEALS, it’s good enough for a dragon!

  1. Determine Whether You’re a Wyvern or a Dragon

In your new life as a mythical creature, proper classification and nomenclature is going to be vital. So, take a look at your right arm, and determine whether your wing is a part of the appendage, or separate from it, which will indicate that you are…

…just kidding. This doesn’t matter right now. You’re above labels. Move on to step 3.

  1. Got wings? Use them!

Some guides may have you holding off on your first flight, but I say life’s short and you’ve lived the entirety of yours without being able to fly, until now. Go for it. Spread those wings and cruise amongst the clouds for a bit. Watch out for airplanes.

  1. More of an aquatic dragon situation? Go for a swim.

Humans have explored a paltry 5% of the ocean. Guess what? You’re now lord of the other 95% (unless Aquaman exists in which case, Boss Fight).

  1. Find a safe place to land, then get a sense of your moral alignment

Now that you’ve seen the sights, it’s time to do some inner reflection.

While soaring amongst the clouds, did you feel an overwhelming urge bathe a town in flames? That’s a sign that you might be Chaotic Evil. On the other hand, is your head filled with a bunch of riddles that—when answered correctly—make you want to blab on about buried treasure or share bits of wisdom? That’s more of a Lawful Neutral vibe. You’ll have more friends.

Whatever you’re feeling, be honest with yourself! Self-deception is almost as problematic as panic and dragonslayers.

  1. Look beyond immediate gratification. Do you want to stay a dragon?

Okay, the sky/ocean romp was a lot of fun, but down to brass tacks: you’ve undergone a significant life change, do you want to stay this way? If yes, move on to Step 7 without delay.

If no, you’ll need to do some investigating. Did you piss off any sketchy looking people lately? Someone who may have been a sorcerer/witch/wizard in disguise? Have you recently failed a test of conscience or character? What about robbing any potentially enchanted tombs?

Whatever the potential cause of transformation, it’ll take specific research to undo, but this is a good place to start. Good luck ditching those scales.

  1. Find a lair.

I’d suggest something remote, but spacious. Beneath a mountain is always a popular spot, but don’t be afraid to explore alternatives. Remote jungles. An oasis in a desert. Deep sea crevasse if you’re aquatic. And don’t stop at just one lair! A home for each time zone isn’t a bad goal.

  1. Prepare for Dragonslayers and/or Adventurers

Even if you pick a remote lair, the way things go, you’re going to be getting some visitors eventually. Their disposition will be impacted by the decisions you made in Step 3.

If you’re on the Lawful/Neutral side of things, you can expect nice interactions! Prepare riddles and rewards accordingly. Keeping a variety of teas around is also a nice touch.

If you went Black Hat in Step 3, dragonslayers are going to be a problem. Here are a few tips:

  1. You’ll probably receive steady stream of unprepared and angry “dragonslayers” who are just trying to avenge your latest act of destruction. You can ignite these fools on sight. Enjoy this work, but don’t get complacent. Hidden amidst this chum, there are people who actually know what they’re doing.
  2. Beware of an organized group who all seem to have a specific role in battle (wizard, archer, healer, etcetera). The well-balanced “D&D party” approach to dragonslaying is highly effective, so treat them with caution and respect.
  3. If a dude with blue face tattoos and a spear shows up, bail. Just bail completely. Fly around the world and find a new lair. Nobody will give you guff…you’re a dragon, and that guy was dangerous.

This concludes my basic survival guide for life as a dragon. I hope you’ve found it useful. If you’re looking for more guides, check out: Fire Breathing 101: An Introduction to Unleashing Your Inner Flame or Advanced Aeronanical Warfare: The Air Force Will Shake When Your Shadow Drops.

Brian Naslund had a brief stint in the New York publishing world but quickly defected to tech in Denver where he does internet marketing. He is the author of the Dragons of Terra series. The final installment, Fury of a Demon is on sale now.

Order Fury of a Demon here:

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Dragons Vs. Sharks: Tokyo Drift Style

Welcome to Dragon Week: Tokyo Drift, our third year celebrating of all things Dragon!

Back in 2019, we put some of our favorite dragons and sharks in glorious battle for honor, accolades, and internet fame. So we decided, LET’S DO IT AGAIN! Introducing, Dragons Vs. Sharks: TOKYO DRIFT STYLE! Check out our contenders below!

