The DragonHeart novelization was written by screenwriter Charles Edward Pogue, based on a story written by him and Patrick Read Johnson and published on June 1, 1996 by Berkley. It is based on his screenplay for the film of the same name. Adriana Gabriel wrote the junior novelization and Michael Page narrates the audiobook.
- ISBN 1-57297-130-4; June 1996, 262-page paperback
- ISBN 0-58236-401-9; January 14, 2000, Pearson ESL, 42-page Penguin Readers paperback
- ISBN 1-56100-895-8; June 1, 1996, Nova Audio Books, abridged cassette
- ISBN 3-44243-613-3; October 1996, Goldmann, 282-page German paperback
- ISBN 8-37169-165-3; 1996, Amber, 271-page Polish paperback
- ISBN 8-82002-307-5; June 30, 1997, Sperling & Kupfer, 258-page Italian paperback
Long ago, fate brought them together—Bowen, a Knight of the Old Code who trained a young prince to one day rule with honor...Kara, a peasant girl who mortally wounded the prince in the revolt that killed his father...Draco, a noble dragon who took pity on the dying boy-king and healed him through a heartfelt sacrifice.
The most uncommon of allies, they now join forces to defeat a king who has matured into a ruthless tyrant. But only one among them knows the terrible price which must be paid to achieve victory...
Differences from the filmEdit
- The opening takes in the late afternoon instead of early in the day like in the film. In the practice spar between Bowen and Einon, the knight fights topless and Einon wears a training helmet and a surcoat adorned with the royal coat of arms (a dragon head impaled on a spear). At one point as the sun sets, Bowen falls and plays dead in order to lure Einon into a trap he ends up falling for. Instead of being alone, Brok is accompanied by two soldiers when he informs the two of the peasants rebelling.
- Bowen's attire includes a jerkin and leather surcoat adorned with the symbol of the Old Code (a silver sword, hilt up, within a golden circle).
- The animosity between Brok and Bowen stems from a duel between the two that would decide which of them would be Einon's mentor. Freyne wanted it to be Brok while Aislinn chose Bowen, and Bowen emerged the victor.
- In the novel, the peasant rebellion takes place at night and King Freyne has already been attacked and left for dead by the time Bowen and Einon reach the battle site.
- When Einon takes the crown, he doesn't tell his father to die but simply jerks away after being startled by Freyne. Then Einon is faced by Hewe the Bear and a group of peasants led by Kara's father Riagon the Red, who nearly kills Einon with a scythe when Bowen intercepts him and escapes with Einon, who now has a cut on the back of his right hand from Riagon's attack. When Einon remembers dropping his crown back in the village, he takes Bowen's sword and horse and rides back there, leaving Bowen behind running after him.
- Kara is described as having hair that's shoulder-length instead of long, brown eyes, being gangly, and roughly a year or two older than Einon, making her either 16 or 17 at this point.
- The novel explores Queen Aislinn 's background in detail. She is described as an educated woman coming from people from lands of the North Seas, having blue eyes, "yellow hair, tinged pink under the scarlet moon, a graceful neck and smooth jaw," and having a "quiet, eternal melancholy." She is a bride of conquest forced into a loveless marriage by King Freyne because of politics. It's revealed that he slaughtered her people and drove them into hiding as he wanted her solely for her ruty. When she helps Kara escape the castle, Aislinn has a long talk with her about how she once thought of killing Einon when he was an infant, but holding him in her arms, she didn't see the monster he would become, only something frail and helpless that was a part of her, not realizing she was the helpless one. Aislinn says she was unable to be a mother to Einon because she was seen as "a creature of submission" not allowed to have feelings or a voice, leaving Einon to be tainted by his father.
- In the novel, the entire Old Code is revealed as opposed to only the middle portion heard in the film.
- When Aislinn leads Bowen, Brok, and the others to the entrance of Draco's cave, Bowen warily recognizes it as a dragon's cave. Aislinn leads the way with a torch, Bowen carries Einon in his arms, and Brok follows behind with the remaining men. Bubbling mud pits and bones can be seen in the cave, and Draco's visible during the scene as his iridescent hide glows each time he moves in the shadows and his eyes are described as luminous and to occasionally glow. Aislinn refers to Draco as the "Serene One" instead of "Great One" and he refers to her as the "Daughter of Athelstun." Instead of being silent Einon deliriously mutters about his crown and Kara's hair. After Aislinn gestures to Bowen, Draco gently plucks at Old Code symbol on Bowen's surcoat.
- Draco extends the hilt of Bowen's sword to Einon, who takes hold of it and swears to be a just ruler, but slumps back before he can kiss the pommel. Bowen cries out at Aislinn that Einon is dead because of her and she scolds him for cursing the dragon. After Bowen takes back his sword, Draco unleashes a powerful breath that extinguishes the torches and leaves the cave in total darkness, except for the occasional glint from his shimmering hide and glowing eyes. Then Draco uses his half-severed talon to cut his breast open. As the dragon holds the glowing piece of his heart over Einon, the boy's eyes open, and he smiles as Draco reaches down and the orb seeps into Einon's wound. After Draco cauterizes his wound, Einon struggles to sit up but Draco restrains him, covers Einon's face with his claw and closes his eyes. Then Draco shoots another burst of flame and relights the torches, after which Brok and the four guards carry Einon out on a stretcher. Aislinn and the dragon bow to each other before she leaves. Bowen follows her example and knells to Draco when he vows to one day repay him for saving Einon.
