I’m going out on a limb here, but I have to go there.
I was once associated publicly with a now-deceased writer named Nicholas de Vere (the full-length name he gave himself was “Prince Nicholas de Vere von Drakenberg”). He claimed to be the head of a secret society with an ancient lineage called “the Dragon Court,” and said that he himself was the foremost scion of a royal bloodline going back to praeterhuman creatures that pre-dated the Garden of Eden. He had a lengthy genealogy for himself drawn up that connected his lineage to virtually every important person in history, including biblical and mythological figures as well. De Vere seriously purported that his lineage made him super-human, a member of the “Dragon race,” and he would accept applications to his order from other people with lineage stemming from royal bloodlines that he claimed were part of the Dragon family. I was actually asked to join and even, for a time, lead the “Dragon Court,” and helped Nicholas de Vere to publish his first book explaining his claims: The Dragon Legacy. He had many fanatical followers who believed his claims, and I admit, I helped to promote them.
De Vere’s writings had a lot of influence. For one thing, his first two manuscripts were stolen and plagiarized into at least two bestselling books credited to the now-deceased Laurence Gardner, a former associate of De Vere’s who not only published the man’s writings under his own name, but also publicly claimed to be the “real” Grand Master of the “real” Dragon Court. Secondly, his claims influenced several popular works of fiction. Map of Bones by James Rollins is one obvious example, in which the Dragon Court is portrayed as a conspiracy and the character seemingly based on De Vere is portrayed as a genocidal neo-Nazi. There are other examples too that I will add in to this article later on as I remember them.
But last night’s episode of the brand-new X-Files, number three in the new series, strikes me as having been influenced by the character of Nicholas de Vere in particular: not so much the mythology behind his claims, but just the person that he was. Let me explain why. It will help if you have already seen the episode.
The show was about a scale-covered dragon-like upward-walking bipedal creature that (spoiler alert) is bitten by a human being. Thereafter he begins to experience a transformation into human form, but turning back into a dragon once every full moon. He is therefore something similar to a werewolf, a comparison made in the show, and in fact the episode is called “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster.”
So here we have an upright-walking human-dragon hybrid, similar to the way in which the serpent in the Garden of Eden was once depicted in Christian art. The Garden symbolism is alluded to in the scene showing the Were-Monster’s first transformation into a human. He wakes up in human form and suddenly realizes he is naked, with an unexplained desire to immediately put on clothes even though he had never worn them before, just like Adam and Eve after they ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
Well, “Nicholas de Vere” was really a pen name, based on his birth name, “Nicholas Thomas Weir.” In his books, De Vere wrote that the names “Weir” and “Vere” were from the same root, connected to the words “werewolf,” and “weird.” The myth of the werewolf, he said, was based on the reality of his Dragon ancestors.
I believe that the writers who worked on this particular episode based the Were-Monster character in large part upon Nicholas de Vere. The actor who played the human incarnation of the Were-Monster, Rhys Darby, even looks like Nicholas de Vere in this instance. The facial hair and many facial features are similar. He is dressed in a silly-looking light-colored suit similar to that worn by De Vere in the photo on the back cover of The Dragon Legacy. He has a
British New Zealand accent (De Vere’s was Welsh, see update below) and is playing a rather affable character with an improbable story that Mulder nonetheless wants to believe because the man is so likable, just as many of De Vere’s associates felt about him.
Another point of commonality is that Nicholas de Vere was consumed by existential angst about the human condition, just like the Were-Monster character is, and believed that his ancestors, the pure Dragons were above that. When at the end of the episode the Were-Monster runs off into the forest to hibernate for 10,000 years, he is escaping the drudgery of working life that he had come to so dislike while in human form. This is like a retreat into the higher, atemporal reality that Nicholas de Vere claimed the Dragon people were connected to spiritually, and which they allegedly returned to upon death.
I don’t expect everyone to believe me. But anyone who knew De Vere can see the similarities.
UPDATE: 7:30 AM PST In response to comments submitted from readers, I concede that the actor here is from New Zealand and so is his accent. However, I submit that most viewers in the USA would not have known the difference, and it does not mean that the character is not still representative of the individual in question.
UPDATE: 7:47 AM PST Welcome muldersworld.com readers!