Some of you may not know this, but in January there was a day called Dragon Appreciation Day. A coworker puts out these calendars with all the days each month. It’s WEIRD how there is a day for everything under the sun. Part of me thinks a good chunk of that shit is made up. I bring this up because I meant to do this list in time for that day, but seasonal depression and the difficulties of a new job and training for it, along with me being back in school to get certification to help my career along has made it difficult to write anything. For those of you who follow the written project I have been doing, don’t worry. It hasn’t gone anywhere. I am working on the next piece. But since I don’t want to leave you all thinking “why do I sub to this dude, again?” here is my list of the top 10 fictional dragons.
Dragons are rad as fuck. They have been in every nation’s history, probably because they found dinosaur fossils and believed they had unearthed mythical monsters. Hell, if you listen to that crazy Christian woman who was at the museum talking about how it’s bad because creationism, you’d think that all dinosaur fossils are ancient dragons. But they have captivated human imagination, and never stopped. To this day, we still love them and love to talk about them. With that in mind, here are the fire-breathing monsters in my youth that have captured my interest.
I bet a fair amount of you don’t know what I’m talking about. This was a FANTASTIC short film by a European company called the Blender Foundation. The CG animation was gorgeous, and it told a poignant and tragic story. Part of that was Scales, a dragon that the titular protagonist found with a wounded wing, all alone. A street urchin herself, she took pity on it and nursed it back to health. The two made quite a pair, until one day Scales is taken away from her by a larger dragon. What follows is Sintel traveling far, far away to find her lost friend, into a kingdom that is barred and protected to keep humans from entering. But she’ll do whatever it takes to get her friend back, no matter how tragic that story may end. If you haven’t seen this short film, please do. I know for a fact it’s on YouTube. Scales is a cute character and his relationship with Sintel is just adorable.
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Some of you probably know that this game is one of my favorite games of all time. And this boss was the fantastic ending to what was a relatively ho-hum temple. The Fire Temple isn’t bad at all. We all know the one genuinely bad Temple in that game. But it wasn’t especially interesting, either. Coming after the almost-flawless Forest Temple, it was just okay. However, all of that doesn’t factor in the absolutely awesome boss fight with this dragon. Taken from the Chinese dragon design, this long, snake-like monster can appear and disappear into the lava. It’s flaming red hair can be used as a weapon, but the primary weapon it has against you is its teeth and it’s flame. You put the Megaton Hammer to work smashing it in the skull, before you can then whip out your sword and go to work. Not the hardest fight, but it had all the presence and tension that a fight like this needs.
This little guy has been one of the mascots of Playstation for a long time. He starred in three fun platformers in the PS1 days, but then things kind of tapered off. However, that is before he was given a spectacular remaster for the current generation. The new game was just a joy to play. Not only were the visuals spectacular, but the gameplay was spot on, and the voice acting was playful and fun. Spyro is a fun-loving, mischievous trouble-maker who has a bad habit of getting himself into trouble but still going out of his way to do the right thing. If you had a love of this character when you were younger and haven’t played the Reignited Trilogy, you owe it to yourself to do so.
Among the most well-known of the Studio Ghibli films, this movie tells the story of Chihiro and her journey into the spirit world. One of the characters she meets is the young sorcerer protege Haku. He’s a gentle soul, who goes out of his way to look after her. However, he also has another side of himself. A darker side. See, part of his contract with the witch Yubaba was that he would help her with her dirty work. As such, he is able to transform into a dragon and be able to fly. A majestic creature, it doesn’t help that the most exposure we get of him is when he’s bleeding everywhere when paper creatures are attacking him. Still, the flight scene on the way back to the bathhouse is incredible. The animation, the flight, the acting, I love it all. He’s a great character, and a badass dragon to boot.
6. The Firebending Masters
Avatar: The Last Airbender
This series is magical. The greatest kids show ever made, bar none. The third season was where it was at its best. Not just in narrative, but also in animation. Zuko becomes Aang’s firebending teacher, but he seems to have lost the flame himself because he let go of anger as his motivation. The two of them go to the ancient land of the Sun Warriors to study the ancient source of firebending. Once there, they find that the Sun Warriors are still alive, and as is their method of firebending. After a trial, The Firebending Masters appear. Two dragons, the last of their kind. Iroh claims to have killed them, but lied. After finding Zuko and Aang worthy, they show them the truth about the technique, in one of the most incredible pieces of animation I have ever seen. The third season was REALLY where this series took off, animation-wise. We don’t get to know much about these characters, but in one episode they leave a BIG impression.
