Created By: LOAD on October 25, 2012 Last Edited By: LOAD on January 27, 2013
Troped

Dragons Prefer Princesses

Dragons Steal Princesses

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
This is one of the older tropes. Everyone knows how the typical Dragon myth goes. A dragon either steals a princess or a princess is given to that dragon as an offering. Where the story goes from there is not always so clear, but the beginning is where the trope lies.

For some reason, dragons just have an attraction to princesses. Maybe royal blood tastes better. Maybe they want someone to talk to. Maybe it's just a status symbol. Whatever the reason, they tend to show up in each other's company.

Related to Save the Princess and Damsel in Distress.

Examples:

Fairy Tales
  • In The Brothers Grimm's "The Two Brothers", one brother wins a princess by rescuing her from the dragon. (She is the last of a long line of maidens sacrificed, a common element in this story.)
  • In The Three Dogs, the hero also fights a dragon and saves a princess.
  • In The Three Princes and their Beasts, the oldest prince kills the dragon and saves a princess.
  • In The Nine Pea-Hens and the Golden Apples, the prince rescues a princess from a dragon. When it chases after them, their horses talk, and the dragon's horse is persuaded to throw and kill it.
  • In The Merchant, a merchant's son saves the princess.
  • In The Little Bull-Calf, a boy runs away from his wicked stepfather with the calf, because his father gave it to him, and with its advice succeeds in killing the dragon.

Film
  • Dragonslayer (1981). A kingdom chooses which virginal young woman will be sacrificed to a dragon by drawing lots. When Princess Elspeth learns that the King has made sure her name is never included in the lottery, she rigs it so that her name is chosen, and voluntarily goes to the dragon. Unfortunately she pays the price for her honesty and is eaten by the dragon's babies.
  • Shrek has the major quest involve Princess Fiona locked up in a tower that is guarded by a dragon. Donkey falls in love with said dragon and has children. Similarly, Shrek and Fiona become a couple.

Literature
  • Played with in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede. While dragons do traditionally kidnap princesses, Cimorene fled to the dragons in Dealing with Dragons to escape traditional life as a princess and forge her own path. Most of the princesses are in fact captives and rather silly.
  • As The 500 Kingdoms books are based on Traditional myths and fairy tales, most evil dragons find themselves forced to capture a maiden, preferably a princess, at some point. Forms a major plotpoint in the second book, One Good Knight, which is 1/3 the myth of Andromeda, 1/3 George and the Dragon, although the dragon didn't actually have much choice in the matter, being under a compulsion at the time. and 1/3 trying very hard NOT to have the endings of either of those legends happen.
  • The Dragon Hoard has a Story Within a Story about a princess who is kidnapped by a dragon. She inadvertantly wins her freedom when she tries to mollify it by spinning straw into gold; it turns out the dragon is allergic to gold, and it lets her go before she can do any more damage.
  • Inverted in The Paper Bag Princess. A dragon carries off Prince Ronald, and Princess Elizabeth sets out to rescue him.
  • In Guards, Guards, it's mentioned that noble dragons prefer to eat females of noble blood because they taste better.
  • In John Moore's Slay and Rescue, dragons capturing princesses is such a common problem that Prince Charming has rescues down to a fine art, even though he's still too young (and too polite) to ask any of the princesses for the reward he'd really like.

Music
  • There's a Brodignabian Bards song that asks the question of why dragons kidnap maidens..it turns out yes, they do taste better.

Myths and Legends
  • In Greek myth Andromeda was nearly fed to the sea dragon Cetus to punish her mother. Luckily Perseus happened to be passing by.
  • In the popular medieval legend of Saint George and the Dragon, there is a town the inhabitants of which appease a dragon living in a nearby lake by giving it their sons and daughters as food. Saint George, a soldier/knight, comes by just in time to rescue the king's daughter by defeating the dragon.

TabletopGames
  • In The Dark Eye, the more powerful dragons occasionally do this. However, they're typically after entertainment, not food, and prefer nobility because they tend to be better conversationalists.
  • There's at least one Dungeons & Dragons supplement that mentions a dragon who, using her natural shapeshifting, would disguise herself as a maiden. Either as a trap or to be "rescued" by a knight.

