The legend hails from northern seas, a tale that few know well,
Where faith and fear blow freely on the gray and changing swell.
Mark well the drift of this account, and come to understand
That humble and heroic things go often hand in hand.
The Kraken, by Robert L. Jones, III, and illustrated by James P. Wood, is a fantasy tale told in poetic verse. It follows the journey of a bereaved and lovelorn youngster into manhood. Conscripted by brigands, he is later aided by a seaside prophet and various creatures as he seeks to destroy a monster that preys upon vessels in northern shipping lanes and to recover what has been taken away from him.
My brother-in-law, James P. Wood, made the above illustration to go with a scene from my first story poem, The Kraken, in which the main character has an encounter with the Griffin King. I obviously borrowed this creature from existing mythology and medieval heraldry, and it appears in historical and current coats of arms, two examples of which are shown below.
The Griffin (or Gryphon) has the head, wings, and legs of an eagle at its front and the body, hind legs and tail of a lion. It is similar to the Hippogriff, which is the offspring of a Griffin and a mare (see the appropriately titled earlier post in this series for more on the Hippogriff). In heraldry, the Griffin represents courage, boldness, and skill in battle. It was sometimes given significance in Christian symbolism.
Perhaps my favorite rendition of a Griffin is this one made by John Tenniel for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I like the way the artist places it in the pose of a sleeping dog.
Of course, I must offer the requisite version by William O’ Connor from Dracopedia: The Bestiary.
I will leave you with one more illustration by James P. Wood from The Kraken.
The Kraken can be ordered on Amazon by clicking here.