*This article appeared on Writerspace.com April 2019!
My nephew asked me the other day, in the way only teenagers can, “Why dragons?” First of all, I’m not quite sure why anyone would ask that. Seems pretty obvious. However, my answer was, “Can you think of anything cooler?”
Dragons fly and breathe fire. Boom. Coolest things ever. On top of that they are beautiful, in a terrifying kind of way, powerful, and often magical. In every story involving them, dragons are creatures to be feared and respected. Some cultures have even worship(ed) them as deities. If you could shift into any creature, wouldn’t you want it to be the most powerful, awe-inspiring you can find? I would! Hence, writing books featuring dragon shifters.
As a writer, I’m a very visual person. I have to be able to picture everything, like I’m seeing a movie in my head, when I write. This is probably fed by my being a huge movie buff, loving (almost) all genres, all eras, and most mediums giving us moving pictures. So imagine my delight when those motion pictures bring to life one of my favorite things…dragons.
Here are my top 10 dragons in movies (and 1 on TV, because it’s a big one). See if any of your favs are on there…
- The Never Ending Story – Falkor
I’m not quite sure I can call a white thing with a dog’s head a dragon, but he’s classified as one in various lists, so I’ll go with it. A favorite of mine because the movie is a cult classic from my childhood. So of course, Falkor makes the list.
- I Am Dragon – Arman
The only live action dragon shifter on the list. I just saw this “foreign language” film on a streaming service recently. A sweet romance, and I particularly loved the effects of fire lighting his blood from the inside and the ashes and embers that would float around him.
- Reign of Fire – Multiple Unnamed
The premise of dragons taking over the world was pretty far fetched (even for a woman who writes people turning into dragons at will). But the effects were great. I loved how their wings were tattered, showing how they were dying off. I used a similar visual for Pytheios, the Rotting High King in my dragon series.
- Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix – Norwegian Ridgeback
Loved the idea of different kinds of dragons from all over the world—Norwegian Ridgeback, Hungarian Horntail, Chinese Fireball. As always, Rowling’s world building is fantastic with that small twist. Plus, in the movie, the flying chase scene was fantastic.
- Eragon – Saphira
Finally we get a female dragon (and the only heroine dragon on the list) going up against the big boys. The fight scene with the wraithe dragon was excellent. I also love the relationship between dragon and rider.
- Dragonslayer – Vermithrax Pejorative
Another movie from my childhood, this one may have started my fascination with dragons in the first place. Vermithrax was terrifying. Still is, even if the effects are now a bit dated. And we get to see a mama dragon mourning her young.
- The Hobbit – Smaug
Brilliant move, casting Benedict Cumberbatch for Smaug’s voice. But, as with all Peter Jackson’s films, Smaug is brought to magnificent life with superb special effects. The gold in the scales, slithering around the cave, crashing through stone barriers. The details are fantastic.
- Sleeping Beauty – Maleficent
Maleficent is my favorite Disney villain or villainess. Slighted, cold, ruthless, and determined to have her revenge. The fact that the woman can shift into a dragon just makes her bad ass.
- How to Train Your Dragon – Toothless
I love everything about this series of movies. I love Toothless—his personality and abilities and how rare he is. I love his relationship with Hiccup. I love that he becomes a leader of his kind. I also love all the different kinds of dragons in this world.
- Game of Thrones – Drogon, Viserion, Rhaegal
It’s TV instead of movies, I know. But HBO has outdone themselves with these dragons. We’ve got to see them go from eggs, to babies, to bigger and bigger, to holy-crap-that-dragon-could-eat-me-with-one-chomp. Seeing the different ways they fly and crawl and fight and roar. Seeing them interact with Daenerys is beautiful. And now an ice dragon?!?! All in technicolor detail. Just doesn’t get better than this!
So… what about you? Did I miss a particular movie/tv dragon that you think just has to be on the list? Check out this Wikipedia list of dragons in film and share your favorite(s) with me! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dragons_in_film_and_television