- As Queen Aislinn and her entourage trek back down the mountain and past the Roman castle ruins, Einon's crown slips from his hand, causing him to awaken and bolt upright on the stretcher. Brok has the guards lower the stretcher and knells beside Einon, who feels the scar on his chest and smiles. Brok returns the crown to Einon and the boy puts it on his head, though it is too big. He gets off the stretcher and stands up, and tells Brok that he will build a castle greater than that of the Romans, smiling just like his father. The following morning, Einon has his men lay waste to Kara's village. Huts are set on fire, people are slaughtered with their bodies littering the muddy paths, and some men in hiding including Riagon are captured for the quarry.
- When Bowen thwarts Einon's attempt to blind Riagon, he takes a soldier's horse and gives it to Riagon. Kara runs to her father from the oak tree she's hiding in and Bowen and Einon recognize her before she and Riagon escape into the forest on horseback. Then Einon and Bowen clash and when Einon says "the king is above the code," he stabs Bowen in the shoulder. Bowen falls between their horses, grabs Einon's leg from the stirrup, and yanks him to the ground. The fight continues until Bowen trips Einon up, lunges atop him, and presses his sword to Einon's chest. After Bowen tells Einon to fight with his head and not his heart, Bowen remembers the dragon's heart and rides off into the forest. Then Einon orders Bowen to be seized.
- After Bowen's departure, Einon, Brok and several knights ride back to Freyne's wooden fortress, riding into the courtyard below Aislinn's chamber window. Despite having ordered for Bowen to be caught, Einon says to Brok that Bowen can go since he has served his purpose. Einon sees Aislinn watching from her window when he feels pain in his right hand, though he writes it off as a cramp and looks at the scar on it that Riagon gave him. As he shakes the pain out of his hand, a tortured thrilling sound can be heard, with Brok and Aislinn knowing that it's coming from Draco.
- Just before Bowen returns to the cave after leaving Einon, Draco repeatedly bangs the talon against jagged stones in anger until his hand is shredded and swollen, and the talon cracks and breaks off. Crimson light emits from the broken talon's base before fading into thick bloodlike liquid. After Bowen enters the cave, he finds the broken talon and demands the camouflaged Draco to show himself. Draco flies over Bowen's head, with color flowing back into his scales, and out of the cave. As he watches Draco fly off towards the clouds as the sun sets, Bowen makes his vow to hunt him down and Draco answers with a mournful trill.
- In the novel, there's a scene that takes place three years later in which Bowen is camping by a lagoon. He has killed his tenth dragon and cremated it with a fire arrow. He attaches the middle right talon he severed from it to his trophy shield, with Draco's broken talon at the center. Bowen now has an unkempt beard and hints of gray in his long brownish-blonde hair.
- While the film jumps ahead 12 years, only four years pass in the book.
- In the book, Einon ages from 15 to 19. He wears his crown ringed around his ashen-yellow hair and he has grown a wispy beard of the same color in order to look older, though it only makes him look younger. The cut on his right hand is now a jagged scar and he's developed the habit of stroking his chest whenever distracted.
- At 20 or 21 years old, Kara wears a shapeless frock to hide her strong, lean figure and a tattered cape with the hood up to hide her beauty and her wild red hair.
- Six months after the scene with Bowen at the lagoon is when Gilbert is met. The dragon he encounters is actually seen, and so is the fight. It is described as a decrepit male dragon instead of female and is referred to as "The Old One" instead of "The Scarred One." Bowen's attire now consists of "a tattered surcoat, a dull chainmail coat, dirty patched breeches, and scuffed boots." His horse is fashioned with an assortment of weapons: a "broadsword, lance, bow and arrows, mace, battle-ax, and buckler." The fight between Bowen and The Old One is not only visible but Gilbert is involved in it as he has a few close brushes with death.
- After Bowen kills The Old One, peasants armed with knives swarm the dragon carcass and begin taking it apart. Bowen fails to stop them until Lord Felton arrives with his three men and orders them to chase the peasants away and make them put out the fire. After Felton threatens to arrest Bowen for "poaching the king's wildlife," an outraged Gilbert steps forward in protest but Bowen holds him back. As Bowen walks away to his horse, Felton calls out to him by name, not having forgotten about him and says he will tell Einon. Gilbert offers Bowen some coins as thanks for saving his life but Bowen kindly refuses them before they leave together. When Felton later tells Einon of his idea for a road tax, he has forgotten about Bowen.
- Bowen tries to find Draco by looking for a dragon with a scar on its chest and a broken middle right talon. Bowen looks for these signs on each dragon he kills before chopping off their middle talon.
- At nighttime two days after Riagon is killed by Einon, while camping out on a pebbled shore by a stream and eating mutton, Gilbert and Bowen discuss Avalon and their respective goals. Gilbert says he is on a pilgrimage to find the holy place and pray to Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table buried there, so they may bring back the days of "chivalry and the Old Code." He asks to join Bowen as their quest might be the same but Bowen says he already has a quest, "To slay all dragons...And one, in particular..." This is the first of two scenes deleted from the film.
