If you want to watch a hardened grognard turn into a little kid again, give them a dragon to ride. Personal discomfort and ruined pantaloons notwithstanding, everyone loves riding magical critters. You can tell because of the music:

Also they tend to shout “Yeah!” a lot. The point is that critter-riding is one of those pure uncut Columbian grade fantasy tropes. It activates that reading-under-the-covers-with-a-flashlight part of the nerd brain, and reminds you why you fell in love with fantasy in the first place.

Speaking for myself, I got a bit misty there when I found that Game of Thrones scene. I’ve read the books, but I actually haven’t sat down to watch the show yet. It also reminded me that, in my current dragon-riding campaign, I really need to deliver on this trope. We’re two sessions in as of this writing, and so far I’ve kept the dragons and their riders separate. I think I’ve given my players dragon riding blue balls, and they’re going to rebel if they don’t get a sweeping orchestral score soon. A little Two Steps From Hell ought to do the trick.


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