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[[quoteright:279:[[Disney/{{Aladdin}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/scaled_up.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:279:"A ''[[SmugSnake snake]]'', am I? Perhaps you'd like to see how ''{{sssssnake|Talk}}like I can be!''"]]

->''"I will not turn into a snake. It never helps."''
-->-- '''EvilOverlordList''', 'Rule 34' [[note]]No, not [[RuleThirtyFour THAT one]][[/note]]

There's probably something [[FauxSymbolism symbolic]] about the tendencies of a villain to turn into a snake. In the West there is a strong established symbolism for snakes as symbols of evil from Literature/TheBible (most famously the serpent in the Garden of Eden) and Myth/NorseMythology, and there's {{Orochi}} in Myth/JapaneseMythology. Adding onto this, there is the fact that when walking in the wild, it's generally not a good idea to stop and pet a snake.

Of course, the result of all that symbolism is that when a villain turns into a snake there can be no doubt about the [[DesignatedVillain evil nature]] of a foe, and it gives TheHero a [[WhatMeasureIsANonCute comfortably scary]] and suddenly [[NotEvenHuman less human foe]] to kill.

[[GenreBlind Villains do love their symbolism and cliches]], however, so despite how often this trope tends to end with the villain chopped up on the hero's sword, (usually rather easily too) villains everywhere still love the order Squamata because, of course, SnakesAreSinister. Think about it for a second: how often have you ever seen a villain turn into, say, a bear, a rhino, a lion, a koala, or something else that would actually be useful?

This trope is not strictly limited for the bad guys. However, when it's the good guys doing this, they typically turn into dragons instead of snakes. Note that since Disney's ''Disney/SleepingBeauty'', many villains have also turned into fire-breathing dragons.

Extra points if the protagonist is female.

A [[SubTrope specific variant]] of OneWingedAngel. Villains transforming into a dragon can fall under DragonsAreDemonic. [[JustForFun/IThoughtItMeant If you're looking for]] video game characters being shown as grotesquely oversized compared to their surroundings on an overview map, that's over at UnitsNotToScale. Also not to be confused with MakeMyMonsterGrow.



* A drug PSA features a drug dealer who gets more snake-like towards the end. WebVideo/JonTron had a field day with it.

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Orochimaru from ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' probably takes inspiration from his namesake {{Orochi}} and does this in the series. [[spoiler:He gets taken out by a certain IneffectualLoner after said loner's FaceHeelTurn]]. Though [[spoiler:his chances as a snake were probably better than a drugged-up old man who was near-dying, and he apparently didn't have a choice in the matter]].
** Rather, Orochimaru takes his inspiration from the original Orochimaru, who likely gets it from ''his'' namesake Orochi.
** Later, he takes on a Hydra form to fight an attack called Susano, named for the god that killed the eight-headed serpent Orochi. It doesn't go well for him -- he was mythologically doomed to lose that fight.
** In contrast to the above, [[spoiler:Kabuto/[[FanNickname Kabuchimaru]]]] turning into a snake let him escape a trap and kidnap someone on his way out. He later "evolves" this snake form into [[spoiler:an EvilCounterpart to [[TheHero Naruto]]'s [[SuperMode Sage Mode]], changing from a snake to a ''dragon'']].
* A MonsterOfTheWeek from ''Manga/InuYasha'' does this. Notable as he actually put up a pretty decent fight while in humanoid form, (thanks to a magic trident) but got carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey post transformation.
** That's technically a reversal; said monster was a water snake spirit who stole the trident from the local river goddess, so he didn't change into a snake, he changed ''back'' from his assumed human form.
* In ''OnePiece'', Boa Marigold and Boa Sandersonia turn into half snakes (a King Cobra hybrid and an Anaconda hybrid, respectively). They fare pretty well against Luffy…up until the point where he [[LetsGetDangerous stops holding back]].
* In the first episode/chapter of ''Manga/BusouRenkin'', one of Kazuki's teachers morphs into a cobra-like creature. He manages to swallow Kazuki's sister Mahiro whole, but gets thoroughly dismantled by Tokiko without even getting a chance to attack. ''Laaaaaame.''
* ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'': During the climactic fight at the end of the first anime season, Beatrice summons meta-Kinzo, who immediately gives an EvilLaugh, turns into a ''dragon'', and tries to eat meta-Battler's face, only to be stopped by a non-magical explanation and blasted to pieces by a multitude of flying spikes that accompany Battler's signature dramatic gesture.
* Inverted by ''Anime/MobileFighterGGundam'''s Cobra Gundam, which starts off as a {{Naga}} and can separate into a humanoid HumongousMecha and a mechanical snake, operated by the pilot's pet snake.
* In ''{{Manga/Berserk}}'', the Apostle form of the Baron of Koka Castle is a disturbingly Freudian snake-monster who actually manages to land a few good hits on Guts ([[MadeOfIron although, pretty much every Apostle lands many good hits on him]]). He still doesn't last very long though, due to Guts unloading his ArmCannon right into the Baron's face and then hacking him in half in one blow with the [[{{BFS}} Dragon Slayer]].
* ''Manga/{{Claymore}}'' has [[spoiler:Ophelia]] turn into an Awakened, resulting in her becoming a massive snake-like being with lots of blades. At first it helps against Clare, until she realises it herself by seeing her reflection, after which she has Clare to play a game of kill or get killed.
* Near the end of [[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist the 2003 anime adaptation]] of ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', [[spoiler:Envy turns into a giant serpent in order to cross the Gate and kill his father, Hohenheim. He ends up getting stuck in [[UsefulNotes/WeimarRepublic Germany]], where he's captured by the Thule Society and used as a giant Ouroboros to activate their transmutation circle and open a portal to Amestris]]. However, this process does accomplish the one thing he really wanted: [[spoiler:killing Hohenheim.]]
** In the [[Manga/FullMetalAlchemist manga and Brotherhood anime]], [[spoiler:Envy tries it again on Mustang after revealing he was the one to kill Hughes... but Rule 34 of the EvilOverlordList kicks him ''hard'' when Mustang demonstrates that all Envy did was give Mustang an easier target with his [[KillItWithFire flame alchemy]].]]
* A recurring antagonist in ''LightNovel/ShakuganNoShana'' lives to be recurring only because he shapeshifts into a ''small'' snakelike creature to escape a losing battle.
* ''Manga/FairyTail:'' [[SubvertedTrope While it doesn't turn them into dragons,]] first-generation Dragon Slayers are capable of using an advanced magic ability called [[EleventhHourSuperpower Dragon Force,]] which ''immensely'' increases their magic power and gives them visible scales on their bodies. [[TheHero Natsu]] is first seen using it during his fight with [[ArcVillain Jellal,]] and [[spoiler: [[TagalongKid Wendy]] and [[ExtraOredinary Gajeel]] are seen using it against Ezel and Bloodman, respectively.]] However, the Dragon Slayer in question must consume ''A LOT'' of magical energy to enter this state. Second and third-generation Dragon Slayers, like [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Laxus,]] [[ThoseTwoGuys Sting and Rogue,]] are capable of using it at will, but it lacks a lot of "oomph" compared to the real deal.
** [[BigBad Acnologia]] and [[spoiler: [[TheBaroness Irene Belserion,]]]] however, are capable of turning into full-fledged dragons.
* Medusa the Serpent Witch from ''Manga/SoulEater'' turns into a ''small'' snake to escape when her main body is cut in half. This is ''after'' her band succeeded in releasing the SealedEvilInACan; so definitely a win, while her opponent thinks he killed her [[DeaderThanDead so hard it destroyed her soul]].
* An inversion in ''Anime/YuGiOh'' in the Waking the Dragons arc: [[spoiler:the secret of the three dragons is that they were actually knights transformed by Dartz in an attempt to weaken them. Yami Yugi transforms them back into knights in order to defeat Dartz]].
* [[BigBad Yasha]] from ''Anime/CuteyHoney'' turns into a giant monstrous lamia in her final battle against Honey. She puts up a decent fight due to her impenetrable scales, but [[spoiler:it turns out gravity combined with the spikes at the bottom of Yasha's lair are enough to tear through her scales.]]
* Divine Ancestors in ''LightNovel/{{Campione}}'' have the ability to gain a massive increase in power by transforming into their primordial form, a dragon or serpent. This comes at a cost as doing so sacrifices their eternal youth and hampers their ability to regain their lost powers.
* In Part 7 of ''Manga/JojosBizarreAdventure'', there is a Stand called "Scary Monsters" that allows its user Dr. Ferdinand and, later [[spoiler:Diego Brando]], to transform himself and anyone he injures into dinosaurs.
* ''Manga/HanaTheFoxGirl's'' Haru Sakamoto is an inversion. She was born a snake but has the ability to transform into a human. She was adopted and raised by a human couple who saw her hatch and change.

