St. George Killing the Dragon by Bernat Martorell
"I don't know about you guys, but... I kinda want to slay the dragon."
A dragon is usually a job for an entire party of adventurers. So how can The Dragonslayer do this themselves? Well, having the Greatsword of Dragonbane +1
and the strength to lift and wield it helps. But beyond incredible strength and skill, they must have knowledge. They must know various weaknesses of dragons, such as that the scales near the belly are especially thin, the space between eyes (or heck the eyes themselves), or the nape of the neck are vital points. They also have to know specific weaknesses of elemental and chromatic dragons, such as that an ice dragon cannot abide large amounts of salt.
So this is just a variant
of The Hunter
right? Well, no. The Hunter
normally suffers the Achilles' Heel
of Crippling Overspecialization
, while The Dragonslayer still has a giant sword, which unlike a stake or silver daggers, is very effective in battle
. The Dragonslayer is often The Hero
with a few dead dragons tacked on.
But that's assuming the truth. Dragon slayers have a reputation for being Miles Gloriosus
, to the point where even the real deal is viewed with skepticism. Perhaps the one rumored to be a dragon slayer isn't, and you instead need to look for his brother, or maybe sister
. Or maybe their great-grandfather was one, but nobody in the family knows how to do it anymore.
It is important to note that having killed one
dragon does not necessarily make one a dragonslayer, just as having saved one person makes them a hero but not The Hero
. This is basically part of their job description, meaning they generally hunt dragons, plural. The other qualification, of course, is surviving the encounter. Not the person who gets rid of The Dragon
, unless we're being literal here.
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Anime and Manga
- Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker reveals that the family of Dragon Age II character Cassandra Pentaghast has quite a reputation as dragonslayers. In the course of the film, Cassandra takes out a grand total of six, five of them in the same scene.
- Fairy Tail has the Dragon Slayer magic (metsuryuu mahou, note ), a special type of elemental magic taught to certain humans by Dragons, which is said to be really effective against other Dragons. It also slowly transform the user to a dragon. Canonically, Acnologia was once a really bloodthirsty Dragon Slayer who massacred tons of dragons, until he was eventually turned into a giant dragon himself. It's not so much that Dragon Slayer magic is especially effective against Dragons; rather, it's pretty much the only thing that can even scratch them. Even then, the Dragon Slayer has to be really powerful to stand a chance against a real Dragon. Seems to be a case of like working against like: one of the only things that can really hurt a Dragon is another Dragon. Dragon Slayers are simply humans using Dragon magic.
- In One Piece Wanted, set in the same continuity as One Piece, the legendary swordmaster and samurai Ryuuma's greatest and best known feat was killing a huge dragon in a single hit. During the Punk Hazard arc, Zoro mirrors Ryuuma by beheading a large dragon in a similar manner.
- Parn from Record of Lodoss War has over the course of the show killed at least two dragons, one in the first episode, and the other was an ancient dragon.
- Lina Inverse from Slayers does not qualify, even though she's killed hundreds of dragons, because her technique is seen as overkill and not involving real skill. She does however meet an actual dragon hunter, on her quest for gourmet cuisine (he's less a BFS variety, and more a specialist that uses knife skills).
- The Vision of Escaflowne starts off with Van fighting a dragon in a specialized dragon-fighting suit of armor. There's a folding pop-out shield that he can extend to protect him from flame breath, there's a crossbow on one arm, and if needs be he can shed the whole thing at once for added mobility. Dragonslaying is apparently a very important thing in his world, since it's how you get energist crystals for powering giant robots. It's also his rite of passage as the king of his small country.
- Georgia of Pokémon is a self-proclaimed "Dragon Buster", a trainer dedicated to taking down dragon-type Pokemon. To this end, her team is mostly made up of ice-types, which were at the time the dragon-type's only weakness aside from itself.
- In the manga Rain, the main character Rain gained the title of "dragon slayer" after he supposedly single-handedly fought and killed a dragon in one-on-one combat and absorbed the dragon's lifeforce and power.
- In Smax (the spin-off from Top 10), Smax is revealed to have started out as a professional dragonslayer before moving across worlds to become a policeman in Neopolis.
