A list of franchise dragons divided into tiers, which franchise’s dragons are fire and which ones don’t scale well…?
Every self-respecting fantasy series has got a dragon. Dragons are awesome, we all love dragons. But have you ever wondered: how do these dragons compare to each other?
Well that’s what we are going to be discovering today.
A comprehensive list of every dragon ever rated against each other would be an enormous project and there are many a film or TV series that I have not seen that might contain dragons within them. To get past this, I have decided to only compare dragons in franchises that have three or more movies or big, successful TV shows. I will exclude anime as well because it is not a subject I know enough about. I will be including book lore where appropriate and if there are two significantly different types of dragon power within a franchise (book, film and/or TV show), I shall include the franchise twice in the appropriate tier (this will make more sense later).
So, in reverse order, let’s see who’s dragon up the rear.
Warning: this article contains SPOILERS.
Toilet Level: The Commode-o-dragons
How to Train Your Dragon (regular dragons):
Although some of the dragons in How To Train Your Dragon are really cool, the majority of them seem pretty dim-witted creatures that have trouble burning down villages of blundering idiots and seem to pretty much capture themselves. Some of the regular dragons are fairly powerful though. For example Stormcutter (Hiccup’s mum flies one of these) is fairly large and incredibly manoeuvrable and the Death Gripper (the scorpion like dragons in the third film) are incredibly strong, aggressive and can spit acid. But being able to tickle a dragon to sleep or distracting them with a light reflection like a cat definitely puts these dragons right in the bottom tier.
Now, I have only watched the first series of The Witcher (the only one currently out at the time of writing) and read the first two books but I’ve seen the golden dragon Villentretenmerth which is perhaps considered the most powerful in the Witcherverse (from the information I can find on the subject with a quick google anyway).
And I can tell you, I am not impressed. Not only does the TV version look awful, the only thing he does is blow one blast of fire and leaves the rest to Yennefer and Geralt. In the book he is a little more impressive, killing a knight and a group of dragon hunters with ease. However, he is later bested by some local militia. That’s right, a bunch of farmers and tradespeople get the best of the most powerful dragon in the franchise. He is only saved by Yennefer and his two Zerrikanian girlfriends. I mean, really?
About Average on the Dragon Scales
“Alright, nobody move! I’ve got a dragon and I’m not afraid to use it. I’m a donkey on the edge!” There is only one dragon in the Shrek universe, and that is the imaginatively named “Dragon”. She is a red, female dragon who is lonely, single and very much ready to mingle (not necessarily with other dragons apparently).
She’s pretty big, being approximately 30 meters long and can breathe fire hot enough to melt a sword in an instant (as we see in Shrek The Third). She is also very strong, able to push a large prop tower over with ease, smash apart stone and fling Shrek all the way to the highest room in the tallest tower. She has killed many (presumably quite accomplished) knights; the evidence of this is littered around Fiona’s castle. However, she does get defeated quite easily twice when she plays the antagonist role, chains seeming to be her weakness.
As much as I’d like to put the Harry Potter dragons higher up on this list, I simply can’t for one reason. In the Goblet of fire, FOUR STUDENT wizards best four very dangerous dragons and all defeat a dragon to claim the golden egg. If students can defeat them with something as simple as a conjunctivitis spell, then no matter how cool or ferocious they are, I can’t put them any higher.
They are impressive though. The most dangerous being the Hungarian Horntail, which is the breed Harry faces in the Triwizard Tournament, who can smash rock with his tale, as well as breath fire and all dragons are classified as XXXXX creatures, the highest danger category of magical creature there is. Other notable dragon species include the Swedish Short-Snout which can reduce timber and bone to ashes in seconds and the Ukrainian Ironbelly (the dragon guarding the Lestrange Vault in The Deathly Hallows is one of these), which is said to be the largest of all the known dragon breeds, weighing in at up to six tonnes.
Game of Thrones (TV show):
Probably my favourite aspect of the Game of Thrones show is how cool the dragons look. Boy, did they do a great job with them. They look better than the majority of major blockbuster film dragons in my opinion and are suitably destructive as well. The three we have in the show are Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion, with Drogon being the largest and most aggressive of the three.
They are all absolute power houses though, destroying an entire fleet of slaver ships in season 6, Viserion wrecks The Wall when he is resurrected by the Night King and Drogon practically single handily takes Kings Landing in season 8, destroying the entire Iron Fleet, puts the Golden Company in disarray and smashes apart the Red Keep. They are big in the show as well (having been scaled up from the books), in an interview with entertainment weekly for season 7, one of the directors says that they are the size of 747’s, which puts them in the range of just over 70 meters long with a 64 meter wingspan. However, his size is likely to be an exaggeration however, if you compare Daenerys’s size to Drogon. If you want a Game of Thrones dragon that is likely to be this size, if not bigger, then you’re going to love Balerion…
Game of Thrones (books):
A Song of Ice and Fire has loads of dragons in its lore, many of which fight in a big Targaryen civil war called the Dance of Dragons. I absolutely love all of the Targaryen backstory and I would definitely recommend The World of Ice & Fire and Fire & Blood if you are interested but let’s talk more specifically about a few individual dragons. The one that stands out head and shoulders above the rest is Balerion, the Black Dread. He was Aegon the Conqueror’s dragon and was an absolute monster. His dragon fire was so hot, it melted and twisted the very walls of Harrenhal, it was said he could swallow an aurochs (or some even say a mammoth) whole and could cast a shadow big enough to cover a town. We don’t know exactly how big Balerion was but it we imagine scaling up the proportions of the dragons in the TV show so that an elephant sized creature could fit within its jaws, then you get an idea that this guy was bloomin massive.