- In the film, Bowen arrives at the waterfall for reasons unknown but the book has a scene before it that explains why. As they travel down a sun-dappled forest path the following morning, Gilbert reads another one of his scrolls to prove to Bowen that his quest for Avalon isn't in vain until he falls into a large hole in the path that Bowen looks at curiously. Gilbert says when he finds Avalon he'll pray for a savior to rid the land of Einon's evil. Bowen says Einon was possibly bewitched but Gilbert says "You cannot bewitch the devil. Trust a clergyman on that." He tries to see what Bowen thought was so interesting but the knight tosses a fallen scroll into Gilbert's face and rises, hurries back to his horse, and says goodbye to the priest, saying their quests now take separate paths. Bowen goes off the path and disappears down a ravine with his eyes searching the ground. Gilbert grabs Merlin's reins and goes after Bowen, falling into the same hole as before, realizing what Bowen saw, the hole is really a huge dragon track.
- Draco is described as having eyes with a nictitating membrane, and shimmering iridescent scales that change color and enable him to blend into his surroundings. The middle talon of his right hand is initially half-severed from a past encounter with Freyne. Four years later at the waterfall with Bowen before their fight, Draco's right hand is shown to have been reduced to "a maimed stump," with a thumb and fore talon, the small finger completely gone, and the middle one missing both its tip and talon.
- Right after Draco emerges from the waterfall, Bowen chases him down the creek and snares Draco's foot with a chain-mesh net before being dragged through the forest.
- The fight between Bowen and Draco is slightly extended as well as the dialogue between them when Draco has Bowen pinned down. The next morning, Gilbert awakes to find Sir Eglamore's arm and mistakes it for Bowen's. When he reappears at the swamp village, Gilbert tells Bowen about burying the arm in the glade beneath a cross with Bowen's name on it.
- Instead of a cliff as depicted in the film, the waterfall where Draco and Bowen begin their fight later serves as their campsite during their partnership. It is where the scene in which Draco says he longs for death but fears it occurs. The waterfall is also where Bowen later gives Draco his new name.
- In the book, the "fights" between Draco and Bowen while they scam villages are similar to choreographed sword fights, with the two "attacking" and dodging each other trying to make Draco's "threat" look authentic, as opposed to Bowen simply shooting Draco down from afar as seen in the film. Their pretend fights end in either one out of two ways: Draco either pretends to eat Bowen and flies off carrying his horse, or Bowen "shoots" Draco down with the weapon he's carrying such as a lance or a bow and arrow.
- When Draco attacks Lord Felton's property, more damage is done. Two of Draco's fireballs blow off the storehouse roof and blast a blizzard of flour into the air that covers everyone and everything. After Draco flies a swaying grist wheel, it rolls downhill and crashes into the side of Felton's house. Flanked by his thugs-at-arms and with his minx at his feet, Felton sits on a chair in front of a line of peasants in front of the wrecked wall of his house to watch Bowen. Bowen rides up the hill with his battle-ax aloft with Draco waiting for him on a mill stone. As Bowen charges, Draco swoops in, scoops Bowen into his mouth with his legs sticking out, and grabs the horse. The shocked crowd watches Draco fly overhead and into the forest towards the waterfall.
- In the film, Felton's minx is credited simply as his minx. In the novelization, it's revealed that while Felton could never remember her name, he recalls her name of beginning with 'Ro.' A few guesses at her name are Rowena, Rosamund, and Ronalda.
- After scamming Felton, Draco and Bowen's next scam takes place at a village having a market day. It has a sheep herd near a lake and is run by an overweight lord. Draco falls into the lake after Bowen 'shoots' him down with a bow and arrow and afterward finds a single sheep left behind by its herd. As he and Bowen talk after this, Draco floats in the air on his back, gliding around Bowen. The film combines the scenes and their dialogue, removing the scene with the lake village entirely, having Bowen shoot down Draco over a lake during the scene with Lord Felton, and Draco simply flies in circles around Bowen during their following conversation.
- The novel reveals that Draco uses the scams he pulls with Bowen as a way to pick at Bowen's conscience as he sees the peasants suffer under Einon's rule until the time comes when he can no longer justify conning the king's minions. A plot point that comes to a head when they and Kara arrive at the reeking swamp village where the people are not only starving, they're miserable, and beyond poor; an element of Bowen's character arc nonexistent in the film.
- There are two moments at the waterfall where the scar on Draco's chest is nearly seen by Bowen, causing Draco to hide it before Bowen can see it. The first time is after scamming Felton as Draco cleans flour off of himself, and the second is after Bowen's fight with Einon, when Bowen worries that Einon has hurt Draco.
- In the novel, when Kara tries to avenge her father, she gets close enough to Einon by pretending to be a serving girl. Einon later remembers her as the one who stabbed him four years ago because, during her failed assassination attempt, she calls him "Piglet" as her father used to.
- In a partially built tower room, Einon is dressed in his night robe when he remembers Kara. Then he storms through the castle to where she is being kept to confront her.