Toys
  • The pinball machine Medieval Madness has a ramp devoted to saving various damsels from dragons. The quality of the princesses vary. For example, one is a Jewish princess, and another is a pastiche of Eliza Doolittle.

Video Game
  • Played with in the video game Choice of the Dragon. One of the choices offered to the player character is whether to be the kind of dragon that kidnaps princesses. Options include "Yes, because it's Traditional" and "In the interests of gender equality, half the time I kidnap princes instead".
  • Super Mario Bros. deserves a honorable mention, even though Bowser isn't really a dragon.
  • The hero's first mission in Dragon Quest I is to rescue the princess from the evil dragon that captured her. This is only half the game, though, as you still need to defeat the Dragonlord.
  • In King's Bounty The Legend, Princess Amelie fears that she may be kidnapped by a dragon, as she's a princess, but is sure that the main character will save her. At the very end, she is kidnapped and taken hostage by Haas, the Big Bad dragon.
  • Dragon's Lair, of course, has princess Daphne kidnapped by the evil Dragon Singe. You play as Dick on his way to rescue her.

Web Comic

Western Animation
  • In Potatoes and Dragons, the King keeps calling for knights to kill the dragon that lives near the palace, for fear it might kidnap his daughter; unbeknownst to him, the princess has befriended the dragon and is actively thwarting each attempt on its life.
  • Gender Flip in Jane and the Dragon, in which the Dragon kidnapped Prince Cuthbert because he believed the prince could translate the runes on his cave wall.
Community Feedback Replies: 56
  • October 25, 2012
    Telcontar
    The "given to that dragon as an offering" bit is covered under Chained To A Rock and Fed To The Beast.
  • October 25, 2012
    shimaspawn
    You need to flesh out examples a bit more. Explain how the work uses the trope. For example:

    • Played with in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede. While dragons do traditionally kidnap princesses, Cimorene fled to the dragons in Dealing with Dragons to escape traditional life as a princess and forge her own path. Most of the princesses are in fact captives and rather silly.

    See the difference between the way I wrote it and the way you did? That's the proper way to do things.
  • October 25, 2012
    LOAD
    ^Sorry. I wrote this up right before I had to go somewhere and I didn't want to forget the idea. I'll add yours.
  • October 25, 2012
    Irrisia
    As The 500 Kingdoms books are based on Traditional myths and fairy tales, most evil dragons find themselves forced to capture a maiden, preferably a princess, at some point. Forms a major plotpoint in the second book, One Good Knight, which is 1/3 the myth of Andromeda, 1/3 George and the Dragon, although the dragon didn't actually have much choice in the matter, being under a compulsion at the time. and 1/3 trying very hard NOT to have the endings of either of those legends happen.
  • October 25, 2012
    SKJAM
    There's a Brodignabian Bards song that asks the question of why dragons kidnap maidens..it turns out yes, they do taste better.
  • October 25, 2012
    PaulA
    • Played with in the video game Choice of the Dragon. One of the choices offered to the player character is whether to be the kind of dragon that kidnaps princesses. Options include "Yes, because it's Traditional" and "In the interests of gender equality, half the time I kidnap princes instead".
  • October 25, 2012
    PaulA
    • The Dragon Hoard has a Story Within A Story about a princess who is kidnapped by a dragon. She inadvertantly wins her freedom when she tries to mollify it by spinning straw into gold; it turns out the dragon is allergic to gold, and it lets her go before she can do any more damage.
  • October 25, 2012
    PaulA
    • In Potatoes And Dragons, the King keeps calling for knights to kill the dragon that lives near the palace, for fear it might kidnap his daughter; unbeknownst to him, the princess has befriended the dragon and is actively thwarting each attempt on its life.
  • October 25, 2012
    LOAD
    Not completely related to this, but, before I make a YKTTW for it, does anyone think we need a trope for Dragonslayers?
  • October 25, 2012
    MrRuano
    Shrek has the major quest involve Princess Fiona locked up in a tower that is guarded by a dragon. Donkey falls in love with said dragon and has children. Similarly, Shrek and Fiona become a couple.
  • October 25, 2012
    Dacilriel
    Literature:

    Inverted in The Paper Bag Princess. A dragon carries off Prince Ronald, and Princess Elizabeth sets out to rescue him.