[[folder:Card Games]]
* There's a ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' card for everything: [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=178016 Form of the Dragon]]. The card has found a home in at least one successful combo deck (Enduring Ideal) as a powerful finisher.
** The ''Eventide'' set gave us [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=405388 Snakeform]], which has the (temporary) [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin obvious effect]] on the affected creature...which in the process [[BalefulPolymorph loses all its special abilities for the duration and generally becomes much weaker as well.]] So you obviously shouldn't be using it on ''your'' creatures...
* The ''TabletopGame/{{Munchkin}}'' Conan expansion has the monster modifier "...That Turns Into A Giant Snake." Rather amusingly, you can put it on a giant snake. The card specifically says it turns into a ''different'' giant snake.

* The Creator/MarvelComics character Moondragon, who despite her name was a human with psychic powers and {{Arrogant Kung Fu|Guy}}, turned into a literal dragon to save the day, and was "killed" (the whole {{Energy Being|s}} part) by Ultron, an evil robot that looks liked a KnightInShiningArmor.
* The Creator/MarvelComics ''Comicbook/FearItself'' crossover ended with the [[BigBad Serpent]], a humanoid Asgardian god whose name is more of a nickname/title due to his nature, abandoning his human form and all if its powers to turn into a giant snake that is easily sliced up by [[ComicBook/TheMightyThor Thor]] for no apparent reason.
* ''Comicbook/TheIncredibles'' comic arc, ''City of Incredibles'' has Shifty taking on the form of a dragon after having his shapeshifting powers enhanced by a superpower virus, only to be taken down by the family after they powered up on the same disease.
* In the video for the game ''TabletopGame/DragonStrike'', as well as its tie-in Marvel comic, Teraptus turns into the giant dragon Darkfyre.
* In the ''Comicbook/OmegaMen'' comic book, turning into a giant snake was Demonia's only real superpower. It did, however, make her quite tough in a fight.
* ''Comicbook/TheLastTemptation'' graphic novel by Creator/NeilGaiman and Music/AliceCooper (yes, you read that right) has The Showman turn into a giant snake at the end, but he doesn't actually attack the hero. He just messes with his head a bit, and scares him away. If this story is meant to tie into Cooper's song "Welcome To My Nightmare", (which many of his fans believe it is) then it was an entirely successful head-mess, because by then, Stephen is a SerialKiller.
* ''Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet'' comics:
** In ''Comicbook/NightmaresOnElmStreet'', Freddy appears as a dragon to Alice in the [[Literature/AliceInWonderland Wonderland]] dreamscape. He carries the form to the climactic confrontation.
** In ''Comicbook/NewLineCinemasTalesOfHorror'', Freddy turns into a giant snake, coils around his crazy fan and informs him that their supposed partnership could never work, as he won't be able to eat souls of those who weren't killed by him personally.
* In "Pikappa", the reboot of ''ComicBook/PaperinikNewAdventures'', [[MadScientist Vendor]] developed a gas that transform people in dinosaur-like creatures.
* Dragons in ''Comicbook/GoldDigger'' all have the ability to [[VoluntaryShapeshifting disguise themselves as humans,]] and several dragon characters have in fact been [[ModeLock Mode Locked]] in human form. Generally the dragon population is divided on the opinion of whether a race of talking mammals like humans is adorable ("They're like little talking bunnies! I want to play at being a bunny too!") or disgusting ("They're like little talking rats!").
* In the ''ComicBook/{{Vampirella}}'' story "She who Waits" the Cobra Queen can transform into a giant cobra.
* ''ComicBook/LegendsOfBaldursGate'': As befits someone associated with the Cult of the Dragon, [[spoiler: Deniak]] turns into one. It's probably not quite what he was after - he wanted draconic ''power'', not shape.
* In "New Teen Titans 5", they were mindcontrolled. One guess which form Changeling took when developing a crush (their pun, not mine) on Zatanna.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* Protagonist example: This is how [[spoiler:[[WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles Violet]], [[ShrinkingViolet of all people]]]] gains the power to stop the BigBad in ''Fanfic/RiseOfTheGaleforces''. A surprisingly interesting example in that [[spoiler:Ludlow was the one who gave Violet that power in the first place, attempting to turn her into his own personal {{Tykebomb}}. [[TheDragon Velociripper]] makes matters even worse (for the antagonists, anyway) when he gives Vi a dose of his [[DevolutionDevice devolution ray]], momentarily trapping her in her TyrannosaurusRex form. Needless to say, she immediately goes on a RoaringRampageOfRevenge, cripples Ripper in single combat, destroys most (if not all) of the villainous forces, and fights the BigBad's [[TanksForNothing tank.]] [[CurbStompBattle Rea]][[CrowningMomentOfAwesome lly!]]]]
* ActualPacifist Protagonist example: George in ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached'' discovers he can become a red dragon at a very opportune moment about two-thirds of the way through the book. [[TheMindIsAPlaythingOfTheBody Though it does make him think of his wife as... tasty.]]
* The heroes and the villain both did in [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7546548/1/Danny_Phantom_Royal_Occupation Royal Occupation]] of the ''FanFic/FacingTheFutureSeries''.
* ''FanFic/ThreeSlytherinMarauders'' has a ([[AntiHero anti]])-heroic example when [[spoiler: [[LiteralSplitPersonality Tom Riddle]]]] discovers his animagus form is of a great black dragon.
* In ''FanFic/TheDarknessSeries'' Harry learns how to transform into a sea krait using [[TheDarkArts "parselmagic."]]
* [[spoiler:Count Logan once Dr. Beljar takes over]] in ''FanFic/TheEndOfEnds''.
* Harry Potter also does this in ''FanFic/OhGodNotAgain'', having become a snake Animagus before getting [[PeggySue sent back in time]]. He only uses this to capture Wormtail, though.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In Disney's ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'', [[BigBad Jafar]] transforms into a humongous snake after gaining sorcerer powers from the Genie (he provides the ImageSource for the trope here). He actually has Aladdin and company on the ropes for quite a while until Al tricks him into trying to gain even more power by using his last wish to [[BecomingTheGenie become a Genie, and Jafar is sealed inside a new lamp]]. In hindsight, Jafar should have stuck to the reptile form.
* Averted in ''Disney/AladdinTheReturnOfJafar'', the ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts'' games, and in some of the storybooks however, where he is instead either fought as a human, or immediately goes straight to becoming a genie. Played straight in the [[VideoGame/AladdinCapcom Super Nintendo]] and [[VideoGame/AladdinVirginGames Sega Genesis]] games, however, which both use his snake form as the FinalBoss and omit the second OneWingedAngel form of the Genie.
* An unintentional example in ''WesternAnimation/BartokTheMagnificent'': the villainess is turned into a dragon after downing a potion.
* In ''Animation/TheReturnOfHanuman'', Rahu and Ketu's henchmen turns into their true forms; which are dragon-like creatures, in order to snatch Rahu and Ketu's snake staff from Maruti. They failed because Maruti tricked them and eventually their necks gets twisted and tied up.
* Maleficent from Disney's ''Disney/SleepingBeauty''; her image also is the ImageSource for OneWingedAngel.
--> "Now shall you deal with '''ME''', O Prince -- and all the powers of '''HELL!'''"
* Used and averted in Disney's ''Disney/TheSwordInTheStone''. Merlin and Madam Mim have a wizard's duel. Madam Mim, [[LoopholeAbuse who announces the rules at the start, breaks them]] in an attempt to beat Merlin, only to have Merlin go in exactly the opposite direction. He makes her sick, which pushes her to bed rest.
** In [[Literature/TheOnceAndFutureKing the original novel]], she died of it on the spot.
*** Also in the novel, [[ScaledUp Scaling Up]] is explicitly described as being the ordinary strategy of a wizards' duel:
-->At the first gong Madam Mim immediately turned herself into a dragon. It was the accepted opening move...
* Although ''Disney/ThePrincessAndTheFrog'' does a good job at subverting the ReptilesAreAbhorrent trope, even going as far as to feature a benevolent snake as the pet of the BigGood and a happy-go-lucky alligator as one of the main protagonists, [[BigBad Dr. Facilier]]'s LivingShadow briefly turns into a snake during the "[[VillainSong Friends on the Other Side]]" scene. Since ''Princess'' is from the same directors as Aladdin, this may have been a nod to Jafar.
* The prologue to the animated film ''WesternAnimation/{{Wizards}}'' has [[BigBad Blackwolf]] turning himself into a snake during his battle with his brother, [[TheHero Avatar]]. Avatar responds by turning himself into an eagle before banishing Blackwolf to Scortch.
* In ''WesternAnimation/GIJoeTheMovie'', Cobra Commander, former leader of COBRA, is punished by his masters in Cobra-La for his repeated failures in conquering the world by being turned into a humanoid snake that eventually devolves into a full, but human-sized, snake, with limited speech capacity. This somewhat bites Golobulus and co. in the ass towards the end of the film, when a vengeful Cobra Commander attacks Serpentor, CC's usurper and Cobra-La's new favorite, just when the Cobra Emperor is about to finish off new hero Lt. Falcon.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/{{Enchanted}}'': Narissa pulls a Maleficent-crossed-with-''Film/KingKong'' when she turns into a dragon, [[JamesBondage kidnaps Robert]], and climbs a skyscraper during a thunderstorm. Bad idea. The result is impressive, though.
** Still a strange move, though, considering that being GenreSavvy was one of her more dangerous villainous traits until that point.
* ''Film/{{Beetlejuice}}''. ''[[MoreTeethThanTheOsmondFamily The teeth]]''.
* The villainess in ''Film/TheLairOfTheWhiteWorm'' turns into a snake shortly before the good guys kill her.
* In ''Film/{{Dreamscape}}'', villain Tommy gets the bright idea of turning into a snake-like monster, quickly resulting in his decapitation. By the President of the United States, no less. And not a [[OurPresidentsAreDifferent President Action]], either, but an old, overweight, out-of-shape President Target who hits him from behind with a shovel.
* At first, Thulsa Doom of the first ''Film/{{Conan the Barbarian|1982}}'' movie seems to be doing this for no reason at all, but then subverts the expectations of the audience by fleeing through a hole in the wall made for a snake and getting to safety. (It's also in keeping with his character so far as he seems to have a thing for snakes: his religion worships them, he has a pet snake that Conan kills, he has ''[[TrickArrow snake arrows]]''... no, really.)
* In ''Film/TheMummyTombOfTheDragonEmperor'', the Emperor turns into a three-headed dragon, kidnapping Lin and managing to evade the heroes. He doesn't return to that shape, though. Later on, he shifts into another giant animal, and was similarly unbeatable. In fact, it's safe to say that had he not been goaded into a fair fight, he'd have succeeded.
* Freddy Krueger in ''Film/ANightmareOnElmStreet3DreamWarriors'' turned into a serpentine creature to swallow a dreaming teen whole. He managed to gulp down her legs when Nancy appeared to haul her back out of his mouth. This scene could be considered foreshadowing, as we later learn that he absorbs/eats the souls of his victims to grow stronger.
* In the 1973 b-movie ''Sssssss'', a MadScientist turns his lab assistants into king cobras.
* In ''Film/YamatoTakeru'', BigBad PhysicalGod Tsukuyomi turns into the [[{{Orochi}} Yamata no Orochi]] when he really feels like destroying.
* In the climax of ''Film/{{Maleficent}}'', the titular fairy transforms [[NotHisSled her raven/servant Diaval]] into a dragon to do battle with King Stephan and his knights. After a brief tangle with some chains around the maw, he proceeds to wreak vengeance upon the throne room.

* In ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'', the second to final book, ''The Answer'', sees Jake morphing an anaconda on the cover. [[spoiler: He uses it to convince the Taxxons to turn on their Yeerk overlord and go [[ShapeshifterModeLock nothlit]] ]].
** Series author Creator/KAApplegate seemed to have a thing for giving snake morphs to SmugSnake characters. Marco (admittedly a hero, but his ego could sometimes get the better of him) and [[BastardUnderstudy Tom]] both had cobra morphs, while [[SixthRangerTraitor David]] acquired a rattlesnake for maximum heel factor in ''The Solution''.
* In ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'', Sauron at one point becomes a snake in an effort to defeat Huan, the Hound of Valinor. And no, it wasn't any more successful than any of the other forms he tried.
* ''Literature/{{Narnia}}'' has this happen a couple of times:
** The Lady of the Green Kirtle does this in ''The Silver Chair''. Lewis was definitely being symbolic in this case, but it's still a dumb move, especially when confronted by a [[LawfulStupidChaoticStupid Stupid Good]] hero who WouldntHitAGirl but has no problem cutting a giant serpent in half. The same villainess apparently used her serpent form to assassinate the queen of Narnia, some years previously, and had pulled it off without a hitch, though.
** In another incident in the same series, a ''protagonist'' is turned into a dragon for being greedy (again, symbolic). This was not as awesome as it seemed since he was apparently an old-style gangly ugly dragon, he had a metal ring digging painfully into his arm the entire time due to his increase in size, he could not talk, and was too big to ride a ship.
* In ''Literature/TheBelgariad'', the kingdom of Nyissa is heavily snake themed, with their patron god Issa having been a snake god (who's NotQuiteDead, but not particularly active), and their Queen Salmissra - originally Issa's handmaiden, who he fell in love with, then unfortunately forgot to make immortal, meaning that when each dies (after their lifespan and youth is dragged out as long as possible via some very weird drugs), they're replaced by an IdenticalStranger. Since they're conditioned for the role from childhood, they tend to end up with broadly the same personality, enough that the immortal Polgara tends to treat them as all being the same person - though as the prequels show, this isn't invariable, and some are quite different. The latest Salmissra, in the second book, decides to interfere with Garion, having him drugged and kidnapped since he is TheChosenOne, and she's got ambitions to have him as her consort and gain immortality that way. Polgara, [[MamaBear his many times great aunt and foster mother takes very poorly to this]] and decides to give Salmissra immortality by turning her into a giant snake. As it turns out, though, everyone from palace eunuchs to Salmissra herself is actually quite happy about this, as Nyissans love snakes and the lack of drugs means that she's much more rational and easy to manage.
* In ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfPrydain'', when EvilOverlord Arawn, (based on the Celtic God of the Dead, who shares the name), master of terrible armies and incomprehensible BlackMagic is finally confronted face to face, he promptly turns into a serpent and dies within a paragraph or two, managing only to kill the slightly less evil queen before falling to everyone's favorite assistant pig keeper.
** Justified as he was trying to get the hell out of his invaded castle.
* In ''Literature/TheDeathGateCycle'', the ultimate evil beings are {{shape shift|ing}}ers that like to take the form of [[OurDragonsAreDifferent giant dragon-snakes]], probably meant to resemble wingless Chinese dragons with a more snakelike head. In a final confrontation with the heroes one of them reverts into this shape, growing too large, and his head hits the roof of the room they're in, which is inscribed with death runes, thus killing him.
** Somewhat justified by FridgeLogic, as the chamber the FinalBattle took place in was filled with magical energy that was anathema to the serpent- he was likely dying by inches from the moment he entered it (which he only did out of desperation).
** At the climax of the first book in the series, the EvilSorcerer antagonist pulls a more traditional version of this trope, turning himself into a giant snake, but he dies quickly because he'd already been fatally knifed in human form and the wound carried over.
** A ''protagonist'' [[SuperMode turns into a dragon]] during TheSiege in the sixth book. He kicks a lot of ass (mostly off-screen, but considering what he's facing it's still badass). It's only a partial success because he ends up missing in action. The seventh book reveals why: [[spoiler:he was defeated and captured by a real dragon. How powerful is that? ''One person in the entire series has defeated one in battle]].
* The universe of Creator/StevenErikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont, best known from the ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'' books, features the Soletaken, who can [[VoluntaryShapeshifting change ("veer") from humanoid to beast form]]. Some Soletaken veer into draconean forms, which is powerful, but also occasionally PlayedForLaughs or the RuleOfCool in order to underline the series's theme of ancient or powerful creatures being too long out of touch with the world and just as susceptible to a brick in the head as any mortal. Examples:
** In book one, ''Literature/GardensOfTheMoon'', several [[DarkIsNotEvil Tiste Andii]] Soletaken veer into their draconic forms to better be able to confront [[SealedEvilInACan Raest]], [[GodEmperor the Jaghut Tyrant]]. [[spoiler:He chases them off.]]
** Also in ''Literature/GardensOfTheMoon'', [[AntiVillain Anomander Rake]] veers into his draconean form before he attacks a Demon Lord that has been set free in the city of Darujhistan. He eventually sembles back into his Tiste Andii form because he'd rather not destroy half the city with his draconean bulk, though.
** In book three, ''Literature/MemoriesOfIce'', Anomander Rake --being on the [[CombatPragmatist pragmatic side of things ]] -- veers into a dragon in order to harry a bunch of enemy troops away rather than having to kill them.
** In the fourth book, ''Literature/HouseOfChains'', the [[LightIsNotGood Tiste Liosan]] Osserc veers into a dragon in order to fly his son L'oric, who had come seeking him unbidden, out of the crumbling memory of the desert Raraku, since it's much easier for dragons to travel between realms and Osserc wants to get rid of L'oric again as soon as possible.
** In the prologue of ''Literature/MidnightTides'', the fifth volume, Silchas Ruin and Scabandari Bloodeye use their draconean form to better be able to attack the [[OminousFloatingCastle flying fortresses]] of the K'Chain Che'Malle, which they couldn't have reached otherwise.
** In the the seventh book, ''Literature/ReapersGale'', the mage Quick Ben uses the ability of the [[PhysicalGod demi-goddesses]] Menandore, Sheltatha Lore and Sukul Ankhadu to turn into dragons against them. Since all dragons, true or not, have a bad case of the ChronicBackstabbingDisorder, he waits until they all veer in order to attack him, then leads them into turning on each other.
** Also in ''Literature/ReapersGale'', in a deliberate anticlimax, Silchas Ruin veers into a dragon in order to attack the city of Letheras because he feels like it, only to be driven off by a couple of soldiers with grenades who shout that [[PlayedForLaughs they'd had enough of dragons for the day]].
* In the ''DragonKnight'' series, James actively avoids turning into his dragon form during battle unless he needs to intimidate his enemies. While he ''is'' big and scary, he's also extremely vulnerable and unable to move as quickly or nimbly as a human foe.
* During a ShapeShifterShowdown in an early Literature/{{Discworld}} novel, at one point the wizard transforms into a snake. Granny Weatherwax transforms herself into a ''snake charmer's basket'' as a counter.
* Doing this is the villain's primary goal in Creator/OrsonScottCard's ''The Magic Box'', and a pretty well {{justified|Trope}} one too, given that dragons are ''extremely'' powerful in this book. [[spoiler:It almost works, but a minor character with a gun realized that [[TransformationIsAFreeAction transformation]] [[SubvertedTrope needn't be]] [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim a free action]].]]
* The ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean: Jack Sparrow'' book, ''City of Gold'' concludes with voodoo witch Madame Minuet fusing with her two new allies into a three-headed serpent to try and take down the young pirate.
