This Classic Fantasy Tale, sees a Quest for Treasure, in the Lost Kingdoms of the Dwarves, with a Guardian Fire Drake of the North, who goes by the name of Smaug. It's The Hobbit:
Whilst it had been quite some time, since I'd last read The Hobbit, I was amazed with the amount of humour, that's found within it's opening chapters (particularly the very first - An Unexpected Party). I especially found it funny, when the leader of the Dwarves (Thorin Oakenshield), ended up with several of his fellow Dwarves, right on top of him - when The Hobbit (aka Bilbo Baggins), abruptly opened his front door :) I also liked the fact, that Bilbo initially has no idea, as to what is going on - why are all these Dwarves here? But soon finds himself, pouring over a Treasure Map, wondering where the Secret Door is! Which in-turn, leads to Bilbo and the start of his Adventures - having just been recruited by the Dwarves (based upon the recommendation, of Gandalf the Wizard). And it is this recommendation, that I feel captures the Heart and Soul, of this Fantasy Tale ... As The Hobbit does not at first, appear to be the best companion, for Thorin and his Dwarves - let alone their Quest! For one simple reason: The Hobbit / Bilbo Baggins, has only ever read about Adventures in books - preferring instead, to put his feet up, and have his second breakfast :) Indeed, is this low opinion of Bilbo, held by Thorin Oakenshield, and several of his Dwarves - which plays right into, Bilbo's desire to prove them all wrong :) And as such, did I enjoy the irony (that is experienced), as Bilbo's character, becomes central to the Tale - even gaining a Strength of Character, that supersedes the Dwarves (as eventually, he is more of an advisor to them). I found this particularly true, in three specific places: i) When Bilbo rescues the Dwarves - from the Darker Fantasy Spiders (otherwise the Dwarves would have been a juicy meal). ii) When Bilbo rescues the Dwarves - from the Not So Friendly Elves (otherwise the Dwarves would have been captive, in the Dungeons of the Elves for quite sometime). iii) When Bilbo is asked by the Dwarves, to tackle the Dragon Smaug (the Guardian Fire Drake of the North) - as Thorin and his Dwarves, dared not to enter, their own Underground Kingdom ... Yet in all three, do I feel that Bilbo's character, has come a long way - but still remains the same, as that first cheeky Hobbit, who dared to pick the pocket of a Mountain Troll, and land them all in a Stew! What of the Tale's other Fantasy Characters? Well ... There's three, that I quite like ... First: is Beorn (the shape-shifter). I liked the idea of a Man, that could take the form of a Bear - whilst also being able to talk, to an entire variety of animals (from Bees to Horses). I also liked the idea, of Beorn's Gardens and Lands - as he uses his shape-shifting powers, to guard his Domain, against the creatures of Darker Fantasy (such as Goblins and Wargs). I especially enjoyed, the comedy that surrounds the introduction of the Dwarves to Beorn (which is again contrived by Gandalf) - enter two by two, a minute or so after each other, OH! you may as well all come in then! Second: is Smaug (the Fire Drake). Being a Western Dragon, he meets this definition in every sense of his Being - large, powerful, clever (enjoying Riddles), breathing Fire, rows and rows of Teeth, armour as strong as Steel, hoarding Treasure, rending walls and eating all (especially Men and Dwarves). Yet does Smaug, still have a twist of an Eastern Dragon - the ability to speak :) And as such, did I enjoy Bilbo's conversations with him, especially when Bilbo thought, that he could outwit a Dragon! Bilbo dares to steal a Golden Cup - yet Dragons know, every ounce of their Treasure :) For Smaug's personality, is the Darkest of the Dark - it's HIS Mountain, and it's HIS Treasure, that HE stole from the Dwarves, a Long Time Ago. Third: is Thorin Oakenshield. I found that his character, tended to fluctuate somewhat. On the one hand, he will take charge (such as when planning a Quest for Treasure, or meeting a Great Goblin in Battle) - but on the other hand, can Thorin tend to give up in a huff (such as when the Dwarves, are unable to find the Mountain's Secret Door). An interesting character then - as we have to remember, that it was Thorin's Quest in the first place! And of that Quest, does Thorin also wish to retake, his Lost Dwarven Kingdom - of the Mountain. It's a Dwarven