Over the past couple of years, I've done a lot of thinking about how I've reached the point to where I am today, how I obtained the interests and passions that I have now. I'm a geek, and I've been one for a long time, but I've never really questioned or considered just how I've gotten to this point until recently. Those who know me know that I'm a huge fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy - books, films, comics, TV shows, etc. Largely, I attribute this to being taken to a screening of A New Hope in 1997 when the series was re-released to theaters. Watching the film at that age really had a huge impact on me and my imagination, and it's not too mellow dramatic to say that it was a life changing experience.
But thinking back, I've come to realize that I've been exposed to the genre much earlier, but I could never really track down just how or what I had been reading or listening to. In elementary school, I largely read the Hardy Boys or other mysteries - I wanted to be a detective for the longest time that I could remember.
It hit me a couple months ago while at home - Merlin and the Dragons. I've become very convinced that this was one of the first introductions that I had to the genre. When I was in elementary school, my mother worked as a secretary for the principle and would drive me and my siblings into school every morning. I can't remember when exactly when I listened to it, but it was most likely around '92-'95 or so.
The story opens with a young King Arthur, who is having trouble sleeping. Walking around, he comes across Merlin, who tells him a story about a young boy in a village who was an orphan, booksmart and outcast from the rest of the children in the village. During the story, he has dreams and makes some predictions about the future. The king, Martigan, orders a tower to be built, and when it's completed, it is destroyed, only to be rebuilt and destroyed again. The boy dreamed of two dragon eggs under the tower that hatch into dragons, and they battle in the skies over the tower and the village.
This story is a really good one, as a story on its own. It has a number of themes - predicting the future and destiny, archetypes of purely evil and purely good characters, all while tying into the Arthurian legends nicely. It's a far different story in tone from the Disney Cartoon that I remember watching from the same time - this has some wholly dark elements to it, and some elegant storytelling that really sets this apart for me.
Listening to the audio book at that age, the narrator captured my imagination with talk of evil kings, dragons and mythology. I remember paticularly vivid imagry associated with this story, and listening to it now, it is bringing back a flood of memories that I'd largely forgotten. I'm getting chills while listening to this, remembering this story after such a long time.