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Author Topic: PodCastle 41: Dragon Hunt  (Read 4939 times)
Heradel
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« on: February 17, 2009, 10:27:19 AM »

PodCastle 41: Dragon Hunt

By Sarah Prineas
Read by Wilson Fowlie

The king shrugged. “What news do you bring us from West Cornhold?”

The peasant fell to his knees on the rush-covered floor before the high table. “Your Majesty, it is a dragon!” He dropped his hat to gesture widely with his hands. “We-we’ve seen it, My Lord! Huge it is, breathing great gobs of fire, shining in the sun, flying over our fields and houses, sharp c-claws, teeth, and–“

“Silence!” Prickett shouted. In a sharp voice, he continued. “To talk of dragons, sirrah, living ones, in the court of King Kenneret Death-of-Dragons, is to talk treason. It cannot be a dragon.”

The peasant stared. “It bloody well is a dragon,” he shouted, climbing to his feet, spittle flying from his lips. “Claws! Wings, great wide wings, like sails! Stealing sheep, and–“

“That’s enough,” ordered the counselor.

“–And goats!” the headman added.

Well. There was going to be trouble. The court held its breath and stared at his Royal Majesty. Someone was for the headsman’s axe.


Rated G. Contains dragons, knights, and deputy archivists.

« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 10:28:52 AM by Heradel » Logged

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Listener
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2009, 09:17:17 AM »

The reading was very good, though I think if there had been many more voices, it would've gone gimmicky.

The story was interesting at first, but I think it fell upon a few too many fantasy tropes: king lies about great deed to become king, king's grand vizier (the old dude in the robe and slippers) tells hero to lie, hero is king's illegitimate child (most likely; it's never actually SAID), hero is very intelligent but not necessarily gifted with a sword, hero's trek to proving ground is annoying without being actually difficult (drudgery more than anything).

I didn't have any problem with the underlying reason for the dragon wanting to die or how he got to that point, but I think it was too easy for Kim to come to the point where he was ready to do as the dragon wished. Sure, he'd immersed himself in dragon lore, but when a bloody great lizard pins you to the mud with a claw, you probably aren't going to be willing to just sit there and talk to it no matter how much you love the idea. Maybe it's just me, but even in a fantasy world that doesn't seem realistic.

Also, though the story was from Kim's third-person POV, I really needed more to believe that he'd just kill the dragon and then leave the kingdom. The story wrapped up too quickly. I almost feel as though the dragon needed to ingratiate itself more to Kim, to bring Kim around to the idea. The dude loves dragons; he's just going to kill the last one in the kingdom (despite what it said about there being more out there somewhere) after talking to it for one day?

I don't necessarily want the story to have been longer, but I wanted more interaction between the dragon and Kim. That's where I think the story fell down.
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izzardfan
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2009, 04:00:59 PM »

I loved the reading!  Having all the different voices, and so well done, really gave it a "performance" feel instead of just a reading.

And I loved the story, too.  I didn't have a problem with any of the issues mentioned by Listener.

My favorite line was "On the maps, 'Here be dragons' was crossed out."    Grin
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MacArthurBug
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2009, 04:04:39 PM »

here be dragons indeed.

I liked the ending- the selfless act. Overall, there was indeed a minor note of drudgery- but DRAGONS!

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Swagman
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2009, 04:55:00 PM »

I don't know...reluctant "knight" kills withering dragon then wanders off, conveniently avoiding any potential political intrigue that may result from his indifferent and uninteresting act of "heroism." Nice narration, but not much story for me to sink my fangs into. Where's the character growth? Where's the tension? It was like a medieval segment of the movie Slackers.
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Praxis
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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2009, 08:35:20 PM »

I didn't like this one.

It was read *very* well, I agree, but the story itself didn't go anywhere.
Even the minimal character development was wasted as the main character had no space to show how he changed. 
We are told that he chooses to leave and.....that's it.

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Anarquistador
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2009, 01:08:07 PM »

I agree. It was...disappointingly ordinary. Or rather, in a self-reflexive way, disappointingly revisionist. "Oh, guess what? Dragons really aren't that bad! Ooh, where have I read THIS one before?"

It felt a little too much like a "good parts" version. I wanted to know more about the world of the story. I wanted to know if there was some significances to Kim's lineage. I wanted to hear the real story of the King's dragonslaying adventure. I wanted to know how old the dragon was, and what he'd seen and done and all that. It felt like all the interesting bits were cut out.

That being said, it was very well read, yes. And...well...DRAGONS!
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izzardfan
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2009, 07:16:38 PM »

Overall, there was indeed a minor note of drudgery- but DRAGONS!

That being said, it was very well read, yes. And...well...DRAGONS!

I've seen every episode of Jane and the Dragon and loved it because I'd adore being around that kind of dragon.
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ajames
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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2009, 08:30:56 PM »

GREAT reading.

I enjoyed this well enough, though not as much as Sarah's other stories I have heard. At the end I felt the dragon and the librarian=knight were just plot devices to move us along to something else. As I wasn't exactly sure what that something else was supposed to be, the story fell a bit flat for me.

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Zathras
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2009, 08:12:25 AM »

I hate bashing stories, mainly because I can't write worth a damn myself.  This story would have been better served as a children's book with lots of illustrations.  It might have needed a few more "adult" oriented materials taken out, but the story was on a level my 7 year-old daughter would enjoy.  There were no original ideas in this story. 

King's ego out of control?  Check.
King's aide seemingly holding too much power?  Check.
King lied to gain power or was otherwise unworthy?  Check.
Bastard child/outcast/clutz sent out as a joke/sacrifice?  Check.
Inept youth becomes hero?  Check.
Dragon/monster/villain not really evil?  Check.
Hero walks away from power?  Check.

Meh.
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Dwango
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« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2009, 04:12:29 PM »

This felt like some sort of fantasy template drawn out.  I did not have the sympathy I would have liked for the main character, he needed more flesh to him than a undersized, geeky kid.  The dragon's image did not stick with me or hold my interest.  I did not like the way the story side stepped the political issue with the castle.  It might have been more interesting had it done so.  I understood the point of how he needed to step beyond the small land he was in, but this conclusion could have been reached without a dragon's intervention.
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eytanz
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« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2009, 05:07:42 PM »

Yeah, so I see where most of the criticism is coming from - this did feel a bit like a paint-by-numbers story, and it didn't add much to the genre. But, nonetheless, I enjoyed it a lot - it was well-executed, clean and well-paced, and the narrator was sympathetic to begin with and grew moreso as the story progressed. The reading added a lot to it. I probably would have drifted off and never finished it if I was reading it in print, but in audio it was very engaging.

It's interesting to compare this to the previous episode, which had a lot more to say but was shackled with a really leaden reading.
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Loz
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« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2009, 03:45:25 PM »

I have to agree with the 'meh', I was waiting for the twist but the end of the story came first. It wasn't even, thankfully, taking a standard trope and then throwing in extra gore and mud in a quest for 'realism'. It could have been written any time in the last fifty years.
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Unblinking
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« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2009, 12:44:13 PM »

As others have said this story covered well-trodden ground, and didn't really stand out from the crowd.  I am biased towards liking dragons, cliched or no.  I didn't dislike it, but it didn't wow me either.  And it was similar in quite a few ways to "For Fear of Dragons"
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