This creature has four legs and no wings.

When the legends, beliefs, and celebrations involving this creature call it a “dragon”….. it’s a freaking dragon.

This creature has two legs and four wings.

When the source material this creature is from decides that it is a “dragon”….. it’s a freaking dragon.

These creatures have four legs and two wings.

When the source materials they are from designate them as “dragons”…… they are freaking dragons.

These creatures have two wings and two legs.

When the creators and adaptors of these creatures designate them as “dragons”……

They are freaking dragons.

(that last one, Smaug, is also often referred to as a “drake” and a “wyrm” by the source material, as well! Though in the books he has four legs, not two! This was changed so he could he more expressive, using his wings as hands.) 

The creators and adaptors of these source materials all had something we know as “creative freedom.” Sometimes, stifling peoples’ creative freedom can be annoying to them. Condescending to people with claims that all things must fit into a fictional set of labels of your choosing often has unfortunate results.

For instance, you can refer to that last set of creatures as “wyverns” all you want. Whether you see that category as a “type of” dragon, or a different creature altogether– that’s your choice. No one can stop you!


If I refer to one of them as a “dragon”, and you say, to my face:

“…..Actually, that’s not a dragon, it’s a wyvern”…

I will promptly shove you, and your entire family, into a locker.

This has been a PSA

Calling all y’all readers and movie-watchers and fans around:

I’m looking for books and movies and stories, even fanfics, where the main character is friends with the ‘monsters’. Unlikely friendships. Teaming up with the ‘bad guys’ and learning that everyone’s the same and character development.

These are my faaaaavorites because it’s always about having a deep emotional connection with your friends (which my antisocial ass likes) instead of just being friends because of proximity and mutual interests (which my antisocial ass is kinda eh about).

Stuff like Trollhunters:

Originally posted by trollhuntersfandomblog

Or Dragonheart:

Originally posted by graciekane

Or Gargoyles:

Originally posted by feraliqatr

Or A Monster in Paris:

Originally posted by sydneypie3

Or How to Train Your Dragon:

Originally posted by waytoomuscularfortheirtaste

Or Ninja Turtles:

Originally posted by mikeyhotnunchuckfury

Or Alien vs Predator:

Originally posted by alebrixes

Or Transformers:

Originally posted by true-fan-transformers

Or Strange Magic:

Originally posted by deluxetrashqueen

If anybody has any suggestions, I’m always a slut for genuine friendship.

My dearest dragons

“The unholy offspring of lightning and death itself" 

"Breathing intense, hot flames, it can melt almost anything. Its breath inflicts terrible pain on enemies.”

“What is your wish?”

Originally posted by dragonballzforlife

“Norbert is a Germanic first name, 

derived from nord (“north”) and berht (“bright”).”

Originally posted by 11-white-dragons

“I don’t envy the one who gets the Horntail. Vicious thing. Its back end’s as dangerous as its front.”

“The beast’s scales had turned pale and flaky during its long incarceration under the ground; its eyes were milkily pink; Its great spiked wings, folded close to its body, would have filled the chamber if it spread them.”

“And the Scrolls have foretold, of black wings in the cold, That when brothers wage war come unfurled! Alduin, Bane of Kings, ancient shadow unbound, With a hunger to swallow the world!”

“I would name them all for those the gods have taken. The green one shall be Rhaegal, for my valiant brother who died on the green banks of the Trident. The cream-and-gold I call Viserion. Viserys was cruel and weak and frightened, yet he was my brother still. His dragon will do what he could not.”

“And the black beast? Asked Ser Jorah Mormont.”
“The black” she said “is Drogon”

“I am fire. I am death”

“ Luckdragons are creatures of air, warmth, and pure joy. Despite their great size, they are as light as a summer cloud, and consequently need no wings for flying. They swim in the air of heaven as fish swim in water. Seen from the earth, they look like slow lightning flashes. The most amazing thing about them is their song.“

“Spyro’s main attacks consist of ramming his opponents with his long horns or breathing fire at them.”

Originally posted by avalars

“None of us can choose our destiny, Merlin. 

And none of us can escape it”

“To the stars, Bowen. To the stars.”

