Axe Cop: We are going to need to turn Wexter into a dragon so that he can fly us to Zombie World.
Sockarang: But he is already a giant lizard that can fly.
Axe Cop: To get to Zombie World we need a dragon with rocket wings. Plus, dragons are awesome.Even though Our Dragons Are Different, they are still awesome in whatever form. Therefore works where dragons are not important to the story will often throw in a dragon anyway, just for the hell of it. In order to count for this trope, the story cannot be about dragons, a dragon cannot be a major, or even secondary character. That includes being a MacGuffin, the Big Bad, or The Dragon (no relation). It has to be clear that a dragon isn't needed for the story, the writers just did it for Rule of Cool. Or if it's an adaptation of a work with no dragons at all, it counts no matter what role the dragons have now. Sometimes it's justified by a Fantasy Kitchen Sink, but it's still this trope when it otherwise fits. Compare Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!, Rent-a-Zilla, Dragons Up the Yin Yang, and Everything's Better with Dinosaurs (especially if Dinosaurs Are Dragons).
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Anime & Manga
- From Bleach, we have Toshiro Hitsugaya, whose zanpakuto can manifest into an ice dragon.
- In A Certain Magical Index Touma's arm is cut off, only for a dragon's head to emerge from the stump and terrify the opponent into submission. This happens again in the spinoff, but this time seven dragons appear.
- Some of the most powerful Digimon belong to the "dramon" class, such as Imperialdramon and the Seadramon line. They are characterized as having traits associated with dragons, but not all of them look draconic; Birdramon looks like a big Toothy Bird, but does Kill It with Fire.
- DokiDoki! Precure has the old fairy mascot Melan who can transform into a dragon. She gives the Pretty Cures a Hopeless Boss Fight.
- Fairy Tail. Need something to spice up the magic world? Add a dragon sub-plot.
- In the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist, Envy takes the form of a dragon just before crossing the gate.
- The Movie of HeartCatch Pretty Cure! has its Big Bad Baron Salamander who can transform into a dragon.
- The fourth of the new main characters in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Caro Ru Lushe is a dragon summoner. She's accompanied by her silver baby dragon Friedrich. Now the awesome parts: Caro can summon an adult version of Friedrich, that makes her awesome. But the real awesome part: She has a second dragon, Voltaire, a Physical God, that makes her instantly more awesome.
- Mahou Sensei Negima! has thrown in some dragons. The first one is a guardian in Library Island who apparently works as a watchman for Albireo Imma. The latter of the two dragons existed solely for Kaede to defeat while blindfolded. There's also the significantly less-powered (only having recently graduated from muggle status) Yue taking a Gryphon-Dragon down with an ornamental dagger and Awesomeness by Analysis. At about the same time Kaede brought hers down, Setsuna and Asuna took another one down, as well. Fate also demonstrates an Offhand Backhand to kill one of those dragons that had been left with a Non-Lethal K.O. by the heroines. Dragons are pretty much the Worf of Negima. Though there is Vrixas Nagasha, which fought Jack Rakan to a standstill... and it, as a representative of its species in Negima, is again Worfed. In a one hit kill no less.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, the Gafran, Baqto and Danazine, as used by the UE later known as Vagan, can transform into dragon-like flight mode for long distance travelling, and the Danazine, unlike the former two, is a bi-pedal literal mecha dragon.
- In Naruto:
- You can mold any element into an elemental dragon or dragon-shaped projectile. Examples include Kakashi and Zabuza using water dragons, Sarutobi's use of an earth/mud dragon, and Raiga using his swords to create a dragon of wind and lightning. An anime only arc add the Crystal Release, complete with a Crystal Dragon.
- Sasuke has an attack in the manga that causes a small flame to travel a length of string. Apparently the anime adaptation took inspiration from this trope because the anime version of this attack sends a giant dragon made of fire along the length of string. Kabuto's Sage Mode gives him draconic attributes.
- Night Guy. No, it's not a typo, it's Guy's final move under the Eighth Gate, a dragon formed of chakra, blood, and ash with Guy at the head that moves so fast it bends space-time and, with Guy's kick, delivers a blow so powerful that it can turn the general body region of anyone he hits, even the nigh-unkillable Madara, into Ludicrous Gibs. And the shockwave trumps even that of a Tailed Beast Bomb.
- In One Piece:
- The leader of the Revolutionary Army, Dragon is apparently only called so because it sounds cool.
- In chapter 655, Luffy's crew encounters a real dragon.
- In the Pokémon episode 608, "Where No Togepi Has Gone Before," Rayquaza, a Dragon-type Pokemon, appears out of nowhere for a split second and fires Hyper Beam at the rocket Ash and friends were riding on for passing its territory. The whole episode was about a togepi messing with all the characters, and, after blasting them down, Rayquaza leaves and is never mentioned again.
- Honoka Konoe from UQ Holder! has a spell that creates dragons out of water. Touta stops to point out how awesome that is even though she was trying to capture him at the time.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!:
- Dinosaur Ryuzaki uses a Dinosaur deck, but his ace monsters are Dragon-type monsters.
- Rebecca switched her old deck for a dragon deck.
