Dryden Fassa

Basic Stats
The Vision of Escaflowne Compendium


The equivalent of 21 Earth years


Yellow, 25th Moon (Equivalent of May 25)


Asturia, Gaea


189 cm


75 kg


Meiden (father and business magnate)




Episode 14


Juurouta Kosugi

Snazzy Quote Justifying My Blithering Fangirlism
(from an interview with Shoji Kawamori, series creator, in which Mayumi Izukane, the voice actress for Princess Millerna, asked him about his favourite character)

SK: I'd say Dryden's a character that I wanted to see more of.
MI: He's dependable and wonderful, isn't he?
SK: He's the kind of character who could've taken the lead, were it not for his carelessness. But he might have been a disaster!

You heard it straight from the horse's mouth! The creator of Tenkuu no Escaflowne thinks Dryden rocks! And so does the chick who played Millerna *^.^*
(Many thanks to
Kevin Pezzano for providing this quote.)


Dryden comes from one of the first merchant families of Asturia. His father, Meiden, is one of King Aston's right-hand men. Meiden, in fact, is not a terribly nice person. He sees everything in life in terms of its dollar value, and takes full advantage of his favoured position in the royal court for self-advancement, a businessman rather than a statesman - evidently the species is not endemic to the Phantom Moon. It's thanks to Meiden's manoeuvring that Millerna Sara Aston, King Aston's youngest daughter (and heir, due to some complications disqualifying her elder sister Eries), is promised to Dryden in marriage, the fate of the children serving to seal a deal between their parents.

As for Dryden himself? Well, he spends all his time travelling with his merchant fleet of airships, as he has done since he was about fifteen, and his own father doesn't see hide nor hair of him for most of the year. Another fine young businessman, the epitome of the hard-nosed free-market virtues of King Aston's modern, nouveau-riche Asturia.

Yeah, right.



What is so cool about Dryden is how he both exemplifies the values of new Asturia (as opposed to tbe chivalric past represented by Allen Schezar) and at the same time subverts them. He's an immensely successful young businessman who will nevertheless trade in his entire fleet to help someone he only just met (admittedly, he may be partially motivated by the fact that Millerna asked him to help Van - never miss an opportunity to look kind in front of the girl you want to marry). It's obvious from the way he dresses (and conspicuously fails to shave) that appearances are not important to him, but when he does dress up, for his wedding, he does so with style and confidence. He is truly a free spirit; the only authority he submits to is his own well-developed sense of what is right, and he is completely free of pretension or hypocrisy. He really doesn't care what anyone thinks of him, unless he thinks highly of them. To Dryden, guymelefs are valuable only as merchandise or for their historical interest - he is excited about Escaflowne because it's ancient and unique, the only real Ispano-made melef he's ever seen, not because of its power in battle.

In striking contrast to the other young men in the series, Dryden is completely unconcerned with the arts of war. His way of fighting Zaibach, in his capacity as a sort of king-regent after his marriage to Millerna, is to impose economic sanctions upon the expansionist empire. At first glance, this would kinda seem to place him in the same category of uselessness as Neville Chamberlain (for those of you who haven't read much World War II history, Neville Chamberlain was Prime Minister of England before Winston Churchill, and apparently thought he could stop Hitler taking over countries in Europe by asking nicely), but when you think about it, is any substantial victory for the good guys ever won by military means in Escaflowne? Dryden's way is not the answer, but his choice of way tells you a lot about his personality. As Washu of Washu-chan & Kodachi's Harem of Anime Men points out, 'he's not saving the world, but he's helping.'

D & M

Although Dryden might be termed a secondary character in terms of how much screen time he gets, he's extremely important in terms of his plot function, as a source of information, interpretation and of course money. He's a born facilitator. If he hadn't known about how to call tech support *^.^* for an Ispano guymelef, and been willing to pay for Escaflowne's repairs, Van would have died (and, I suppose, the Dragonslayers wouldn't have, so I guess Dryden would not be on Dilandau's List Of Favourite People). And who would have read Leon's journal or the inscriptions on the Atlantean ruins if Dryden hadn't been there with his knowledge of languages? He comes along right at the mid-point of the series, where it's make or break for our heroes, and if it weren't for him it would certainly have been break. But, for the reasons I've outlined above, he is much more than functional as a character.

Why else have I enshrined Dryden? Well, I think he contends with Folken and Dornkirk for the title of Smartest Person On Gaea. He's a notable scholar of the history of Gaea and, as I mentioned, an expert linguist - he can even read Atlantean inscriptions, the mysteries and surviving artifacts of Atlantis being a particular interest of his. (Give this man a fedora and call him Indy *^.^*) Really, Dryden is interested in everything - he's a true Renaissance man. And he is certainly much smarter in emotional terms than poor messed-up Folken, and far nicer than grody old Dornkirk. I realised while preparing this shrine that, notwithstanding my immense crushes on other Esca guys, Dryden is the only one I'd like to hook up with in real life. I like his naff sense of humour and, of course, his John Lennon glasses. I can produce a whole page of reasons why Dryden is to be preferred to Allen Schezar - see 'Sales Pitch.'


Besides that, I just think he's rather gorgeous, and he makes me laugh. Do I need another reason?

'Dryden,' if you've ever thought it sounds familiar, was the name of an English poet (Poet Laureate, actually!), translator and playwright of the late seventeenth century. John Dryden described himself as follows: 'My conversation is slow and dull; my humour saturnine and reserved; in short, I am none of those who endeavour to break jests in company, or make reparties.' Although he may have borrowed the name, clearly Shoji Kawamori didn't base Dryden's personality on his namesake *^.^*

Also, just to reinforce my belief that the makers of Escaflowne like picking names off maps (Asturia, for example, is a province of Spain, according to my friend Stuart who sometimes tells me things like this out of nowhere), there's a Val di Fassa (Fassa Valley) in Italy. This is a perfectly respectable way of choosing names, as any reader of the 'Wombles' books, or for that matter Prince Caspian, will know. When I visited Italy in April/May of 2000 I saw road-signs with the name Fassa on them, which as you can imagine rendered me considerably stoked. (I annoyed my family in Venice by going round saying 'Gosh, it does look like Pallas.')

Oh, and another reason why I love Dryden is that he's a Gemini, like me. I don't seem to meet many other Geminis but I think they're fun. His personality is *very* Geminian.