- Einon is more physically aggressive towards Kara as he throws her to the ground after she fails to kill him, pulls her up by her father's headband around her neck, and slaps her after she spits in his face. In the film, it's implied that Einon rapes Kara. In the book, he succeeds in doing so and when a drunken Einon attempts to seduce Kara, he places her bloody knife to her throat before wiping it along her cheek. He kisses Kara and she bites his lip, so he yanks her back by her hair and roughly kisses her again before shoving her down on his bed. After promising to make Kara his queen, Einon doesn't take her knife with him. Instead, he sticks it into the bedpost before leaving. After this, Kara turns the knife onto herself but is unable to go through with committing suicide.
- After Aislinn helps Kara escape Einon, he kills two guards in a rage. He asks how Kara could have known about the secret passage, suspecting Aislinn before ordering Brok to gather his best men to search for Kara.
- In the novel as Bowen approaches Kara's village, she is chased into his path by an angry mob throwing mud and rotten vegetables at her, with bits of vegetables getting stuck in her hair and stuck to the mud on her. Then Hewe brushes past Bowen's horse and confronts Kara. Instead of a small watermelon, Hewe prepares to throw a gooey lump of cheese at Kara until Bowen takes it from him and takes a bite out of it. Kara gives Bowen an unnerving look of probing interest before he says "Why waste good food on bad rhetoric?" and takes another bite out of the cheese. Bowen refers to Kara's disheveled appearance as a vegetable patch instead of a mudpie and she tries to reclaim her dignity by wiping her face.
- After Kara takes Bowen's hand and shoves the lump of cheese into his face, Draco comes and circles over the village before he swoops down, scatters the crowd, and instead of a faraway cliff, he perches on the bridge over the stream. Looking over Bowen's shoulder Hewe says the dragon might just go away and Bowen replies that Draco might let everyone die of thirst before asking for the lord responsible for the village.
- After Bowen tells the villagers to take his offer or leave Draco, Kara pushes through the crowd pointing at Bowen and says "Leave him!" as they don't need some blackmailing knight to get rid of a dragon. Bowen turns to a nearby plump man with three overweight daughters. After Bowen says dragons are partial to maiden sacrifices Hewe smiles at him and asks why a daughter must be sacrificed. Bowen follows the gaze of Hewe's good eye as it falls on Kara. The villagers roll Kara tied to the cart down the path to the bridge's opposite end, elaborately bow to Draco, and make a hasty retreat back to the village. After sneaking across the stream, Bowen hides behind a group of bushes near the bridge and he and Draco whisper to each other as they debate on what to do with Kara. When Draco leans toward Kara and reaches out to her, she screams and faints. Draco pulls the stake from the cart and flies off with Kara, and then the crowd of villagers comes out of hiding and cheers.
- After Draco takes an unconscious Kara as a "sacrifice," he tries to revive her to no avail. She eventually awakens and resumes screaming. Draco covers her mouth and shushes her with a maimed forefinger to his lips. He politely tells her that he has sensitive ears and asks if she is alright. An unsure Kara nods and Draco removes his claw from her mouth before apologizing for scaring her. Then there is a scene between them at the waterfall them where Draco cuts her bonds and says she's free to go. His kindness makes Kara uneasy and she falls into the creek. Draco helps her out and compliments her beauty, gaining Kara's trust.
- After an hour of waiting for Draco to return to the village, Bowen leaves to look for him and finds hoofprints belonging to what he believes to be a hunting party. Kara pets Draco after he sings to her and tries to protect him from Bowen by jumping onto the knight's horse, and hitting him until they both fall into the stream. When Kara tells Draco to torch Bowen, Draco tries to suppress his laughter before asking if Bowen is alright. Bowen tries to help Kara up but she slaps him away and falls back into the stream. As Bowen scolds Draco for forgetting about him and being "smitten by this baggage," Kara interjects. Bowen stares her down and again Kara gets the feeling she has seen Bowen somewhere before, the same feeling she got when she saw him at the village.
- When Einon and his search party arrive at the waterfall, Kara tries to run but two of Einon's men on horseback grab her. Bowen kills the men and saves her. After Einon refers to Bowen as "the king's old mentor," Kara remembers Bowen as the knight who spared her life and defied Einon to save her father. Einon tells Bowen of his intention to have Kara as his queen and Bowen says he will make Kara a widow at the wedding, much to her amusement. Before his fight with Bowen, Einon throws his shield at him and rides toward Kara. He grabs her by the hair and kisses her roughly before Bowen knocks Einon off his horse for "turning his back to a corpse." After Draco causes Einon and his men to flee, Bowen tries to see if Draco got injured. Trying to keep the scar beneath his scales hidden from Bowen, Draco turns away from him and lies about it being the old complaint from before. After Draco tells Bowen to look after his own wound Kara asks how they know each other.
- The day after the fight, Bowen, Draco, and Kara stop at the top of a hill and come across the swamp village. The dialogue between Kara and Bowen is extended and Draco is included. As Kara and Bowen talk, aside from trilling, Draco is silent and staring at a tor in the mist beyond the village. His inner eyelids cover his eyes until he breaks his silence. After Bowen tells Kara that she reminds him of his former self but will learn as he did, Kara prepares to leave him and Draco stops her with a question. When Bowen asks Draco if his longing for death finally outweighs his fear of it, Draco looks to Kara and says "No...I can't help you. Man abandoned dragon wisdom long ago...Einon will not fall in my lifetime..." Then his filmy inner eyelids cover his eyes again and Kara resumes walking downhill toward a grove of trees in the mist. Bowen asks Kara what she plans to do and she responds, "Try to turn the wretched world the other way."
