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Why does the dragon kidnap the princess?:

I'm curious as to why you think dragons kidnap princesses.

A few proposals:

Traditional Ransom

Gold and jewel-loving dragons might just hope to be able to get a few pounds of gold out of a monarch who wants his daughter back.

Knight-Dragon Con

A dragon kidnaps the princess. A "valiant knight" rides in and "slays" the dragon. A knight might get the princess to fall in love with him, which leads to the knight becoming basically royal himself or at least requiring the monarch to bribe the knight a lot to get him to leave so that the princess can be married to whatever important duke or prince was originally intended for her. Even if the princess doesn't take a fancy to the knight, there'll still probably be some reward. The dragon and the knight split the loot.

Princesses are pretty pets!

Papa dragon's little girl dragon wants a pet. He doesn't think it's a good idea, but when she looks into his eyes, he can't say no. She wants a pet human.

"Alright. You can have a pet human, but you've got to take care of it yourself."

She wants a princess.

"No! Maybe after you've shown you can take care of some peasant girls, you can have a princess."

No one wrote down the peasant girl that got kidnapped to be the little girl dragon's pet, because, hey, who cares? However, she was dutiful in feeding and cleaning and taking care of her, so eventually she got a princess. Awww...

Deadly Decadent Court Conspiracy

The Princess is slated to be married to the son of the Duchess of Chartreuse. The Margrave of Fuchsia hires the dragon for a hefty sum of gold to make sure that the marriage does not happen, lest the alliance between the king and the House of Chartreuse thwart the Margrave's own plans for the House of Fuchsia to form an alliance with the House of Feldgrau to force a revocation of the Edict of Celadon which would... (conspiracy continues for 75 more pages).

What other ideas have you seen or come up with?

edited 12th Aug '11 2:53:18 AM by Maklodes

 
Mister Master
I'm only familiar with stories of princesses being offered to dragons as sacrifices to get them to stop killing people. They usually want to eat her.
Ecce Homo Superior
[up][up]I like your "con" idea.

Not my own idea, unfortunately, but I really like Ursula Vernon's comment for one of her artworks. The truth is that dragons have Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism, with female dragons being small and humanoid for a good part of their life cycle, before developing into huge scaley flying monsters like the male of the species. Travellers' reports of seeing human-looking women in dragon dens have led to the belief that dragons kidnap princesses.

edited 12th Aug '11 3:28:36 AM by DoktorvonEurotrash

(it's David Bowie)
 4 Loni Jay, Fri, 12th Aug '11 3:52:26 AM from Australia Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
The explanation in Patricia Wrede's novels was that dragons like having someone to cook and clean and take care of their massive treasure hoards and libraries. Princesses are a status symbol.

The individual princess, though, asked the dragon to 'kidnap' her in order to get out of an arranged marriage and get to do interesting things like learn magic instead.

Other ideas - dragons are very vain and want somebody pretty around to constantly tell them how magnificent they are? Or possibly, they steal bits of treasure for their hoards and they want someone who can go and be an 'insider' in castles and palaces.
Be not afraid...
 5 Knightess Of Cydonia, Fri, 12th Aug '11 4:50:40 AM from behind you, of course <3
"Knight-Dragon Con" is actually very interesting. Mind if I take a stab at writing it?

 6 Wolf 1066, Fri, 12th Aug '11 5:16:50 AM from New Zealand Relationship Status: In my bunk
Wolf1066
I love the "Pet Princess" theory. I think it's one of the more likely reasons I've ever heard.

And the fact that I've never once heard of a commoner being kidnapped by a dragon proves that it must be true.
Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
The idea is ripe for a Re Construction.

I like the good ol' ransom idea. The perverse incentives of fantasy economics do the rest: The King offers a lot of money to whoever slays the dragon: Those that die tryin' get nothing, so sending a gazillion adventurers ends up being much cheaper than the dragon's proposed ransom.

So the King acts in his own rational self-interest, and he sends the adventurers. Unfortunately (for the King, but quite conveniently for the adventurer) the strong and ruthless warrior that eventually kills the dragon seduces the princess... And gets her knocked up. Even more unfortunately, the warrior takes a very long time in returning to the royal court: The heiress' pregnancy cannot be hidden from the public.

A face-saving wedding ensues. Now the Kingdom has an ambitious, ruthless commoner as a Prince-Consort. Klingon Promotions ensue... After a long while, the warrior gets to seize the throne for himself. That's a bad thing for the nobility, I guess, especially for those that stood in the way. However, the adventurer proves to be a competent, no-nonsense ruler.

For commoners, merchants, and presumably adventurers, the whole mess proves a net positive.
You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
 8 chihuahua 0, Fri, 12th Aug '11 5:29:00 AM from Standoff, USA Relationship Status: I'm in love with my car
Writer's Welcome Wagon
I like the Knight-Dragon Con idea, since it's a twist on a normal idea. It probably had been done a few times, but it's a fresh enough of a story to have a lot of room to explore.

[up] Now that's an interesting idea.

edited 12th Aug '11 5:30:07 AM by chihuahua0

Raven Wilder
Theory: Dragons get bored living for hundreds of years in a cave. Kidnapping a princess guarantees that loads of warriors will come around trying to fight them, bringing some much needed excitement into their lives.
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
 11 Ronka 87, Fri, 12th Aug '11 9:50:57 AM from the mouth of madness.
Maid of Win
To get to the other side?