* This plays into the final ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' book. Rachel has snuck aboard Tom's ship, hoping to defeat his rogue Yeerk army. She [[SuperMode transforms into a Grizzly Bear]] and he sends his minions after her after they have each changed into equally fearsome and tough creatures. Rachel has ''just'' enough of an opportunity during the battle to check on Tom as he hangs back and transforms - into a very small but very poisonous snake. [[spoiler: After Rachel has defeated each of the minions, she bites Tom in half. She demorphs, exhausted, and another minion, transformed into a polar bear, kills her with a single blow.]]
* [[spoiler: Mister Monday]] transforms into a giant snake in the first book of the ''Literature/KeysToTheKingdom'' series, He ALMOST succeeds in killing Arthur, until Arthur [[spoiler: gets Suzy to write on him with her fingers and a bottle of ink, causing him to be attacked by hundreds of text-destroying, acid-spitting, Nithling-snakes.]]
** Made creepier by having his face perfectly intact on top of the snake's head with the normal snake mouth beneath it.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', Cassius's Denarian form is a snake-man. He manages to present a significant threat for a while, until [[spoiler:two very angry Knights of the Cross and a wizard corner him and he [[ISurrenderSuckers gives up his coin to avoid being killed]].]]
** ... upon which said wizard [[spoiler:breaks Snakyboy's newly re-acquired kneecaps.]]
* In ''Literature/CurseOfTheWolfGirl'' the BigBad's [[TheDragon dragon]] really can turn into a dragon and manages to put up a good fight and has Malveria's army on the ropes. Of course there remains the issue that the reason there are no true dragons left is because Malveria killed them all years ago, and [[CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass turned them into dragon-scale outfits]]. It ends about as well as can be expected when Malveria turns up to take charge personally.
* Averted, [[spoiler:as well as inverted]], in the ''Franchise/HarryPotter'' series. In a world where wizards can, with hard work, learn to [[{{Animorphism}} transform into an animal]] that (arguably) fits their personality, Voldemort is: the last descendant of a man known for [[SpeaksFluentAnimal talking to snakes]], an [[InTheBlood inheritor of this ability]], member of a House whose symbol is a snake, commander of a giant serpent, owner of the pet snake Nagini, and wearer of a face repeatedly described as "snakelike". At no point does he turn into a snake. (Although events in [[spoiler:''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix Order of the Phoenix]]'']] may confuse one into thinking so.) [[spoiler:However, in ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows Deathly Hallows]]'', Nagini is at one point disguised as a human.]]
* The novel ''[[Literature/{{Dragonlance}} Brothers in Arms]]'' inverts this trope: the DarkActionGirl Kitiara is trying to kill a dragon and her only chance to do so is when he is in his vulnerable ''human'' form, rather than in his nigh-invincible natural shape.
* In the fourth ''Literature/{{Fablehaven}}'' book, [[spoiler:[[InvertedTrope inverted]] with [[TheMole Gavin]], Kendra's "boyfriend," turns back into his true self, the demonic dragon Navarog. He could have easily killed all the heroes then, but he decides to revert to his human form and capture Kendra, allowing the small fairylike dragon Raxtus to [[HalfTheManHeUsedToBe bite him in two]].]]
* Played straight by a female Dark One at the conclusion of ''The Wizard of Sunset Strip''. Probably a tribute to ''Disney/SleepingBeauty'', as the battle in question takes place at a reconstructed Disneyland.
* During ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'', the heroic shapeshifter Hoole has at least two snake forms, one for stealth and the other suitable for combat. Bad things happen more than once when he does, notably while on [[GhostPlanet Kiva]]. He once fights another shapeshifter, [[spoiler: his own clone]], and both take snake forms during their ShapeshifterShowdown. The battle is a draw and ultimately the deciding factor is another character going SpotTheImpostor.
* The Dragonlord Chronicles books from ''TabletopGame/{{Mystara}}'' feature Sir George Kirbey, a seemingly human knight who is actually a sort of small were-dragon called a drake. Further, it is eventually revealed that [[spoiler: the hero Teldin is a descendent of the [[PhysicalGod dragons' gods,]] and he becomes one himself.]]
* Inverted in ''Literature/GoodOmens'': Crowley was originally known as Crawly, aka the snake that told Eve about the Fruit of Knowledge. In modern times, he takes on the appearance of a human male (with shades to hide his snake eyes and has a tendency to hiss) but never turns into a snake.
* Lung of ''Literature/{{Worm}}'' slowly metamorphoses into a dragon as he fights.
** Not surprising. Lung is Chinese for Dragon.
* In Creator/RobinJarvis' ''[[Literature/DeptfordMice Thomas]]'', the villainous adepts of a [[ReligionOfEvil serpent cult]] known as the Scale have the ability to tear off their mammalian flesh and assume the forms of reptiles.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* This was actually the end goal of the Mayor from Season 3 of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', which he'd spent a '''century''' working towards and built all sort of elaborate machinations around. He promptly gets taken out, of all things, by [[IShallTauntYou Buffy exploiting his love for his pseudo-adopted daughter]]. Oh, and a stockpile of well placed explosive, while a bunch of high schoolers mostly armed with crossbows and such fight off his minions.
** But hilarious-aside from his undeniably evil aspirations, he's been characterized as a [[AffablyEvil personable]], mildly absent-minded guy who [[GoshDangItToHeck doesn't like swears.]] His only comment on his seconds-nigh doom? "Well gosh!"
* In ''Series/ChinesePaladin 3'', one of the heroines turns into a snake to get an extra edge in combat.
* The Master briefly turns into a sort of gelatinous cobra thing in the ''Series/DoctorWho'' MadeForTVMovie, and proceeded to slither down a man's throat to [[BodySnatcher possess him]]. On that note, in the "Kinda" serial of the 5th Doctor's reign, "The Mara" reveals its long-awaited true form to be a giant, laughable blow-up snake, which flails about for a few minutes before being defeated.
* In the final battle of the ''[[Series/KamenRiderRyuki Ryuki]]'' arc of ''Series/KamenRiderDecade'', Decade uses the Final Form Ride to force Ryuki into changing into a leaner version of his own contract monster, Dragredder. Ryuki as Dragredder tears the enemy's shark contract monster to pieces before they use Ryuki's finisher, [[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome with Decade taking Ryuki's part and Ryuki-as-Dragredder taking Dragredder's part]], to temporarily blow up the enemy himself. Naturally what makes it work in this instance is that the good guys did it.
** Series/KamenRiderKiva had his own heroic example one year earlier - [[SuperMode Emperor Form]]: Flight Style turns him into a winged dragon with an impressive BreathWeapon. There are two accounts of how he got it - in the NonSerialMovie, it's forced on him by the villain, and he's unable to control it until he gets a cooldown-hug from Otoya. He reverts to normal until the villain uses his ''own'' OneWingedAngel form. In the actual series, it's just an extension of Emperor Form that he unlocks late in the series and has no problem controlling.
* A variant occurs in the ''Series/RedDwarf'' episode "Polymorph" when a shapeshifting EmotionEater turns into a snake. It works because it wasn't for combat reasons, but to freak Lister out (as he is scared of snakes). It helps make him even more scared, until the beast assumes its true form and drains him of his fear.
* Inverted in ''Series/StargateSG1'': The Goa'uld are actually snakes that turn into humanoids (sort of).
** More like [[PlayingWithATrope Double Subverted or just Played With]]. Physically, Goa'uld are foot-long, water-dwelling worms with big fangs on a round mouth and a fin or frill below their heads - basically, snakes with SpikesOfVillainy. However, they are also {{Puppeteer Parasite}}s who take over the bodies of humans and other species. However, some Goa'uld ruled over humans as {{God Emperor}}s, most of whom used some kind of totem animal as an icon, and the BigBad for the first several seasons happened to use a snake as his icon. So there's a snake inside a human, whose {{Mooks}} are ordered to dress up as snakes...
* ''Series/OnceUponATime'': As fitting with her original tale, Maleficent can turn into a dragon. [[spoiler: Her daughter]] has the ability, too, though [[spoiler: she]] hasn't quite learned how to control it yet.
* Very rare heroic example: in ''Series/{{Manimal}}'', to get his girlfriend [[WillTheyOrWontThey (?!?)]] out of a [[QuicksandSucks quicksand peril]]. The girl is a bit ophidophobic, maybe a giraffe would have been a better idea...rats, not enough money for the FX. Played with in another episode: [[spoiler: the snake is actually real and the girl, who played Fearless Snakecharmer, prompty faints when Manimal comes to the scene.]]

