Welcome to another Monstrous Monday!
I am late but this would be a sorry / not sorry situation. My muse decided to visit me for my current WIP and ran out the clock on Monday. lol So here we are on a makeup Tuesday. But back to our continuing series, we’ll be taking a look at the Hydra. Traditionally speaking it’s a creature that was first seen in Greek mythology. You might recognize the Lernean Hydra that Hercules fought from one of his 12 labors.
The Hydra in Greek mythology is known for being a giant water snake like monster that had 9 heads, the middle one of which was immortal. For this creature especially, if you cut off one of its heads, two would grow back in its place, making it particularly difficult to kill. Hercules himself was only able to kill it by first cutting off each head and cauterizing the wound before he got to the last one. The immortal head he still chopped off but then buried it under a heavy rock, as per the entry from Britannica.
In the animated Hercules movie, the hydra only had 3 heads initially. He got a little chop happy before he figured out how to keep it from coming back so it ended up looking something like… this:
For the purposes of this entry and beyond the Hercules Hydra, any dragon type creature with more than one head is considered a hydra. True dragon with six limbs and multiple heads? Hydra. Drake with multiple heads? Hydra. Wyrm with multiple heads? Hydra. You’d probably hyphenate it but the fact of having more than one head supersedes the other descriptive characteristics.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Willow, the two headed beastie is categorized as a Hydra. Ugly thing too, but dragon-like and has two heads so… yeah.
If you happen to be a Dungeons and Dragons fan, Tiamat herself is one of the best known hydras. The queen of evil dragons and also the lawful evil dragon goddess of greed, she has five dragon heads: one for each type of chromatic dragon as we discussed in the True Dragons entry.
Tiamat was a unique chromatic dragon, who had one head for each primary color of the most common species of chromatics (black, blue, green, red, white). Each head was able to operate entirely independently of each other and had the powers of a member of the respective race of dragonkind. Her body also had traits in common with a wyvern, including a long tail tipped with a venomous stinger.https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Tiamat
If you’re more a fan of older animated movies, the endearing Quest for Camelot has the lovable hydra type dragon: Devon and Cornwall. Yes, each head has his own name and boy are these two night and day. haha
And I would be completely remiss if I didn’t at least mention one of the other OGs in the business. King Ghidora from the Godzilla franchise is also considered a hydra. He’s had a fair few iterations but he always has the trademark hydra trait of having three heads. Even Mecha-King Ghidora followed this pattern.
Now, I’m sure there are plenty of other hydras in books or movies or games. If you want to enlighten me, I’d love to hear about them. In the meantime, do you have a favorite here? Let me know in the comments below if you do. Beyond that, I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about the hydra and also that you have a lovely day!
Header image pulled from: https://www.talenthouse.com/item/1943339/73bf1cd3
Background music used while writing this: