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[[quoteright:239:[[Franchise/StarWars http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the-dragon4_the-empire-strikes-back_7763.png]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:239:"What is thy bidding, [[BigBad my master]]?"]]-]

->''"Lanius is savage. Savagely loyal, too, but only to me - he has no love for the Legion. But this has its uses. He has no attachment to his men, no compunction about battlefield losses. All he cares about is destroying the enemy. When another Legatus or Centurion fails to achieve results, I send Lanius to make things right. His first step is to beat the failed commander to death in front of his assembled troops."''
-->-- '''Caesar''' on his second-in-command Legate Lanius, ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas''

The BigBad's top enforcer, or the EvilCounterpart of TheLancer in the FiveBadBand. 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. Either way, defeating the Big Bad almost always requires TheHero to overcome the Dragon first. 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.

The Dragon will occasionally commit a HeelFaceTurn when confronted by the heroes. If he does so, chances are very good that he will end up [[BadGuysDoTheDirtyWork killing the Big Bad]] when the heroes [[ThouShaltNotKill cannot bring themselves to do so]]; often by [[TakingYouWithMe joining the villain in death]] as a [[RedemptionEqualsDeath final act of redemption]]. If, instead, his HeelFaceTurn comes earlier in the series, he may redeem himself and join TheTeam.

The Dragon is an integral part of the FiveBadBand dynamic. If there's a QuirkyMinibossSquad, the Dragon is often the [[TheLeader unofficial leader.]] And he tends to be physically stronger than TheBrute.

Please note that effectively being the Big Bad's secretary, or constantly hanging around them is not enough to be a Dragon. 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.]]

{{Trope}}s related to Dragons:
* BetaBitch - NumberTwo to the AlphaBitch.
* CoDragons - Two or more characters split the Dragon role between them.
* DemotedToDragon - A previous Big Bad is revealed to be, or is reduced to being, the Dragon to another villain.
* DevourTheDragon - The Big Bad 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.
* 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 - When the Dragon 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.
* NumberTwoForBrains - When the Dragon is an idiot.
* RuleOfTwo - A standard Big Bad and Dragon dynamic where betrayal is expected, and often inevitable.
* TheStarscream - A traitorous Dragon.
* VillainousFriendship - When a Dragon is good friends with the Big Bad.

The term "dragon" originates from folklore where the hero fights dragons or more often other kinds of monsters, described as such in "Literature/TheHeroWithAThousandFaces", a non-fiction comparison of various fantasy heroes written by Joseph Campbell. These monsters are obstacles to be overcome in order to fulfill the hero's quest. Note, however, that in folklore they are not necessarily (and hardly ever are) in the service of the true villain, whereas in accordance with this trope, they necessarily are.

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 TheSavageDragon.

Other {{Good Counterpart}}s are NumberTwo, or TheHero in a BigGood vs Big Bad scenario. 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.

[[noreallife]]
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!!Examples

[[index]]
* 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
[[/index]]

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