- Yugi, Jonouchi and Kaiba have some dragons in their deck, such as Curse of Dragon, Blue-Eyes White Dragon and Red-Eyes Black Dragon, just so their deck looks cooler. Later they get the Legendary Dragon cards, when the story shift from the Egyptian God cards to these dragons. The only one who is close to have a Dragon archetype is Kaiba.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters, Yugi and his friends get dragon monsters and the fifth trial is about slaying the five evil dragons, so we have dragons versus dragons. Though two of these ten dragons are technically not Dragon-type monsters.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, practically every major character has or had a Dragon card in their deck or a Dragon-like card. Judai for example has Yubel, who has two stronger forms resembling dragons, but Judai also has, like some other random duelists, the Five-Headed Dragon for no reason! (It's not in his Extra Deck, though.)
- This is the premise of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, where the six main characters have dragons as their Signer monsters, despite none of them having Dragon decks. Even Kiryu, during and after his Dark Signer time, has two Dragon cards as ace monsters. Well, it's not like that Dragon-type cards are exclusive for Dragon archetypes.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V has the Four Dimension Dragons, a series of Dragon type monsters that represent the four dimensions.
- When Ron Marz took over writing Witchblade, his introductory arc (which was meant as a compelling jumping on point for new readers) pitted the hero against an evil cult within the Catholic Church intent on summoning a "living god" from another dimension. Given Witchblade's typical milieu — it's far from high fantasy — one would expect something bipedal and vaguely demonic or angelic, or more rarely, a Cthuluesque eldritch abomination. Nope, not this time. Just a straight-up D&D-style bat-winged dragon. Possibly an example of Shown Their Work, since most translations of the Bible refer to Satan as "the Dragon" at certain points.
- In The Uncanny X-Men during the early '80s, in the midst of a climactic battle between the X-Men and the Brood, Kitty Pryde's life is saved... by a small dragon who flies in out of nowhere, who later becomes Kitty's companion Lockheed and a popular fixture of the X-books.
- The Cover Blurb for 52 #39 advertised one of the stories as "Montoya fights a dragon." Montoya does not encounter a dragon in this issue. She does not confront any metaphorical or internal dragons, nor does she even fight with her Sensei: A guy named Richard Dragon.
- Magic: The Gathering has regularly featured Dragons.
- Typically they are Red cards, almost always have Flying, and are generally Red's most powerful individual creatures. Blue occasionally has Drakes, but they're getting rarer in later editions.
- Particularly impressive in two blocks: Innistrad is a gothic horror setting... with exactly one dragon in each set, just to have them; and Ravnica's dragons are extinct, because most of the plane is one single city and there's almost no wilderness left... except for a few dragons that aren't, such as this one, which isn't even legendary.
- The plane of Tarkir doubles down on Ravnica's dragon extinction by scattering Dragon skeletons around liberally, one of which is a major location in the story.
- According to Word Of God, this trope is enforced. Every block in the game has at least one Dragon in it, even on planes like Innistrad (where they're completely out of theme), essentially because Dragons are incredibly popular.
- Dragon Storm is an RPG collectable card game that features dragons as one of the playable character types.
- In the Daria Fan Fic series Legion of Lawndale Heroes, the Legionnaires are fighting The Alliance — another team of young metahumans. After her first volley is literally brushed aside by one of the kids, who says, "I thought you were going to be impressive", Quinn turns to Charles "Upchuck" Ruttheimer and says, "Charles... impress them." They are suitably impressed when Charles moves towards them -- and turns into GODZILLA.
- In the Lord of the Rings fanfic Ancient Prophecy fullfilled, the author's OC's are something akin to Maiar (In-Universe Angelic Beings) who can shapeshift, and prefer to walk around as dragons. Que an Oh, Crap! moment when the father of those OC's decides to come back into the picture...
- George becomes a red dragon twice in With Strings Attached. The others are very impressed. The first time, it's to help fight off square miles of undead. The second time, it's just to fly everyone up to the Twisted Temple.
- In Crowns of the Kingdom, Maleficent's dragon form is her final battle form. Elliot from Pete's Dragon shows up as well.
- By Baker Street Station I Sat Down And Wept has lots of dragons. Most of them can talk.
- I Am NOT Going Through Puberty Again!: During her "fight" against Orochimaru, Hinata uses an unnamed technique that molds her chakra in to the form of giant dragons that spit fire and lightning.
Films — Animation
- When Maleficent turns into a dragon at the end of Sleeping Beauty. Even if the Disney version didn't originate that, it's likely an earlier version did it for this trope.
- In another Disney animated feature, The Sword in the Stone, the wizard's duel culminates in Mad Madam Mim breaking her own rules, one being to not turn into anything make-believe, such as pink dragons, and turning into a purple dragon.
- Mushu was added to Mulan simply to give the main character a Non-Human Sidekick. The original story had no dragons or other supernatural element whatsoever.
- On Aladdin, Genie briefly turns into a dragon for no reason other than to show off his shapeshifting skills.
Films — Live-Action
- The film Godzilla Final Wars features a battle between the high-tech submarine, the Gotengo, and the Chinese dragon Kaiju, Manda. Manda is only there as yet another random monster to be featured in the movie and is quickly killed off at the beginning. And then there's Godzilla's final battle against
Monster XKeizer Ghidorah, which is also an homage to the classic "Godzilla VS King Ghidorah" battles. In addition, King Ghidorah's appearances in Destroy All Monsters and Godzilla VS Gigan count since the three-headed dragon is NOT the main focus in either film. Manda also appears in the former.
- Star Wars:
- Remember the krayt dragon skeleton from A New Hope? Purely there to add a little awesome.