Kingdom, where I enjoyed imagining - what it would once have been like, at the height of it's powers: Countless Dwarves - mining Crystals and Gems, Endless Dwarves - Forging Swords and Armour, Robust Dwarves - hewn by the Harshness of the Rocks, Timeless Dwarves - hewn by the Ages of Old, and the Timelessness of Bonds :) And it is these Bonds, that Thorin's most Treasured Treasure (the Arkenstone), is most directly - at conflict with! For the Arkenstone (to me), seems to represent Greed (both Bilbo Baggins, and Thorin's). Thus, was I not too surprised - by the disagreement that arises, between Thorin and Bilbo! Although I was surprised, when Thorin pulls it back, and makes amends with Bilbo, just in the nick of time :) Overall: I feel that The Hobbit, is an enjoyable Fantasy Tale, that successfully incorporates, the important features, from the Sword and Sorcery Fantasy genre. The Swords are the Dwarves, Elves and Men - with the twist of a Hobbit, who could not hope to lift a Sword! But a Knife/Dagger - Bilbo can do that :) The Sorcery is directly from Gandalf, and indirectly from the Dragon's Hoard, and the Dwarves Arkenstone (their Achilles Heel). The Darker Elements, come from the Dragon and the Goblins, together with the Fantasy Character called Gollum (who Bilbo meets beneath the Mountains). Whose Gollum you say? For me, he's a key ingredient, to the popularity of Bilbo - as after Bilbo meets Gollum, does Bilbo's character, seem to tend towards an advisor (for the Dwarves). Thus do I feel, that it seems to be Fate, that Bilbo was destined for Adventure - in the first place :) Finally: an important question arises - is it still worth reading The Hobbit book, after you have watched the three Hobbit Fantasy Films? Yes is the answer to that! The Hobbit book, I found to be much simpler (less extravagant), and as such did it seem - much more magical :) Just one thing remains, where is that Treasure Map? And thank goodness for the Adventurous side - of the Took in Baggins :)
In Dragon Steed, came Fairy Glamour - with Twist of Tale, and Runic Glyph. Donned in Yellow, donned in Tribal - came Princess Royal, and Dragon Emperor:
I like the fact that this Dragon, is full of Mystery - yet still speaks Imperial. The Mystery comes from the Glamour that exists - between this Dragon, and his Rider. The Imperial comes from the Majesty of this Dragon - which at first appears to contradict, the Tribal of the Princess. And it is here, that Steve fuels the engagement of his artwork, as I find myself wondering at the connection - between this Dragon, and his Tribal Princess. For me, it is a connection, that I find is swathed in Fairy Glamour - and is best explained, through the consideration of three points. First: there's no doubt, that this is a Chinese Dragon ... For this Dragon's head, bears two whiskers and a beard - as you would expect, of a Wizened Chinaman. This Chinese stance, is also reflected by the position of the Dragon's head (dominating the centre of the artwork), and the predominant yellow of the Dragon - as both are associated with Chinese Yin and Yang (meaning the centre of everything). Added to this, is the weight of the Dragon's highlights and tones, which both tend towards Gold - as in Ancient China, was it only the Emperor that was allowed to wear such Golden Attire (as in Dragon Symbols made of Golden thread). Second: there's no doubt, that this is a Tribal Princess ... She is adorned with Runes (especially upon her face), that suggest to me, that she is a part of a Ruling Dynasty. Added to this, is the fact that her left-arm/shoulder is covered in Tattoos - and we start to feel, that she's some kind of Warrior. This believe is in-turn, refined by the Robes of the Regal (her Purple Gowns), which makes me feel that she's some kind of Warrior Princess - who perhaps has Magical Powers, owing to the stance of her arms. But here do I find a contradiction with/to the Dragon. For this Princess does not in-fact, speak to me at all, of a Traditional Chinese Lady - especially in terms of her appearance! Third: when the Dragon and the Princess are taken together - there's no doubt, that were in the Realms of Fairy Glamour ... For if we follow the Curves of the Princess's hair (the highlight browns), then we see that the top-right of the Dragon, also has similar Braids of hair (albeit on a larger scale) - which I feel, are akin to the Grounding Roots of this Dragon and his Kin. If we then follow