Theodore vs. The Sharks

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Match Prediction: For Round 1 of Dragons vs. Sharks, we placed the adorable Theo from The House in the Cerulean Sea against the amazing dancing Sharks from West Side Story! So who wins in the battle of cuteness vs. rhythm? Cuteness, duh! We predict the Sharks will be so won over by the power of friendship, Theo’s innate cuteness, and his collection of hidden treasure (AKA the buttons they happily surrender) that they attempt to adopt our favorite wyvern and make him their newest member. Theo is swiftly retrieved by his caretaker Arthur Parnassus, much to the disappointment of the Sharks.

Street Sharks vs. Rand al’Thor

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Match Prediction: It’s time for ROUND 2! We’ve pitted the Street Sharks against Rand al’Thor from the Wheel of Time series and wow, what a match. The Street Sharks have the combined strength of four half-human whale sharks, but Rand al’Thor IS the Dragon Reborn, the champion of the Light in the battle against the Dark One, the prophesied savior and breaker of the world, AND the reincarnated soul of Lews Therin Telamon so…yeah. This one is going to Rand al’Thor.

The Meg vs. Falkor from The NeverEnding Story

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Match Prediction: For Round 3, we’ve put The Meg (of MEG fame) and Falkor from The NeverEnding Story in a match TO THE DEATH!!!! Or…okay, maybe not to the death. We predict that Falkor would use his gifts of luck and flight to zoom away from The Meg, leaving this insanely large Megalodon without its meal for the day. Let’s call it a tie, shall we?

Needle-Throated Verdun vs. Sharknado

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Match Prediction: The Needle-Throated Verdun from Blood of an Exile by Brain Naslund for the most part just wants to eat, sleep, and chill, so the victory here is going to the Sharknado, hands-down. And really, how would one fight an ENTIRE TORNADO OF SHARKS anyway?!

Which sharks do you think make the best dragon snacks? Which Tor staff members could beat both a dragon AND a shark with their bare hands? Tell us in the comments and keep the Dragon Week: Tokyo Drift fun going!


The Everyman’s Guide to Surviving a Dragon by Jenn Lyons

Poster Placeholder of - 34How does one go about surviving a dragon encounter? Jenn Lyons, author of the Chorus of Dragons series, has a simple answer: Just don’t. BUT if your dragon-y meet and greet is unavoidable, she has the following advice to give. Check out today’s Dragon Week: Tokyo Drift piece below!

By Jenn Lyons

First, I think it’s important to point out that most sure and certain way to come away from a meeting with a dragon alive, with health and sanity intact, is to never meet one. Don’t go searching for your death in the Manol, as they say in Quur.

However, that choice isn’t always ours to make, given that dragons can and do fly about on their own. So, in those cases, what can be done? Of the eight known dragons (and the ninth that no one talks about), each one is unique in every regard except perhaps basic shape, so it would be ill-conceived of me to hand out blanket advice and expect that to be universally applicable. So let’s discuss each dragon in turn.


Aeyan’arric, the Lady of Storms, is one of the smaller of the dragons, but that makes her no less dangerous than the others. In appearance she’s a white color with blue, violet, and silver accents. She’s capable of creating storms over a wide area, preferring snowstorms and blizzards to rain. She’s not particularly verbal or prone to communication, but she is excessively territorial, meaning it’s unlikely that attempts to bargain or haggle with Aeyan’arric could succeed. The good news is that she’s one of the least inclined of all the dragons to pay attention to humans as long as they stay away from her. Her preferred prey animals are much larger than humans, so she simply isn’t interested.

Recommendation: Take shelter immediately. The threat from Aeyan’arric isn’t a direct one – she rarely attacks people. The real threat is the storms that roll up in her wake, which are devastating.


Probably one of the most famous dragons because of his famous feud with Emperor Simillion, Baelosh is also one of the most loquacious of the dragons. This may trick people into thinking he’s reasonable, but don’t be fooled. He’s as evil as any of them. He just likes to chat more (a trait he shares with his brother Sharanakal). He is strongly connected to plants and flora of all kinds, and areas around him tend to quickly become overrun with toxic, lush, and amazingly hostile plant life. He breathes out a combination of spores and acid that not only kill but promptly turn the victim into garden fertilizer.

Recommendation: Baelosh is one of the only dragons that can be bribed, having a marked fondness for faceted gems like diamonds and emeralds. He especially likes tsali stones of all kinds. Emperor Simillion showed that it is possible (albeit it incredibly dangerous) to engage Baelosh in a riddle battle, and Baelosh may well share his brother Sharanakal’s fondness for music.