[[folder:Multiple Media]]
* From various ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'' works:
** The (already enlarged) Fenrakk spider is transformed into the Kardas dragon after the Toa Inika made him and his rider Vezon fall into magma. As a subversion, this was an involuntarily transformation on their part -- it was the work of the [[SentientPhlebotinum Mask of Life]], which tried to protect itself by upgrading its guardians. The Toa realize that if they kept on defeating it, it would only come back more powerful, so they [[TimeStandsStill freeze the dragon and Vezon in time]] with a special ammo and then take the Mask from them easily.
** Makuta Miserix had a fondness for reptiles, so he [[{{Shapeshifter}} shapeshifted]] into one whenever a battle broke out.
** Inverted with Krahka: she tended to turn into a smaller snake to sneak away or avoid detection.

[[folder:Music Videos]]
* In the Robbie Williams music video "Radio", Robbie becomes something like this at the very end.

[[folder:Mythology and Religion]]
* [[Myth/ClassicalMythology Greek]] [[OlderThanFeudalism mythology]] example: the river god Achelous turns into a serpent to fight Hercules for the hand of a princess called Deianeira. He loses, and in one version Hercules rips off one of his horns, which was used by the nymphs to make the Horn of Plenty.
* A bizarre example in many ways, the traditional [[Myth/ChineseMythology Chinese]] fairy tale Legend of the White Snake has Madame White Snake forcibly morphed into her original form when she is captured by the monk Fa Hai.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In the 4th edition of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' a druid can take the Paragon path of coiled serpent, where you have the ability to scale up. what you do with this ability and whether you die or not is at the player's (or more realistically, the DM's) discretion.
** Inverted by an NPC from the ''Carnival'' TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}} supplement, a snake familiar who had a HeelFaceTurn and abandoned her evil master after he turned her into an elf.
** Also, many types of D&D dragons are depicted as being able to [[VoluntaryShapeshifting shapeshift]] into human form. Some even fall in love with humans.
** ''TabletopGame/{{Mystara}}'' has a race of small dragon-like creatures called drakes who can become human at will.
** Back in 3.5, the spell Dragonshape lets you instantly turn into an adult red dragon. There's also the variant spells Least and Lesser Dragonshape, which turns you into a [[ShoulderSizedDragon pseudodragon]] and a young red dragon, respectively.
*** TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}} on the other hand gives you a much more versatile spell, Form of the Dragon, with three variations for Medium, Large, and Giant dragons, and the user choosing which dragon to turn into. [[InTheBlood Draconic]] [[HeroicLineage Sorcerors]] get access to all three versions as bloodline spells.
* In ''TabletopGame/VampireTheMasquerade'' the Followers of Set, one of the 13 main clans, have an entire set of powers related to becoming a snake, called Serpentis. The 1st power lets you immobilize someone with your gaze, the 2nd grows a razor sharp tongue to use as a weapon, the 3rd gives you armored scales, and the 4th turns you into a giant cobra.
* ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'' has a double-helping of this trope: the 1st Edition Players Guide introduced us to the Mokole, a race of were-saurians whose relationship to the sun is similar to the wolves' relationship to the moon, while the 2nd Edition Players Guide introduced the Nagah, a predominantly Asian and Middle-Eastern race of were-snakes who functioned primarily as assassins.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'': The [[OneWingedAngel real form]] of the Unconquered Sun (the de-facto and [[CelestialBureaucracy de-jure]] BigGood of the settings) is a gigantic golden dragon with tons of HP and an attack that does [[WaveMotionGun unlimited points of damage]].
* Chuubo, the titular character of ''TabletopGame/ChuubosMarvelousWishGrantingEngine'', has the ability to turn into a giant 108-meter snake at will. The name of that power? "It Probably Wouldn't Help." Sure enough, there is an actual law of physics in that game (backed by the rules) which states that turning into a snake cannot help you.

* Happens twice in ''Theatre/DerRingDesNibelungen'', to the same {{Leitmotif}}. In ''Das Rheingold'', when Alberich is demonstrating the shapeshifting powers of the Tarnhelm, he first transforms into a dragon, and Loge pretends to be frightened. (Wagner's actual word, Riesenwurm, literally means "giant worm.") In ''Siegfried'', Fafner has already transformed himself from a giant into a dragon. Since he has the ArtifactOfDoom, his fate is sealed.