Originally posted by mihtrandir

“Dishonor on you. Dishonor on your cow”

“It is our destiny to attempt the impossible, 

to accomplish great deeds regardless of fear.”

Originally posted by diimortales

“The princess shall indeed grow in grace and beauty, beloved by all who know her. But… before the sun sets on her 16th birthday she shall prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die!”

“Can’t catch me, Fifi!”

“My real name is Nigihayami Kohaku Nushi.“

"They were the ultimate firebenders. And if you could conquer one, your firebending talents would become legendary and you’d earn the honorary title, Dragon. The last great dragon was conquered long before I was born, by my uncle.”

Originally posted by avatardforlife

Some movies that I got to rewatch

Originally posted by stitchthebest36

Originally posted by fadingchildhoodmemories

Originally posted by killall-enemies

Originally posted by smiletotheshadow

Originally posted by disneyfeverdaily

Originally posted by thisonetraveler

Originally posted by easycompany

Originally posted by thortortle

Originally posted by rocktheholygrail

Originally posted by wolvesandleylines

guywithnowitt-deactivated201604  asked:

Which dragons would you say are good examples to study from to figure out traits and personality when trying to create a dragon character?

Well, first and foremost: I have a very specific idea about how dragons should be characterized that is far from universal.  I state this because I am 100% certain that at least a handful of my followers will passionately disagree with my answer to this question should they read it, and I am also 100% certain they have a right to disagree.  Dragons mean something very specific to me, and most people either have a much more lax idea of what they should be, or a very specific idea that is staunchly opposed to my own.  ALL are perfectly valid because dragons are made up and can be anything we choose to make them be.  I personally choose to make them something very specific, because that’s how I like my dragons.

In short, if someone reads this and says, “I disagree!”, they are right to do so.  If someone reads this and says, “I agree!”, they are also right to do so.

So before I list my literary examples of how to make a good dragon character, I should define what my idea of a good dragon character is, right?  Because again, in an OBJECTIVE sense, a good dragon character is as simple as “I made a character and said it’s a dragon.”

Here are my (personal) requirements for a dragon character, in bullet point form because I’m feeling a bit lazy:

- A dragon is a reptile first and foremost, and should have personality traits derived from reptiles.  Reptiles study things very closely before they act.  Reptiles are big on perception - they stare very pointedly at objects of interest.  Reptiles mix huge bouts of inaction with quick and precise action - a snake’s sudden strike, a crocodile’s lunge out of the water, a lizard’s sudden snap at a passing insect.  Reptiles are calm and reserved for the most part.  And while this may just have been a quirk of my bearded dragon, reptiles also have a really good, “What the fuck are you doing?” look.  No one can make you feel stupid with a glance the way a lizard can when its confused by what you’re doing.  You can spin a good character out of those traits, and most of my favorite dragon characters do.

- Dragons are creatures of immense power and significance, even amongst other monsters.  There’s a reason dragons were so common in heraldry: they were impressive monsters.  While lions were the kings of beasts, and basilisk the kings of serpents (which, in Medieval zoology, meant king of reptiles and amphibians basically), dragons were something beyond that.  Dragons were disasters made flesh, a fierce force of nature that did not give a flying fuck about royalty.  Dragons were BEYOND mortal authority, and only the best of humanity could defeat them.  While there are more than a few comedic and underwhelming dragons I enjoy, most of them are defined as being abnormal for their kind - a dragon should be a big deal.

- Dragons are primal.  One of the symbolic aspects of dragons was the fact that they embodied all four elements.  They breathed fire, often lived by or in water, could access the riches of the earth (a trait held by most serpents), and could fly through the air.  As masters of the elements in the wild, dragons were tied to the raw, ferocious power of the savage world.  Dragons ARE the wild, the embodiment of everything strong that opposes civilization and humanity’s dominance of the planet.

- Dragons affect their environment.  A lot of dragons are venomous, and their presences can cause plants to wilt and certain wildlife to die off, letting only the most vicious and human intolerant life live around them.  They can be accompanied by earthquakes, marshes, plagues, and other things that make it hard for people to have farms and build castles.  A dragon’s presence makes things less hospitable for humans.

