Vollys is the creation of notable children's book writer Gail Carson Levine, a character in her second novel, The Two Princesses of Bamarre.
I decided that after quite a lot of the Older Dragons it was time to write up a blog on one of my favorite dragons of recent history! Vollys is, in my opinion, one of the best dragons ever to find her way into children's lit.
The funny thing about this story is that Ms. Levine never intended to write it. After the success of her first novel, Ella Enchanted (a Newberry Honor Book), she intended to write a retelling of the classic fairy tale, "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." But as she worked on it, she number of princesses dwindled away until she was left with Meryl and Addie, two very different young woman, devoted sisters, whom she pitted against an entire kingdom of monsters. Not quite the same as magical dances!
Vollys is Levine's most successful literary creation. She is a raiding, pillaging dragon, completely sentient and completely convinced of her own right to take whatever she wants whenever she wants it. In a way, she's a very human character. A human broken down to the rawest, most depraved essentials. A human that is only just human, and therefore the most monstrous kind.
The princesses' nursemaid lists for them some of the many atrocities Vollys has committed upon the people of Bamarre: "farms burned, livestock eaten on the spot, families carried off, knights roasted in their armor, castles plundered. And all the humans--dead, or never seen again." (p. 56)
There were at least three known dragons living in Bamarre at the time of this story: Kih, Jafe, and Vollys. Princess Addie (for reasons I will not give away here) finds herself obliged to seek out one of these three and convince her to tell her a great secret. Before she goes, Rhys the sorcerer explains to her about dragons:
"They are solitary. They dislike other dragons and hate all other cratures. Yet they're lonely and they enjoy conversation. It's why they spin out the deaths of their human victims. If you're captured, you must keep the dragon entertained." (p. 123)
That's right. Vollys the dragon likes to capture herself a likely-looking human upon occasion. She tries to "make them last," rather like a good chocolate truffle that you don't chew but simply let melt slowly in your mouth. But her attention is difficult to keep, and when she grows bored . . . that's it!
"Believe me," says Vollys, "when I say I want you to stay a long time with me. I am sad when I am alone. My unhappiest hours are after I have destroyed a guest. I have never forgotten any of you. I have remembered my first guest for over seven hundred years. He had a short life breathing the air, but a long life in memory." (p. 153)
Vollys is deliciously creepy!
But she's also . . . interesting. Beautiful. Enchanting.
I do hate to give a good story away, however! So let me leave you there and encourage you to pick up The Two Princesses of Bamarre, my favorite of Gail Carson Levine's delightful children's books.
I hear rumor that there's a movie being made. But it is no more than a breath of rumor.
Vollys on a scale of 1-10
She is dreadfully evil. But she also does have a small inkling of goodness in that she feels genuine fondness for her guests. It's a fondness prey to her ever-changing whims, however . . .
I found her quite delightfully scary!
I don't remember and can find no reference to her being poisonous. She certainly has a hot, searing fire, though!
Vollys is described with quite a magnificent hoard full of many delightful curiosities. Seriously, do yourself a favor and read about her!
Wickedly clever. Fascinating, in fact!