- The book describes the swamp village as a group of gray huts on the edge of a gray marsh covered in a gray mist with a rocky tor lurking above the haze. The village smells like rotting fish, is full of mosquitos, and the villagers are towering, unkempt giants with sunken cheeks and eyes filled with anguish. They are so poor that they can only pay Bowen with "crude cutlery, glass beads, a pewter ring, some actual coins—all of base metal and low worth."
- As Draco plays dead in the marsh after Bowen "shoots" him down with a lance, Kara continues trying to expose their con. She takes a knife from Gilbert, climbs onto Draco's stomach, and starts bouncing on him before using the knife to tickle him.
- In the film, a horde of pigs is seen in the swamp village regardless of the fact that the villagers are starving but the pigs are absent from the book. After the scam goes awry and Draco flies off, the film makes it appear as though the villagers turn cannibal when they go after Bowen, Kara and Gilbert. In the novel, the villagers turn on Kara after accusing her of being a part of the scam despite her earlier warnings, and then on Gilbert for backing up Bowen. They essentially turn against the three for cheating them out of a dragon that would have fed them, and when Draco returns, he picks up Bowen and Kara before going back for Gilbert and Merlin.
- In the film, the last scene where Gilbert's mule Merlin is seen is the forest where Bowen and Draco fight each other to a stalemate. In the novel, Merlin is with Gilbert when he reappears at the swamp village, taken to Avalon with him, Bowen, and Kara, and then Kara's village afterwards.
- Some minor and supporting characters that were nameless in the film are named in the book, such as Kara's father Riagon the Red, a young peasant named Trev who becomes a 'disciple' of sorts to Gilbert, and the dragonslayers Aislinn summons Cavan, Uhlric, Ivor, and brothers Tavin and Trahern. The dragonslayers play a larger role in the climax and more developed. They show disagreement with Einon's order to keep Draco alive and they even interact with Draco as he tries to goad them into killing him.
- In the book, Einon's lust for Kara is greatly explored. He claims that Kara is similar to his mother as they both share the kind of beauty that can only belong to a king. He distresses over his thoughts of Kara being with Bowen, talking about him and plotting against him. Einon seeks to possess Kara by killing Bowen and proving he's the stronger one, and in effect, strip Kara of her power and purge his fear of her; just as Freyne did to Aislinn.
- Einon returns to Draco's cave after the encounter at the waterfall, contemplating how he, Bowen, Kara, and Draco seemed to be connected. He finds Aislinn there and asks her why Draco did not kill him despite his betrayal, feeling that she is hiding something from him.
- Upon realizing he is in Avalon, Gilbert stands in the middle of the stone ring pointing out the stones and naming the corresponding Knights of the Round Table, until he ends on King Arthur's stone, the one Draco sits on.
- Kara, Gilbert, and Merlin take shelter under a rock overhang while Draco waits on top in the pouring rain. At one point, Kara runs out into the rain. Then she turns to Gilbert and points up at the sky as lightning flashes and, in a moment of clearness, Draco's silhouette is seen flying toward the distant tor.
- Bowen is visited by not only the spirit of King Arthur but also the Knights of the Round Table. Each knight recites lines from the Old Code. After Arthur's spirit vanishes, Bowen sees a smiling Draco sitting atop King Arthur's monolith. Bowen reaches out to him and Draco wraps his wings around Bowen. This scene of the 'hug' between them was part of the film's original storyboards and screenplay.
- When Bowen presents Draco as the rebels' "secret weapon" to Hewe, he gestures to a ridge on the other side of the stream and Draco rises from behind the horizon, his hide glowing like fire and blazing against the morning sun.
- In the film, the archery training moment with Gilbert and Hewe occurs in the village. In the novel, the archery scene takes place in a forest clearing and they're accompanied by Trev. Gilbert has already tried a number of weapons and archery is his last hope. At one point, Gilbert inadvertently shoots down Brok's falcon and Brok arrives with his hunting party including Felton. When Felton tries to see Hewe's sword, Hewe slices off Felton's hand. The ensuing chase leads to Brok's discovery of the rebel camp.
- When Brok tells Einon of his discovery, Aislinn goes to her chamber and writes four letters to the five dragonslayers that she sends off by courier that night. Then she knells in her chapel and prays for forgiveness.
- Bowen has a nightmare with an degree of foreshadowing. In his dream, he begs for forgiveness from the dragons he killed but they descend upon him and he kills them again. Then he finds himself fighting Einon. Bowen stabs him in the chest and Einon turns into Draco. Draco falls off Bowen's sword and Bowen is sucked into a black void in Draco's wound, where he hears nothing but a sad dragon song as he calls for Draco.
