For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved fantasy and I’ve always loved dragons. Growing up, if anything had dragons in it, it immediately caught my attention. So I don’t think it came as a surprise to anyone who knew me that the first book I wrote was a fantasy about people who can turn into dragons.
The whole of the Chronicles of the Guardians series pretty much revolves around this society of people known as Guardians, who are the protectors of Aloseria, where the books take place. A Guardian’s defining trait is that they’re able to turn into dragons through the use of enchanted rings that only they can use.
Before Amulet of Wishes and back when Derek and Arabelle and the rest of these characters in this world were still in the middle of coming to life in my head, instead of being able to turn into dragons themselves, the Guardians were dragon riders. At the time I was very into dragon stories like Eragon by Christopher Paolini and the How to Train Your Dragon movie, so I took a lot of inspiration from them. But of course that changed. I still remember it was one morning when I was in the car on the way to school (yes, that’s how long I’ve been thinking of these characters for), and I’m not sure what prompted it, but the thought came to me, “hey, what if inside of being dragon riders, my characters could actually turn into dragons?” Suffice it to say, that idea sank its claws into me and never let go.
Not long after that, I started to learn that shape-shifting dragons are fairly common in a lot of dragon mythology. Such as the story of Griselda and the Dragon Troubador, that takes place during the Middle Ages. About a young woman named Griselda, who falls madly in love with a mysterious but very handsome young man. The two marry, but on the conditions that Griselda never try to learn of his true identity and that she can only be with him when he chooses to see her. Eventually, Griselda breaks her vows and one day walks into her husband’s private room to see him turn into a huge golden dragon. Furious that she had betrayed him, the dragon banished Griselda from his castle.
Dragons that can shape-shift also seems to be fairly popular in Japanese mythology. And not always into humans, but into other animals. The story of Mizuchi, the Four-Legged Dragon, features a water dragon, challenged by a man named Agatamori to make three floating gourds sink to the bottom of a lake. To accomplish this task, Mizuchi tries turning into a deer to make the gourds sink. And Kiyohime, from a tale about a woman scorned, was able to transform into a dragon while swimming after the man who rejected her and burned him to death.
When I first came up with the idea for my characters to be dragon shape-shifters, they were able to turn into dragons with their will alone, but I found that created some unexpected challenges for me while writing their story. Whenever I wrote my characters getting into some kind of predicament, such as going up against powerful enemies, I realised that a lot of these problems could be solved quickly and easily if they just turned into a dragon. That got a bit frustrating for me, as I wanted to create moments where my characters were really put to the test. That’s when I came up with the idea that Guardians needed their rings to be able to turn into dragons.
How the power of these rings work and where they came from is something I plan to explain a bit more later on in the series. Even the characters aren’t too sure on the details. Only one person in all of Aloseria knows how the rings are made, at that is the Crafter. It’s even mentioned in Amulet of Wishes that the making of the rings is such a closely guarded secret that even the King and the Queen don’t know how it works.
As for how these rings that are the source of the Guardians’ power came to be in the first place, some believe that it was the Goddess Ithulia who created them and gave them to the first Guardian, Aryanna Vir Fortis, to use to help her vanquish the daemons. Another theory is that they were created by a powerful, yet unknown, mage. Are either of those theories true? We’ll just have to wait and see.
About the Author
Australian born, Rita was raised on the farms outside of Melbourne and grew up surrounded by wide open spaces, tractors and lettuce aplenty. For as long as she can remember, Rita has always loved to make up stories. Her first literary work was an Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfiction when she was 11. Now Rita spends a lot of her writing time working on her YA fantasy series, Chronicles of the Guardians.