Based on the novels by Asagi Orikawa, The Dragon Knight’s Beloved follows the adventures of a young woman who loves dragons. In fact, she loves them so much that she’s willing to get tangled up in a messy pretend-lovers scheme with her friend, just so she can be near them. Which is pretty relatable, actually.
This manga adaptation by Ritsu Aozaki features adorable art and was one of my most anticipated releases for 2022. Read on to discover what I thought of this fantasy romance once I finally got to read it!
Melissa works at the royal castle as a maid and has always felt a deep connection to the dragons that act as the partners and steads of the kingdom’s knights. Her greatest joy is tending to them when she has the opportunity, especially White Queen, the dragon partner of Commander Hubert, the strongest of the dragon knights and Melissa’s long time friend.
When Melissa tells Hubert that she’s planning on leaving the castle in order to further her training as a maid – all so she can return to the castle and her precious dragons some day and secure a permanent position – he makes her a shocking proposal. Due to the tragic death of his brother, Hubert must resign his position in the dragon knights and return to his domain to assume the position of Margrave – and he wants Melissa to accompany him and pretend to be his lover! Something like this would normally be a big ask, but Hubert’s home just so happens to be in an area where tons of wild dragons reside.
So, of course, Melissa agrees to the scheme!
What drew me to The Dragon Knight’s Beloved was its setting. This world full of dragons and magic is exciting and reminds me quite a bit of the Dragonriders of Pern novel series. Aside from the obvious similarity that both involve people riding on dragons, the dragons in The Dragon Knight’s Beloved have a similar hierarchy to the ones in the Dragonriders of Pern. A dragon’s strength is reflected in its colouring, with Hubert’s white dragon being one of the strongest. Dragons also have a special link with their rider that allows them to be aware of each other’s feelings and helps them work together as a team. There are a lot a advantages to this strong bond between dragon and rider, but one disadvantage is that it is next to impossible for a knight to pursue a romantic relationship with a partner that their dragon disapproves of.
And thus we come to Hubert’s dilemma. The reason he needs Melissa to pretend to be his lover is that his deceased brother’s fiancée, Lady Eleanor, has decided that she should marry Hubert instead. Hubert has no interest in marrying this woman, though political pressures to unite their houses might have forced him to go through with it, had it not been for the fact that White Queen loathes Lady Eleanor. The possibility of being on the receiving end of a powerful dragon’s wrath is apparently not enough to deter the lady, however. Thus, the plan to present Melissa as a suitable partner for Hubert with a pre-existing claim – and one who has received the blessing of his dragon – is born.
I for one doubt that Lady Eleanor will be so easily gotten rid of. This woman puts on a good act of being a demure and devoted lady of class, but she’s extremely shady. She was seemingly able to switch her affections to Hubert at the drop of a hat and all of the dragons in the area are repulsed by her, not just White Queen. She’s definitely up to something, and now poor, naïve Melissa is going to be caught up in her machinations. We only got to see a little of Lady Eleanor in this volume, but she provides the narrative with an interesting mystery, and I’m looking forward to seeing her next move and discovering just what exactly she’s up to.
I’m feeling more lukewarm on the romantic aspects of the story, however. There is a fairly significant age gap between Melissa and Hubert, and longtime readers of this blog will know that I’m not generally a fan of that in my romance stories. I might be inclined to overlook it, if the story and chemistry between the two leads is good enough. Unfortunately, I’m not seeing a lot of sparks fly between our protagonist and the good sir Hubert. Melissa is sweet and her passion for dragons is endearing, but she’s a little boring. Hubert is, likewise, a bit flat. He’s nice enough to Melissa, but so far his only defining character traits are that he seems a tad possessive and can be harsh to people who aren’t Melissa.
Melissa and Hubert’s relationship may grow on me as I see more of them interacting in future volumes, but as of right now I’m not particularly invested in them as a couple.
While I found the fantasy world of The Dragon Knight’s Beloved enchanting and am intrigued by the schemes of Hubert’s would-be fiancée, the potential romance between the main characters failed to inspire any strong feelings in me. I did enjoy the dragons enough that I plan to continue the series, however, so hopefully the central relationship between Melissa and Hubert will eventually win me over as the series continues.
Final Score: 7 out of 10
For more information on this manga, visit Seven Seas Manga’s website.
What did you think of this manga? Any theories on what Lady Eleanor’s deal is? Let me know in the comments!
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