Two other dragons I would like to mention are Vhagar and Caraxes. Vhagar was ridden by Queen Visenya (one of Aegon the Conqueror’s two wifes/sisters) but would go on to be ridden by a few other riders. By the time of A Dance of Dragons, Vhagar had grown to roughly the size of Balerion, just as battle hardened and had a roar so loud it shook the foundations of Storms End. Caraxes was the dragon that killed Vhagar, even though it was half the size. Incredibly ferocious and experienced in battle, Caraxes locked its jaw into Vhagar’s throat as Vhagar tore off Caraxes’s wing and opened his stomach up.
They plummeted into the Gods Eye (a lake) as Caraxes ripped out Vhagar’s throat and both died, but not before Caraxes manages to crawl out of the lake with his entrails falling out. This dragon was a beast!
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (films):
We only get one dragon in any of the films (no, the Fellbeasts’ are not dragons) and that is Smaug. He was the last great dragon in middle earth who destroys Dale, unseats a dwarven kingdom of Erebor single handily and annihilated Lake Town before being brought down by an insanely lucky shot from Bard the Bowman. He is by far the most intelligent dragon mentioned so far (except for Villentretenmerth perhaps) with the ability to talk and is incredibly quick witted, like all dragons in the LOTR world. Also, in The Desolation of Smaug, he can survive unharmed from being entirely submerged by molten gold.
The film version of Smaug is known to be 130 meters in length and bigger than two jumbo jets, however I do not think he is described as being this massive in the book. In an interview, George R.R. Martin says that Smaug could easily beat Drogon in a fight but would be much better matched vs Balerion (which is the main reason Smaug is in this tier). I personally think that this could be an interesting fight, but I think Smaug would definitely win due to his superior intellect.
How To Train Your Dragon (Alpha):
It is possibly controversial to put the Alpha Dragons from How to Train Your Dragon this high in the tiers, but I think it is certainly well deserved. With the exception of Toothless, they are HUGE! The Red Death (the boss dragon in the first film) is reckoned to be 121 meters long with a wingspan of 167 meters, whereas the largest of the HTTYD dragons are the Bewilderbeast (the second film has two which have an epic fight) which is 158 meters long. Rather than breathing fire and flying, the Bewilderbeast breaths big ice blasts, are excellent swimmers and fight by using there tusks in the same way that male elephants do.
They can also control other dragons using their eyes and ultrasonic noises, which would prove very useful in a fight with any of the other dragons on this list. Toothless may seem like the odd one out with the known alpha dragons but he is also very impressive, being incredibly quick, intelligent, stealthy and can shoot a plasma blast capable of downing the Red Death. I think the alpha dragons are very suitable for this tier.
Top of the Rept-pile
The Lord of the Rings (book):
Now, finally, we have reached the very apex of the dragon world. The Dragons in The Lord of the Rings (or more specifically The Silmarillion) could arguably be placed into the previous tier but there is one dragon that elevates the franchise to well above everything else we have considered so far. We’ll get to him in a second, first we’re going to talk about a couple of other notable dragons. The Fire-Drake of Gondolin was a dragon the participated in the Siege of Gondolin and was said to carry a group of balrogs into battle. Anything that can carry multiple balrogs must be enormous so definitely worth mentioning.
Glaurung, known as the Father of Dragons, was the first dragon in Middle-Earth. He was created by Morgoth in the First Age and even before he was fully grown, he was a terror to Elves and Men. However, when he was fully grown, he led Morgoth’s armies to two victories where one of the big deciding factors was Glaurung’s sheer destructive abilities. He then went on to sack Nargothrond, an Elven fortress before finally being killed later by one of the great Silmarillion Heroes (or anti-hero depending on who you ask), Turin Turambar. He could also cast spells on people’s minds using his eyes, a trick he used on both Turin and his sister Nienor. We’re unsure how big Glaurung was but most graphs put him as being a fair size bigger than Smaug.
Now it’s time for the big one, Ancalagon the Black. When the host of Valinor came and decimated Morgoth’s armies, he unleashed his final gambit, a fleet of Fire-Drakes led by Ancalagon, who is said to be the largest dragon to ever live. The Valar were pushed back but Eärendil armed with a Silmaril on his big, magic, flying boat (Vingilot) and the great eagles led by Thorondor (who had a 55-meter wingspan!) took the fight to the dragons. They fought Ancalagon and his dragons for 24 hours before Eärendil slew him. Casting him down, his fall smashing apart the Towers of Thangorodrim. To give you an idea of Ancalagon’s size, the Towers of Thangorodrim were not simply towers, they were three massive active volcanos that were the tallest mountains in Middle-Earth. A drawing by Tolkien himself, if to scale, puts these mountains at roughly five miles across. So, to destroy all three would have to put him at least the size of two of these mountains, which were 35,000 feet high. Ancalagon is by far the most impressive of any of the dragons in any of the franchises I have mentioned.
There we have it, our franchises placed in order. How do you think I did? Did I put anyone in the wrong tier? Have I missed any franchise? Let us know in the comments. What would your tier list look like? I hope you all have as much fun reading this article and daydreaming about dragons as I did writing about them.
Article written by FinalBoss guest contributor, our very own Dragon Rider, Callum Royal.