I have always been fascinated with flying and being up high. The reason I mention this interest in flying is because, since I have this attraction to soaring, I am naturally fascinated by all creatures that can take wing. One of my favorite fictional flying creatures would of course, therefore, be DRAGONS!

This is where the movie I wanted to discuss today comes in. It is a film called Dragonheart.  Dragonheart is a movie that the critics apparently panned, to their everlasting detriment. The movie focuses on a knight “of the old code” named Bowen (played by Dennis Quaid) who, in the first act of the story, is the knight appointed to instruct young Prince Einon in the ways of knighthood. Bowen starts out very cheerful and devoted to his young charge, hoping to change the young prince’s outlook on life so that he will not be as cruel a king as his father.

That plan seemingly goes out the window when, after Einon charges out to help his father put down a peasant revolt, he is mortally wounded. Einon’s mother, Queen Aislinn, has Einon taken to a dragon (voiced by Sean Connery) who lives near the kingdom. She begs the dragon to save her son’s life and the dragon agrees, giving Einon half of his heart after the young prince swears to rule with justice and virtue. The Dragon’s heart saves the young prince’s life and at the same time grants him virtual immortality.

So now everything is all hunky-dory, right?

Eh, not so much. It turns out that Einon is a worse monster than his father. He enslaves the peasant rebels and sets up a corrupt court. Bowen, in his fury, blames the Dragon for Einon’s apparent change of heart and vows to kill him.

Years later, Einon (now portrayed by David Thewlis) has a new castle and Bowen has become a champion dragon-slayer more interested in destroying dragons than in following the old code he so greatly revered and tried to pass on to Einon. Bowen eventually tracks down the Dragon, who reveals that Bowen’s last prize was his mate. The two battle but eventually end up in a stalemate.

The Dragon then manages to break their draw and pins Bowen, whereupon he points out that if Bowen kills him, the former knight will be out of a job and the Dragon will be dead. But the Dragon has a proposal to keep them both alive and in business. Bowen, at first, does not want to hear it, but he finally gives in and asks, “What’s the alternative?”

The alternative, it turns out, is defrauding people into paying heaping sums of gold to Bowen to “kill” the same dragon over and over again. All the while Bowen does not realize he has allied himself with the very Dragon he swore to kill. Nor does he realize that the Dragon, whom he at last dubs Draco, has suffered as much, if not more, with Einon’s rule than he himself has.

I will avoid spoiling the rest of the film for you, readers, but I will say that it is worth your time to hunt up and watch Dragonheart. The film has two sequels: Dragonheart II: A New Beginning, and a third film which came out this year, Dragonheart: The Sorcerer’s Curse. Truth be told, I would be more interested in this third installment if it had been done earlier. But it was not. Rats.

            Until next time!

The Mithril Guardian


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