the Runes of the Princess's Tattoos, then we see that the Dragon, is also adorned in Runic Glyphs - which I feel, are akin to the Binding Bounds of this Dragon and his Kin (the Dragon's Runes goes far beyond, the simple edges of his Metallic Armour). If we then follow the Curves of this Dragon's yellow, then we find the Divine of this Princess's form - which with the Braids of this Dragon's hair (middle right), and the Patchwork of her Regal Dress (especially on her legs), spoke to me of the Spirit of this Dragon: a Golden Yellow Chinese Dragon, that knows his place, within the Roots of this Earth! For this Dragon and his Dragon's Spirit (the Princess) - spoke to me of a Chinese Element called Wu Xing (Earth), and the Wards of his Emperor :) If that were so, then I feel that Steve has used a powerful Artist's Technique - to convey the Mystery of the Imperial ... The stronger foreground tones, of the Dragon's head and Princess - both capture the Authority, and the Clarity of an Emperor. Where as the lighter background tones (towards the left of the artwork), help capture the Mysteries of an Elemental Dragon - whose Winding Tail, fades in Clarity, towards the Centre of the Earth, just as a Root would do :) Overall: an amazing Chinese Dragon, that still owes his Lineage - to the Ancestral Eastern Dragon. This Chinese Dragon, has an Eastern Dragon's body (long and serpentine), an Eastern Dragon's intelligence (knowing eyes, beard and whiskers) and an Eastern Dragon's association with one of the Five Elements (Wu Xing - Earth). In Slender Vines, with Paths of Rune - came Chinese Dragon, Emperor's Wrath!
In Kingdom's Ethereal, White be Haze. In Tangled Ribbon, Wind be Touch. Born of Water and of Air - this Dragon's Spirit, Ninjas of thy Monk to be:
Dancing through this Water's Verse, Temples of the Spire so High. Skating through this Ocean's Realm, Churches of the Light so Bright. Weaving through this Sea's Domain, Chapels of the Stance so Right. Darting through this Element's Empire, Ninjas of the Rain so Proud. Guiding through this Cyclone's Wind, Shoguns of the Rule so Wise. Fighting through this Heaven's Day, Abbots of the Monk so Scribe ... Temple here, Temple there - one Church here, one Church there! Ninja here, Ninja there - Abbot say, Abbot do! For in Heaven's Lore, there was a Place - donned in Shroud, donned in Guard. This Heaven's Realm, called Monastery. This Heaven's Arms, called Swiftspear. The Shimmer of a Blanket Sea. The Sparkle of a Tungsten Blade. The Tonal of a Falling Wall. The Twinkle of a Pointed Gaze. The Shading of a Rising Spray. The Glimmer of a Shearing Edge ... For in Shogun's Lore, there was a Place - born of Dragon, born of Ninja. This Dragon's Realm, called Monastery. This Ninjas Arms, called Swiftspear. The Obelisks of a Element Wise. The Patters of a Silent Feet. The Monoliths of a Dragon King. The Assassins of a Samurai Way. The Pillars of a Eastern Dragon. The Warriors of a Human Monk ... Shogun here, Shogun there - one Spear here, one Spear there! Ninja here, Ninja there - one Foot here, one Foot there! Running through this Temples Maze, Knowing of thy Paths to Take. Skipping through this Churches Fog, Certain of thy Turns to Make. Sprinting through this Water's Edge, Splashes of thy Toes to Beat. Jumping through this Airy Cloud, Vapours of thy Swift to Dodge. Skimming through this Temples Lore, Pleasing of thy Craft to Rule. Honing through this Churches Art, Dreaming of thy War to Make ... War-cry here, War-cry there - Dancing here, Dancing there! Fighting here, Fighting there - Sculpting here, Sculpting there! For in Monastery Swiftspear, there was an Army - born of Human, and of Monk. This Humans Realm, called Eastern Way. This Monks Penance, called Scribe of Art. The Writings of the Empire Verb. The Teachings of the Kingdom Pure. The Drawings of the Realm in Shape. The Learnings of the Wise to Power. The Letters of the Artist's Form. The Knowings of the Spear to Battle ... Ninja here, Ninja there - one Strike here, one Strike there! Shogun here, Shogun there - one Wound here, one Wound there! Victory here, Victory there! As in Monastery Swiftspear, there came a Monk: donned in Ninja, donned in Shogun, donned in Samurai ... The Guardian of this Fortress Monastery: swathed in Mist, swathed in Robe, swathed in Rune, schooled in Lore, schooled in Arms, schooled in Question ... Who be you that comes to Sea, this Temple Realm - of Monastery Swiftspear?