- Dragons are proud.  This is partly due to Christian influence - snake tempts Adam and Eve, snake is eventually interpreted as being the devil, snake = all reptiles, devil = pride, all reptiles = pride.  However, non-Christian cultures, including those that predate Christian influence,  will include this trait too, so it may not be entirely Christianity’s fault.  Either way, in both the West and East, dragons tend to be prideful creatures.

- Dragons are semi-social.  Even in Western myths, there are numerous accounts of dragons forming social bonds with others.  There are just as many myths about viciously anti-social dragons that lash out at anyone who comes near.  This is actually another reptilian trait, as a lot of reptiles - including most lizards - are semi-social animals.  This means that while they don’t need social bonds, they can form them.  Humans are purely social animals - we need social bonds.  Tigers are fairly antisocial animals - the really don’t like company.  Lizards, and dragons, are semi-social - they can get along just as well with company as they can without.  A dragon would never place the need on companionship that a human would - but they wouldn’t be opposed to it either.

A lot of my view on dragons comes from mythology - particularly looking at the nuances of it.  It’s really common, ESPECIALLY nowadays, to say that dragons were pure evil in Western mythology, and that they should just be the most revolting and awful things imaginable because that’s how myths and art portrayed them.  This is bullshit a drastic oversimplification of the truth.  There are good number of Western myths that portray dragons as revolting creatures, and the vast majority of Western dragons are antagonistic if not outright malevolent.  However, there are also a good number of myths in Western culture where dragons are neutral or even good.  There are several with dragons that are impressive in addition to being terrifying. There are even some stories with tragically sympathetic dragons - the story of Maude and the wyvern, which is one of my favorite myths, is a goddamn tearjerker for the poor reptile, who is explicitly portrayed as a victim of prejudice who is forced into acting monstrously.  There are even numerous Christian stories of saints who redeem dragons, making the creatures tame and benevolent only for the vicious townspeople to beat the poor creatures to death - one even ends with the townspeople realizing how horrible they were and renaming their town in honor of the poor martyred reptile.  There’s moral complexity in these medieval stories that a lot of people overlook in favor of presenting themselves as part of a more enlightened modern culture - or to have an excuse to demonize a reptile.

Ok, so, let’s finally answer your question: which characters in fiction are good examples of my (personal, subjective, not universal) standards for a dragon?

I’m going to boil this down to the three roles a dragon can play: villain, hero/heroic supporting character, and beast.

The best dragon character in fiction, at least for my idea of a dragon, is J.R.R. Tolkien’s Smaug from The Hobbit.  As always, I am going to stress that this is the book’s version of Smaug, not the crappy live action movie Smaug, and not even the Smaug from the 1977 cartoon, who I love but who didn’t quite reach the full potential of the character.  Smaug is a character I think a lot about, and may be on of my favorite characters of all time because he is just so well done you guys oh my god.

All of my rules for dragon characters are embodied by the literary Smaug.  He is an immensely powerful beast, whose name and status as a dragon inspires dread even in the hearts of thirteen axe wielding warriors whose daily life is full of trolls, goblins, and monstrous spiders.  He’s also incredibly cunning and collected.  When a thief breaks into Smaug’s home, the dragon doesn’t freak out.  He doesn’t immediately fly into a rage and run about his room looking for the guy.  He doesn’t, say, start a long protracted chase scene that is generic as hell and just… just fucking sucks.  No, Smaug is confident in his strength.  Smaug has a reptile’s patience.  He raises his head and looks around calmly.  He doesn’t have to rush things to find the guy, because he knows he will eventually.  He can wait - he just needs one perfect strike, so why rush things?

And when the hidden burglar starts to talk, why, Smaug talks back!  He’s polite and playful, and even though he throws out the occasional not-so-hidden insult, you get a sense that he really enjoys the conversation.  While he has no intention of making friends with the burglar, he does manage to enjoy the company - even if part of the reason he does is because he knows it will be all the more satisfying to eat this guy once he’s defeated the little turd intellectually by guessing his riddles.  Smaug takes pride in his strength of mind as well as his strength of body - Smaug likes to be clever as well as strong.

Smaug’s presence has caused desolation.  Crops don’t grow in his domain, and the humans that live by his mountain have been reduced from prosperity to living on scraps.  Even while sleeping, his presence is a grim specter that looms over the town.  When roused, he is a natural disaster on wings, bursting from the mountain to raze the town with smoke and flame like a living volcano.  Smaug is a primal force, and only a courageous man who is unusually attuned with the natural world can find a way to stop the tremendous beast.