- He wakes from his dream at the sound of Kara's makeshift battle trumpet when she enters his tent with breakfast. She attempts to shave his beard with a battle-ax but Bowen pulls away, saying that he taught her to cut throats not shave them. Setting the ax down, Kara says that Bowen should look like a victorious general. He tells her that he isn't one yet and to not get overconfident. She replies "You are my confidence. I've never been more sure of anything in my life." This is the second deleted scene from the film.
- For the most part, Bowen's attire remains unchanged throughout the film but in the book, GIlbert, Kara, and the peasants design and make him a new set of armor consisting of a chainmail coat, a leather surcoat complete with a helmet and shield. The shield and surcoat are both emblazoned with the symbol of the Old Code but slightly altered, with a pattern of bright golden stars dotted through the circle, the constellation Draco.
- After Kara helps Bowen put on his new suit of armor, he asks her for a "lady's favor" to wear or carry into battle, and she reveals her rape by Einon to him. Bowen promises to "wash away the stain of her soiled innocence" by killing Einon and kisses her hand.
- In the book, Draco lets Bowen fly around on his back the night before the battle against Einon, during which they destroy Bowen's dragon talon trophy shield. Draco's scales enable him to appear as though he has become one with the night sky, and fly close to Einon's castle undetected. Einon sees Draco a few times but sees him as a piece of the sky moving like a black tapestry. Meanwhile, Einon declares he isn't afraid of Bowen and Draco before Aislinn presents the dragonslayers to Einon, gaining his trust. Einon sees Bowen's destroyed shield as a falling comet, an omen of disaster and the death of kings. Aislinn claims it is not a comet since it doesn't fall like one. She says that based on stories the elders of her clan used to tell when she was a girl, the "sky fire" was said to be the torches of the dead who have come from paradise to bless those left behind in the realm of the living, and believes it to be Freyne. She tells Einon the sky fire means his father has come to say he's proud of his son, and accomplish what he couldn't and kill the dragon.
- After Felton loses his hand, he wears a decorated jeweled leather cuff over his stump. He gets several cuffs dyed in different colors to match his wardrobe.
- Just before dawn the morning of the battle against Einon, with Kara and Gilbert riding at his side and banners bearing his coat of arms crackling in the wind, Bowen and his army march out in a seemingly endless line that extended through the pasture and over the bridge behind the village. Draco flies off his cliff perch and glides along the line of the army, dipping a wing in salute that is answered by a thousand raised weapons and a large excited shout as dawn comes.
- As Draco attacks the castle, two of the five dragonslayers are killed. When he's struck by a burning beam caused by one of Draco's firebombs, Uhlric accidentally fires a catapult's firing mechanism and causes the pike to shoot out. It impales Ivor and he's skewered against the wall, with his ax still in his hand as the lance has embedded into the wall. Later, Draco's foot is caught by a grappling chain with a hook on both ends thrown by Sir Cavan. Before he can secure the other hook, Cavan is carried off by Draco and slammed into a tower, driving the fangs lining his helmet into his head. Then Cavan's corpse slides down the tower wall and lands at the hooves of Einon's horse before the chain around Draco's foot is attached to a tower ledge.
- During the battle in the forest, a black armor-clad Felton plays dead three times to avoid fighting as he now has only one hand. He is attacked by his former minx, now a part of the rebel army, before being shot in the rear by Gilbert. Then his former minx strikes Felton and takes his money purse and jeweled cuff before he blacks out.
- While the rebel army fights Einon in the forest, the men left at the castle begin to pull down Draco by the chain snaring his foot. Draco soon pulls out of range of the dragonslayers' spears until the chain pulls taut and soldiers are either dragged or thrown from it. The chain tears from the tower ledge, taking a section of the tower with it, and stone and fire fall down upon the battlements. Now free from the chain Draco soars into the sun's glare, determined to enjoy a small taste of victory before the end, resolving not to let Bowen, Kara, and the others down, and have the end happen the way he wants.
- As Einon orders a retreat, charges out the forest and up the hill toward the castle road, Kara throws an ax at him and misses. Just as Gilbert exits the forest, Einon goes up the road nearly parallel to him and Gilbert takes his shot. Draco's chest glows red as he falls behind the walls of Einon's castle. After removing Gilbert's arrow from his chest, Einon charges at Bowen but they're both stopped by Draco's wailing trill. The panicked Einon rides back toward the castle as Bowen yells at him to come back and fight. Stopping the dragonslayers from killing Draco, Einon gently caresses Draco's neck and Draco shivers at the king's touch.
- Later that night, trilling from the captive Draco can be heard at the rebel camp in the forest. Bowen worries that Einon is torturing Draco but Kara says Einon won't harm Draco in any way, repeating what Draco told her outside the swamp village. She says that Draco must die in order for Einon to die but Bowen refuses to listen. He faces his men, leaps onto a stump, and asks who will accompany him to help save Draco, but no one volunteers. Trev and Hewe say the fight is over and they can't beat someone who's invincible. Bowen says he expects them not to desert themselves let alone a friend and turns away in disgust to find Kara holding his sword. She tells Bowen he's not going alone, and picking up his bow, Gilbert volunteers as well.
- At one moment during Aislinn's talk with Draco, she rubs a cut on his snout. When Einon catches her, Aislinn backs away and he follows her as they go behind Draco where he can't see them but is able to see their silhouettes on the wall before him, as Einon raises a shadow spear to strike Aislinn.