5. Meta Ridley
This guy has been in pretty much every incarnation of this franchise. Partly because Nintendo couldn’t make an original concept if it reached up and bit them in the ass. However, some incarnations are better than others. Since I never owned any of their consoles past the Gamecube, the last version of this franchise I got to play was Metroid Prime. And let me tell you, the jump from 2D to 3D couldn’t have been handled more seamlessly. This game was phenomenal! It’s sequel was a little less, but I won’t hold that too much against the creators of this one. And in this game, the best boss fight, by far, is with an old friend of Samus – Meta Ridley. Given new weapons, armor, but with the same killer instinct, Ridley is back to square of with her once-again. This fight was incredible. The setting was perfect. You’re about to head to the final area, got yourself all geared up, and then he drops in and decides to fuck up your day. And fuck up he does! Meta Ridley is a DAMN good boss fight. If you aren’t on your A game, you’re gonna die. It’s a great fight, and the ending is pretty damn awesome too. Alas, this franchise can never let him die. Partly because Nintendo is about as original as a turkey sandwich with their IPs.
Now, some of you are gonna call foul with this one. I mean, Gyrados is not a dragon type, specifically. Originally I was thinking about Charizard, but he isn’t a dragon type either. However, when you think about dragons in this franchise, I bet that many of you had him be the first thing that came to your mind. Same here, so I feel you. Gyrados is one of the coolest Pokemon ever. He can learn Dragon Rage, a powerful spell, along with several other dragon attacks. He’s a water type, but I wouldn’t fuck with him. Not to mention, if you look up some of the realistic versions of this character, you see that he is fucking terrifying! When you can go from one of the lamest Pokemon in his first form to one of the coolest in this one, that’s something special. Not technically a dragon, but I’m not gonna say that to his face.
Final Fantasy franchise
This dragon is about as iconic as it gets for this franchise. I genuinely can’t think of a game in it that doesn’t have him represented to one extent or another. Coming in all kinds of forms, from two wings, to four wings, to six wings, to a giant airship (the dumb version), and even a knight with dozens of swords, each form has one thing in common – they are ALL insanely powerful. I’ve talked before about how my favorite version is from Final Fantasy X. In that game, he comes from a Fayth in the city of Bevelle. His human form is a young child. Wise, quiet, but very much in need of Tidus’ help. See, the Fayth are tired of existing. They want to be free, and need Tidus’ help to get their freedom. Sin has to be killed, permanently. Doing so will save Spira, but will destroy all of them in the process, letting them finally have rest. In the end, Yuna does just that, and it is a terribly bittersweet end to him and all the other Aeons. Regardless which version is your favorite, this franchise is better for his inclusion.
2. King Ghidorah
King Ghidorah vs Godzilla
I see that this character is going to be in the new Americanized Godzilla film releasing this summer. I don’t really care. Why? Because I didn’t particularly like the last film. The new Godzilla looks like a fucking dork. I don’t like the pudgier, less intense version of the character. Maybe the next film will get it right. Unsure. But the version of this character I remember is the one from the original film. I LOVE the old-school Japanese Godzilla movies. The rubber suits, the terrible effects, and watching it without subtitles, I could fill in my own dialogue and it made the films all funnier. Like making my own abridged versions of them. And of those films, the version of my favorite villain was King Ghidorah. This guy is just the best. A three-headed dragon where all the heads move clearly on strings or something. The effects are so laughable, but they are played straight with all the passion you can expect from Japanese film. I genuinely love this character, and the battles between him and Godzilla are among the best they’ve ever done.
And my favorite fictional dragon is…
1. All of them
A Song of Ice and Fire series
I tried to pick from this franchise. Originally I thought of having Drogon from the TV series based on these books, but a couple years back, I got a book that George R.R. Martin helped write called The History of Ice and Fire. In it there were some of the most amazing illustrations. No joke, whoever the artist(s) are for that book, they should be commended beyond belief. It was incredible to look at. And in that book were some illustrations of other dragons. Like the one in the image thumbnail, Balerion the Dread, personal dragon of Aegon Targaryen, the Conqueror. That thing looks incredible! These creatures have such a huge history in this series, and the show has these great history bits in the extras that talk about them in even greater detail. I love them all, and while the latest season of the series has its faults, it is still pretty great too. Take that for what you will.
What about you? Got any dragons that you love that I didn’t list? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time, a quote,
“But the Princess told the Queen that the Targaryens were not wanted in Dorne, and no Martell would bow, bend, or break no matter how badly they burned. Rhaenys could have mounted her dragon right then an roasted Marya in her castle as her brother had done at Harrenhall. But whatever she saw in Marya’s eyes scared her right back to King’s Landing, with her dragon’s tail between its legs.” – Varys, Game of Thrones