- The protagonist in Dragonheart is a professional dragonslayer, seeking to kill the last dragon whose heart is making the king an immortal tyrant. He gives up the grudge after befriending said dragon and realizing that the heart only made the king immortal — the king was always evil. In the end, he has no choice but to act as a dragonslayer one last time to put an end to the villain once and for all.
- The villain's mother, the Queen Dowager, also hires dragonslayers to kill the last dragon, so her son will die with him
- In Reign of Fire, Van Zan (and his fellow Americans) are all specialists in slaying dragons. They have knowledge of the dragons' weaknesses and exploit these with a range of specialized equipment, including a tank and a helicopter which can drop troops onto flying dragons to force them to land.
- Fred Saberhagen's The First Book of Swords. Nestor was already in the dragon-hunting trade when the god Hermes gave him Dragonslicer. With that Sword he found he could kill dragons easily.
- Cadderly from The Cleric Quintet qualifies, even though he's a spellcaster. He managed to kill one with a explosive bandolier, and he managed to brainwash another into doing his bidding.
- The main characters of the Forgotten Realms novel trilogy The Year of Rogue Dragons are an adventuring party who specialize in taking down dragons, slaying several evil dragons per book. It's Personal for the leader, half-golem Dorn Graybrook, who lost his family and two limbs to a dragon attack as a child. Over the course of the trilogy, though, he not only allies with several good-aligned dragons, but even falls in love with a female song dragon.
- In The Hero and the Crown, Lady Aerin becomes a dragonslayer after working out a reasonably safe method for doing so. Her ownership of a powerful magical sword helps, of course.
- Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly has a prince go in search of a dragonslayer who the legends describe as a Knight in Shining Armor who killed the dragon with his sword. He turns out to be a rather bookish man who disabled the dragon with poisoned harpoons and finished it with a battleaxe.
- Tom Holt's Paint Your Dragon plays with the trope. Saint George is an out-and-out treacherous bastard, and the dragon is closer to being a hero. The dragon just wants a fair fight.
- In John Moore's Slay and Rescue, Prince Charming is quite the dab hand at rescuing princesses from dragons, and has developed several specialized techniques for dragonslaying. He just wishes the princesses would be a little more demonstrative in their thanks.
- Deconstructed in Sword of Destiny, where dragon slayers are depicted either as idealistic buffoons out of touch with reality or thuggish, ruthless (but efficient) poachers.
- Invoked in the final book of The Wheel of Time, when Demandred proclaims himself to be the dragonslayer and a Dark Messiah. However, in his case the dragon he's come to slay is the local Chosen One, who goes by that title, not a scaly fire-breathing best.
- Deconstructed in The Good, the Bad and the Mediochre. Maelstrom is a dragon slayer - described as such in-universe, in fact - but since the setting is one where dragons are rarely evil and often sapient, this just makes him a massive, speciesist, douchebag Psycho for Hire.
- Saint George (c. 275-303 AD) is famous for slaying a dragon since the 11th century (there was no mention of George's dragon-fight prior to that). The real George was a Syrian-born Roman legionnaire who was executed for refusing to sacrifice to the Roman gods. The legend is possibly inspired by Eastern icons of George fighting a dragon in which the dragon was (in reference to the dragon of Revelation) merely a symbol of Rome and/or paganism, but eventually the scene came to be understood literal.
- Aided by his one faithful retainer Wiglaf, Beowulf battled and killed a dragon that had devastated his kingdom of Geatland, but died of his wounds afterwards.
- Classical Mythology: Bellerophon was famous for killing the Chimera, a fire-breathing monster that was part lion, part goat, and part snake.
- In Germanic Mythology, the hero Sigurd a.k.a. Siegfried was chiefly famous for killing a huge dragon somewhere near the Rhine.
- In Medieval Madness, the player must slay a dragon in order to rescue one of the princess by shooting the damsel ramp.
- Sir Tristan has this task in Golden Logres
- The player must do this as one of his duties in the "Dragon's Keep" table of Full Tilt! Pinball
- The Warden in Dragon Age: Origins fights and slays several dragons over the course of Origins and Awakening, including the game's Big Bad, a dragon-shaped Eldritch Abomination.