(I like the "Pet Princess" idea as well. I mean, it's just an adorable explanation for a horrifying act— it's awesome!)
Thanks for the all fish!
 12 Oh So Into Cats, Fri, 12th Aug '11 9:59:59 AM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
CANON!!
Well, dragons like shiny things and princesses are usually covered in shiny things and are walking out and about. Then, the people who come to rescue her are *also* covered in shiny armor. You can't lose.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
 13 Silent Reverence, Fri, 12th Aug '11 10:05:39 AM from 3 tiles right 1 tile up
adopting kitteh
I like the idea of kidnapping for the sense of adventure. Unlike most creatures, dragons grow wiser and stronger as they age, so they most likely want a nice exercise to their muscles and also add some particular new items of hoard or knowledge every once in a while. I totally see dragons kidnapping princesses as a way to remniscence about their days of glory and get some nifty training along the way, actually I had just happened to write a fanfic about it one week before this thread opened...

 14 annebeeche, Fri, 12th Aug '11 10:28:58 AM from by the long tidal river
watching down on us
I dunno, my dragons just like shiny things, which is why they tend to keep giant hoards of treasure. Kinda like crows.

Maybe the lady had something shiny on her. Like, ordinarily the dragon would just roast and eat the lady, but... shiny thing. Must keep and stare at for hours.

Or maybe she was a vampire.

[up][up] Holy crap beat me to it.

EDIT: So the easiest way to save yourself from being killed and/or eaten by a dragon is to wear something shiny that is noticeable from a distance because dragons are fuckin' huge. The dragon will carefully pick you up in her teeth and fly you to her nest and make sure that you (or rather, the shiny thing on you) isn't harmed, but you won't be able to leave the hoard either as long as the dragon is awake and sitting on the nest.

Take the shiny things off, however, and you just made yourself lunch.

edited 12th Aug '11 10:35:08 AM by annebeeche

Banned entirely for telling FE that he was being rude and not contributing to the discussion. I shall watch down from the goon heavens.
 15 iceguy, Fri, 12th Aug '11 10:39:08 AM from somewhere cold
I like "pet princess" idea.

Additional idea, built off the Arranged Marriage ones: It was the princess' idea. She knows she's going to have to marry a knight or Warrior Prince, so she asks a dragon with a sense of humor to "kidnap" her so she can at least get an idea of which guys want to save her because they genuinely like her and/or are chivalrous, and which ones only want Rescue Sex.

Potential endings: She falls for the cowardly knight who doesn't want to kill the dragon, because he's actually the nicest one. Or the Prince who had a similar idea a few years ago (only to get his father to notice him) and now lives with the dragon. Or the dragon.
Ice, ice, baby.
Shadowed Philosopher
Maybe the dragon is involved in politics somehow. Thought: the dragon lives in the no-mans-land between two warring kingdoms, and the occasional random killing of travelers is covered up by the general lawlessness of the territory. The princess is slated to cement a marriage alliance between the kingdoms. The dragon kidnaps the princess, and when the usual reward is posted (with intent for the other warring kingdom to collect it, keeping the marriage alliance on track) the dragon instead fakes his death against some random nobody, who immediately runs off with the princess. Chaos galore....
Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
The dragon doesn't know the princess was kidnapped. In fact, he doesn't realise what being a princess means. He lives away from human countries, so he knows nothing about them. The princess? She was a gift of a "friend" dragon who is much more knowledgeable about humans.

OR: The dragon has an enemy that he can't kill himself. He kidnapps the princess in order to attract skilled warriors and assign the task to them.

 18 feotakahari, Fri, 12th Aug '11 2:09:07 PM from Looking out at the city
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
Orson Scott Card's spin on this is that dragons kidnap princesses so as to get knights to chase after them—they're embodiments of truth, so their nature forces them to judge the honesty of wannabe heroes. They dodge all the knight's attacks until he uses some taunt that contains an untruth, whereupon they grab the knight and ask if he's afraid to die. If he calls out some further taunt and claims not to be afraid, but he really is . . . CHOMP! (As a corollary, repeated honesty will force them to back down.)

edited 12th Aug '11 2:10:48 PM by feotakahari

That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
 19 Logan Locksley, Fri, 12th Aug '11 2:23:25 PM from On the ceiling
Occasionally Smart
I like the idea of the princess or the knight or both being in on it. But what I really want to read is a story about a Princess kidnapping a Dragon, and then a knight in shining scales storms the castle and rescues his true love.
He's like fire and ice and rage. He's ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of time. Rory punched him in the face.
 20 iceguy, Fri, 12th Aug '11 3:00:57 PM from somewhere cold
[up] Now I want to write that.
Ice, ice, baby.
 21 Mr AHR, Fri, 12th Aug '11 3:07:24 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
Because the princess has a bondage fetish, that's why.

And is a dragonfurry.

Gets to go with a dragon, gets saved and gets to go with a hunk, before starting the whole process over again.

edited 12th Aug '11 3:08:57 PM by MrAHR

 22 USAF713, Fri, 12th Aug '11 3:09:49 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
[up] That was my immediate thought when I read the thread name, but I knew I'd look like an idiot for saying it... (ignore implied insult, it is not intended). [lol]

edited 12th Aug '11 3:14:53 PM by USAF713

I am now known as Flyboy.
 23 Mr AHR, Fri, 12th Aug '11 3:10:32 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river

Also.

edited 12th Aug '11 3:13:47 PM by MrAHR

 24 Logan Locksley, Fri, 12th Aug '11 3:38:34 PM from On the ceiling
Occasionally Smart
@iceguy: Me too! I think it would be hilarious.
He's like fire and ice and rage. He's ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of time. Rory punched him in the face.
 25 Night, Fri, 12th Aug '11 3:58:16 PM from PSNS Intrepid Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Who you are does not matter.
With AHR on this one. That's definitely it.
"Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other...and rise."
Total posts: 113
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