* In the ''KingdomHearts'' series, Maleficent sometimes turns into a dragon at times of danger.
** She'd tried it [[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep ten years earlier]] against an ActionGirl with the same type of weapon, as well as [[Disney/SleepingBeauty Prince Phillip]] himself. The result? She survives. Barely.
* The Dragonlord in ''VideoGame/DragonQuestI'' does this after defeating his normal human form. It only partially works for him because unless you've procured [[AncestralWeapon Loto's/Erdrick's Sword]], [[CherryTapping You do a little fewer HP damage to him each turn]], making the fight [[CurbStompBattle take a long time]]. It's still quite possible to defeat him with the Flame Sword, and possible in theory with the weaker buyable weapons.
** Same goes for the Lord of the Dragovians from ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII''.
* ''VideoGame/EyeOfTheBeholder 2'' has the game's BigBad Dran Draggore turn out to be a Dragon. Of course, the dragon is still vulnerable to the attack+ side-step maneuver.
* ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'': The FinalBoss first fights you in his human form, which is a tricky fight because his attacks are fast and unpredictable and can hit very hard. Then he turns into a giant snake, which is generally easier because its attacks are much slower and easier to avoid. Then he turns into an even bigger dragon and [[FloatingInABubble traps all your partners in bubbles]].
* ''VideoGame/MegaManStarForce'': LoveableAlphaBitch Luna turns into Queen Ophiuca when she [[DealWithTheDevil accepts the FMian Ophiuchus' offer]] and allows herself to be possessed. The possession turns her into a [[SnakePeople lamia]]-esque being, complete with a snake-like tail.
* The MacGuffin in ''VideoGame/TombRaiderII'' was a magical dagger that would turn those who stabbed themselves through the heart with it into a dragon. Having said dagger removed would kill them. In the intro, the ancient emperor who originally owned the dagger is killed when he gets too close to a wounded monk, while the BigBad of the game is killed when Lara shoots him a bunch of times, then pulls out the dagger.
* ''VideoGame/KingsQuestVAbsenceMakesTheHeartGoYonder''. The showdown with Mordack involves him shapeshifting into various forms, which Graham must counter with some spells he learnt very conveniently about five minutes earlier. One of which is a dragon (defeated by turning into a rabbit, too nimble for the dragon to hit). Straight after, it's a snake (obviously countered by a mongoose).
* ''VideoGame/SimonTheSorcerer''. At one point, you partake in a [[WizardDuel "wizard's duel"]] (read: magical rock-paper-scissors) with a witch. Upon winning three rounds, the witch transforms into a dragon (breaking the rule she set at the start). This is completely innefective, of course - you just transform into a mouse and escape through the small mousehole in the wall.
* Draconis and Abazigal from ''[[VideoGame/BaldursGate Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal]]'' revert to their [[OneWingedAngel true forms]] -- adult dragons -- upon being whacked sufficiently while in human form. While you still kill them, the 'partial success' part is because Draconis' dragon form is a challenge (or at least a ''bloody'' annoyance) and is widely considered to be an actually difficult boss. Abazigal, however... Isn't.
* After being thrashed sufficiently by Isaac's team in ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'', antagonists Saturos and Menardi transform [[spoiler:into a single two-headed dragon. While the Fusion Dragon is a more powerful boss than either opponent separately]], team Isaac still wins. In the sequel, the final boss is actually [[spoiler:another fused dragon comprised of three of the heroes' parents.]]
** The Flame Dragons in TLA were [[spoiler: {{Baleful Polymorph}}ed Agatio and Karst, as the Wise One wanted to keep them from being the ones to restore Alchemy. The Wise One was successful. [[AlasPoorVillain Agatio and Karst were not]].]]
** In all these cases, the dragon shape really ''is'' far more powerful (especially in the case of the [[ThatOneBoss Doom Dragon]]), but results in a ''nasty'' case of [[HeroicRROD Antagonist RROD]] when it wears off. A line of Saturos's before his transformation suggests he knew about this [[spoiler: which would explain why he and Menardi were DrivenToSuicide after their defeat as the Fusion Dragon]]. In TLA, everyone who transformed was explicitly stated afterwards to be too weak to withstand Mars Lighthouse's environmental hazards [[spoiler: which is how Agatio and Karst died. The heroes' parents were saved by DeusExMachina]].
* In a heroic version, Aelia of ''VideoGame/ValkyrieProfile'' turns into a dragon briefly during her FinishingMove to fire a giant beam at enemies. It only partially works because it's a bit weaker than most anyone else's finishing move, and is even less useful when you consider the one hit does little to help the ComboMeter.
* One of the minor villains in ''VideoGame/ArcanumOfSteamworksAndMagickObscura'' is Kraka-Tur, a human who, tired of being bullied for his weakness, killed Arcanum's last dragon by feeding him poison and used his blood in a magic ritual which turned him into a dragon, a crime for which he was banished. While the transformation gives him impressive strength and fighting prowess, he still has the personality of a coward.
* The top-tier transmutation spell in ''VideoGame/DungeonCrawl'' is Dragon Form which [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin turns the player into a dragon]]. Whether or not it ''helps'' depends on the player's skill. On the one hand, the player is rendered vulnerable to cold and loses the benefits of any magical items other than rings. But the player [[CaptainObvious is also a dragon]], and, capable of breathing fire on enemies and, with sufficient skill in unarmed combat, tearing even ''other dragons'' to shreds in hand-to-claw combat.
* Jafar does this as the FinalBoss of every ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' LicensedGame, including ''VideoGame/AladdinVirginGames'' (where the snake really is his final form) and ''VideoGame/AladdinCapcom''.
* This is the main character's signature ability in the ''Franchise/BreathOfFire'' series. He usually starts out as a human from a LostTribe with the power to transform into dragons, and throughout the game he gradually acquires bigger and more powerful dragon forms to use. In the [[VideoGame/BreathOfFireVDragonQuarter fifth game]] he only has a single transformation and has to avoid overusing it.
