Is Demonbane Different than the Other Dragons?
Warning: This post contains some spoilers.
Some readers have noted that Demonbane seems more powerful than the other dragons. Of course, Demonbane is older than most other dragons, but they wonder if his ferocity and strength are strictly due to his age and size, or is there something else that sets him apart. Three passages in particular seem to emphasize the distinction.
In Shadow World Revealed, when the time has come for the ceremony in which the recruits bond with their dragons, Demonbane leads the young dragons to the knoll, while all of the other dragons, with their riders, fly in columns beside the young dragons. In other words, Demonbane leads the entire procession.
In Shadow World Enflamed, when Evan and Myong tell of their encounter with Soulreaver, Demonbane is enraged and swears to take upon himself the task of ridding the world of the abomination. No other dragon reacts the way Demanbane does. While they may oppose the creation of such a creature, they do not take it as a personal commitment to destroy the creature.
The fact is that Demonbane is not like the other dragons. He is the king of all dragonkind. As such, it is his place to lead the other dragons into the ceremony. With him as king of dragons, the black dragons are not merely the mounts of those who oppose Illomen, they are traitors to his reign. As king of all dragons, Demonbane reacts as he does upon hearing of the abomination because he is responsible for the actions of his subjects. While the other black dragons have been disloyal to him, Soulreaver has defied their god. Demonbane cannot allow Soulreaver to exist.
Knowing who Demonbane is puts additional meaning into his encounter with General Graham in Shadow World Enflamed. When the general states, “Illomen isn’t my leader. He’s an ally, at best. I decide what’s best for my men to do, based on my own assessment of the information available. That’s my job”, Demonbane responds by first recounting Illomen’s accomplishments compared to the meager record of General Graham. Then, he declares, “You’re but a worm, gazing upon the majesty of a dragon king and trying to declare yourself his equal.” Demonbane is indeed an ally to Illomen. He fights alongside the warrior as a friend and companion. There are others, such as Marcene who share such prominence, but General Graham is not in such illustrious company. Demonbane has put the general in his place by declaring his own position and thus pointing out that even he, as king of the dragons, recognizes the right of Illomen to lead.