There’s a phrase you don’t hear often. In fact, have you ever?

While writing My Secret Dragon, it struck me that only shes are described as dragons: shouty, scary female teachers, aunts, businesswomen, politicians, dentists and, worse luck, mothers.

The flaming cheek (and nostrils) of it! Not only are males necessary for dragons to exist at all – and if you struggle with that one, read the book – just think of history’s most famous fire-breathers:

Smaug bejewelled and brutal, he’s the terror of the dwarves until Bilbo finds his soft spot.

St George’s: Maiden-chomper and gold star ravager, this terror was finished off by England’s patron saint in a classic laddie battle.

Beowulf: The Danish hero kills, and is killed by, a definitely he-dragon in probably the oldest story in English.


Elliot the (OK friendly) dragon takes Pete under his scaly wing.


Also cuddly, also indisputably male:

Little Jackie Paper loved that rascal Puff
And brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff.


The monster in Norse mythology who lived on a heath that was ‘all blasted and wasted’ by his macho fiery breath.


In Greek mythology, this hulk of a dragon-serpent was killed by all-round golden god, Apollo.

The list goes on (yes, I’ve left out the Hungarian Horntail whom Harry has to relieve of her egg, but she’s a late arrival to the ancient volumes of dragonography).

So next time you’re scorched by the breath of a shouty, scary uncle, businessman, politician, dentist or father, you know what to call him.