The problem with Drehemia, dragon of secrets and shadows, is that it’s exceedingly difficult to find her, meaning that any encounter with the dragon is likely to happen on her terms. She can create huge swaths of darkness, turn invisible, and has the ability to make people regress to mindless savagery, attacking anything nearby, including each other.

Recommendation: Drehemia seems to have a collection of ‘game pieces’ similar to Sharanakal’s stone garden, and it seems probably that these weren’t willing volunteers. So don’t try to bargain with her. Just leave as quickly as possible. If you must face her, then know that she doesn’t seem to enjoy light, but whether that’s an offensive advantage or just a bullseye is anyone’s guess.


Gorokai may well exceed Baelosh for gregarious tendencies, but it’s difficult to know for sure. For centuries the fishermen living around the edges of Rainbow Lake used to tell a story about a magic talking carp who would either grant wishes or twist the meaning of said wishes in the most destructive and awful ways imaginable. It wasn’t until Gorokai revealed himself that we realized these carp myths had a basis in fact. Gorokai is a shape-shifter, one capable of incredible shifts in size, shape, and ability. He seems to be perfectly capable of copying the other dragons. In his own ever-changing shape, he has a breath weapon that wreaks absolute havoc on all surrounding matter, including people, ranging from turning them into potted flowers to turning them inside out.

Recommendation: The main problem with Gorokai is that he’s an unpredictable, chaotic mess. He apparently has helped people, but whether or not he will be helpful or not in any random encounter seems to hinge on a coin toss.


Morios is a metallic dragon so covered in sharp long spikes that it looks like he’s made up of swords. He can breathe a storm of metal blades as well, which is a bit of a problem for most wizards since there’s enough variation in form that it’s extremely difficult to block what he’s tossing at them. He is the largest of the dragons, the one who tends to sleep for the longest stretches, and also the one who causes the most devastation when he wakes. He seems to have an enormous enjoyment of fighting, which is a problem when the only forces capable of taking him on are gods and armies. Also, and this cannot be stated strongly enough – he seems to gain power from acts of intentional violence against him.

Recommendation: The only time anyone has successfully defeated him was by not attacking him directly, but rather letting him be collateral damage to an attack aimed at someone else. So in theory, it might be possible to defeat Morios through explosive spells targeted against others, or by passive abilities that are not, in of themselves, meant as direct attacks. Generally, I recommend avoiding Morios if at all possible.


Rol’amar is a dead dragon somehow still made animate through the curse that empowers him. Unfortunately for Rol’amar (and everyone else), it’s left him in unspeakable agony, to be the point where communication with him seems no more possible than communicating with a wild, mad dog. This means his rampages truly are that. Also, he seems to animate any dead around him for quite some distance, so typically people facing Rol’amar will be fighting both him and an entire animated army of dead.

Recommendation: Leave, preferably through a gate or teleport or some other similar method, since unlike some of the other dragons on this list, Rol’amar does like to chase. Rol’amar doesn’t seem to like healing magics, but it’s unlikely this would be enough to permanently defeat him.


If a volcano could be reborn as a dragon, his name would be Sharanakal, or as some of the locals around the Zherias region liked to call him, ‘the Old Man.’ Like all the other dragons, he naps for long periods at a time, but when he wakes is extremely active.

Recommendation: Sharanakal is extremely fond of music. Unfortunately, this is not an ideal solution, because he’s also fond of kidnapping musicians and keeping them as his own private entertainment. He does this by magically trapping them inside stone pillars which he refers to as his ‘garden’ – I assume that this is some kind of dig at his brother Baelosh – and freeing them only for long enough to sing a few songs before imprisoning them once more. Avoid him if at all possible.


It’s extremely unlikely that anyone will run into Xaloma, since she almost exclusively makes her home in the Afterlife. The ghost dragon is fond of water and can usually be found resting in the Afterlife’s lakes and oceans. Because it is so rare to run into her, very little about her abilities are known. She is Sharanakal’s sister (but not Baelosh’s – Baelosh and Sharanakal share the same father, while Sharanakal and Xaloma share the same mother) and doesn’t seem to be particularly talkative.

Recommendation: Xaloma seems to be fine as long as one doesn’t infringe on her territory – and then she is not fine. So basically, do not disturb.