- So is Boga, the feathered lizard-mount Obi-Wan rides in Revenge of the Sith.
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe, while usually trying to stay clear of obvious references to Earth animals and myths, has various species of dragon, many of them said to be the nonsentient offspring of Duinuogwuin, which are a strange people like ten-to-a-hundred meter long centipedes with wings, hands, organic cold fusion reactors, and the ability to live in deep space. They're also called Star Dragons, and although they almost never actually appear, they get mentioned as Noodle Incidents with some regularity.
- The Harry Potter film series takes the awesomeness of its source material's dragons Up to 11. Specifically, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and even moreso (due to Visual Effects of Awesome) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
- As the page quote shows, this is subverted and lampshaded in The 13th Warrior. It turned out the "fire wyrm" is just a cavalry with torches, and Herger said he would have preferred an actual dragon. Of course, given that the size of the fire wyrm in question meant it was comprised of literally hundreds of warriors, all mounted on horseback and moving independently, his preference for a straight-up lizard is understandable.
- Although they've been integrated to the point that the story would end up very different without them, the dedications page of A Game of Thrones says something like: "To my wife, who made me put the dragons in". So this thinking may have prompted their inclusion.
- In The Dresden Files' third book, Grave Peril, an elder dragon (think "minor god-level") named Ferrovax makes an appearance. He's only shown for one scene, in which he brings Harry to his knees with only half of his True Name (without even using magic, just raw willpower), receives a mysterious gift that will almost certainly be important in the future, then leaves. Word Of God has it that he'll play a part in the final apocalyptic trilogy.
- Duumvirate. One of Northberg's scientists decided to make dragons, just because he could.
- In the Star Trek: Enterprise Relaunch novels, a battle during the Romulan War takes place on Berengaria VII. Dragons show up to eat Romulans. There's no particular reason for it, but, hey, we're on Berengaria, previously established in throwaway lines of Star Trek: The Original Series as home of the dragons, so let’s have them eat people. Also in the Star Trek Novel Verse, Elias Vaughn's childhood history on Berengaria VII probably counts; he was apparently mauled by a dragon at one point. Vaughn had previously been said to originate there; eventually, this bit of trivia made an inevitable linkage to the dragons. Since Vaughn is the sort of character with a highly adventurous background, it's no surprise he apparently had dragon bites where other children had bruised knees. See: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch.
- In the Shadowrun novels and associated table-top RPG, dragons are rare, but enough people found Dunkelzahn awesome to get him elected President by popular vote.
- There's also the plotline behind Night's Dawn, where Alamais the dragon is the main antagonist, but just shows up out of nowhere to be killed by laser bombardment, having previously been seen only in the prologue as part of an ambush.
- And then there's Lofwyr, the dragon in charge of a megacorp who pretty much coined the phrase "never, ever cut a deal with a dragon."
- The Eyes of the Dragon has no real dragon in it. The dragon of the title comes from a stuffed and mounted dragon head that has peep-hole eyes. Any peep-hole would have done just as well, but it's more awesome with dragons.
- There is a real dragon! It dies in the backstory, but it was there.
- Deltora Quest consists of three series. In Australia, they're numbered. Everywhere else, the third is titled Dragons of Deltora... and is filled with both awesome and dragons. And especially awesome due to dragons. Previously the series had been somewhat unique in its lack of the things, despite the High Fantasy Meets JRPG setting....
- Dragons are only important to one or two Discworld books, but they're mentioned quite frequently (especially in the Night Watch books, since Sam Vimes happens to be married to a dragon breeder). Of course, on Discworld, Our Dragons Are Different...
- Dragon Slippers. Yeah, no such thing as dragons. You just keep thinking that, Creel...granted, the dragons have been in hiding for the past 300+ years.
- Plus, in book two, no one's worried about the war with Citatie until they discover the army is mounted on DRAGONS.
- For most of the Harry Potter series, dragons are added primarily for the awesome (they appear only as plot devices). Rowling introduces them as if she knows that her readership expects them and is rewarding them for holding out for three books.
- This is the entire premise of The Crown Colonies series: colonial New England with Dragons. And zombies. And muskets are fired by magic.
- The creature with Vlad Taltos on most of the Dragaera cover arts is supposed to be a jhereg — a two-legged, two-winged flying reptile — but is invariably given an extra pair of forearms and dragon-like appearance for the artwork. There are dragons in Dragaera, but they do not look like your average western dragon. So the cover art depicts an animal that doesn't actually exist in Dragaera, simply because the publishers wanted to invoke this trope. One supposes that "Instant Awesome, Just Add Jheregs" wouldn't have the same ring to it.
- The first book in the Alex Verus series makes a passing reference to a prophecy made by a dragon. The dragon itself makes no appearance, but it does help the prophecy stand out against the less certain, probability-based divinations that are the norm for the setting.
- The Pirates Covered in Fur has a sentient, robotic dragon that the Big Bad uses to aid him in his attack on Diamond City.
- Festus in The Heroes of Olympus. Who also happens to be a giant magic robot. So, Dragons + Mecha = double invocation of awesome. And after Festus' death, he - or his head, at least - is integrated into the Argo II, a Cool Airship. Has Rick Riordan been reading this wiki?
- The Wheel of Time: Dragons don't exist in the world, but the main character becomes known as the Dragon Reborn, and his symbol is a dragon. This is included in the story for apparently no other reason than that dragons are cool and scary.
