Follow TV Tropes


Breath Weapon / Literature

Go To

  • The book of Job describes the Leviathan, a fire-breathing sea dragon.
    • The Book of Revelation has the Two Witnesses (who are about as uncorrupted as mere mortals could be), who stand around outside the Temple and breathe fire on anyone who tries to harm them. They're two olive trees and two candlesticks. With mouths. Symbolically.
  • The Chimera is described in The Iliad as "a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire" (VI. 179-182).
  • Advertisement:
  • Lord Ebondrake from the Warhammer 40,000 Grey Knights novel Hammer of Daemons takes a draconic form and can breathe black flame.
  • In The Cycle of Fire, the Mharg demons have a breath weapon that reduces all life to slime, and leaves the land barren for decades afterwards.
  • Madame d'Aulnoy's fairy tale The Yellow Dwarf includes two giant turkeys that can breathe fire. These turkeys pull the cart of the titular dwarf and the Fairy of the Desert.
  • In Robin Hobb's fantasy world, the Realm of the Elderlings, dragons breathe a mist of strong acid.
  • Dragons (and their ancestors, fire lizards) in the Dragonriders of Pern series can breathe fire, but as this is a Science Fiction series rather than Fantasy, it has a mundane explanation. They chew a naturally occurring rock, named "firestone", and swallow it into a specialized stomach that mixes the pulverized stone with special acids, creating a pyrophoric gas that can be expelled from the dragons' mouths. Their capacity for this gas is limited, so their riders carry sacks of firestone to resupply them in flight.
  • Advertisement:
  • In Fablehaven, the fairy dragon, Raxtus, feels useless because his breath makes flowers grow. Compared to his father Celebrant, who has at least five separate breath weapons. We see a few dragons breathe fire, but there are also ones that breathe poison or Truth Serum.
  • Dragons in Septimus Heap breathe flammable gases, and their first breath is also flammable.
  • To the Kantri of Tales of Kolmar, fire breaths are something sacred, used to consecrate things, though this doesn't stop them from using it to light comforting fires and expelling it in bursts of emotion, analogous to human laughter and tears.
  • In Trapped on Draconica and Legacy of the Dragokin there are a race of humans called Dragonkin, who were granted powers of the dragons. They have different breath attacks (fire, ice, wind, etc) depending on the dragon they were based on.
  • Advertisement:
  • In Seraphina dragons spew flames.
  • Aleksandra, a dragon in A Fantasy Attraction, uses flame breath to get rid of a tribe of ogres.
  • Most dragon breeds in the Temeraire series don't have any kind of Breath Weapon, and the ones that do are particularly prized. The stars of the British Aerial Corps are its Longwings, who can spit acid.
    • When fully grown, Temeraire himself can roar hard enough to knock things down, which marks him as belonging to an even rarer Chinese breed than anyone previously thought.
  • In Jo Walton's Tooth and Claw, dragons only acquire flame as they grow and consume other dragons, be it the corpse of a deceased relative, or smaller dragons showcasing traits that make them "weaklings." Even those dragons that do eventually gain the ability to breathe fire use the ability sparingly, as dragon society considers it best reserved for personal defense or the punishment of a grievous offense.
  • In J.K.Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them there is an African leopard beast more dangerous than dragons called a Nundu, which spreads virulent disease with its breath.
  • In The Iron Teeth web serial, Myagnoir the Great Drake is basically a flightless dragon, and has ice breath. He uses it destroy an entire city and the people in it.
  • Discworld
    • Discworld's noble dragons breath gouts of flame, which would be impossible if they weren't powered by magic and the beliefs of their summoners. Discworld's swamp dragons, on the other hand, breath a gas that ignites once it's safely away from their snouts (or, depressingly frequently, causes them to blow up).
    • The Discworld version of the Chimera has, according to the standard bestiary, "the breathe of a furnace and the temperament of a rubber balloon in a hurricane".
  • Ology Series:
    • European dragons have the classic fire breath, and marsupial dragons have a weaker flame of their own. Arctic dragons breathe frost instead, while Sargasso dragons spit ink.
    • Among non-dragons, cockatrices can breathe out a fine mist of deadly poison.