For today’s topic, I am pondering dragons. I like dragons. They’re cool.
Anyway, I started wondering what were the coolest dragons ever? Since I am partial to fairy tales and myths, and several fantasy tales contain dragons, it got me thinking about my favorite dragons. Here are the dragons I think deserve the top ten treatment.
10 – The Red Dragon from Dungeons & Dragons – How can you mention fantasy and not think of Dungeons and Dragons? Admittedly, I have played a little, but not enough to personally encounter a dragon of any form. From what I know from the D&D manuals, though, I think the Red Dragon sounds most like what I think a true dragon would be. Greedy and seeking treasure more than anything else. That is the definition of a dragon!
9 – St. George and the Dragon – This classic legend provides a basic framework as to what a true dragon is. Terrorizing the land, demanding a daily human sacrifice. And I like the similarities to Dragonslayer – with the king using a lottery to pick the dragon’s next victim. The princess is the next in line. But here comes good St. George to slay the dragon and rescue the princess. Great stuff!
8 – Draco – Two dragons could vie for this spot. Draco is the name of the dragon in the 1996 movie Dragonheart. This Draco is definitely worthy for the spectacular special effects devoted to him in the movie. However, Draco is also the name of the constellation of the dragon in the sky and comes from Greek Mythology. Whether he is the dragon slain by Cadmus or Hercules and placed in the sky by Juno, I don’t care. Either way, a dragon in the sky is a cool concept and must make my list.
7 – Chinese Dragons – One must respect the great Chinese Dragons. Although I’m not very familiar with Chinese Dragons, I know there are several different kinds, but they aren’t big fire-breathers and don’t fly through the sky. They are a whole other type of dragon. Still, I will add them to my list as a group because everyone has heard of Chinese Dragons. I mean, the whole nation of China could be represented by a dragon symbol. That’s pretty big.
6 – St. Beatus’ Dragon – Okay, here I am greatly biased. I admit I really didn’t know much about St. Beatus or the dragon he supposedly slew in the Lake Thun area of Switzerland until I had the opportunity to visit the area and take a tour through the caves myself. So, having been through the caves myself, I mean, come on! I have to put this dragon on the list somewhere. I mean how cool is it to get to go through the dragon’s lair yourself, in person? Ultra-cool! You rock, St. Beatus Dragon!
5 – Yamata-no-Orochi – This is a dragon from Japanese legend and completely fits the bill for what I consider to be a great dragon. This one, slain by a warrior named Susanoo, sounds super scary. He demands a daughter a year from an old man and his wife and has eight heads. Demanding human sacrifice and it has eight heads? Yeah, this one sounds pretty damn bad-ass.
4 – Tiamat – More modern depictions of Tiamet show her as a several-headed dragon. There is also some debate as to whether she was a sea serpent or a dragon, but it is agreed that she is female, and to me, female dragons are cool, especially since they’re so strong and powerful. Tiamat appears in Babylonian mythology as a goddess and mother to other gods. When she is eventually killed, her severed body parts become the earth, the sea, the stars, with her weeping eyes being the source of the Tigris and the Euphrates. Because she is ancient in myth, but endures to this day, Tiamat has to be high up on the list.
3 – Maleficient – This is the dragon from Walt Disney’s version of Sleeping Beauty. She is super-cool and scary and about everything I would expect of a dragon. I just can’t put her higher, though, because in the original fairy tale version of Sleeping Beauty, she is not really a dragon. Still, she just has to come in high because if as a kid you’ve ever watched Sleeping Beauty, then you know Maleficient is just so much THE dragon.
2 – Smaug from The Hobbit – Going from the book (not the movie), Smaug is a super-cool dragon, terrorizing many over the years, stealing and guarding a hoard of gold and treasure. Smaug even talks, so I have to give big kudos there, because talking dragons are a common characteristic of fairy tales. And if you’ve read much of this blog, by now you know I LOVE fairy tales. However, (I know my husband would disagree with me) I have to relegate Smaug to number two status because of number one below.
1 – Vermithrax from the Dragonslayer movie – Okay, hands down, Vermithrax is the greatest dragon of all time. Maybe it’s because I saw this film at a young, impressionable age, but for me this dragon just fits the definition of what a dragon is supposed to be. We even get to see baby dragons in this classic film. And dragons are not watered down or nice in any way, shape, or form. I mean, in Dragonslayer there’s the virgin sacrifices, the dark cavernous lair, fire-breathing, wizards, the lake of fire, and the final battle between the wizard and the dragon, complete with an angry dragon flying through the night sky as he holds the old wizard in his claws. I mean, come on, hands down, THIS is what a dragon is supposed to be!
Hence, Vermithrax, you get my ultimate dragon of all-time award. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s been too long, I think I need to see about finding a copy of Dragonslayer to watch again . . .
What dragon is your ultimate dragon? Tell me by clicking the comment cloud at the top of this post.