Here do I find a Dragon, that's just as entwined with Fairy Glamour - as is a Fairy and her Queen:
There's no doubt that this is a Western Dragon ... This Dragon is covered in Scales, whose red makes me think of the Fires of the Forge. This Dragon is covered in Barbs, whose path makes me think of the Armies of Old. This Dragon is covered in Ridges, whose gleam makes me think of the Ambitious of King. And yet, do I find that this Dragon - has just bathed in the Realms of Fairy Glamour :) For there's no doubt, that this is an Eastern Dragon ... This Dragon is contrasted in Scales, whose blue makes me think of the Cools of the Sea. This Dragon is contrasted in Barbs, whose stance makes me think of the Sirens of the Ocean. This Dragon is contrasted in Ridges, whose rise makes me think of the Lapping of the Tide. Why has Stefano done this? To pull you into his Fantasy Realm, and bring depth to his Artwork. The pull, comes from the shape of this Dragon: a backward C (donned with Barbs), that helps snake you in - to both this Dragon's head, and his Dragon's body. The depth, comes from the height of the Barbs: being taller in the top middle, rotated towards you - I feel as though this Dragon, wants out of the Artwork! Indeed, does Stefano's choice of background, play right into this effect. As with clever use of lighting, upon the cliffs on the top left, contrasted with the darkness/shadows of the cliffs lower right - does it feel as though this Dragon, has just crept around a corner. If that were so, then it's easy to see that this Dragon, has the subtleties of an Eastern - as it's forked tongue, has just been used, with the Patience of the Wise, to snare it's prey! What of Stefano's choice of colour? Given the fact that this Dragon is in the shade, Stefano has had to be careful - to avoid losing the shape of his Dragon. I feel that this has been achieved, in two specific ways. First: the choice to use predominant red scales, with contrasting blue (curving along the Dragon's back). Second: the choice to highlight both red and blue scales, upon their upper most edge - thereby bringing clarity to the dark (especially around the Dragon's eye sockets, and the top right body/neck curve). Overall: an unusual Dragon, that's reminiscent of Lizard - but with traits both Eastern and Western, that goes hand-in-hand with Fairy Glamour :) As you would expect of the Realms of the Faeries, this Dragon has one further twist - the fact that he has no Western Dragon wings! Even so, this does not diminish from the Dragon's powers - as I feel that he can fly, high upon the Magic Winds, of Dragon Rise, in Dragon Land ...
If you enjoy the Victorian Hawk Dragon Fantasy Reviews, then why not buy him a Chocolate Cream?