- Scales, aka Deucalion, king of all dragons in Dark Lord of Derkholm, a powerful magic user adept at pulling off Big Damn Heroes moments.
- In-universe in Rachel Griffin: Sigfried (who is also famous for having killed a classical-type evil dragon) meets numerous requests for people to pet his Shoulder-Sized Dragon / Cool Pet, Lucky.
- Draconus from Malazan Book of the Fallen can turn into a giant black dragon, although his particular Soletaken form is described as 'darkness with wings' instead of a normal draconic form. While dragons do play a role in the setting, Draconus being one is wholly superfluous.
- Both Way of Choices and the TV adaptation, Fighters of the Destiny, open with a dragon. In the book, a golden dragon tries to eat the infant protagonist and is driven off. In the show, a black dragon attacks the Capitol, which in the book is a legend referenced in an offhand manner.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel have been known to throw dragons in for the hell of it. A dragon flew out of the portal created by Glory in the season 5 finale of Buffy, and Angel fights a dragon (offscreen) in its series finale (also its season 5 finale, interestingly enough).
- Once Upon a Time:
- In Stargate SG-1, they have to deduce a dragon's name as part of a test. Vala suggests they start guessing and names it "Darrell", while Cam throws in "Smokey".
- Tic-Tac-Dough: Literally, as part of the game show's Luck-Based Mission Bonus Round. The objective was for the winning contestant to find, on a 3-by-3 game board, dollar amounts adding up to at least $1,000, or the words "TIC" and "TAC" before uncovering a space with a computer-animated dragon to win the cash and a prize package; finding the dragon ended the game immediately with nothing won.
- Super Sentai and Power Rangers have never been shy about including dragons in whatever they're doing:
- In Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger and the first season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, the main team pilots Humongous Mecha based on Stock Dinosaurs. The Trope Naming Sixth Rangers pilot a dragon-styled mecha. Said Sixth Rangers became Breakout Characters. Deny the correlation as coincidence at your peril!
- Gosei Sentai Dairanger and the second season of Mighty Morphin' had two dragon mecha, one belonging to the Red Ranger and one antagonist dragon which was Humongous Mecha-sized when compared to the other Humongous Mecha.
- Averted in Seijuu Sentai Gingaman and Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, where the Green Ranger had a draconic Starbeast/Galactabeast, but both shows insisted on calling it a kind of bird (falcon in Gingaman, condor in Lost Galaxy).
- Late in Power Rangers Ninja Storm was the Dragonforce Vehicle, which could transform into a mechanical Eastern Dragon mode.
- Invoked in Power Rangers Dino Thunder, where they took a Ptero Soarer mecha and named it the "Drago Zord" as a way to score extra coolness points. "Tupuxuara Zord" would have been a little ungainly.
- Mahou Sentai Magiranger and Power Rangers Mystic Force let four of the Rangers combine their mecha into a dragon, and Mystic Force added an actual dragon that the Red Ranger merged with for his Super Mode.
- In Samurai Sentai Shinkenger and Power Rangers Samurai, the water-themed Blue Ranger was given a dragon as his mecha.
- Tensou Sentai Goseiger and Power Rangers Megaforce give a dragon theme to the Red Ranger.
- Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger and Super Megaforce give the Rangers powerups based on previous seasons, and one of the first ones they get is a dragon mecha based on the one from Magiranger/Mystic Force.
- Shuriken Sentai Ninninger and Power Rangers Ninja Steel not only gives the Blue Ranger a dragon mecha, it can take the lead position when the mecha combine to give the result a Draconic Humanoid alternate mode.
- Uchu Sentai Kyuranger is based on stars and constellations. To no surprise, the (first) Sixth Ranger is themed after the Draco constellation.
- In Eureka season 5, the appearance of a dragon was the result of a glitch in the AI program in which the crew of the Astraeus was unwittingly stuck.
- At the start of series 4 of Merlin the writers throw in a baby dragon for no readily apparent reason. It becomes clear that they're not entirely sure what to do with it, as it spends the rest of the series largely off-screen and ultimately becomes a case of What Happened to the Mouse?
- Of the many Wesen in Grimm a Weredragon could not be avoided; the Dämonfeuer.
- The name of the band DragonForce. They have a couple songs about dragons, but their name could have been anything, as the variety of Heavy Mithril bands show. And most of their songs are about glorious battles to the end. Dragons are hardly ever mentioned. But again, it's a cool name.
- Summoning put a dragon on the cover of their album Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame.
- The music video for "Shine On Me" by Chris Dane Owens. Along with every other fantasy stereotype or image known to man.
- I Fight Dragons
- Jimmy Page, of Led Zeppelin fame, was noted for wearing what was and will always be the coolest onstage costume of all time, the Dragon Suit.
- The cover of Asia's Self-Titled Album.
- For no apparent reason, Chris Squire, bassist of Yes, sometimes wears a robe with a dragon on at shows.
- Imagine Dragons. cool name, even though none of their songs have anything to do with dragons.
- In Exalted, Elementals gain draconic forms when they breach a certain threshold of power, regardless of what their original form was. There's no real reason for this; Word Of God says that they are emulating the ideal of the Five Elemental Dragons, who, while not elementals themselves, were the basic template that elementals were designed off of. But we all know the real reason.
