Fantasy Rides

December 30, 2010

One thing I’ve noticed in reading science fiction and fantasy is my tendency to imagine myself riding really cool things. Science fiction has spaceships and the occasional willing robot. Fantasy, however, has fantastic creatures. As much fun as zooming through the galaxy on a starship would be, I think I would prefer a flesh-and-blood ride. I’m not sure why riding on a living creature is more appealing. Maybe it’s the idea of forming some sort of bond with your mount; similar to the Na’vi’s relationships with their mounts in Avatar, or the pure love in my friend’s eyes when she talks about her horse.

In any case, I’ve spent plenty of time daydreaming about what it would be like to survey the world from the back of a truly awesome creature. Usually I also have a sword or bow in hand, but that’s beside the point. But then, perhaps inevitably, I started to get a little bored with my imaginings.

Dragon riders are cliche nowadays. It breaks my heart to say it, but it’s true. A unicorn, when you get right down to it, is pretty darn similar to a horse. Griffins are getting up there on the scale of awesomeness, I’ll admit, and sea serpents would be a good ride if they stayed at the surface long enough (and if they weren’t so rare, despite the best efforts of SPASM).

Then it came to me: I could just invent my own creature on which to take my flights of fancy. And so I did. Here it is:

I think he requires a little explanation.

This is Garth. As you may have noticed, he’s a mish-mash of a couple different animals. In elementary school, I frequently pretended I was riding a wolf around the school yard. Since wolves are pretty cool, I’ve yielded to the obvious good judgement of my younger self and used a wolf’s body as the main torso. Polar bears also look noble to me, hence the ursine head. And then since I’d used canines and bears, I figured there ought to be some feline characteristics as well (cougar limbs).

Wings and horns are an obvious must-have for a truly awesome fantasy creature. And the tail? I thought it’d be a good idea to give him something sharp and pointy to whip around.

Dragons and unicorns are nice, and I’d love to actually meet one. But when my face is pressed to the wall of an overcrowded streetcar that snails could outpace… well, that’s Garth’s time to shine.




  1. Almost perfect. I think I’d add in Santa’s Siberian tigers…I watch my son work with his horse, riding with no reins, only body communication and a deep knowledge of each other, and I am envious for that connection to another being who could take me to my dreams. Good post. Hope vacation is going well.

    • Vacation is going very well… I have sporadic wireless, so it’s nice to see my auto-posts are working out.
      Funny you should mention horses. I went riding today and our guide was this boy, maybe 9 years old, who looked like he’d been born on a horse. Totally in communion with the animal.

  2. Very cool, but I think I’d take the starship. Or maybe Silver Surfer’s board.

  3. A zebra for me. With wings.

    Glad that you’re having fun in the sun. 🙂

  4. Ohhh, the Silver Surfer’s board would be really cool…well, along with the power cosmic to actually survive the journey. Personally I’ve always been fond of the normal giant wolves as mounts. Though for one of my stories I did steal an idea from David Eddings and introduce carnivorous horses…in this case they actually prey on horses but…you know.


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