Since the dawn of history, humans have been obsessed with huge, fire breathing creatures from mythical tales and stories gone by. Every culture in history has its own take on the mythical dragon, whether it be the more serpentine beast of Asian lore, or the winged behemoth of European literature. Dragons have found their way into every corner of both storytelling and advertising, making appearances across the silver screen, board games, figurines and even roulette games. Let’s take a look at some of the greatest dragons from media history!
Smaug (The Hobbit)
The primary antagonist in J. R. R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel The Hobbit, Smaug is said to be the greatest dragon of his day. Having heard rumours of the great wealth of the Dwarven kingdom of Erebor, he “arose, and without warning came against King Thrór and descended on the mountain in flames”, killing all the Dwarves he could find. After eventually driving the Dwarves out of their home, Smaug lived inside the mountain for the next 150 years, guarding his vast hoard of treasure
Alduin (The Elder Scrolls)
The Nordic God of Destruction, or The World Eater as he’s most commonly know is a Dragon from the world of The Elder Scrolls and the primary antagonist of Bethesda Softwork’s epic fantasy RPG Skyrim. Alduin was first removed from the world of Tamriel as a last resort of the ancient Nord heroes who used an Elder Scroll to force Alduin to become lost in time and never return. However, he was instead sent forward to the Fourth Era, to the timeline of events in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
The Great Dragon/Kilgarah (Merlin)
Kilgarah, voiced by the infamous John Hurt, is an ancient dragon from the BBC Series “Merlin”. Captured and imprisoned in a cave beneath the Kingdom of Camelot by Uther Pendragon at the end of the Great Purge, he was left for over two decades, and is said to be over one thousand years old. Throughout the series, he acts as Merlin’s mentor and close friend, and when he first meets Merlin, tells him of the prophecy regarding his part in uniting the land of Albion with Arthur Pendragon.
Falkor (The Never Ending Story)
One of the most loved mythical characters in film history, and painting a very different aesthetic than most of the characters on our list, Falkor the luck dragon saves the life of Atreyu, the hero of both the novel and the film adaptation. At over 40 feet in length, Falkor has a graceful elongated body of covered in albino soft fur across the entire length of his body. His entire back is covered in pink and white scales, and has ruby red eyes.
Elliot (Pete’s Dragon)
Appearing in both the 1977 original, and the 2016 remake, Elliot is a huge green dragon with a head of pink hair that helps the titular character Pete escape from his abusive foster family, the Gogans. Elliot’s ability to make himself invisible, matched with his incredible clumsiness means Pete is considered bad luck wherever he ends up. After eventually escaping to the town of Passamaquoddy, Pete befriends Lampie the Lighthouse keeper and his daughter, Nora.
Hungarian Horntail (Harry Potter)
Said to be one of the most vicious dragons known to man, the Hungarian Horntail makes its appearance in the fourth Harry Potter book, The Goblet of Fire. The breed is especially aggressive when protecting their young, and along with their viciousness, Horntails are shown to be extremely fast in flight. It has fearsome black scales, and is said to be lizard-like in appearance. It also has yellow eyes, with vertical pupils like a cat’s, bronze horns and similarly coloured spikes that protrude from long tail.
Spyro (Spyro The Dragon)
Making his first appearance in the 1998 video game Spyro the Dragon, Spyro is little purple Dragon with orange wings, curved horns and a spiral-shaped spike on the tip of his tail. He is noticeably smaller than other dragons seen within in the series, a characteristic that aids him in the first game. He is often considered cocky and mischievous with little regard for his own well-being, although always portrayed as a good character.
Deathwing (World of Warcraft)
Deathwing the Destroyer, once known as Neltharion the Earth-Warder, was the leader of the Black Dragonflight. Portrayed as a colossal black dragon with a fearsome orange glow, he is one of the most feared names in Warcraft lore. Once presumed dead, he returned after the fall of the Lich King and vowed to destroy all that stood in his path. The Alliance city of Stormwind was irrevocably altered after his return, with buildings now showing traces of fire damage and the tops of the wall towers emitting an orange glow.