Last night I saw a sci-fi movie called Wyvern (2009) on the SyFy Channel.
Unlike many of the SyFy Channel's movies this one was actually good.
Decent actors, a good CGI wyvern, and (wonder of wonders) a pretty
well-written script.

I was going to do a mini-review of the movie. But for me these days
there's not much fun in doing reviews of actual decent movies. So I will
skip that. But if that was all there was to it this wouldn't be much of
a post. Not that I'm promising that it will be that anyway. Most of this
information was culled from the Wikipedia article, but I thought I would
do a quick summary.

A wyvern is broadly defined as a reptilian creature similar to the
Jurassic/Cretaceous pterosaurs having wings, rear legs, and a pointy
barbed tail. The name derived from the Middle English wyvere and from
the Old North French wivre ("viper").

Angels attacking a wyvern, Liber Floridus, 1448.

Here are a few facts concerning wyverns given by Dragonsinn.net (quoted
with some deletions).

  • "Nearly always depicted as having two bird-like legs and two wings,
    sometimes with eagle's claws on the wingtips
  • Some had a serpent's head and the hind end of a serpent or lizard
  • Wyverns have been depicted in heraldry on shields, coats of arms and
    banners for hundreds of years, and are a symbol of strength and
  • The French Wyvern is depicted with the head and upper body of a
    voluptuous woman. A ruby set between her eyes helps her find her way
    through the Underworld
  • Delighted in killing young maidens, other wyverns and relishing the
    taste of human flesh
  • Modern depictions of wyverns include fiery beady red eyes,
    foul-smelling poisonous and corrupt breath, and a razor sharp stinger
    filled with poison on the end of their tails
  • Came to symbolise envy, famine, war and hatred"

I might also mention that unlike the dragon, the wyvern is not credited
with breathing fire.

Like the dragon, the unicorn, and other mythical beasts the wyvern
survives in modern culture in various ways.

The wyvern is featured in various games such as Warcraft and Dragon
and Dragon's Breath.

There was an automobile named the Wyvern manufactured by Vauxhall
Motors from 1948 to 1957. A very nice looking car, but with only a 1442
or 1507 cc engine perhaps a little underpowered for it's weight. I suppose
that's not really too unusual though for an in-line 4 cylinder engine. I
also learned something new today — that the British term "saloon" is what
we would call here a sedan.

Wyverns are also the mascot of the Leyton Orient soccer team (ooops,
football club) in London and appear on their crest. So if you are a
soccer fan then you might check them out. I imagine it would be pretty
cool wearing a t-shirt with those wyverns on it.

And, in another hemisphere, it is also the name of a S. Korean baseball team.
Such creatures also figure prominently into Asian culture.