Use of extinct animals

by Gemma
(UK, Cambridgeshire)

Question: My idea is based on a fantasy/medieval period, and has characters based on old mythological creatures (centaurs, minotaurs, etc); however, I'm having slight problems with what kinds of animals would be included.


My main character is a nineteen year-old woman who lives in a wintery country known as Tundria, yet upon discovering that her father is actually her uncle latter to the failure of an assignation, she sets off on a journey with her friends to find her real father, who is in fact an exiled King. My problem is that, while I have her friends, I'm concerned over how all my chosen animals are appearing to be extinct ones.

The idea originally came from the Game of Thrones use of dire wolves, but I've researched all kinds of animals and found that - instead of the usual domesticated dog companions - I wanted my main char. to have a male Thylacine: a carnivorous animal, which was believed nocturnal and carried a pouch (such like a kangaroo). I wanted the animal to have had a sad past like the main char., with him originally coming from a forest, captured by poachers and the main char. buying him as the poachers were traveling through the village.

The reason behind my choosing is that I thought the animal would be well-suited, but I really don't want to offend anyone or pick an animal that I might have trouble describing later on. Also, it is not only the one particular animal, but many, as she would encounter others: such as quaggas, barbary and cape lions, etc.

Answer: Honestly, I don't see the problem.

I don't think you need to worry about a Thylacine Society criticizing your depiction of the beasts. You are free to make your imaginary characters however you like. You don't have to adhere to ancient descriptions of them. You can even invent creatures who never existed, even in mythology.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.