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Cornelia Funke's novel Dragon Rider starts off with a group of dragons living in secret in a valley and being warned of the impending loss of their refuge. One of these dragons, Firedrake, becomes one of the main protagonists of the story.

Where in the world is this valley located? I seem to remember it's in Britain (Scotland or England?), but do we have anything more specific than that? This is a book which does mention specific countries and places in the real world, so it's not just set in anonymous fantasy locations.

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The Valley of the Dragons is located somewhere in Scotland.

In my copy of Dragon Rider there's a "Meet The Author" section at the end. One of the questions asks about the Valley of the Dragons:

Q: Do You know where the Valley of the Dragons is? Have you ever been to Scotland?

Cornelia Funke: I don't know Scotland well enough to answer that, but I look forward to visiting the Edinburgh literary festival every year.

How do we know the valley is called The Valley of the Dragons? There's a "Who's who in Dragon Rider" section immediately after the "Meet The Author" section that introduces the different creatures from the story.

The last entry is for Slatebeard who we meet in the first few chapters, and stays in the valley along with Firedrake and the other dragons:

Slatebeard - an old, wise dragon, living in the Valley of the Dragons.

Additionally, Cornelia Funke has a quiz on her website that asks this exact question. The options are California, Scotland, Italy, and the Himalayas. Scotland is (spoiler alert) the right answer:

Q: Where is the valley of the dragons from where Firedrake and Sorrel set off to find the Rim of Heaven?

A: In Scotland - Correct. And later, Barnabas Greenbloom reads to Ben and his family the good news that a newspaper in Scotland had reported a swarm of 'giant birds' flying southwards through the moonlight. The dragons were finally on their way to the Rim of Heaven.

The passage where Barnabas reads about the "swarm of 'giant birds'" is as follows:

...And he [Barnabas] read aloud:

"A strange phenomenon was observed two days ago in the night sky over a Scottish valley. A large flock of gigantic birds, or some have described them as creatures resembling giant bats, rose into the sky and flew south in the light of the full moon.."

Dragon Rider - Chapter 57: Good News

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  • Good find, but that Q seems to already assume that the valley is in Scotland. Is that stated clearly in the story itself? (Sorry if this is a stupid question; I don't have the book to hand.)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Mar 26, 2021 at 7:47
  • @Randal'Thor - went looking for some more info
    – fez
    Mar 26, 2021 at 7:50
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    Technically everywhere not London is "outside of London"
    – fez
    Mar 26, 2021 at 8:03
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    Wikipedia seems to no longer be wrong :)
    – Theoriok
    Mar 26, 2021 at 15:27
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    @Randal'Thor, this can't really override what the author says, but I would think it might be in the Cairngorms. My copy of the book has a fold-out map, which shows them setting off from the east coast of Scotland, just south of Aberdeen. Annoyingly it starts over the sea, rather than over land, but the closest mountains would be the Cairngorms (and it isn't all a national park, so a road could be built through some bits of it, which is what's happening at the beginning of the book). Apr 25, 2021 at 20:59

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