    You probably ought to link this to Save The Princess and Damsel In Distress.
  • October 26, 2012
    TBTabby
    In Guards, Guards, it's mentioned that noble dragons prefer to eat females of noble blood because they taste better.
  • October 26, 2012
    Arivne
    Film
    • Dragonslayer (1981). A kingdom chooses which virginal young woman will be sacrificed to a dragon by drawing lots. When Princess Elspeth learns that the King has made sure her name is never included in the lottery, she rigs it so that her name is chosen, and voluntarily goes to the dragon. Unfortunately she pays the price for her honesty and is eaten by the dragon's babies.
  • October 26, 2012
    MattStriker
    Tabletop Games
    • In The Dark Eye, the more powerful dragons occasionally do this. However, they're typically after entertainment, not food, and prefer nobility because they tend to be better conversationalists.
  • October 26, 2012
    LOAD
    Can someone give an improved description?
  • October 26, 2012
    FalconPain
    The pinball machine Medieval Madness has a ramp devoted to saving various damsels from dragons. The quality of the princesses vary. For example, one is a Jewish princess, and another is a pastiche of Eliza Doolittle.
  • October 27, 2012
    LOAD
    bump
  • October 30, 2012
    LOAD
    bump
  • November 6, 2012
    LOAD
    Bump
  • November 13, 2012
    shimaspawn
    Mind if I beef up the description? That's really what it needs at this point.
  • November 14, 2012
    DracMonster
    Dragons Prefer Princesses for some alliteration
  • November 14, 2012
    Arivne
  • November 14, 2012
    LOAD
    @Shimpspawn

    Go ahead.

    Dragons Prefer Princesses can work. I'm not a huge fan but if there's nothing else, I'll be fine with it.
  • November 16, 2012
    Stratadrake
    What about "Damsels And Dragons"?
  • November 16, 2012
    LOAD
    Does anyone know how to make a name vote?
  • November 16, 2012
    shimaspawn
    ^^ That would be inaccurate and misleading as it's specifically about Princesses and not any woman.
  • November 16, 2012
    HaggisMcCrablice
    I feel like Super Mario Bros deserves a mention, even though Bowser isn't really a dragon.

    • Very well. Subverted in The Legend Of Zelda cartoon, when a beautiful maiden was threatened by a three-headed dragon. She pitched a hissy-fit when the princess appeared and saved her rather than dashing hero Link. Of course, it was all part of Ganon's trap to cast a spell on Link; the dragon and girl were in cahoots, and the "girl" was really a mummy sorceress in disguise.
  • November 16, 2012
    Xtifr
    Literature:

    • In John Moore's Slay and Rescue, dragons capturing princesses is such a common problem that Prince Charming has rescues down to a fine art, even though he's still too young (and too polite) to ask any of the princesses for the reward he'd really like.
  • November 17, 2012
    Stratadrake
    @shima: Well, that's too bad.
  • November 17, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    Bowser is a dragon. Turtle. Thing.
  • November 20, 2012
    LOAD
    bump
  • November 27, 2012
    Wyvernil
  • December 3, 2012
    LOAD
    bump
  • December 4, 2012
    justanid
    Here's the alternate name vote.

    @Stratadrake: 2nd for Damsels and Dragons. because it's not always princesses, just more often a female of nobility than not.

    • There's at least one Dungeons And Dragons supplement that mentions a dragon who, using her natural shapeshifting, would disguise herself as a maiden. Either as a trap or to be "rescued" by a knight.
  • December 4, 2012
    Mauri
    Well it is a common hook but then it can be satirized as hell. Comic Books (that can also be written as webcomics):
  • December 4, 2012
    PsiPaula4
    Actually, Bowser is an Ox-Turtle. However, his ox traits still resemble a dragon; like the horns on his head. Doesn't explain his dragon-like tail, sharp teeth and firebreathing capabilities though.
  • December 4, 2012
    LOAD
    ^I'd say Bowser is close enough for an Our Dragons Are Different.

