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A Day in the Life of a Dragon Tamer: An Interview with Charlie Weasley

With long wavy hair as red as the fire breathed from the dragons he works with, Charlie Weasley seems like a perfect fit for the Romanian Dragon Sanctuary. Although his arms have the muscles for the job, Weasley’s dragons tower over him all the more because he isn’t nearly average height. That doesn’t stop this intrepid young man from making his home amongst the dangerous beasts.

“A lot of people misunderstand them,” Weasley tells me, standing off to the side of an enclosure where an enormous Chinese Fireball dragon is shooting fire forty feet in the air as she stomps her feet in anger because we are too close to her eggs. “They really are amazing creatures.”

Although the Chinese Fireball’s eggs are gorgeous–who wouldn’t want a bright red egg with gold specks?–they grow up into something very dangerous. Of course we all also know that dragon eggs are Class A Non-Tradable Goods. Still, I won’t say that I am not tempted to grab one when Weasley isn’t looking. If I can get past the dragon, that is.

While the eggs are impressive, that is nothing compared to the dragon itself. Weasley is certainly besotted by it, and even I have to admit that it is beautiful–in a deadly sort of way. He tells me her name is Yang, meaning “sun.” Her hide is almost impenetrable, and she is strong and fierce. She is also loyal and protective of her eggs.

Yang is an extreme scarlet color, as bright and rich as the sun for which she is named. On her back is a spectacular array of yellow spikes I do not want to meet up with. As majestic as her scales are, her deep yellow eyes are mesmerizing. The mushroom shaped flame she emits is terrifying. I do not want to get too close, no matter how much Charlie assures me it is safe.

“She knows I won’t hurt her,” he says. “And you’re with me.”

I decide not to test it. After all, he has a dragon pole in his heavily-blistered hands and I only have my quil. We go on our way, leaving the dragon to her eggs. I ask Charlie how long she has been there. He isn’t sure, but I can see by the change in his face that I have hit a sore spot.

“People try to keep them for their eggs, or their hide,” he says darkly, “especially in China. Chinese wizards use the shells from their eggs. Their hides are useful in cloaks. Kind of like Muggle armor. These are unique and marvelous beasts. They do not deserve to be hunted and misused like that. There are so few of them left.”

In fact, there are so few dragons that dragon tamers like Charlie Weasley are a bit of an endangered species themselves. At one time, wizards would have seen a dragon in the wild in Scotland or China. Now, that is a thing of the past. According to Weasley, that is for the best.

“People fear what they do not understand,” he says. “We are better off keeping them here, where they are protected from us as much as the other way around.”

Weasley has always been interested in dragons. When he was a boy at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he excelled in Care of Magical Creatures, Charms, and Herbology. He was also a Quidditch star.

“Oh, yes,” Weasley says with a laugh. “I think it was a bit of a shock to my brothers that I didn’t go out for professional Quidditch. But I’ve always fancied dragons. There’s just something about them. I was fascinated for as long as I can remember. When I was a little boy, I read about them. I used to dream about having one for a pet.”

We both have a laugh about this, but in a way, Weasley does keep dragons as pets. A much smaller dragon comes right up to us and nuzzles him on the shoulder as we are talking. I am barely shocked by this. Charlie Weasley would give Newt Scamander a run for his money.

“This one’s a Swedish Short-Snout,” he says, his voice full of pride and, dare I say it, love. “I raised him from a wee egg.”

The little guy is silvery-blue and the size of a large horse. Charlie tells me he has only recently hatched. He follows us around, spitting little jets of bluish flame. Even though he singes one of my best quills, I have to admit it is a little cute when he nuzzles my hand.

“What happened to his mum?” I am almost afraid to ask.

“Poachers,” he says, in a voice that tells me you do not want to get between Weasley and the dragons he will fight to protect.

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