- In the film on the eve of the battle, Bowen is seen wearing the headband that belonged to Riagon on his arm without explanation. In the novelization, Kara gives the headband to Bowen as her 'lady's favor' in the cistern of Einon's castle as they sneak in to rescue Draco, after which they share a passionate kiss.
- The brother dragonslayers Tavis and Trahern are left to guard Draco after Uhlric is killed by Aislinn. As Bowen and the rebels storm the castle, Draco taunts the brothers to make them kill him until they are killed as well.
- Instead of a sword, Brok fights Kara with a ball and chain. She kills him by taking the battle-ax from the impaled dragonslayer Ivor's grasp and using the ax's broken shaft to catch the spiked ball and whip it into Brok's face.
- In the film Draco's shoulder glows when Kara stabs Einon but this causes a continuity error as it never happens again. In the novel, parts of Draco's body or his entire body glow whenever Einon is seriously wounded throughout the story. This is seen as Bowen wounds Einon during their final battle, especially when Einon falls into the cistern and Draco's whole body glows red as he groans in agony.
- After Bowen throws away his ax, refusing to kill Draco at his request, a tearful Kara volunteers to do the deed before Einon stops her.
- Gilbert has a slightly larger role in the final battle within Einon's castle. In the midst of Einon and Bowen's fight, Gilbert is wounded as he and Kara fend off guards in Einon's chamber before she leaves him to rest at his insistence. Then Gilbert returns to help the peasants open the gates. As Einon threatens to kill Kara in the courtyard, Gilbert, Hewe, and a group of peasants arrive on the scene.
- When the ax strikes Draco, his half-heart flashes crimson.
- Instead of after, Draco dies shortly before Einon, who stops short of stabbing Bowen in the back and grabs Bowen's shoulder. Bowen brushes Einon's hand away and says, "You are a corpse," before Einon falls to the ground and dies. After which the rest of the rebel army enters the courtyard and begin cheering and celebrating their victory, with the exception of Bowen, Gilbert, and Kara who hold a peaceful vigil for Draco with Gilbert reciting a Latin prayer.
- Draco's ascension to heaven is portrayed very differently from the film. Glowing red light comes out of his wound, covering his body, and spreading over the ground like a mist. His body becomes one with it and floats past everyone as in the film. Then glittering red light rises above the castle walls and toward the sky before spinning behind the mountains. The sky "comes alive with celestial color, flashing across the black horizon." A trilling sound fills the air, heard not only by Bowen but everyone else. The sound is Draco's song, not his sad lament but the happy song he sang for Kara. Then the light spins from behind the mountains and turns into a bright ruby comet. The stars dim and the light shoots upward, and explodes into a star that becomes the eye of the Draco constellation.
- The rebels continue cheering and celebrating while Bowen, Kara, and Gilbert gaze at Draco's star and feel him smiling down on them.
Chapter 29 - A Dragon's Bequest and a Mother's Gift Edit
Bowen rode up a narrow trail to the crest of the cliff. The valley below was alive with cookfires, gleaming in the darkening twilight. Music and shouts and sounds of merriment trickled up from the camp, joyous and carefree, as though none of the revelers were facing death the following day.
Draco had claimed this lonesome bluff, where he spent long hours, sleeping little. But he knew he had chosen the best watchtower and that he was the best watcher. Who could see or hear as far as he? There was little chance for a surprise attack with Draco at his post.
But even though the enemy had discovered their camp, and sent out a few scouting parties, they made no move against them. Bowen had drilled enough tactics into Einon to know the boy wouldn't dare risk an attack. He was at a disadvantage in terms of open ground and numbers, as Einon's spies surely had told him. He would wait for Bowen to bring the battle to him. Well, thought Bowen, he would not have to wait long.
Bowen heard the soothing beauty of Draco's contented trilling before he saw him, curled at the cliff's edge, dreamily gazing down on the camp.
"Hello, Bowen," Draco greeted him without turning around. "I heard another hundred and fifty families found their way into camp today. The eve of battle and still they come."
"So many, so fast..." Bowen said. "There's not been enough time, they've not been properly trained."
"What they lack I training, they make up in passion." The assurance in Draco's voice was like the assurance in his dragon song...comforting and peaceful. Both allayed Bowen's concern. The dragon turned and smiled at him. "You've done well."
"Because you have made me better than I was." Bowen longed to take pride in the dragon's praise, but he could not. Not yet. His dream of this morning still haunted him. He learned back in his saddle and unhooked something from it. It clanged as he slung upon the rocks in front of Draco. It was his talon-trophy shield. "I have not always done well."
"Oh, Bowen," the dragon said sadly, "the Once-ways were long forgot on both sides. And wrongs by both committed in ignorance and misunderstanding. You, like these you slew, were merely a creature of sorry circumstance. Surely God forgave you any sin in this."
Bowen dismounted and knelt before Draco. "I do not seek God's forgiveness. Only yours."
The forgiveness was in the dragon's eyes. "I can find no fault in you, Knight of the Old Code."
"A knight of the Old Code needs no such adornment." Bowen picked up the shield of his shame and offered it to Draco. "Perhaps you know what should be done with it."