** Major antagonists in the series usually have a similar power: Emperor Zod in the first game, Teepo in the third, and Fou-lu in the fourth all fight the party in their dragon forms, the last [[SequentialBoss more than once]]. The situation in the fifth installment is more complicated, but the technical final boss and the BonusBoss are still both dragons.
* The Manaketes in ''FireEmblem'' provide both heroic and villainous examples of this in the dragon variety, and are a force to be reckoned with for those not fortunate enough to have a dragon-slaying weapon on hand. They're not so much ''becoming'' dragons as they are reverting to dragons, though, having been forced to take human forms to avoid losing their minds.
* In later ''VideoGame/DragonQuest'' games, the Be Dragon spell, or Puff as it is now known, appears a handful of times. It allows the user to transform into a fire-breathing dragon for a few turns. ''Very'' effective, especially in ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIII'' where it was introduced; in that game it's the only reliable way to kill multiple [[MetalSlime Liquid Metal Slimes]] in a single battle.
* In ''VideoGame/EarthBound'', the dragonite item turns one character into a dragon and damages every enemy for a ton of damage.
* One of Liu Kang's finishers in the ''VideoGame/MortalKombat'' series is to turn into a dragon and bite the opponent in two.
** Likewise, Shang Tsung's animality from ''VideoGame/MortalKombat3'' had him turn into a glowing green giant cobra that swallowed the victim whole.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', [[spoiler:Flemeth]] turns into a dragon and is one of the hardest fights in the game.
** She does it again in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', although that time she helps the player.
** In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' [[spoiler:Morrigan]] can potentially turn into a dragon at the climax [[spoiler:if she drank from the Well of Sorrows.]]
* Mutare, the protagonist of the ''[[VideoGame/HeroesOfMightAndMagic Heroes of Might and Magic III: Armageddon's Blade]]'' Dragon Blood campaign.
* In ''Mystaria: The Realms of Lore'', one character, Ashe, can change into a dragon at will. While he doesn't have quite the variety of abilities as a dragon as he does while human, he's so ridiculously powerful as a dragon that there's almost literally no reason not to be a dragon at all times.
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls''
** The Ka Po' Tun, an [[{{Wutai}} Akaviri]] race of "[[CatFolk tiger folk]]", hold dragons in high reverence. Their ultimate goal is to ''become'' dragons, with their leader, Tosh Raka, being the first and (so far) only one known to succeed. He now rules them as a GodEmperor and, once their ArchEnemy [[SnakePeople Tsaesci]] are eliminated, he intends to invade Tamriel. (The continent where all of the games to date in the series have taken place.)
** This trope plays into why the [[LizardFolk Argonians]] are subjects to FantasticRacism by the other races.
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollSIVOblivion Oblivion]]'', [[spoiler:Martin]] pulls a ''heroic'' version of this at the end of the main quest, becoming[[note]]it's possible he also ''summoned'' the avatar, but in such a way that his own body was destroyed[[/note]] the avatar of Akatosh, the draconic [[TopGod Chief Deity]] of the [[SaintlyChurch Nine Divines]] pantheon, in order to defeat the [[OurGodsAreDifferent Daedric Prince]] [[OmnicidalManiac Mehrunes]] [[BigBad Dagon]]
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'' contains plenty of ''actual'' dragons, but the only thing that comes close to this trope downplays it. Dragon Aspect is a Shout that - true to form - is the SignatureMove of [[EvilCounterpart Miraak]], the BigBad of the ''Dragonborn'' expansion, and [[PlayerCharacter The Last Dragonborn]] can learn it as well. While the user does not literally become a dragon, an ethereal outline of dragon scales and horns does surround them and they gain dragon-like features - a tough hide that boosts armor, a boost to physical strength that empowers melee attacks, higher resistance to fire and frost elemental damage and more powerful Shouts with a shorter cooldown.
* In ''VideoGame/GuitarHero: Warriors of Rock'', this is Casey Lynch's powered-up form.
* In the [=PS1=] StrategyRPG ''Saiyuki: The Journey West'', one of the characters is a dragon princess who can transform into her true form in combat. One of the other playable characters can turn into a monstrous turtle in the same way. (And if fish scales count, yet another of the playable characters transforms into a fish monster) On the villain's side, there's a dragon queen and a snake man, who you fight in both forms in separate battles.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII2'', the BigBad Caius Ballad has the ability to become his [[SummonMagic Eidolon]] [[OurDragonsAreDifferent Bahamut]], a process that is normally fatal but doesn't bother him at all because he is [[PerfectImmortality immortal]]. As the FinalBoss he becomes a different more powerful dragon and summons two more to aid him for good measure.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Faria}}'', after the BigBad's first form is defeated, he uses the powers of the King's scrolls to transfer his soul into a dragon.
* The main villain of VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOracleOfSeasons, General Onox, turns into a dragon in the final battle.
** VideoGame/HyruleWarriors has Volga, a knight who borrows many elements from dragons, including turning into one.
* The big bad from ''VideoGame/LordOfMagnaMaidenHeaven'' transforms into this for the final battle. While he loses his incredibly accurate instant death attack, he becomes such a massive DamageSponge that it can take ''hours'' to beat him. He also gains an attack that's able to wipe out any party member that isn't the Stone Wall caught in its radius, so he doesn't lose much by changing.
* DarkIsNotEvil heroic example from the titular character from ''{{VideoGame/Bayonetta 2}}'' when she obtains the ability to [[{{Animorphism}} transform into a giant snake]] in order to swim quickly underwater, aptly named Snake Within. Her mother, [[SecretCharacter Rosa]], also gains a similar ability called Cobra Within.
* ''VideoGame/{{Klonoa}}'': In ''Door to Phantomile'', during Joka's boss battle, he frequently transforms into a creature resembling a cross between a turtle and a lizard. What's worse is that Joka's clownish appearance carries over to his reptilian form, making it a literal MonsterClown.
* ''VideoGame/SonicHeroes'' has [[RobotMe Metal Sonic]], having spent the entire game masquerading as Eggman so he could [[PowerCopying copy the powers of the heroes]] along with that of Froggy and a Chao [[ChekhovsGun who both contain parts of the DNA of Chaos from]] ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'', use the combined data to reconfigure himself into a massive mechanical dragon called [[OneWingedAngel Metal Overlord]].
* Blackhorn from the NES version of ''VideoGame/{{Astyanax}}'' transforms into a dragon upon his first defeat at the top of his tower, and is quite a bit harder to defeat.