And last but certainly not least:

Relos Var

Relos Var is certainly an interesting case, since he rarely appears as a dragon, preferring to instead maintain a human form whenever possible. He most closely resembles his niece, Aeyan’arric, being primarily white in coloration as a dragon, although with an opal, rainbow sheen where Aeyan’arric is silver and blue accented. He breathes an extremely hot blue fire that is capable of metal metal in seconds and which poisons whatever it touches for years afterward.

And yet, he’s more dangerous as a human wizard.

Recommendation: Avoiding him can be taken as given, but that’s usually not so easily done if he has his eyes on you. Mainly, one should always be aware that Relos Var rarely comes out on the losing end of any deals he makes, so if you think you’ve gotten the better of him, assume that just means there’s an angle that you don’t yet understand.

Jenn Lyons lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, three cats and a nearly infinite number of opinions on anything from Sumerian mythology to the correct way to make a martini. Lyons traces her geek roots back to playing first edition Dungeons & Dragons in grade school and reading her way from A to Z in the school’s library. Formerly an art director and video game producer, she now spends her days writing fantasy. In 2020, she was nominated for the Astounding Award for Best New Writer. Her five-book Chorus of Dragons fantasy series begins with The Ruin of Kings. The final book in the series, The Discord of Gods, hits shelves everywhere 04/26/2022.

Pre-order The Discord of Gods here:

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Replacing Human Body Parts with Dragon Parts: Pros and Cons!

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Question: If you could replace your human body parts with dragon parts, would you? Kel Kade, author of Fate of the Fallen and Destiny of the Dead, weighs in with the pros and cons of embracing your best scaly self. Check out Kel’s thoughts here!

By Kel Kade

The practice of splicing, the act of magically replacing the body parts of one animal with those of another, is highly regulated. To magically replace those of a human host with any body part besides that of another human is strictly forbidden. We all know this. So it has been since the dawning of the Council of Magi.

We have also all heard the rumors about men with horns or women with scorpion tails or, perhaps most intriguingly, the infamous dragon man. In this study, we examine the relationship between dragon and man, the nature of a dragon-man chimera, and the physiological, ideological, and ethical ramifications of such a union.

The gravity of the topic of human splicing can best be relayed by the severe penalties incurred for such an infraction, which may range anywhere from the binding of one’s powers for a set term to termination of those powers altogether, not to mention imprisonment and the incursion of serious financial damages. With such a fragmented and polarized council, it is any wonder that these policies have been voted on and upheld unanimously against every challenge and for good reason.

Human splicing has a long and dark history, one that was thought best hidden for centuries before being brought to light to be used, as it is today, to demonstrate the need for such dissonant treatment. Although these inhumane practices were conducted long ago, beyond even the memories of our elders, the evidence of these atrocities can be seen today all around us in the structures of our buildings and the endless stretches of roads to our variable cuisine.

Humans of the past were spliced with beasts of burden from weathered pack horses to overburdened oxen to messenger birds, all for the benefit of regular people, to make their lives easier. Most of those experiments failed to thrive or were so twisted and demented that they had to be terminated. Only about one out of a hundred survived to serve their intended purpose. Although people of the time enjoyed the benefits of having beasts with human minds, these beasts were not treated as human. No, in fact, they were considered to be of lesser value than a purebred animal of equal station, and that was for the simple fact that although they had the audacity to claim human heritage, they were, in fact, inhuman.

The apprehension with which chimera were treated was not undeserved. In fact, it was due to their inherently unpredictable and often appalling natures that the practice was ultimately ended. Just as a spliced body becomes both human and animal, a magically spliced human mind does not remain purely human. When a body part, a severed limb, for example is magically spliced with a human body, neither the physical nature nor intrinsic nature remain with that limb. Just as the human’s nature changes the limb to become more human-like, the limb changes the human.

Within the foreign flesh and blood is knowledge and memory—that of the animal from which it came. The natural instincts, desires, and behaviors of the animal become engrained in the human, at times becoming dominant. Predator/prey relationships may become confused, and the moral and ethical qualms which drive the human may conflict with the baser instincts of the animal. Military trials early on concluded that highly predatory or magically inclined creatures should not, for any reason, be spliced with humans because dragons, unlike their bovine prey, cannot be controlled.

As demonstrated by recent events, dragons provide for a unique study in human splicing. In fact, the dragon’s heart has long been sought after for providing a human host with unique abilities including the development of a deep connection with the dragon from which the heart, or a piece of which, was harvested.

