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Literature / Dragonheart

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Dragonheart is a novelization of the film of the same name. Written by the film's screenwriter Charles Edward Pogue (with additional help from Patrick Read Johnson), the book is a notable Early Draft Tie-In, as it's closer to Pogue's vision of the story, and being a Darker and Edgier take on the franchise's fantasy world.

This book provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: The film drops some vital character arcs and never resolves them, leaving plot holes.
    • Like an early screenplay, the book shows the scams that Bowen and Draco pull are part of Draco's secret plan to prick Bowen's conscience and test his morality as Draco realizes Bowen is the person he needs to have. Bowen initially justifies the scheme as them being a nuisance to Einon. However, as the peasants they defraud become more impoverished with each village they visit, Bowen feels guilty about taking advantage of people already suffering under Einon and his lords. Bowen would reach the end of his rope, no longer able to justify the scams, when arriving at the swamp village; the starved residents can only pay him with cutlery and jewelry, and the place's miserable atmosphere only increases Bowen's misery. The film reduces Bowen's arc to the one scene between him and Draco after scamming Felton, and it gets no development or resolution.
    • When Gilbert offers to join Bowen, he mentions being on a pilgrimage. In early scripts and the novelization, Gilbert is searching for Avalon to pray to King Arthur and his knights' spirits to return the days of chivalry and the Old Code. When Draco takes him and the others there later, Gilbert is naturally stunned out of reverence. Gilbert never says what he's looking for or why in the film, and his reaction to Avalon isn't shown.
    • The film drops the element of Gilbert writing a poem about Bowen early in the first act, and it never gets brought up again. The novelization and early scripts have Gilbert continuing to document his adventure as the rebels train, and inspiration keeps coming to him.
  • Achey Scars: Einon and Bowen. After his father gets killed during the peasant rebellion, Einon gets the back of his right hand cut by Kara's father and later receives a scar on his chest from the dragonheart ritual. Einon also develops the habit of rubbing the knotted chest scar whenever distracted. Bowen later gets stabbed in the shoulder by Einon when he confronts the young king the morning after Draco gives Einon half of his heart. Einon stabs Bowen in the same shoulder during their fight at the waterfall four years later.
  • Ascended Extra: Queen Aislinn appears in more scenes than she does in the film and has more dialogue, as she did in an early screenplay. In the movie, Felton's minx was a silent background character who now has dialogue and scenes of her own; a young peasant boy bonds with Gilbert and becomes his 'disciple,' and the dragonslayers have a more prominent role in the climax and dialogue.
  • Badass Creed: While the film tells only a portion of the Old Code, the book reveals it in full:
    Inside the table's circle,
    Under the sacred sword,
    A knight must vow to follow
    The code that is unending.
    Unending as the table -
    A ring by honor bound.

    A knight is sworn to valour.
    His heart knows only virtue.
    His blade defends the helpless.
    His might upholds the weak.
    His word speaks only truth.
    His wrath undoes the wicked.

    The right can never die
    If one man still recalls.
    The words are not forgot
    If one voice speaks them clear.
    The code forever shines
    If one heart holds it bright.