* Avaritia, the leader of the Black Knights in ''VisualNovel/ElevenEyes'', stays on the sidelines for most of the story. Come the final fight, he transforms into a gigantic black dragon. Kukuri and Shiori face him down, and, though it takes a hell of a lot of power from Shiori, they just barely end up victorious.

* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'': Vaarsuvius. [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0638.html That is all.]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'': When [[EldritchAbomination cherubs]] [[BizarreAlienReproduction mate]], they each grow into a serpentine form that is ''one astronomical unit'' (149,597,871 km, the distance between the Sun and Earth) in length. Then, in great [[TheMasochismTango hatred]], they wage an epic battle around a black hole, and they conclude this battle with a position shaped like AURYN from ''Film/TheNeverendingStory''. It is implied, then, that this form is at least incorporated into Lord English's OneWingedAngel.
* Webcomic/SlightlyDamned: [[spoiler:Moonshade transforms into a giant cobra with [[DishingOutDirt earth powers]] (which he [[VictorGainsLosersPowers acquired]] by killing his [[DivineParentage ancestor]] [[PhysicalGod Moku the Snake]]) to kill the guardians Melli the fire bee and Meeros the mortori bird and unlike most villainous versions he succeeds, slaying Melli and seemingly driving away Meeros.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* As the quote at the top of the page indicates, the EvilOverlordList advises against this.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'', Morgan [=LaFey=] turns into a dragon with obvious results.
* Malchior in ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'', though he didn't so much transform into a dragon as he was transformed back to his real form. It still doesn't help him much (technically he was handing the entire Titan team [[CurbStompBattle their asses]], but it slipped his mind that Raven, the one who unsealed him in the first place due to his manipulations, knew both the spell to put him away again and had the will to do it until she already brought the sealing book up).
** Done again when Beast Boy gets an EvilTwin. It transforms into a cobra, just to show it's evil by using a form Beast Boy never would.
*** Of course, Beast Boy himself is also a heroic example: he ScaledUp into a pteranodon, tyrannosaur, or a ''Jurassic Park''-style velociraptor on occasion. One time he even ScaledUp into a T-Rex to fight his ScaledUp EvilTwin, [[Film/JurassicPark3 who turned into a spinosaur]].
* The classic ''WesternAnimation/BettyBoop'' cartoon "Snow White" ends with the Evil Queen turning into a dragon after her magic mirror blows up, and promptly being taken down by Betty, Koko the Clown and Bimbo the Dog. Considering that the highlight of the cartoon involves Koko being turned into a ghost-like creature singing "St. James Infirmary Blues" with the voice of Cab Calloway, this can be seen as [[WhatDoYouMeanItWasntMadeOnDrugs the least bizarre moment in this cartoon]].
* The EvilutionaryBiologist Grimsby Roylott turns himself into a giant snake-creature in order to slip into buildings [[AirVentPassageway through the air vents]] in the ''WesternAnimation/SherlockHolmesInTheTwentySecondCentury'' episode "Scales of Justice" (Holmes aficionados will recognise this plot as being just barely SuggestedBy "The Adventure of the Speckled Band"). It also helps in his fight with Holmes, but not as much as he'd hoped.
* ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'': While the second episode that showed a dragon (transformable via a [[ClothesMakeTheManiac magic pendent]]) played this trope straight, the second, more evil one, was much, much harder for the hero to defeat. In fact, his abused little sister was the one who ended it, but not before he created some serious damage.
* The ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' episode "Splicers" has the villains mix animal DNA with their own. While the lead villain uses DNA from several different animals, he winds up as basically an eight-foot-tall snake [[spoiler: (at least until Terry overloads him with injectors and he [[OneWingedAngel turns into a monster]])]]. He puts up a fairly decent fight against Batman (certainly better than he would have as a human), but still loses in the end.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}}'', [[TheDragon Cedric's]] snake-man form is initially very effective; however, as the heroines become increasingly proficient in using their powers (and in battle in general) [[VillainForgotToLevelGrind he's increasingly left in the dust]].
* Chase Young from ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'' often turns into an anthromorphic lizard when the going gets tough.
* In the climax of ''[[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003 TMNT: The Lost Episodes]]'', the True Shredder demon transforms into a dragon to gain an advantage over the Turtles... At least, until the Turtles ''also'' transform into dragons. Because magic.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TenkoAndTheGuardiansOfTheMagic'', Jana and Jason combine their starfire crystals to turn into a two-headed dragon.
* ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'': In Scotsman Saves Jack, the burly Scotsman tries to help an amnesiac Jack by retrieving his lost memories from a trio of sirens who hypnotize unlucky travelers. In the final battle, they combine into a fiery, three headed snake like creature and almost defeat the Scotsman before Jack finally remembers who he is and beheads (threeheads) the creature.
* ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'': One of the very few examples where it's a good character doing this. When Dee Dee was a baby she gave birth to an imaginary world called Koosland, with Peepers as her first creation, a cynical rabbit like creature who gave away so much happiness in the land that he left none for himself. One day, an evil animesque alien kidnapped him to use as an energy source. In the end foiled by the efforts of Dexter and Dee Dee's other imaginary friend, Koosy, the alien warlord meets his demise by being stomped by Peepers, who mutated himself in a flesh-colored, evil-looking dragon.
* [[WesternAnimation/BeastWars Transmetal II]] [[WesternAnimation/BeastMachines Megatron.]] Considering all the bad guys who this doesn't work for, it seems ironic that he grows to hate his scaled up form despite it being responsible for his success.
** The Golden One transforms into a dragon and back in ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformers'' episode "Madman's Paradise".
* In the series finale of ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'', Father transforms into a giant, black dragon. Still gets knocked into a pit, but unlike most examples, doesn't die.
* Rare good guy example; the BadFuture episode of ''WesternAnimation/ConanTheAdventurer'' has Jesmine do this to try and hold off Set, having earlier in this timeline been forcibly transformed into a serpentwoman. As she does so, she screams about how Set will "never touch her again". Cue the FridgeHorror at [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar what she could be implying...]]
* ''WesternAnimation/DinoSquad'' is about a group of [[RecruitTeenagersWithAttitude Teenagers With Attitude]] who can turn into dinosaurs, fighting a dinosaur who can turn into a man, who wants to turn every creature on Earth into a dinosaur.
* The ''WesternAnimation/DefendersOfTheEarth'' episode "Dracula's Potion" also contains a rare example of one of the heroes turning into a snake, albeit involuntarily. The titular potion transforms most of the Defenders into the animals which best reflect their personalities; in Mandrake's case, the animal in question is a cobra.