As I stated earlier, I do not believe there is anything inherently wrong with even the most overused elements of epic fantasy. Magic swords, dragons, destined heroes -- even dark lords and ultimate evils can legitimately be used in literature of serious intent, not just mocked in satirical meta-fiction. To claim that they cannot would be much the same as claiming that nothing good can ever again be done with fiction involving detectives, or young lovers, or unhappy families. The value of a fictive element is not an inherent quality, but a contextual one, determined by its relationship to the other elements of the story it is embedded in.In other words, whether a scene in which a dragon is introduced is affecting, amusing, or agonizingly dull depends primarily on the choices made by the scene's author. I say primarily because dragons have appeared in thousands of stories over the centuries, and almost any reader may be presumed to have been exposed to at least one such. The reader's reaction will naturally be influenced by how they feel this new dragon compares to the dragons which they have been introduced to in the past. (Favorably, one would hope. A dragon must learn to make a good first impression if it is to do well in this life.) Such variables are out of the author's control, as are any unreasoning prejudices against dragons on the part of the reader. All that can be done is to make the dragon as vivid and well-suited for its purpose as is possible. If all the elements of fantasy and fiction in a work are fitted to their purposes and combine to create a moving story set in a convincing world, that work will presumably be a masterpiece.

~ Alec Austin