- Hawke in Dragon Age II faces the entire gambit, ranging from Drakelings to a High Dragon. In the Mark of the Assassin DLC, they're invited to take part in Duke Prosper's annual Wyvern hunt, winning a prize for being the first to slay an Alpha Wyvern. Near the end, Hawke gets into a fight with Duke Prosper who in addition to using a crossbow, rides into battle with his trained Wyvern, Leopold.
- Cassandra Pentaghast, in addition to being a member of the current royal family of Nevarra, descends from legendary Dragonslayers responsible for the near extinction of the entire species during the Steel Age. Pentaghast herself is no slouch, as seen in the Dawn of the Seeker film.
- The Dragonborn in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the only one who can kill dragons permanently by consuming their souls. Others can kill them, too (in fact the Empire's Secret Police the Blades started out as dragonslayers), but this only kills their body, with their Aedric soul remaining intact. Their return from (near) extinction is revealed to have not been due to repopulating their numbers, but because Alduin's return allowed him to resurrect them from the burial mounds their remains were entombed in by the Ancient Nords.
- AdventureQuest and its spinoff AdventureQuest Worlds have this as a class designed around killing dragons and dragonkin like the Magitek-wielding Drakels.
- Neverwinter Nights 2:
- Slaying the red dragon Tholapsyx in the first campaign grants you the history feat "Dragonslayer". The feat doesn't have any actual effect; it's just a cool thing to have on your resume.
- In Storm of Zehir a completionist player can slay up to four dragons, and your first dragon kill grants "Dragon Slayer". This time, though, the feat adds +2 to attack and damage rolls versus dragons.
- The eponymous characters in Dragon Valor are individuals who wield magic swords which are the only thing that can kill dragons.
- King's Bounty Legends has the "Dragon Slayer" spell, which enhances attack against dragons and fire resistance. Plus, the Knights can deal bonus damage to Dragons.
- In Drakensang Dragonslaying is a proud tradition among the dwarves, who have developed lots of special weapons (axes, hammers and large crossbows) specifically meant to kill dragons. To really drive the point home, Dwarves are said to have 18 words for "killing a dragon".
- In Dark Souls, Dragon Slayer Ornstein earned the first part of his title, fighting alongside Lord Gwyn against the Everlasting Dragons in the climactic battle that allowed humanity to rise and flourish. There's a collection of dragon heads mounted in the castle in Anor Londo that provides proof of his kills. The Chosen Undead also gets the chance to slay up to five different dragons over the course of the game, and six with the DLC installed. Eight, if the hydras are included.
- It should be noted, two of those dragons were rotting zombies, two were deformed and maddened over the centuries, and one was a much lesser (though still powerful) drake. The only true dragon you face is in the DLC, and it needs to be crippled by a giant's arrow before it can even be touched.
- Pokémon X and Y adds the Fairy type to its Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors system specifically to counter the Dragon type, which had been getting too overpowered.
- Oddly, before the existence of the Fairy type, Porygon2 of all Pokemon was the main go-to for dealing with dragons, possessing the ability to copy their abilities as well as withstand the amount of damage they deal, leaving surreal images of a two-foot tall toy duck taking down a seven meter tall serpent.
- Ice-types in general, even in Gen VI with the advent of Fairies.
- The arcade game Dragon Buster and it's long distance sequel Dragon Valor for the original Playstation.
- At one point in The Tower of Druaga, Gilgamesh must slay an enemy called Quox, who is essentially a dragon, even if Quox is never specifically referred to as such.
- Dirk the Daring in the first Dragons Lair game, though not so much in the second.
- When the dragon shows up on Earth in Dra Koi, a dragonslayer instantly shows up to fight her. It has no other purpose than slaying the dragon. It's actually just a suit of armor and a weapon to be used by the real hero, who is the real dragonslayer. The person wielding it is called the dragon slayer or the hero: They have no name given.
- Iroh from Avatar: The Last Airbender is famed in story for slaying the last dragon left in the world earning the title Dragon of the West really however he lied and left the last of the dragons alive and only claimed to have killed them so they could live in peace.
- The film Fire and Ice had a man named Galador who slew a dragon. Too bad he died years ago, and his son had to do the job. His son, while not directly killing them, manages to take care of one by pitting it against another, and the second, an ice dragon by bringing down salt mines on it.