Of course, it's not a real Chocolate Cream! It's just a way for you to say thanks ... It's simple: the more Chocolate Creams, the more Fantasy Reviews! It takes time to read a Fantasy Book. It takes time to watch a Fantasy Film. It takes time to Fantasy Paint (either that Fantasy Art or that Fantasy Character). It takes time to play that Fantasy Game. It takes time to find that Fantasy Location. Whilst the Victorian Hawk Dragon enjoys flying the Oceans of Fantasy, using his Eyes like a Hawk - he has to come back to reality, from time-to-time ... There's server costs. There's software costs. There's development time. There's all the legal stuff. Pitted against this - his Dragon Heart, Dragon Armour, Dragon Claws and Dragon Teeth. Flying through the Storms of Fantasy, with refusal to bend his Bony Heads - his Dragon Eyes fixed on Dragon Goal: his passion to help you find your next Fantasy Book, Film, Art, Game, Character or Location :)
Within Dreams and Fairy Tales have Dragons built their Empires ... With the Dragons in Green - came the Forests of the Earth. With the Dragons in Grey - came the Storms of the Sky. With the Dragons in Red - came the Fires of the Magma. With the Dragons in Blue - came the Gifts of the Ocean. With the Dragons in Gold - came the Shields of this Land:
Have you ever wondered what became of Falkor, Smaug and Tiamat? Or of all the other Fantasy Dragons that you've read about - when you close your reading book at night? Some say that's the end of the Tale ... Yet I would say - that it is, but a start. For with a flap of their Wings, do Dragons leave this Earthly Plane - flying high upon the Winds of Magic, returning home to Dragon Land! Yet, some may say - what of Dragon Myths? Fear not I say, for within Dragon Land, do the Dragons of Myth still live ... From North America comes the Sea Serpents - with a splash of their tails, do they drive the Oceans Waves. From South America comes the Quetzalcoatl - with a puff of his lungs, does he create the Clouds of the Skies. From Japan comes the Ryujin - with a mighty breath, does he pull the Tides of these Oceans. From China comes Ao Guang - with an Imperial Might, does he command the Sea Life Armies (of the East China Sea). Yet, some may say - what of Dragon Tales? Well ... Upon Dragon Planes, did the Battles of an Empire - take place ... From United Kingdom, comes Saint George's Dragon - the ravager of a humble village, that Saint George had to slay. From Ancient Greece, comes Hydra - the immortal seven headed Dragon, that Hercules defeated. Yet, some may say - what of Pendragon? Well ... Upon Dragon Scrolls, is the Knowledge of the Wise - written down ... Within Blue Moon Rising, did a butterfly hoarding Dragon - help the Prince Rupert. Within Maleficent, did a fire breathing Dragon - help the Fairy Godmother. For it is here in Dragon Land, that the Dragons still fly - up and up, upon the Endless Winds. For it is here in Dragon Land, that the Dragons still hoard - collect and collect, within their Oaken Chests. For it is here in Dragon Land, that the Dragons still grow - stronger and stronger, in their Grips of Fire. Yet, some may say - what of Dragon Dreams? Fear not I say, for within Dragon Land, lays your Hearts Desires ... It was not just a Dream, that the Dragons fly - upon the Winds of this World. It was not just a Dream, that the Dragons swim - through the Seas of this Earth. It was not just a Dream, that the Dragons wield - the Weapons made of Old: A Dragons Claws, a Dragons Armour and a Dragons War Cry! It was from here, that the Dragons Forged - the Axe of Draco ... With the strength of Iron (Earth). With the power of Hurricane (Air). With the passion of Heart (Fire). With the wrath of Ocean (Water). With the edge of Intellect (Spirit). With a flap of his Wings, did Victorian Hawk rise up - to Conquer a Land that had been besieged by Fantasy. With Tiamat defeated, and Pendragon respected, did Dragon Land have a King at last! For only with the Elements of Five, can a Dragon Empire - be ...
