When Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons
and Evil Is Cool
When your work of fiction has several dragons running about, how do you give the viewer a way to quickly tell which is the most dangerous? Color it black. Black dragons reign over their lesser, more diversely colored brethren. They likely command them, or are the most powerful and ferocious, and are more than likely evil.
This can occur for a multitude of reasons. As always, Dark Is Evil
, the black color showing the dragon as a force of evil, and historically in Europe dragons were seen as a destructive and malicious force, and in many legends as well as modern culture, dragons are considered the most powerful and dangerous of foes. Thus, villainous dragons will often be shown as black in color and as the controlling force of some lesser group of villains, who may also be dragons.
Subtrope of Color-Coded for Your Convenience
and Law of Chromatic Superiority
Anime and Manga
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! the Red-Eyes Black Dragon plays with this trope. It's Jounouchi's trump card and one of his best, but is weaker than the Light-attribute Blue-Eyes White Dragon. However, the Red-Eyes boasts numerous alternate powered-up forms that surpass Blue-Eyes, and in the real card game the Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon is one of the most powerful Dragon cards. Its evil status is similarly zig-zagged, used by the antagonist Dinosaur Ryuzaki before he lost it to Jounouchi, and in the spinoff Yu-Gi-Oh! GX it's the deck archetype of the antagonist Nightshroud.
- Voltron: The Third Dimension, Voltron was given an Evil Counterpart in Dracotron, formed from five robot dragons. The leader and the one that formed the torso of Dracotron was the black dragon Draco.
- Acnologia, The Black Dragon of the Apocalypse from Fairy Tail is regarded to be the strongest dragon in the verse, that even Dragon Slayer mages fear it. It is later revealed that Acnologia was originally a human who defeated so many dragons that he eventually became one. As said by the Jade Dragon, no dragons have wings the color black.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, Drogon, the largest and fiercest of Daenarys's three dragons, is black, while his two siblings are green and gold. Further up the family tree, while it's unknown what colors the dragons of Aegon Targaryen were, the most powerful was Balerion, called "Black Dread".
- Ancalagon the Black was the largest and most powerful winged dragon bred by Morgoth in The Silmarillion (though wingless Glaurung was older), and strongly implied to be the most powerful dragon ever, as referenced by Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings. He led other dragons in the Last Stand of Angband, Morgoth's stronghold, and his defeat by Earendil pretty much spelled the end of the War of Wrath.
- In Temeraire the all-black Chinese Celestials (of whom Temeraire is one) are among the most powerful of all dragon breeds, in both armament and intellect. In a subversion of the villainous part of the trope, only one known Celestial was evil, and she was the one that wasn't black.
- The Legend of Zelda Oracle games, the Big Bad of Seasons, Onox, is revealed to be a Dark Dragon.
- Pokémon, numerous Dragon-type Legendary Pokemon exist, two of which, Zekrom and Rayquaza's alternate coloration, are black, the others have various colors. Aside from them, the two strongest Dragon-types are Garchomp and Hydreigon, the former is dark blue and the latter is blue and black. Charizard receives two Mega Evolutions in X and Y versions, and its Y evolution which grants it the Dragon-typing is black.
- Pokémon Conquest, the Big Bad Nobunaga uses Zekrom and Black Rayquaza, the latter particularly standing out for the only instance of an alt-colored Pokemon in the game. He also uses the Garchomp line.
- Final Fantasy, Bahamut is referred to by many titles, including the King of Dragons, or even king of all monsters, and is considered the most powerful of summons. His coloration varies, but is usually dark grey or blue, and sometimes plain black.
- Alduin the World-Eater from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the only black dragon in the base game. The Dragonborn expansion adds extremely powerful black Serpentine Dragons.
- This trope is Played With in the second Spyro the Dragon trilogy. Both Spyro and villain are purple dragons, but the villain is significantly darker in colour. Cynder- a cynical Child Soldier who eventually betrays the villain- is dark indigo to Spyro's violet.
- In World of Warcraft, the black dragonflight is supremely evil and rules over the other evil dragonflights. Averted in Warcraft III, when black dragons have the same stats as their differently-colored counterparts.
- In NetHack, black dragons are the most dangerous, breathing a disintegration blast that can kill the player instantly.
- Disgaea, the strongest of the Dragon class is Bahamut, and the strongest of the Great Wyrm class is Kagutsuchi. Bahamut is black and Kagutsuchi is dark grey-blue with a black mane.
- In Breath of Fire IV, the ultimate dragon form of the God Emperor Fou-Lu is the gigantic, black Tyrant.
- In Chrono Cross, there's a group of six dragons, each one of a different colour. Although the white dragon is the leader of the dragons, the black dragon is actually the hardest to defeat.