- Dungeons & Dragons has this in the title, as most games will feature far more dungeons than they will dragons.
- How else do you think Figment, the main character of Journey into Imagination, became the mascot of Epcot? Heck, his origins can actually be traced to an attraction for the shelved Disneyland concept Discovery Bay, a Steampunk land, that had an attraction hosted by a Dreamfinder-like character who, among other cool things, bred dragons as a hobby.
- The former Dueling Dragons coaster at Universal's Islands of Adventure was about a fire and ice dragon battling one another.
- Busch Gardens Williamsburg has an entire dragon-themed area, called "Land of the Dragons", though the dragons there are the cute and friendly type, since it's a play area for young children. A similar area used to exist at the Tampa park, and the Williamsburg park used to have a dragon-themed roller coaster called Drachenfire.
- Since so many Video Game RPGs have dragons included as monsters for this trope, it would be easier to list exceptions.
- Played with in Dragon Quest I; a dragon kidnaps a princess. Turns out that the Big Bad is known to not be a dragon right off the bat, but the Dragonlord, who can command dragons. Rescuing the princess isn't even required.
- The Breath of Fire series is another exception, as the main character is always a human-dragon hybrid of some sort.
- Final Fantasy:
- Final Fantasy VI has a sidequest based on, yeah, dragons (some of which look like dinosaurs). There isn't any background lore on them nor are any of them directly related to the story (some of them are found in the last dungeon, but they can easily be skipped).
- The paper-thin background lore is that Crusader, the strongest of the Espers, was sealed during the ancient War of the Magi using the power of eight dragons. These "Crusader" dragons are vicious, but defeating them will get you the Crusader magicite, the only Esper that can teach Merton/Meltdown. Which really isn't much of a reward, but hey.
- The Bahamut summon that appears in almost every FF game.
- Final Fantasy VII had THREE, one of which was cybernetic. And IN SPACE.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2:
- The game features Bahamut because of being an Eidolon to Caius. And you fight off against three Bahamuts in the Final Boss fight. Also, the faeryl is a dragon that's somewhat a Reality Warper because of it's "Black Hole" power.
- Then there are the Dragoons, lance-using warriors with a dragon theme and one of the most popular jobs/classes.
- Final Fantasy XIV has the Heavensward expansion pack dedicated to dragons, namely the Dragonsong War where a horde of dragons have been at war against a nation for a thousand years and you eventually learned how the war started. Dragons and men used to live together peacefully until the King attacked a dragon by gouging her eyes out and then eating the eyes (along with his knights) to obtain great power. You find out that not all dragons want any part of the war and some even hope for the days of peace to return.
- Altered Beast allows players to become a dragon in level 2. Also, two of the bosses are dragons.
- The Elder Scrolls:
- For a series that otherwise stays pretty well within the classic Medieval European Fantasy ball park (with a few twists), it may come as a surprise that dragons were not actually present in any game in the main series prior to Skyrimnote , with a single dragon appearing in the Action-Adventure spin-off game, Redguard. They once existed within Tamriel, but it is stated that they were driven to extinction in a concerted effort by the Akaviri Dragonguard, and later, the Blades (spawned off of the Dragonguard), centuries prior to the timeline of the main series of games. (The dragon of Redguard, Nafaalilargus, was spared at the time because he was willing to aid mortals, and later came into the service of Tiber Septim.)
- Skyrim is where the series' dragons come roaring back into the picture. The Big Bad of the game is Alduin, the draconic Beast of the Apocalypse who was cast out of the stream of time by ancient heroes using the power of an Elder Scroll. He has now returned and is using the Resurrective Immortality of the series' dragons to bring his fallen brethren back to life. Stopping he and his dragon minions is a major part of the game's main quest.
- The series also has two draconic divine beings:
- Crossing over with Dragons Are Divine, Akatosh is the chief deity and God of Time in the Imperial "Nine Divines" religion. Akatosh takes the form of a dragon. The First Cyrodiilic Empire was founded when he (and the other Aedra who would become the Divines) lent their aid to the races of Men under St. Alessia (the "Slave Queen") against their Ayleid (Wild Elf) masters (who were primarily Daedra worshipers to boot). Upon their victory, Akatosh made a pact with mankind, sealed by joining his blood with Alessia and placing her soul within the Amulet of Kings, that the Divines would give mankind their patronage in exchange for their worship. Since that day, all legitimate Cyrodiilic Emperors have been "Dragonborn," in the sense that they are (metaphysically) descended from Akatosh and Alessia and help to seal the barrier between Mundus (the mortal plane) and Oblivion (the realm of the Daedra). During the darkest hour of the Oblivion Crisis, Mehrunes Dagon (the Daedric Price of Destruction) successfully took form in Mundus, threatening to destroy all creation. Martin Septim, the last in the line of these Dragonborn Emperors, shattered the Amulet of Kings and summoned Akatosh to Mundus, where he, in the form of a massive dragon, would banish Dagon. Standard dragons (including Alduin, though Alduin may be an aspect of Akatosh instead) are said to be the "children" of Akatosh. They are lesser Aedra, making them a form of divinity loosely akin to angelic beings.) They have been worshiped by cultures throughout Nirn, from the ancient Atmorans (ancestors of the modern Nords), to the ancient Nords, and to the Ka Po' Tun "Tiger Folk" of Akavir. The first two groups created the "Dragon Cults," in which the Dragon Priests held as much power as kings, ruling in the stead of the aloof dragons they worshiped. In Atmora, the priests demanded tribute and set down laws and codes of living that kept peace between dragons and men. This carried over to Skyrim, but they became much more aggressive and authoritarian in their leadership. (Eventually, the ancient Nords rebelled and, combined with a later Akaviri invasion, nearly drove the dragons to extinction.) The dragons practice a Language of Magic, the "Thu'um" which allows for some small scale Reality Warping by "shouting" elements into existence. The dragons themselves are The Ageless, and while they can be slain by any capable individual, they possess Resurrective Immortality and can be brought back to life by another dragon unless their soul is absorbed by another dragon (or Dragonborn). Despite their divine origins, dragons are creatures of aggression and domination, and it's in their blood to be cruel and contemptuous. However, they can fight against their baser nature, as best exemplified by Paarthurnax.
