|Art @Antiono Stappaerts|
So I saw this random dragon design by an artist (does youtube drawing tutorials) and I thought this design was really cool. I like the skinny dragon concept that still looks distinctly "dragon". Also the implied size of this dragon is right in the sweet spot- it looks to me like a really big airborne crocodile moreso then a massive behemoth, which is a more agreeable power level for dragons. I also really like the wings, fixes the "issue" of dragons with having wings too small; and you can imagine how they'd fold up at the sides without having to rely on a 4 limbed dragon design.
But while randomly thinking about this cool dragon I had a second thought; things that fly like to use thermals to fly right, and dragons have hot-breath. Has seriously nobody talked about this before? I can't think of any examples off the top of my head- though I'm sure somebody has somewhere.
The reason why dragons have such long, skinny necks may not be immediately obvious to a casual observer, but dragonologists know. The closest thing to a dragon in terms of ecological niche is something like a large predatory reptile- crocodiles, komodo dragons, etc. These creatures do not have long, snake like necks. The reason dragons have them is because one, they are more intelligent and being able to look around to speak or groom another dragon is valuable, and two, because it lets them blast heat underneath their wings in flight. Dragons who need a boost can just look backwards and puff- and I imagine dragons can do that cool growl thing that just shoots out hot, oven-like air instead of actual fire if they want.
Dragons having fire breath is a evolutionary advantage for many, many reasons. As a flying predator, burning forests down not only lets you see prey animals more clearly, but it also creates massive thermal updrafts used for your dragon antics. Maybe its a mating display thing too; big fire = big dragon lungs = big dragon sex.
This is also the reason dragons sleep for a long time. They're not resting for fun or because they're especially lazy, they're resting to let forests grow back. Dragons slumber for ~a hundred years or so, enough time for a forest to regrow and wildlife to come to its lair. In a fantasy world; dragons are the natural embodiment of fire; and are the balancing force that keeps the old trees and magical woodland spirits and such from getting too gigantic and overgrown. They come out, burn down forests and gobble up everything that comes out, go to sleep for a hundred years and do it again.