I just… I can’t emphasize how much I love this character.  Though he has precious few scenes, every one of them is so perfectly written to give you a full, three dimensional understanding of what this monster is about.  Tolkien does so much with so little, and it’s no surprise that Smaug is so often imitated, even if few have ever come close to matching his complexity.

Smaug isn’t the only great dragon character Tolkien’s written about, though.  He’s the best by far, don’t get me wrong, but Tolkien’s two other big dragon characters - Glaurung from the various unfinished bits of Middle Earth stories that precede The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is pretty great.  He’s more of a henchman than an alpha villain like Smaug, but he’s a DAMN good henchman, and a spiteful, unrepentant dick to top it all off.  Glaurung is so wicked he even uses his death to fuck the hero over, making sure any victory over him is Pyrrhic at best.  There’s also Chrysophylax Dives from “Farmer Giles of Ham,” who is a far more comedic dragon that’s less evil and more a haughty asshole.  Chrysophylax is still an imposing villain even if he’s not as cruel or wicked as Smaug, and while he’s played for laughs he still fits most of my dragon criteria.  You might also like to do what Tolkien did and look at Medieval myths for inspiration - a lot of Smaug and Glaurung’s characterization comes from Fafnir in The Saga of the Volsungs, and Tolkien also took a lot of inspiration from the dragon from Beowulf.  All of these stories are an acquired taste, though - medieval literature, as well as “Farmer Giles of Ham” and the unfinished tales that Glaurung come from (which imitate the styles of medieval lit REALLY WELL), is very hard to read, because the story telling conventions are so different from ours today.  You need an accurate translation to get the full view of the characters - but accurate translations are hard to read if you’re not trained on how to read them.  You could go for an easy to read translation, but they almost always simplify the monster characters - few easy to read translations of The Saga of the Volsungs even remember that Fafnir could speak!

So yeah, Smaug is the quintessential villain dragon, and also a good pattern for heroic dragons as well (make him less of a dick and you have a good template for a heroic dragon).  What are some others?

For heroic dragons, I’d suggest looking at Draco from Dragonheart.  Say what you will about the movie’s overall quality, it does a damn good job with Draco.  Like Smaug, Draco is very much above humanity in terms of his power and connection to the natural world, and as a result he has a very alien worldview compared to the human characters.  Unlike Smaug, Draco is burdened by that power.  Draco wants to be a moral being - he wants to be good, and that’s hard when you have as much power as he has, and the longevity to see the full consequences of your actions.  What might seem like a good deed in the heat of the moment could have disastrous consequences in the future.  It makes him a hermit that’s reluctant to interact with the world, and he acts with trepidation that humans - passionate, short lived humans - don’t understand.  Draco can value human company and their worldviews, but he’s also infuriated by their lack of foresight - and especially at their impudent demand that he take action, when they don’t have to deal with the consequences of that action the way he has to.  There’s a loneliness to Draco’s power that’s really interesting, and an inherent tragedy to the way these squabbling humans take advantage of him throughout the story.  He is very much symbolic of nature - something powerful and beyond our full comprehension that we nonetheless abuse and violate, until it finally expires to save us from ourselves.

Yeah, try watching that movie with a smile on your face now.

I’d also suggest looking at the dragons from Flight of Dragons - y'know, that corny 70’s cartoon.  Smrgol, Gorbash, and Bryaugh are all pretty great examples of supporting character dragons that have varied personalites that are all equally valid.  They’re just really great.

Finally, for dragons as beasts, I suggest looking at the How to Train Your Dragon movies.  Again, there’s a broad spectrum of personalities displayed here, but they work really well with my (personal) rules for dragons.  They get the “Dragons are reptiles” part right in particular - there is a lot of reptilian body language in their dragons that I really appreciate.  Granted, they also mix in a lot of cat body language.  That’s ok too - cats and reptiles actually have a lot in common, including being semi-social creatures, and the two work pretty well together.  I get a little annoyed that people seem to ONLY notice the cat body language, but that’s my pet peeve, not yours.

Let the flame wars begin.