- Peryite is the Daedric Prince of Pestilence and Tasks, and throughout the series, most commonly takes the form of a four-legged green dragon. He obviously isn't a real dragon and simply likes manifesting as one, which is said to be a "primordial and curious jest" toward Akatosh.
- In E.V.O.: Search for Eden, if you eat a red crystal you temporarily get a powerful form depending on your current animal type. Naturally, if you're a bird, that temporary form is a Dragon.
- The red crystal forms are fixed, you just have to be a bird to reach the dragon one (and the gargoyle one). Temporarily turning into one via green crystal works too, since the effect doesn't wear off inside the cloud maze for some reason.
- In MapleStory, there's a 3rd job class that is pretty much dedicated to this trope. The Dragon Knight. Said class's skills ALL INVOLVE DRAGONS in some way or another. Dragon Crusher, Dragon Fury, Dragon Roar, Dragon Blood, etc.
- The Dragon-type exists purely to be awesome (at least outside of the fourth and fifth generation, which feature legendary Pokemon of the type as a part of the plot). They were an Infinity +1 Element consisting of only one family in the first generation, and a lot of people still think they are the handiest Pokemon to own since they resist Fire, Water, Grass, and Electric attacks, which are common in almost every party. Not only that, but they have some high base stats as well. Also, Dragon type trainers are known for being very badass. Iris, Clair, Lance, Drake, Drayden, etc. They are so powerful that in the Generation VI games Nintendo created the ridiculously-overpowered Fairy-type with the main intent of giving Garchomp and his mates something to be afraid of.
- Charizard is by far the most popular of the original Starter Three, and one of the most publicised Pokemon in media and advertising, rivalling Pikachu and Mewtwo in this regard. The fact it looks like a big badass dragon with a flaming tail may have had something to do with it. It's the only 'mon besides Mewtwo to get two Mega Evolutions, one of which finally makes it an actual part-Dragon type. It also got into Super Smash Bros. as its own character as opposed to part of a three man... Uh, 'mon team.
- And in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the true form of Necrozma is a dragon.
- The Heroes of Might and Magic series routinely has all sorts of dragons among the most powerful (and expensive) creatures available. The 5th entry even turned all gods (including the evil one) into dragons, with the units being the offspring of the gods. And not to forget the Dragon Utopia, a treasure hoard guarded by, yes, dragons. The spinoff Warriors of Might and Magic features a powerful dragon named Thalin Thraxxus as a boss in the PS2 version.
- Ridley in Metroid: Fusion. While he is a major character in the series, Fusion is one of the few games in the series that doesn't involve the Space Pirates in plot-related role, so he seems a little out of place.
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker features Valoo, an ancient sky spirit/dragon. One of the game's first dungeons is all about figuring out what's wrong with him, the first boss you fight is torturing him, and farther into the game he repays the favor by roasting Ganon in his own tower, which is a memorable moment for him. Other examples in the series include Volvagia and Argorok in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, respectively.
- The Shining Series is chock-full of dragons, playable or otherwise, and they're almost always among the strongest characters.
- Shining Soul introduced an entire new species, Dragonutes, to the canon.
- Shining Force III features many Dragon enemies but if you avoided killing the baby in Scenario 1 you could recruit one in a later Scenario...not that anybody outside Japan could, not that people are still bitter about that or anything.
- Basso from Shining the Holy Ark is Half Dragon, Half Human but 100% pure badass.
- Custom Robo has the Dragon Gun (and its cousin, the Wyrm Gun), which is dragon-shaped. If that wasn't enough, it shoots dragon-shaped bullets.
- Dragon Age: Origins, despite the name, has only one true adult dragon, as an optional fight. The only other Dragonkin in the game are very young and small, or a shapeshifted witch, and an Archdemon.
- Dragon Age II continued this trend, with only one high dragon to fight. Dragon Age: Inquisition, on the other hand, has 10 enormous dragons for the player to hunt down as Bonus Bosses. They dwarf the dragons in the previous two games and require extensive party management. Don't even think about trying to hunt them down until your level is in the double digits.
- This trope is what basically happened to the multiplayer feature of Dragon Age: Inquisition. The multiplayer is a very nice extra to the full game as a whole, but when Bioware released an update that finally allowed players to fight dragons similar to those found in single player, the multiplayer became awesome instantly.
- You fight a slow, slothful zombie dragon at the beginning of Demon's Crest on the SNES, a dragon figures into the backstory, and Firebrand's Demon Fire has a dragon-shaped appearance.
