There are lots of typical creatures in fantasy writing that some writers choose to leave out for whatever reason. The one creature that is starting to fade from fantasy, in my opinion, is dragons.
Maybe I am not reading the right books. But George R. R. Martin's "Game of Thrones" is the first book series I have seen in awhile that even mentions dragons.
I remember back when I started writing, I casually mentioned I had never read any of J. R. R. Tolkien's books. I could feel the astonishment weighing heavily in the silence that followed before the person practically erupted, saying, "HOW can you call yourself a FANTASY WRITER if you have NEVER. Read. Tolkien!?"
Allow me to exclaim:
How can you call yourself a fantasy writer if you don't write about dragons!?
Some people think dragons are over done. I don't think so. I think dragons are as crucial an element of fantasy as the sword and shield. Kings and Queens, Knights, Dwarves, Elves, all of it. Lots of people are veering away from a lot of these things in fantasy writing because they're afraid of sounding cliche, but geez, man! Don't eliminate them altogether!
More often these days, I browse the fantasy section of books on Amazon and almost all of them seem to me better off in the paranormal or sci-fi section. A good majority of them involve werewolves, vampires and witches.
Oh. My. Gah!
If I am wrong, please tell me. But it seems that good old fashioned sword and sorcery is starting to go the way of the garden gnome.
Bring back the Dragons! Bring back their caves of gold and jewels, their fire breathing ferocity and their wise, honorable nobility. Make them fill the sky with the spread of their massive wings and block out the sun!