Twisting through the Rivers of Time, comes a dragon whose aligned with the Elements of Five:
In the depths of the Forests, in the roots of the Trees - with the power of Nature, this dragon shall be found: Green (Earth). In the strengths of the Castle, in the foundations of the Empire - with the intelligence of Creation, this dragon shall be found: Grey (Air). In the desires of the Heart, in the lusts of the Battle - with the passion of Love, this dragon shall be found: Red (Fire). In the rush of the Seas, in the beauty of the Winter - with the depths of the Ocean, this dragon shall be found: Blue (Water). In the wisdom of the Old, in the determine of the Young - with the knowledge of the Wise, this dragon shall be found: Brown (Spirit). Hi there! I'm the Victorian Hawk Eastern Western Dragon, whose favourite pastimes include: breathing fire, demolishing castles and travelling the Oceans of Fantasy (helping you to find your next fantasy review). I was born in the mind of an Artist, sketched with a HB (pencil), and coloured with several Derwent Studio (colouring pencils). I love the fact that I have captured the concept of a Vortex: a Vortex of Fantasy - where the Warriors of the Realms, and the Steeds of the Mighty, ride into your Heart. I also love the fact that my purple/violet wings are large and powerful: as I use them to fly around the Realms of Fantasy - where the Elves have built their Kingdoms in the Trees, and the Kings/Queens have built their Citadels of Power, to the Edge of the Sea, and the Darkness of the Caves, I collect my Dragons Hoard! Yet in Forest Castle, did the Artist draw me: an outline in Ink, with the colouring of Derwent (Studio pencils) and the blending/smudging of the pigments (with the end of a fingertip). Yet upon the Table of Knights, was a lesson Carved in Stone: when colouring at an edge, use a finger to guide your path (as the tip of the pencil butts/hits against your finger - you shall avoid going over the Ink). That's me for today, my Dragon Claws have sharpened! Only time will tell, what you think of my Dragons Hoard. Overall: I like the fact that I am a Dragon, with Elements from both East and West, these Gates of Fantasy have been opened!
When it comes to finding out about Mythical Creatures, this is my favourite book to read:
I like the fact that I can watch a fantasy film, or read a fantasy novel - then (usually) consult this book, for the background/history of the mythical creature (that I was interested in). Its entries are organised alphabetically - which saves time, when you know the name of the mythical creature (that you wish to lookup). With the reading of numerous entries, I have realised that mythical creatures originate from many places, and that several countries will often share, the same belief (in a particular creature). For example: some are found in the beliefs of ancient cultures (such as the American Indians), some are found in a different time (such as the belief that humans, could at one time, converse with the animals), some are found in nature (such as the belief that monsters are responsible for the shaping of the Earth/Weather) and some are found in specific locations (such as the side of a mountain - or a secluded loch). Three adventure-fantasy entries that I enjoyed reading are: Dragons (a wealth of information on - I especially liked the descriptions for Japan/China, together with the connections to strength, power and treasure), Elves (with several different views of) and Trolls (who are usually bad news - for adventurers/travellers). Two dark-fantasy entries that I enjoyed reading are Vampires (present throughout time and culture) and Werewolves (who have an interesting connection with ancient battles and warriors). The book also has entries for many lesser-known/local mythical creatures, a good example being the Great Horned Serpent (who was/is believed to help keep the waters of the Great Lakes calm). I like the fact that some entries also cross-over with others, for example: both Dragons and Elves have connections with Will-o'-the-wisps (where such lights were perceived as being gifts from them). I also like the fact that the book considers the mythical properties of animals that we live with today (such as Cats and Dogs). Overall: This is a book that I enjoy consulting - but can find it hard to put down! I think part of this is due to the paper that it's made from - it just feels somewhat magical (especially with its inviting/oldish smell). For the most part, this book is text-based, but that doesn't seem to matter - as I find images come easily (from my imagination). At almost seven hundred pages, it's quite good to pick a random page and put your feet up!
| Victorian Hawk
Dragonart - How to Draw Fantastic Dragons and Fantasy Creatures
I like the fact that this book has taught me how to draw dragons: as dragons are my favourite mythical creature! I loved the tutorial on Western Dragons, which I find to be much more warlike than their cousins: the Eastern Dragons. The stick figure takes a different format within this book, although it still makes use of the same basic shapes that I have encountered when drawing humans. Dragons feature many components, and this book breaks these down into several tutorials/showcases: dragon heads, dragon limbs, paws, claws, wings, dragon bodies, horns, frills, fins, scales, tails and feathers. Even so, it takes a while to draw a dragon (either Western or Eastern), because dragons are typically big! I find the tutorials easy to follow and enjoy seeing the dragons build from basic shapes. The book generally contains tips on colour, as opposed to how to colour your dragons. This hasn't bothered me too much, as I have managed to colour my dragons using both colour pencil and oils (although I did find the colour wheel tips quite useful). The remainder of the book covers the drawing of many other mythical creatures, with my favourites being: Griffins, Unicorns and Sea Serpents. Overall: an amazing book that can help you spend many an evening honing your dragon drawing skills.