"I know...." Draco smiled again and leaned his shoulder down. "Climb up and bring your shield."
Bowen obeyed mounting Draco and clinging to his neck. Draco's elegant wings unfolded and Bowen felt the kiss of the wind upon the face as they hurtled heavenward.
They soared higher than Bowen ever remembered soaring. The last gray streaks of dusk gave way to the oncoming night, its advent lit by an escort of stars. Draco's constellation dangled across the sky like glittering diamonds spilled on black velvet. How clean and white they were. And Bowen spoke his silent thought: "Like a promise of hope."
"Hope is not so far away, Bowen," the dragon replied, gazing longingly at the stars. He swerved and swooped away. "Look down!"
Bowen did so...and gasped at the panorama that filled his eyes. The landscape was dotted with the campfires of his people, as though some stars had fallen to earth and now glowed both above and below him.
"There lies your hope, Bowen," Draco said. "The one I've waited for. Man must now make of the world what he can....The day of dragons is done...." "Not done for you!" Bowen protested, "If we are victorious tomorrow, we'll need you."
"You'll have victory," Draco assured him. "But no need of me. Listen to them, Knight of the Old Code. The Once-ways are in their songs and their laughter and the cries of their children. Listen. And look."
Perhaps it was only the hollow howl of the wind that made Draco's words sound cryptic and wistful. But they sent a suspicious shiver down Bowen's spine nonetheless. He looked, watching the patches of lights flicker against the dark. "What do you see?" he asked the dragon curiously.
"Everything," Draco replied. "It's yours now...."
The night was dirty and loud. Aislinn watched from her chamber window as Einon and his knights surged through the crowded courtyard, bustling with war preparations. Men drilled. Armorers and blacksmiths sweated over forge fires. Weapons were cached. Wagons rolled into the castle gates with food and provisions for storing.
As Brok and the others tried to keep up with his fierce pace, Einon strode across the stones inspecting everything. He was dressed only in his night robe and carried a torch. As the entourage moved to a cart stationed below her window, Aislinn was able to catch bits and pieces of the conversation.
"...entire towns and shires deserted, milord," Brok was dourly reporting, "...peasants all gone..."
"And gone with them the best of m crops and livestock!" Einon snapped out the words. He had leapt into the cart and his torch exposed a meager load of apples. Picking one up, he bit into it, made a sour face, and spit the morsel out. He flung the apple against the castle wall in disgust. It hit with a pop and clung there—an oozing glob.
The torchlight danced grimly across his face. It seemed whiter than normal, almost ghostlike. The rage in his pale eyes dwindled to a fixed reflective daze as he stared up. Aislinn pulled back from the window so that she would not be seen. But he wasn't looking at her. His intense gaze sought the night sky, as though trying to bora a hole into the darkness, in search of some light to chase the shadows from his disturbed soul. He shuddered and his fingers crawled inside the folds of his robe, stroking his chest in agitated distraction.
The unctuous tons of Felton trickled over the din as the lord slithered forward to try and appease his troubled king. He gestured grandly with his stumped wrist, now covered in a leather cuff studded with jewels that caught the torchlight and sparkled. Aislinn had observed that he had several different cuffs, dyed in different colors to match the variety of his wardrobe. This one was brown, matching the soft deerskin tunic and pants he currently wore. "Do not worry, sire, a few dirty peasants are no match for us."
"A few, fop?" Brok growled. "Hundreds, all armed and spoiling for a fight."
"You should know, Brok." Felton sneered, amiably. "It's your land they're on. But any noble is worth a hundred peasants."
Brok tapped Felton's leather cuff. "Guess you're only worth fifty."
Felton snatched his arm from Brok's touch and held it up proudly. "At least I have proven my valor to my king. Do you preach caution because you're afraid, Brok?"
Brok certainly wasn't afraid of Felton, and snarling at the man's insult, he charged the noble. But Einon leapt from the cart to stand between them, and waved Brok back with his torch, putting a protective arm around Felton. The torch flickered over the king's calm smile.
"My brave Felton." Einon patted the noble's cheek. "A regiment unto himself."
Einon chuckled. Felton giggled. The others joined the merriment. Then Einon savagely clawed the cheek he was patting and whirled Felton by it, slamming him against the wheel of the cart.
"Idiot!" Einon's fingers slid from Felton's cheek and his palm thrust under the noble's quivering chin, stretching his neck back over the rim of the wheel. Felton's startled eyes stared straight up—where they met those of Aislinn, gazing down. In the torch glare, she could see the red welts where Einon had torn at his cheek.
"I know this man who leads them!" Einon barked, and released the fop. Gasping, Felton slumped against the wheel as Einon whirled on his other knights, shouting, "You're all idiots! I am served by dolts and fools! The only clever man in this kingdom is my enemy! And I will destroy him! But I will not underestimate him! Him or the dragon! Now begone! All of you!"
The knights quickly dispersed into the commotion of the courtyard. Einon, torch in hand, stormed into the castle. Aislinn knew where he was going and waited and watched. A few moments later her suspicion was confirmed when she saw flickering light ascend past the arched windows of the tower stairwell.
The queen turned to the five burly men who waited behind her. "Come," she said, and she led them from the chamber.