  • BattleTrophy/CreepySouvenir: Bowen keeps a trophy shield adorned with the middle talons of the dragons he kills, with Draco's broken middle claw at the center.
  • Broken Bird: Kara, after Einon kills her father and later rapes her. Queen Aislinn also qualifies since Einon's father, King Freyne, invaded her homeland and slaughtered many of her dragon-loving people but kept her for his queen solely for her beauty. It's also implied that an arranged marriage was involved.
  • The Brute: Brok.
  • Bungled Suicide: After Einon rapes her, Kara takes the dagger she failed to kill him with and turns it on herself before she throws it away.
  • Butt-Monkey: Lord Felton. He's constantly picked on by Einon's men (and occasionally Einon himself), partly because he is poor at hunting (to the point that he once left a dead deer out the day before, claiming to have shot it that day, but didn't realize before telling everyone to look at his "kill" that a scavenger had half-eaten the carcass overnight). He's caught with his pants down when Draco attacks his village, his house gets damaged in the attack, and Bowen steals his money by asking for it in advance and then pretending to get eaten by Draco. As the peasants train for battle, Brok and Felton come across a group in the woods and he gets his hand cut off by Hewe. Later on, during the battle, his former minx attacks him, and Gilbert shoots him in the rear with an arrow, giving a Bond One-Liner to add insult to injury. Immediately after, the young woman knocks Felton out and steals his money and his jeweled cuff (which he wore over his stump). In the end, he gets stabbed from behind and killed by Hewe.
  • Chess Motif: Queen Aislinn is often playing chess. During Einon's childhood, she played it with Bowen, who was the only one who saw any value in it; she plays against herself after Einon becomes king.
  • Comet of Doom: The night before the battle, Draco flies near Einon's castle with Bowen on his back. At Draco's command, Bowen throws away his trophy shield, and Draco sets it ablaze. Einon sees it and mistakes it for a comet, an omen of disaster, and the death of kings. Aislinn dissuades him by claiming that, based on stories her clan's elders told when she was a child, the "sky fire" is the spirit of his father Freyne that has come to say he's proud of his son, to destroy his enemies, and accomplish what he couldn't by killing the dragon.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Brok's death in the book is quite graphic compared to his death in the film. As he fights Kara with an Epic Flail, she uses an ax taken from the corpse of the dragonslayer Ivor impaled to a wall on a giant lance to fend off the brute. After Brok breaks the ax shaft in half, Kara uses it to snap the spiked ball back at Brok and bash it in his face.
  • Darker and Edgier: The novelization, based on an early screenplay, shows the film's original serious and transcendent adult tone, but Executive Meddling and Creative Differences reduced it to a family-friendly affair.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: On the eve of battle against Einon, Bowen has a nightmare of the dragons he killed attacking him only for Bowen to kill them again. Then the dream turns into himself fighting Einon and stabbing him in the heart, only for Einon to turn into Draco and fall off Bowen's sword. After which, Bowen gets sucked into a dark void in Draco's wound, where he calls out for Draco but can't hear himself, only dragons trilling in despair.
  • Everyone Has Standards: When Felton cheats Bowen out of his pay for killing the dragon, Gilbert apologizes for judging him and tries to offer what little coin he has for payment. Despite having fallen very deep into bitterness at this point, Bowen refuses to take money from the Church.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: The violence in the novelization would either push the film's PG-13 rating to its limit or earn an R rating.
  • Foreshadowing: In one scene, when Bowen suggests to Gilbert that Einon was bewitched, Gilbert says, "You cannot bewitch the devil. Trust a clergyman on that." which alludes to Bowen later learning that Einon was always evil and Draco's heart had nothing to do with it. While overlooking the swamp village, Draco mumbles to Kara, "Einon will not fall in my lifetime...," which is what happens in the end as Draco dies before Einon rather than after him like in the film. While flying above the rebel camp with Bowen on his back, Draco cryptically tells him what victory against Einon would bring, giving Bowen a sense of foreboding. Also, see Dreaming of Things to Come.
    Draco: "There lies your hope, Bowen. The one I've waited for. Man must now make of the world what he can...The day of the dragons is done...."
  • Home Base: The waterfall where Bowen and Draco begin their fight serves as their campsite during their partnership. It's also where the scenes in which Draco says he longs for death but fears it and Bowen later gives Draco his new name occur.