Our recent case-study, however, demonstrates that the essence of a dragon is contained not within the heart, but it suffuses every drop, fiber, and bone of the beast. Likewise, the magic that sustains its massive presence, the fluidity of its flight, and its blistering inferno lives innately within the beast’s entirety. Therefore, whether it be an arm or a heart or a little toe, to transfer a piece of the dragon to a human is to transfer the dragon itself. Should the beast continue to live, then, an unbreakable, and unbalanced bond is formed between dragon and man. In our case-study, as the beast perished, its life essence was transferred to the new human host in whole, which induced a pluralism of mind, body, and soul.

The case in point involves a human man whose arm was replaced with that of a dying dragon when his own arm became irreparably damaged. The splice was performed by an inadequately trained magus whose desperation outweighed sense. The spell used was intended to sync the essence of a human limb to a human body, and as such, it was designed to force the maximum bonding of the two at the most basic levels.

During the splicing, the human body sufficiently transformed the dragon arm to a suitable size and structure, but the adverse effects of the inverse bond slowly progressed over several months. Scales grew across one side of the man’s torso and up his neck, and one of his eyes was ultimately replaced by that of a dragon. One particular disadvantage for the man was the timing—spliced humans did not exist at this time—and the fact that his world was under attack by terrible creatures. Although he was different from these creatures, he seemed just as monstrous to his fellow humans, and he was often mistaken for the enemy and even attacked.

Not all was terrible for the man, however, and, in fact, his differences saved his life on more than one occasion. His scales were hard and strong, deflecting the strongest steel and sharp projectiles. They also retained the fire-proof quality of the dragon’s hide. His claws were sharper and stronger than daggers, and the overall strength of his dragon limb was several times that of his human arm. His dragon eye, it turned out, was equally useful in that it allowed him to see the heat that emanated from a living body and provided a form of night vision. The man found that he could, with practice, easily switch between the two visions and eventually combine them for a greater understanding of his environment.

With the dragon’s body also came the dragon’s power. While the man was capable of resisting flames, he found that he was also able to generate them with the same torrential heat of his beastly donor. The dragon’s naturally sharpened senses increased those of the human, which, when combined with the magical ability, allowed him to track and defeat enemies with brutal accuracy and ease.

However, while the human gained use of the limb and magic, the limb and magic—and therefore the dragon—gained use of the human. The man struggled to suppress the dragon’s fury and the instincts of an unmatched predator. That which drove the dragon threatened to consume the human. While a dragon-human chimera may seem like the perfect super-soldier, the intelligent rage of a dragon is every bit a match for the human’s calculating intellect. To splice a human and dragon is to ignite a war between two apex species that is only superficially contained within a single body.

Kel Kade lives in Texas and occasionally serves as an adjunct college faculty member, inspiring young minds and introducing them to the fascinating and very real world of geosciences. Thanks to Kade’s enthusiastic readers and the success of the King’s Dark Tidings series, Kade is now able to create universes spanning space and time, develop criminal empires, plot the downfall of tyrannous rulers, and dive into fantastical mysteries full time. Destiny of the Dead, the second book in The Shroud of Prophecy series, comes out from Tor Books on 11/09/21.

Pre-order Destiny of the Dead Here:

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Are Hippos DRAGONS!?! Sarah Gailey Weighs In!

Placeholder of  -2It’s time…Dragon Week: Tokyo Drift is HERE!!! We’re kicking off our third iteration of a week dedicated to all things dragons with a seemingly simple question: do hippos count as dragons? Sarah Gailey, author of The Echo Wife and American Hippo, is here to give us their answer. Check it out below!

When I received the brief for this piece, I made the same mistake I always do — the mistake of thinking it would be easy. Do Hippos Count as Dragons feels like a very simple yes or no question, and I thought I knew what my answer would be. I thought that this would be easy even though actual taxonomists and evolutionary biologists — people who have real educations in these matters and think about them professionally — have historically struggled with the question of whether a hippo is a pig or a whale. I accepted the assignment to write this piece with the totally unearned confidence of a fiction writer.

But then I realized I don’t think I know what makes a dragon a dragon.

