Dragons are one of the most popular mythological creatures in literature and have been enchanting readers for centuries. They're everywhere, from the ancient dragons of Greek, Roman, Norse, and Chinese mythology to the more modern dragons of today’s epic fantasies. They’re so popular that there’s even an official Appreciate A Dragon Day every January to “encourage you to explore the cultural significance of the dragon in your society and history."
Here’s a look at the ten best dragons in literature.
Toothless,—How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
While the book differs from the wildly popular movie, they both feature the same amazing friendship between Hiccup the Viking and Toothless the dragon. In both, Hiccup rescues Toothless and trains him in his own way, resulting in the two become an impressive duo and heroes of their clan.
Viserion, Rhaegal and Drogon—A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin
It’s impossible to separate these three brothers, as they were hatched together, grew up together, and fight together. These three brothers immediately bonded with Daenerys Targaryen when they hatched and over the course of the books have become her fiercest defenders and protectors. All Danenerys has to do is say “Dracarys” and her fire-breathing companions will lay waste to entire armies and cities.
Jabberwocky—Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
The Jabberwocky is one of Lewis Carroll’s most ridiculous poems, but it introduces us to a dragon that has earned its spot in literary history. Described as “a ferocious dragon with jaws that bite, claws that clutch, and great eyeballs of fire,” this character fits perfectly into the weird, wacky, and delightful world of Wonderland.
Eustace Scrubb—The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis
Eustace, the insufferable cousin of Lucy and Edmund, is a pain to have aboard the Dawn Treader. That is, until he picks up a gold bracelet from a dead dragon’s hoard and finds himself turned into a dragon for his greed. It’s through this transfiguration and imprisonment in a dragon’s body that Eustace finally realizes how greedy and terrible he’s been. While he was much better as a dragon, Aslan did eventually forgive him and turn him human again.
Falkor—The Neverending Story
Falkor doesn’t fit into the typical dragon stereotype, but he deserves a place on this list as much as anyone. He’s a Luckdragon and while he’s not particularly magical or even very strong, he is favored by fortune. It’s this element that makes him the perfect companion for Bastian on his quest to save Fantasia.
Maur—The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
As the last great dragon of Damar, Maur terrorizes the country, destroying everything in his path and defeating any knight that has gone up against him. Aerin-sol is the only one who can defeat him and she rides against the great dragon in battle in order to save her kingdom.
Norbert(a)—Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
Hatched from an egg by Hagrid, the half-giant falls in love with the tiny Norwegian Ridgeback. However, the dragon grew (as all creatures tend to do) and became too violent and dangerous to keep. Hagrid released Norbert into the care of Charlie Weasley, who took the dragon to a keep in Romania where it would be safe.
Saphira—Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Eragon and Saphira bonded immediately after Saphira was born. This bond runs deep, allowing them to communicate via a form of telepathy in addition to feeling one another's emotions. These two have each other’s backs at all time, going into battle together to defeat the invading army.
Kazul—Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede
In order to escape a forced marriage, Princess Cimorene runs away to voluntarily become Kazul the dragon’s captive. Kazul is a kind master, who teaches Cimorene about dragons, magic, and anything else her curious mind inquires about. Kazul and Cimorene become close friends, relying on each other often over the series of books, with Kazul always helping where she can.
Smaug—The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
Is any dragon in literature more well known, well loved, and well feared than Smaug? This ancient dragon has long resided in his lair deep in the Lonely Mountain. With his incredible wit and cunning keeping him alive for all those years, he certainly doesn’t expect to meet his match in the form of a tiny, determined hobbit.