Who is Fiction's Greatest Dragon?

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Toward the end of season six of Game of Thrones, we started to see quite a bit of Daenerys Targaryen's dragons. In particular Drogon, the biggest and seemingly most important of the three, pretty much demonstrated an ability to wipe out entire armies. And somewhat surprisingly, the winged, mythical beasts that some might worry could make this dramatic political series a little bit cheesy have actually proven to be incredibly effective on screen. Seeing Daenerys summoning and riding Drogon, or simply watching her dragons wreak havoc, made for some of season six's most impactful moments. 

It also made us think: who is fiction's greatest dragon? There's no correct answer of course, but let's go through 10 of the candidates from literature and cinema alike. 


We've already covered Drogon to some extent, but the fact that he's the head dragon (more or less) on the biggest show on TV gives him a strong argument as the best of the bunch. He may be the most realistically animated we've ever seen as well, and he might play the most important role in a narrative if he ends up helping Daenerys conquer the Seven Kingdoms in Game of Thrones. Plus, it's pretty cool that Emilia Clarke (who plays Daenerys) calls for him even when she's not filming the show


No list like this one would be complete without a shout-out to an old-school kaiju-style dragon, and that's why King Ghidorah deserves mention. If you're not familiar with this character, it's a giant three-headed dragon monster that appeared in a 1964 film called, you guessed it, Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster. Naturally the animation was cruder and as a result the monster was goofier than what we're used to now, but Ghidorah still belongs (and kinda rules!).


There's a reason most everyone with an interest in fiction knows the term "Norwegian Ridgeback." This is a fictional breed of dragon invented by J.K. Rowling for the Harry Potter franchise, and one Ridgeback in particular, Norbert, is one of the more peculiar dragon characters we've seen. This site did its own list of the 10 best dragons specifically in literature, and actually ranked Norbert third behind the Game of Thrones dragons and a certain Tolkien villain coming up later on this list. That's a bold ranking given that Norbert is an adolescent, but the character was still an endearing aspect of Harry Potter. It also gave us an early understanding of Hagrid's love of monsters. 


To emphasise that some of the best dragons we've seen have been silly, it only feels right to mention Mushu, the little red beast voiced by Eddie Murphy in Disney's Mulan. A tiny dragon with an inferiority complex and a hunger for glory, Mushu provided comic relief throughout a movie that was already one of Disney's funnier ones. 


Just as Mushu is a more playful dragon; Toothless is the main beast in How to Train Your Dragon and has captured the adoration of a whole generation of kids (and their parents). He may not be the most menacing on this list, but he might be the cutest and may even have an argument as the most beloved.


Never mind that he's part of one of the most iconic series in literature and film (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, though admittedly more the former). Never mind that he was animated brilliantly and voiced to perfection by Benedict Cumberbatch in The Hobbit films. Smaug also embodies the traditional mythical custom of dragonhood, if you will. That's to say, he hides out in a cave outsmarting explorers and hoarding treasure. In fact, this platform for Irish lottery users wrote up an article about the richest fictional characters not long ago, and Smaug nearly topped the list! With an estimated worth of £42.4 billion, he's pretty much doing what dragons are meant to do—and doing it well! 

Eustace Scrubb

Written into C.S. Lewis's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and played by Will Poulter in the most recent Narnia films, Eustace Scrubb is primarily a human child. However, he's part of a fable worked into The Voyage of the Dawn Treader that's actually one of the more charming dragon stories in literature. Eustace is a greedy and selfish boy who falls asleep in a dragon nest wearing an arm bracelet and wakes up as a dragon (a symbol of his greed) with the same bracelet cutting into his arm. He's ultimately saved, but his time as a dragon makes him less selfish. Incidentally, he was a pretty beautiful animation in the 2010 film. 


The Eragon film might have flopped (at least critically), but the book saga is a guilty pleasure for a lot of fantasy fans. Written by Christopher Paolini before he was even 20 years old, Eragon presents a dragon named Saphira who may be the deepest dragon in literature in terms of character. Not too many dragons speak (or speak very much), and yet Saphira communicates (via telecommunication, more or less) with the titular character throughout the book and whole series. It's a unique presentation of a dragon and one that carries the series. 


No, not Malfoy. Draco was the name of the Sean Connery-voiced dragon in 1996's Dragonheart. Like Saphira, he was more expressive than we ordinarily see in dragons. And besides that, he was voiced by Sean Connery! Need we say more? 

Black Beast of Argh

More properly referred to as the Legendary Black Beast of Aaaaarrrrggggghhhhh, this is the dragon to remind us that dragons, ultimately, are absurd. In case you've forgotten what we're referring to, here's a look at the character's scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. One shivers at the sight!

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