The problem with trying to define dragon is that dragon doesn’t describe a specific thing. There’s no reason to think dragons all have one common ancestor — they seem to evolve naturally across pretty much all human cultures, like how evolution eventually turns everything into a crab — so dragon isn’t a clade and doesn’t really fit into a cladistic classification structure. Taxonomically speaking, I guess dragon would be a class. Dragons definitely nest neatly into the phylum chordata — all dragons have spines, I think that’s pretty clear — but they don’t fit well into any existing class within that phylum. Some – but not all – dragons could classify as mammalian, by virtue of their long hairy beards. Other dragons are clearly reptilian, what with the scales. Sea dragons and river dragons could probably be considered fish, for all that the category ‘fish’ has meaning, which it doesn’t, but that’s beside the point. And then there are dragons that could be considered amphibious, if one grants consideration to dragons who bear strong resemblances to salamanders.

I could continue justifying this but I don’t have to, I get to make the rules here. Okay, so let’s consider dragon a class within the phylum chordata. What defines that class?

Well, that’s a question that is both very tricky and very simple. Are dragons warm-blooded or cold-blooded? Do they breathe air or water? Do they give birth to eggs or to live young? The good news is that there is no reliable or comprehensive data available on any of this. Dragon mythology and folklore is so widespread and diverse that pretty much every available dragon morphology and behavior is on the table. The other good news is that taxonomies are made-up! They are categories into which we sort creatures that we decide are same-y. A big snake with three-clawed feet that shoots fire out of its armpits? Dragon. A scaly horse with dots of curly hair on its back that can walk on water? Dragon! A giant snake with the face of a man who can create night or day by opening or closing his eyes? Great news: that’s a dragon.

My scientific conclusion is that the class dragon is defined largely by vibe. Fortunately, I am currently the boss of dragon science, so — as is often the case with taxonomic science! — I get to use my own totally subjective and arbitrary opinions to determine who gets to be part of the class dragon. Dragons are mysterious yet still connected to the physical realm. They’re powerful but also vulnerable. They’re frightening and dangerous, but still charismatic. It’s hard to know where you stand with a dragon, and they’re highly mutable.

Let’s see if that works. A six-foot-tall featherless biped that lives primarily on land, is incapable of flight, has small mostly-flat teeth and no body armor to speak of, that gives birth to varying quantities of live young? Not terribly frightening or mysterious. So, a human doesn’t feel very dragon.

What about a small aquatic spheroid creature that’s covered in spikes, travels in herds, and eats massive quantities of kelp? Mysterious, yes, but not terribly powerful or charismatic. Plus there’s the whole spine thing. So, great, a sea urchin probably doesn’t count as a dragon. I have tested two species against this method of categorization and I think that is more than enough rigor to say that my method is flawless.

Now let’s try this one: a massive tusked creature that lives in the water but emerges to feed and to commit totally unpredictable acts of terrible violence, that has cute ears and terrifying tusks, that emits something called ‘blood sweat,’ and which has only recently been recognized as an opportunistic (let’s be honest with each other: recreational) carnivore by the greater scientific community?

Hippos are mysterious in their habits, yet are still very clearly grounded to the physical realm. They’re incredibly powerful. They’re frightening and dangerous, but judging by the number of people who circulate videos of Baby Fiona, still charismatic. It’s hard to know where you stand with a hippo until the hippo decides it’s your time to die.

That sure sounds like a dragon to me.

Hugo Award-winning and bestselling author Sarah Gailey is the author of the novels The Echo Wife and Magic for Liars. Their nonfiction has been published by Mashable and The Boston Globe, and they won a Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer. Their fiction credits also include Vice and The Atlantic. Their debut novella, River of Teeth, was a 2018 finalist for both the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

Order American Hippo Here:

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Tor Books Presents…Dragon Week: TOKYO DRIFT!

We are SO HYPED that we got to bring you our third annual Dragon Week, voted by you and thus named Dragon Week: TOKYO DRIFT!!!! So what’s happened in this most glorious of weeks? Check out the roundup below!

Monday, 7/12: Are Hippos DRAGONS!?! Sarah Gailey Weighs In!

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Tuesday, 7/13: Replacing Human Body Parts with Dragon Parts: Pros and Cons!

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Tuesday, 7/13: Our Favorite Highlights from Dragon Weeks Past

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Wednesday, 7/14: The Everyman’s Guide to Surviving a Dragon by Jenn Lyons

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Wednesday, 7/14: How to Survive an Adventurer Attack: A Guide for Dragons

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Thursday, 7/15: Dragons Vs. Sharks: 2019 Throwback!


Thursday, 7/15: Dragons Vs. Sharks: Tokyo Drift Style


Friday, 7/16: So, You Woke Up A Dragon? An 8-Step Guide to Survival from Brian Naslund


Friday, 7/16: Dragon Week: Tokyo Drift Playlist


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