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[-[[caption-width-right:239:"What is thy bidding, [[BigBad my master]]?"]]-]

->''"This world and everything in it now belong to darkness! They belong to my master!"''
-->-- '''Ghirahim''', ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword''

A person or monster TheHero has to get past to get at the BigBad. Much of the time, but not necessarily, the BigBad's top enforcer. He, she or it embodies a narrative trope: the penultimate challenge that the hero must face before confronting the Big Bad. This challenge will test their worthiness in some fundamental way.

Some Dragons are ferocious fighters who leave [[EvilPlan the heavy thinking]] to the boss. Others are smart, detail-oriented administrators who oversee the day-to-day running of the evil organization. A common but by no means universal theme is to have the Dragon pose a physical challenge to the hero, while the Big Bad poses a mental or moral challenge.

This role is somebody the Big Bad can rely on ([[TheStarscream or thinks they can rely on]]) in a time of trouble to step up and beat the living heck out of TheHero, or [[NumberTwo maybe just take charge]] for a while, should the Big Bad not be around to do the job.

The term ''dragon'' for this role originates from analysis of folklore in which the hero fights dragons or other monsters. As described in "Literature/TheHeroWithAThousandFaces", a non-fiction comparison of various fantasy heroes written by Joseph Campbell, monsters serve as obstacles to be overcome in order to fulfill the hero's quest. Note, however, that in folklore they are villains or obstacles in their own right (see the tale of Myth/SaintGeorge TheDragonslayer) whereas in accordance with this trope (which mostly applies to modern media) they are often subordinate to other villains.

For literal dragons and their permutations, see OurDragonsAreDifferent. Not to be confused with DragonLady, who is more likely to be a Big Bad than the Dragon, or ''Magazine/{{Dragon}}'', which was a magazine. Definitely not to be confused with ComicBook/TheSavageDragon.

TheChampion may be The Dragon if they follow the BigBad, or may play a similar role to a straight Dragon for a nonvillainous character. See also: TheManBehindTheMan, HypercompetentSidekick, PsychoForHire, TheConsigliere. In the FiveBadBand, this is the EvilCounterpart to TheLancer.

{{Trope}}s related to The Dragon:

* BetaBitch - NumberTwo to the AlphaBitch, often fills the Dragon role when the AlphaBitch is the BigBad.
* CoDragons - Two or more characters split the Dragon role between them.
* TheCreon - A Dragon is this if he vehemently rejects every opportunity to become the Big Bad.
* DemotedToDragon - A previous BigBad is revealed to be, or is reduced to being, the Dragon to another villain.
* DevourTheDragon - The BigBad kills the Dragon in order to become stronger.
* DragonAscendant - When he takes over from the Big Bad after the latter is defeated or leaves.
* DragonInChief - When he is ''more'' dangerous than the Big Bad and the ''de facto'' main villain of the story. Like DragonWithAnAgenda, may be TheManBehindTheMan. Not to be confused with TheHeavy.
* DragonTheirFeet - When the BigBad is defeated or killed first. The Dragon may or may not show up afterwards to rescue or {{aveng|ingTheVillain}}e him, but he might just take his business elsewhere.
* DragonWithAnAgenda - When he has different goals from the Big Bad. If those goals are mutually exclusive, TheStarscream, RuleOfTwo or DragonInChief may be in play.
* TheHeavy - The "active" villain that drives most of the plot. This is more often the Dragon than the Big Bad, since most authors want to keep the Big Bad in the background and mysterious for most of the story. Not to be confused with DragonInChief.
* ItsPersonalWithTheDragon: When the Dragon is the hero's ArchEnemy instead of the BigBad.
* MookLieutenant: When the Dragon is merely the leader of the Big Bad's minions when the Big Bad isn't around.
* MouthOfSauron - When the Big Bad himself is almost never seen taking an active role, The Dragon is usually the one who picks up the slack on reminding people why they're afraid of the Big Bad in the first place.
* NobleTopEnforcer - A trope that often overlaps with the Dragon; when the BigBad's NumberTwo is an AntiVillain that is considerably more virtuous than his master. Likely to turn on the Big Bad if their actions piss him off enough.
* NumberTwo - The second-in-command of a team or organization, often overlapping with The Dragon.
* RuleOfTwo - A standard Big Bad and Dragon dynamic where betrayal is expected, and often inevitable.
* TheStarscream - A traitorous NumberTwo; often fulfills the role of the Dragon.
* VillainousFriendship - When a Dragon is good friends with the Big Bad.


* TheDragon/AnimeAndManga
* TheDragon/BoardGames
* TheDragon/CardGames
* TheDragon/ComicBooks
* TheDragon/{{Fanfic}}
* TheDragon/{{Film}}
* TheDragon/{{Literature}}
* TheDragon/LiveActionTV
* TheDragon/{{Music}}
* TheDragon/{{Pinball}}
* TheDragon/ProfessionalWrestling
* TheDragon/{{Radio}}
* TheDragon/TabletopGames
* TheDragon/VideoGames
* TheDragon/WebAnimation
* TheDragon/{{Webcomics}}
* TheDragon/WebOriginal
* TheDragon/WesternAnimation