Favorite Dragons in Media
Dragons have long been symbols of greed, power, leadership, wisdom, and sometimes godhood, spanning multiple forms and cultures. As one of the most popular mythical creatures in modern media, these regal and terrifying reptiles have earned a spot in countless films, books, and video games. Today, we're discussing some of our favorite dragons and what makes them stand out to us.
SMAUG - THE HOBBIT
Smaug represents the quintessential medieval western dragon: a ruthless, fire-breathing beast who guards stolen treasure in the mountains and terrorizes neighboring villages by torching and eating as he sees fit.
In Smaug, we see nods to the dragon in Beowulf and to Fafnir the dragon of Nordic myth. We also see the same type of villain as Sauron: greedy, power-hungry, and too ancient and all-consuming to be felled by a single person.
"I kill where I wish and none dare resist. I laid low the warriors of old and their like is not in the world today. Then I was but young and tender. Now I am old and strong, Thief in the Shadows!" - Tolkien, The Hobbit
Though we don't see much of Smaug's character outside of "evil and terrifying," we wouldn't write him off as one-dimensional. Like the myths Smaug is based on, he serves as an allegory for human faults (greed and lust for power) so that the main character Bilbo can become his foil by being the opposite.
“It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life.” - Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
VILLENTRETENMERTH - THE WITCHER
Villentretenmerth is a golden dragon—a breed believed to be extinct or mythical. His polymorphism allows him to take take multiple forms and travel safely is disguise. In his human form, he is a knight by the name of Borch Three Jackdaws.
As Jackdaws, Villentretenmerth carries no traditional weapons; instead, he travels with guards Téa and Véa, twin Zerrikanian warrior sisters who are wholeheartedly devoted to him.
In the limited time we see him in the books and Netflix adaptation, Borch/Villen is a charismatic, interesting, philosophical character. He passes much of this on to his daughter, Saesenthessis, instilling in her a belief that others are equal and worth caring for, in addition to the value of freedom.
RAN AND SHAW - AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER
Dragons were once revered by firebenders and considered the original masters, until Fire Lord Sozin, Zuko's great grandfather, ordered them hunted to extinction and the original meaning of firebending was lost with them.
Zuko's uncle Iroh, however, once encountered two beautiful dragons, Ran and Shaw, who saw in him a worthy soul and blessed him with the knowledge that had been lost. Overcome with the majesty and wisdom, Iroh returned home and lied about having killed the last dragon to spare them.
Years later, after Prince Zuko and Avatar Aang team up, Zuko attempts to teach Aang firebending—the final element Aang needs to become the true Avatar—but finds he's lost the connection to his own power without the rage that fueled him. The two decide to visit the Temple of the Sun Warriors to learn the origin of firebending.
This is where they eventually meet Ran and Shaw, the two dragons who blessed Iroh. When Zuko and Aang are deemed worthy, the dragons guide them into the Dancing Dragon maneuver and impart the same wisdom—that fire is not just destruction, but life—effectively establishing a connection between Zuko and Aang's firebending.
AZYMONDIAS - THE DRAGON PRINCE
Destined to become one of the most formidable creatures in the world, this storm dragon is currently a hatchling whose most lethal weapon is his cuteness. Being so young, Azymondias is playful and curious, though on occasion he exhibits wisdom and empathy beyond his short time in the world.
This dragon prince has spent most of his life with the human prince Ezran, who—because of the tension between the humans and dragons—should be considered his enemy. However, Ezran’s love of animals and ability to telepathically understand them quickly bonds the two. Zym is also attached to their traveling companions, Ezran's older half-brother Callum and the elf Rayla, as he considers them family.
Zym gradually grows from timid and unsure of his abilities to bold as he becomes more confident in himself and his allies need him more. This little dragon is a lover, not a fighter, but he does what's necessary to protect his friends.
SPYRO - SPYRO THE DRAGON
One of our [Jordan and Kori's] earliest memories is learning to play Spyro the Dragon on PS1. Perhaps this game ignited our admiration (*cough* minor obsession) for dragons.
Spyro’s purple color makes him a cutie, but his truly endearing qualities are his willingness to help others, adventurous spirit, curious nature, and energetically confident personality. Despite being younger and much smaller than the other dragons, he's sure of his ability to kick bad-guy butt . . . and adorably excited by the prospect. As he ages, he becomes more mature but retains his mouthiness.
Later, in The Legend of Spyro, it's revealed that though he was raised by dragonflies after his egg was lost, he is descended from a rare breed of dragons capable of wielding all four natural elements (sort of like the Avatar, huh?).
SAPHIRA - THE INHERITANCE CYCLE
Saphira is one of the only dragon eggs left in a world where they've been hunted to near-extinction, along with their dragon riders, by the evil king Galbatorix. When farm boy Eragon stumbles across an egg after an elven princess manages to steal and teleport it from under Galbatorix, he's smart enough to keep it hidden as it hatches and grows . . .
. . . except dragon eggs are only meant to hatch once they've bonded with their rider.
As a full-grown dragon, Saphira is wise beyond her years, motherly, and extremely protective of Eragon. The two train and grow together, but Saphira always serves as the voice of reason and caution to Eragon's youthful brashness.
She lowered her head until it was at his level. He stroked the line of her jaw, and then pressed his forehead against her hard snout and held her as tightly as he could, her scales sharp against his fingers. Hot tears began to slide down his cheeks.
"Why do you cry?" she asked.
"Because... I'm lucky enough to be bonded with you."
"Little one.” - Paolini, Inheritance
ZENNA - SERPENT & DOVE TRILOGY
Despite being one of the more interesting supporting characters of the trilogy, Zenna doesn’t get much page time and there isn’t much info to be found on her. However, whenever she makes an appearance, she's enchanting and feisty.
In her human form, Zenna is a dark-skinned, lavender-haired storyteller traveling Belterra with her romantic partner Seraphine in the Troupe de Fortune. If it were possible to attend one of her magic-accompanied performances, it would be a true gift of an experience.
As a dragon, Zenna carries Seraphine on her back and she derives much satisfaction from burning or eating the enemy’s forces in battle. Reading her bits in the final battle was so much fun. Kori hopes we get to see more of her in Mahurin’s upcoming sequel duology.
TOOTHLESS - HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON
Though he's earned a spot on a post or two here already, we can't talk about dragons without mentioning our beloved Toothless. This multifaceted dragon shows so much personality and emotion without having human speech.
Toothless is playful, caring, considerate, terrifying, sarcastic, protective, loyal, and at times as awkward and goofy as his friend and rider Hiccup.
It's amazing watching Hiccup and Toothless's bond grow and seeing how much the two love each other. The two repeatedly sacrifice for one another and put the other first. As the movies and series progress, we see dragon and rider mature into intelligent and caring leaders.
"I looked at him . . . and I saw myself." - Hiccup, How to Train Your Dragon