  • Kick the Dog: Einon rapes Kara after her failed assassination attempt.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Bowen, before he parts ways with Einon and after the events at Avalon. As he trains the rebels for battle, they give Bowen a new suit of armor and shield they made (from an early screenplay).
  • Lady and Knight: Kara and Bowen, more explicitly clear than in the film.
  • Lust Object: Kara to Einon. He compares her to his mother as they both have a fearsome, powerful look in their eyes and the kind of beauty that only a king should have; Einon fixates on Kara so much that he can't stand the thought of her and Bowen being together and plotting against him. As his father did with Aislinn, Einon aims to fully possess Kara and purge his fear of her by showing her that he's the stronger one: by killing Bowen and therefore stripping Kara of her power.
  • Made a Slave: Felton's minx is heavily implied to be an example of this trope with shades of Am I Just a Toy to You?. Felton would take a peasant woman from his fields into his home and give her a taste of refined living as a 'respite.' However, contrary to many of the women being 'reluctant playmates,' the minx is surprisingly compliant, but this doesn't stop her from later joining Bowen's rebel army and getting revenge on Felton.
  • Man Hug: In the novelization, original screenplay, and storyboards, after Bowen's Redemption in the Rain, he sees Draco perched atop King Arthur's monolith. Bowen reaches out to him, and Draco wraps his wings around Bowen in an embrace.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Like in an early screenplay, Draco refers to Queen Aislinn as the "daughter of Athelstun" when she is in his cave. The dragonslayers are unnamed in the film, but the book reveals their names as Uhlrich, brothers Tavis and Trahern, Cavan, and Ivor (they're different in an early screenplay). One can also apply this trope to Kara's father and Felton's minx: the former is Redbeard in the film, but the novelization has his name being Riagon. It's said that Felton can't remember her name but recalls it as beginning with "Ro." A few guesses at her name are Rowena, Rosamund, and Ronalda. A young peasant tinker named Trev is made to be Gilbert's 'disciple' as they train for battle alongside each other.
  • Playing Possum:
    • During the training scene at the beginning, Bowen does this after falling off a wall to lure Einon closer to him.
    • Einon does this later, during his fight with Bowen in the castle, after falling down a flight of stairs.
    • Draco tries this at the marsh village, leading to Corpsing when Kara's sabotaging the con by jumping on his stomach and tickling him with a knife.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Kara. Unlike the film, which only hints at an attraction between her and Bowen, they declare their love for each other when Kara reveals to Bowen that Einon raped her and he kisses her hand with the promise of killing Einon. As they sneak into the castle to rescue Draco, Kara gives Bowen her father's headband as her lady's favor and the two kiss.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Between Einon and Kara.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: The day before they battle Einon, the rebels make Bowen a new suit of armor and shield. Bowen only gets a new shield in the film and wears black throughout.
  • Sleep Cute: A while after feeling the pain from Kara stabbing Einon's shoulder, Draco awakens to find Bowen dozing in the curve of his curled-up body and leaned against him.
  • The Lady's Favor: See Promoted to Love Interest.
  • Title Drop: Done twice in the book and an early screenplay. First when Bowen faces Einon before returning to Draco's cave, then by Kara sometime after Einon captures Draco:
    "Don't you see? It's the heart! The dragon's heart. For Einon to die, Draco must die!"
  • Villainous Crush: Einon to Kara.
  • Violence Is Disturbing: Compared to the film, which shows little blood, the book has loads of graphic violence, like people losing limbs, flesh falling off a dead dragon's ribcage, and people going to town on another dragon's corpse.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Gilbert's mule Merlin and the remains of Sir Eglamore. Merlin and Sir Eglamore's arm are never seen or mentioned again after Draco and Bowen fight to a stalemate in the film. Gilbert wakes up the morning after the battle, finds the arm, and mistakes it as Bowen's in the novelization. When Gilbert reappears at the swamp village, he tells Bowen about burying the arm in the clearing beneath a cross with Bowen's name on it. Gilbert mistaking Sir Eglamore's arm as Bowen's helps explain why Gilbert is shocked to see Bowen still in one piece. Merlin is with Gilbert at the swamp village, taken to Avalon with him, Bowen, and Kara, and then seen in Kara's village afterward.