    EDIT: Bowser is on the Video Games page. He fits this trope.
  • December 4, 2012
    shimaspawn
    Bowser is effectively an Ox-Turtle-Dragon, and thus counts.
  • December 4, 2012
    DaibhidC
    • Gender Flip in Jane And The Dragon, in which the Dragon kidnapped Prince Cuthbert because he believed the prince could translate the runes on his cave wall.
  • December 4, 2012
    Goldfritha
    Fairy Tales
    • In The Brothers Grimm's "The Two Brothers", one brother wins a princess by rescuing her from the dragon. (She is the last of a long line of maidens sacrificed, a common element in this story.)
    • In The Three Dogs, the hero also fights a dragon and saves a princess.
    • In The Three Princes and their Beasts, the oldest prince kills the dragon and saves a princess.
    • In The Nine Pea-Hens and the Golden Apples, the prince rescues a princess from a dragon. When it chases after them, their horses talk, and the dragon's horse is persuaded to throw and kill it.
    • In The Merchant, a merchant's son saves the princess.
    • In The Little Bull-Calf, a boy runs away from his wicked stepfather with the calf, because his father gave it to him, and with its advice succeeds in killing the dragon.
  • December 5, 2012
    MorningStar1337
    I would change the title to Distressed Damsel and Dragon.
  • December 5, 2012
    LOAD
    ^ Added that to the name vote.
  • December 8, 2012
    LOAD
    bump
  • December 9, 2012
    Onitatsu
    In Kings Bounty The Legend, Princess Amelie fears that she may be kidnapped by a dragon, as she's a princess, but is sure that the main character will save her. At the very end, she is kidnapped and taken hostage by Haas, the Big Bad dragon.

    By the way, I'm not sure if Andromeda counts. That was a Sea Monster, not really a dragon.
  • December 9, 2012
    LOAD
    ^I'm keeping Cetus. The monster is mentioned in multiple dragon books as a type of sea dragon.
  • December 9, 2012
    Xtifr
    BTW, John Moore (Slay and Rescue) can be made into a blue-link now.
  • December 9, 2012
    shimaspawn
    Distressed Damsel and Dragon is a terrible name for a trope that:

    • Is ONLY about princesses.
    • Does not require any distress on the part of the princess.

    It's inaccurate on all counts solely for the purpose of alliteration.

    Dragons Prefer Princesses?
  • December 23, 2012
    LOAD
    Bump
  • December 23, 2012
    Onitatsu
    Oh, yeah, I almost forgot:

    • Dragons Lair, of course, has princess Daphne kidnapped by the evil Dragon Singe. You play as Dick on his way to rescue her.
  • January 13, 2013
    LOAD
    Bump
  • January 13, 2013
    Catbert
  • January 13, 2013
    LOAD
    ^The name needs to be changed.
  • January 13, 2013
    LordGro
    Legend
    • In the popular medieval legend of Saint George and the Dragon, there is a town the inhabitants of which appease a dragon living in a nearby lake by giving it their sons and daughters as food. Saint George, a soldier/knight, comes by just in time to rescue the king's daughter by defeating the dragon.

    I think the greater trope is that dragons have a tendency to steal/eat virginal young maidens (= damsels), although the damsel that is bound to play an actual role in the story will almost always be a princess.

    Edit: The Other Wiki calls this trope Princess and Dragon. Edit2: Added Princess And Dragon to the crowner.
  • January 14, 2013
    Arivne
  • January 14, 2013
    LOAD
    ^be sure to do it on the name vote. There's a link somewhere here.
  • January 14, 2013
    LOAD
    Alright. This looks launchable except for the name. Is everyone alright with Dragons Prefer Princesses?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=uxhcjg0iqt1obr27kq9xolry&trope=DragonsPreferPrincesses