Favorite Mythic Creatures

Mythic Creatures

Since Friday’s post was quite serious, I thought it was time for something fun. Most fantasy readers and writers have at least passing familiarity with the bountiful number of mythic creatures invented over the year and have likely come up with a few favorites. I’d like to hear about them in the polls below (you can do either one or both).

For the first poll, I’ve included ten of the more commonly known mythic creatures, but if you don’t see your top choice, feel free to check the other box and leave your favorite in the comments.

[polldaddy poll=6206115]

I’ve created this second poll because I value your feedback regarding the blog, and I’d like to hear about your future interests on this particular topic. I’ve included a few of the more common ones that I haven’t explored, but also some other options to allow the most feedback.

[polldaddy poll=6206146]

Of course, I welcome any comments explaining your choices or adding your thoughts on the subject.

Comments

  • Kessie
    May 7, 2012 - 10:38 pm · Reply

    Dragon is my #1, griffin is my #2. It’s amazing how seldom griffins actually appear in fantasy. Mercedes Lackey seems to be the only writer who’s used them.

    Also, I enjoy your obscure creature trivia. I always learn about some new beastie. 🙂

    • Sarah Sawyer
      May 9, 2012 - 4:30 pm · Reply

      I agree that griffins are underused. Everyone tends to gravitate toward the same creatures, when in reality there’s a great variety to choose from (not to mention inventing your own). In a fantasy novel I read several years ago for review, a griffin figured prominently…but I don’t remember details about the book because it didn’t make a deep impression on me. That’s the only griffin book I can come up with at the moment. 🙂

      Thanks for chiming in on what you’d like to see in the future!

  • Maria Tatham
    May 7, 2012 - 11:50 pm · Reply

    Sarah, I like the unicorn best. But a creature that I’d want to see you deal with is the dragon, because your perspective is careful and fresh.
    M.

    • Sarah Sawyer
      May 9, 2012 - 4:38 pm · Reply

      There’s a certain majesty and beauty associated with unicorns, and I can see why you chose them. Thank you for your kind words about the mythic creature posts. I look forward to exploring more in the future.

  • sally apokedak
    May 8, 2012 - 10:50 am · Reply

    I don’t really have a preference on creatures. I love hobbits and feechies and marsh wiggles and dufflepuds. They aren’t creatures. Some are species, I suppose. Others are races of humans. I love them because they display human characteristics that are overblown so we can examine one aspect of human nature more easily, in characters we love.

    For this reason, if I had to pick a favorite creature, I’d pick Gremlins, because they had human characteristics. I loved the evil little gremlins in the bar.

    Not that they are mythical.

    I don’t know enough about mythical creatures to know what they can teach us about human nature. So I’m looking forward to an education here.

    • Sarah Sawyer
      May 9, 2012 - 4:42 pm · Reply

      Oh, that’s a whole different angle to explore–the humanoid species. 🙂 Many of the ones you listed are also favorites of mine. Who could forget the dufflepuds? Or Puddleglum stomping his foot on the witch’s fire? Or for that matter, the feechie antics? So fun!

      Rather than an exploration of human nature that highlights specific traits (as with humanoid races), mythic beasts were more often used as representation or symbol of a virtue or idea–like the manticore being an ill omen or a representative of the devil or the unicorn as a symbol of purity. Even those designations speak something about human nature, I suppose.

      I think it’s more direct, however, when mythic creatures are depicted as sentient–like Jewel the unicorn in Narnia or Temeraire the dragon in the Temeraire series. Then it comes much closer to an exploration of human nature as you mentioned before.

      Thanks for sending my thoughts in a new direction. 🙂

    • Sarah Sawyer
      May 9, 2012 - 4:43 pm · Reply

      Mary, I agree it’s hard to choose a favorite. My top is probably Pegasus, because there’s something so appealing about flying. 🙂

      I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on what you’d be interested in seeing next!

  • Emily Sawyer
    May 10, 2012 - 10:29 am · Reply

    Wow, that was tough. I ended up picking a Unicorn as my favorite mythic creature, but Pegasus is definitely right up there on my list. I also find Centaurs and Griffins really cool.

    As far as what I would like to see featured later, I picked Pegasus, but I’d also love to see a Dragon in a post sometime. Obscure or unusual mythic creatures are always fun too, though. 🙂

    • Sarah Sawyer
      May 10, 2012 - 2:34 pm · Reply

      Unicorns are intriguing creatures, plus they’ve gotten a number of positive depictions in fantasy, so I can certainly see why you picked them as a favorite. 🙂

      I find it interesting that the horse-like creatures ranked so high on the list–apparently many people are drawn to them.

      And thanks for taking the time to give feedback on what you’d like to see in the future. I’m sure I’ll end up exploring most (if not all) of those!

      As a general note for anyone who is interested, the “other” vote on the first poll was for elves, and the “other” vote on the second poll was for sentient plants (which would be another interesting topic to visit in the future).

      • Emily Sawyer
        May 10, 2012 - 8:22 pm · Reply

        That is interesting… I for one like them because I like horses in general, and a mythical horse is just that much more intriguing. The idea of riding a horse that can also fly is definitely a cool one. 😉

        Elves, now that’s an interesting thought! It hadn’t even crossed my mind, but those are definitely fascinating creatures. Sentient plants would also be cool to hear more about.

        You’re welcome! I’m excited to see what you come out with later.

        • Sarah Sawyer
          May 18, 2012 - 11:37 am · Reply

          I agree! So many people like horses–or like the idea of horses–that it makes sense that horses endued with mythic capabilities (like flight) would be appealing. I certainly wouldn’t mind riding Pegasus. 🙂

  • TheQuietPen
    May 12, 2012 - 3:28 pm · Reply

    Definitely a phoenix, though that’s a relatively recent switch. Griffins used to be my fave, but birds are my favorite creatures in general. There’s just something very haunting about a bird rising from the ashes. Has interesting symbolism to explore. Plus, it isn’t that common in modern mythology, except has a cool name.
    Hm, might do a blog post on that myself!

    • Sarah Sawyer
      May 18, 2012 - 11:58 am · Reply

      The symbolism of the phoenix does provoke a distinct response, which is one of the things that makes the use of mythic creatures valuable for fantasy writer. They convey meaning to readers, based on cultural and symbolic associations.

      So far, I haven’t made use of traditional mythic creatures in my novels, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they show up one day. 🙂

    • Sarah Sawyer
      May 18, 2012 - 12:02 pm · Reply

      I agree that nothing prevents a Christian from using mythic creatures. It’s how they’re handled in the context of a story that makes all the difference. And CS Lewis and Tolkien stand out as prime examples of using all sorts of mythic creatures and races in a way that demonstrated their faith.

      It sounds like you’ve come up with an interesting combination for your upcoming novel. I’ve never heard of shadow-hares, but the name alone is promising. 🙂

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