- Earthbound. The extremely rare "Bag of Dragonite" item allows you to actually turn into a dragon and deal massive amounts of damage to enemies. Too bad there's only five in the entire game.
- In Touhou, the God of Gensokyo is simply referred to as The Dragon. Theory goes that Hong Meiling is a Chinese dragon in girl form; she's one of the very few youkai whose exact species isn't identified by ZUN, and thematically she references Chinese dragons in a number of ways.
- Mega Man X4 had Magma Dragoon, a Maverick Hunter-turned-traitor who destroyed an entire city and got an entire army organization blamed...just so that he could fight the heroes. For extra coolness, his moveset was based off Akuma, complete with Shoryuken and Hadouken attacks.
- Bug had the titular character's ride, a dragon-fly. As in, a dragonfly with a dragon's head and fire breath! Unfortunately, you only got to use said dragon-fly in the ring Bonus Level. The sequel, Bug Too! has its first boss be a fire-breathing dragon-fly (this one resembled a dragon with dragonfly wings) in an otherwise horror castle-themed world.
- Super Mario Bros.:
- Yoshi, contrary to popular belief, is not a dinosaur, but actually a dragon.
- The Lord of Lightning in Super Mario Odyssey comes out of nowhere, and is never properly explained beyond his boss fight and implications that he's responsible for the Ruined Kingdom being ruined. Especially memorable for his photorealistic Nonstandard Character Design; he and his level look like they came out of Dark Souls.
- The Xtended mods for the X-Universe series adds the "Shivan Dragon", a large (it's about 100 meters in wingspan) black dragons that flies around in space, shoots lasers from its mouth, and attacks everything in sight. The dragons have no real impact on the player or the rest of the universe except for chance encounters in border sectors, or if the player owns stations in Unknown Sectors, where the dragons set up nests.
- The ending of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable : The Gears of Destiny has Levi describing Eltria as a planet like something straight out of an RPG series, with dungeons to crawl and monsters to fight. For the monster part of the description, a classic fire-breathing red dragon is shown, which Levi later gets to beat up during the opening narration of the Playable Epilogue.
- Guilty Gear has a grand total of one dragon in the entire series, and you won't even know who it is unless you've paid attention to the series' lore. It's the main character himself, Sol Badguy. It's the form he takes when he transforms into a Gear, hence the name of his Super Mode: Dragon Install.
- Dragons are the rarest type of enemy in Xenoblade, with only three of them existing in the game and only one of them even being a mandatory fight. The second one appears during the Colony 6 reconstruction sidequest, and the last one is the game's highest-level superboss.
- In The Matrix: Path of Neo there are the huge Chinese(?)dragons on the paper screens when you leave the pagoda after the fight with Morpheus.
- Vagrant Story: There are lizardmen which are classed as dragons by the game's bestiary as mooks, but there are several Dragons and Wyrvens who you fight as bosses, and are by extention one of a kind. You fight a few more in New Game+.
- Monster Hunter: while most dragons in the series have plot relevant appearances, the Fatalis is this in 4 Ultimate, as it only appears in the Caravan after an unrelated Fetch Quest.
- One of the troops you can train in Clash of Clans is the Dragon, which is considered to be one of the strongest flying units you can produce thanks to its high hitpoints and damage. If done properly, a Mass Dragon raid composing of 9-11 Dragons will reduce an entire village into rubble.
- Supercell, the developer of Clash of Clans, has a Baby Dragon in the Clash of Clans Spin-Off game Clash Royale. The creature became a Canon Immigrant in May 2016 when Supercell added it to Clash of Clans. In CoC, the Baby Dragon has about half the health and damage of its bigger cousin, but when it doesn't have any other air troops around, it increases in speed and its damage approaches that of the full-sized Dragon.
- Betrayal at Krondor: Played With a bit: dragons are very rare in the game, and the one NPC who looks like a dragon tells you she isn't a dragon at all. However, after five chapters of fighting humanoid enemies and the odd Giant Scorpion, there are finally a few fights against baby dragons.
- In Overwatch, the Shimada brothers Genji and Hanzo both have dragon-based abilities. Genji's Ultimate ability causes a pair of dragons to surround him while he goes into a Super Mode that gives him powerful sword attacks, while Hanzo's Ultimate summons a pair of massive dragons that charge forward and continously damage enemies that get in their way, going through walls in the process.
Genji: [when activating his Ultimate] The dragon becomes me!
Hanzo: [when activatting his] Let the dragon consume you!
- Sega's War Pirates or Sen No Kaizoku is about a group of heroic pirates trying to beat back an army of evil pirates from taking over the world's ocean. But since War Pirates is a Fantasy Kitchen Sink world haunted by monsters, your pirates will have to fight the occasional dragon. The pirates of this world even get to pilot howdah-mounted dragons as a ship class later on.
- Stellaris is a gleefully troperiffic Space Opera Grand Strategy Game, so naturally one of the eponymous Leviathans of the Leviathans DLC is a Space Dragon. The Curators say it's the last remnant of a previous universe, and advise you on how to put the thing out of its misery to attain its hoard — an incredibly mineral and energy rich planet.
