Sunday, 17 February 2013
The beast-landmass is a very well-trod trope in stories. It's usually a combination of the size and slowness of the creature. A titan, whale, giant turtle or other creature will be asleep for long enough (or simply slow enough) for vegetation to begin growing on its body. People unsuspectingly walk on or even inhabit the island before they realize they're on a living creature.
This trope first appears in the legends and folktales of ancient sea-faring cultures. Today, you can see this played out in the Discworld book series, Pokémon, Shadow of the Colossus, Avatar the Last Airbender and probably a ton of other entertainment. The Zaratan itself appears in Jose Luis Borges' The Book of Imaginary Beings.