- Fate/stay night sure references dragons a lot for an expansive continuity that continues absolutely 0 actual dragons in any story. Dragon killing swords, dragon slayers, ranks of phantasmal beasts, the difficulty in summoning dragons, inability to ride them, dragon tooth soldiers, Caster's Golden Fleece that she can't use and has absolutely 0 use in the story. And apparently awhile back a bored dragon sat around the temple and taught the monks stuff. There are none in the sequel either and the current projects they're working on are Tsukihime Rebirth (vampires) and a completely new visual novel about demons. Still no dragons. The dragon is also symbolic of the house of Pendragon — the background mentions that Arturia would be weak against "anti-dragon" weapons, as Pendragon means "child of the dragon".
- Parodied in this Penny Arcade strip.
- Terezi Pyrope's lusus is a dragon. This has absolutely nothing to do with the story, but is awesome none the less. Apart from when it's used to blind her in a flashback. But other than that, nothing to do with the story.
- Terezi occasionally also Role Plays as a dragon. This, too, has nothing to do with the story.
- Dan of El Goonish Shive likes dragons (especially bunny dragons) so he has posted filler strips involving dragons quite a few times. He was later involved a dragon like creature in the main story as well.
- Axe Cop, episode 48:
"We are going to need to turn Wexter into a dragon so that he can fly us to Zombie World.""But he is already a giant lizard that can fly.""To get to Zombie World we need a dragon with rocket wings. Plus, dragons are awesome."
- Bot from Fairy Dust has a pet dragon hatchling. Aside from breathing small puffs of flame when frightened, the thing looks exactly like a regular lizard, and albeit tame, behaves much like one. There are mentions of more dragon-like species, with wings, and spikes but none is actually seen.
- A Free Spirit comic has a scene in which Winnie blatantly hints that she might give Gene a dragon for his birthday. He becomes excited, but Jessie tries to warn Winnie that it might prove too dangerous. Another comic has a scene in which Winnie sculpts a sand dragon, then brings it to life, but shoots it before it can eat anyone.
- Corgi Quest features a dragon that is said to be guarding a magic sword somewhere within the dungeon. Puffington and any other faerie dragons that may appear would fall more under Our Dragons Are Different instead.
- American Dragon: Jake Long. It's basically Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: The Series!
- The Fairly Oddparents: Timmy had to fight a dragon to save his parents when they Time Travel to the Middle Ages.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Dragons are the original fire benders, and the ones who taught firebending to humans. Although most of them have been hunted down by the fire nation, two of the ones left end up teaching Aang and Zuko the true nature of fire bending. Also in the Avatar's last previous life, Roku, had a pet dragon.
- And in one of Zuko's dreams, Azula and Iroh both take on the forms of dragons.
- Danny Phantom: Both Dora and Aragon transform into dragons.
- There are more than a few Transformers with dragon altmodes. G1 Hun-Grr, Transmetal 2 Megatron, RID Megatron, Beast Wars II Galvatron, Cybertron Scourge, and Shattered Glass Hun-Grr, to name the most prominent ones.
- The Transformers Prime version of the Predacons is an entire faction of dragon-bots. Only one has appeared on the show as of early season 3, but there's still time for that to change.
- Dulcy in Sonic SatAM.
- In the Teen Titans episode "Spellbound", villain Malchior could have easily been a human Evil Sorcerer whose spirit was trapped in one of Raven's spellbooks without substantially altering the plot- but he turns out to have been a dragon, just for that special dose of awesome. (What makes Malchior unique is that, unlike most dragons, he's very subtle, using deception and seduction to coerce Raven into trusting him. The most awesome part? This was a rare time when the character that would normally be the Distressed Damsel was the one who defeated him.)
- Spike, a baby dragon, has been in the My Little Pony cartoons, in their various incarnations.
- The Looney Tunes short "The Bashful Buzzard" featured a dragon near the end. Since there is no other fantasy element to the cartoon - it wasn't set in a Standard Fantasy Setting - there is no excuse for its appearance other than the director wanted to have a dragon on the picture.
- Granamyr from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983). Larry DiTillio, who designed the character, stated that Granamyr was created to present a foe that even He-Man could not defeat physically, and that he considered "The Dragon's Gift", the episode where the character first appeared, the best episode written. And yeah, as any fan of the show will tell you, Granamyr is downright awesome. He was so awesome, in fact, that he was planned to appear in one episode of the updated version of the cartoon, specifically in the episode "Separation". however, copyrighting reasons prevented use of the character, so it was changed to the mother dragon He-Man had met in the previous episode, "Dragon's Brood".
- This trope is probably why many species of lizard have a common name with "dragon" in it, especially those that are popular pets. What sounds more awesome, a bearded lizard or a bearded dragon?
- In fact, the lizard family of Agamidae, which comprises popular pets like bearded dragon, sailfin dragon, water dragon, frilled dragon etc, ends up being unofficially known as dragon lizards due to this prevalence.
- Ironically, monitor lizards/Varanidae, despite being the lizard family which contains the biggest lizards in the world, only has one member called a dragon: The komodo dragon. The rest of them have to settle with being called mere monitors. (Here's an example: Water dragon is an Agamid lizard about 1-meter (3+ foot) long weighing a bit over 1 kg (2+ pounds), whereas water monitor can be on average twice as long and a lot heavier).
- Discover a lizard with Not Quite Flight? Well, what else would you call it but Draco volans, the Flying Dragon? Their name is cool, as is their gliding ability, but they're very small (can fit in the average person's hand). Oh, and fun fact: Draco volans is also an agamid lizard, just to further drive home the previous point.
- There are murals and art all over San Francisco, but Chinatown is especially decorated with dragons.