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"The Blades are wise not to trust me. Onikaan ni ov.note  I would not trust another dovah. Dov wahlaan fah rel.note  We were made to dominate. The will to power is in our blood. You feel it in yourself, do you not?"
Paarthurnax, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
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When it comes to representing evil, a common form it takes is that of the dragon. While in East Asia dragons were often seen as benevolent or at least neutral deities, the most common depiction of dragons in Europe, especially post-Christianity, were as evil beings that were often used as a stand-in for Satan himself when not working directly under him (The Greek drakon and Latin draco literally mean "one who stares", referring to large snakes and occasionally crocodiles).

One of the if not the most common scenarios in a fantasy story is the hero slaying a dragon, either as a literal example of The Dragon, or as an Arc Villain or Big Bad in their own right. It is not unusual for these dragons to be dark in color or capable of breathing dark or green colored flames, or poison breath, but not required. A Dracolich often falls under this, due to the association between the undead and evil, but not always.

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Compare Reptiles Are Abhorrent, and especially Snakes Are Sinister for older depictions. If they have religions based around them or are otherwise treated as deities or divine beings, they may also fall under Dragons Are Divine (Albeit as evil deities). A subtrope of Our Dragons Are Different, Our Demons Are Different, and Scaled Up.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 

  • Berserk: While normal dragons exist and are seen once the barrier between the spirit world and the mortal world is torn down, the first "dragon" to appear thus far in the series is Grunbeld, a demonic warrior working for Griffith, whose true Apostle form is that of a corundum-skinned dragon.
  • Digimon Tamers: Upon extreme anger of Takato over the death of Leomon at Belzemon's hands, he transforms his partner Guilmon into one of these, named Megidramon. His powers are so acute and massive that he causes the Digital World to slowly crumble around him simply by existing. Fortunately he's calmed down before he could destroy everything.
  • When Lucemon, the Greater-Scope Villain of Digimon Frontier, goes One-Winged Angel a second time, he takes the form of a gigantic bestial dragon with Unholy Nuke powers.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Cymbal, the youngest son of Demon King Piccolo in the original Dragon Ball, is a villainous dragon-shaped mutated Namekian.
    • The Shadow Dragons from Dragon Ball GT, spawned by Black Smoke Shenron, an Evil Counterpart of Shenron, are evil beings created by the overuse and built-up negative energies of the Dragon Balls through the series, and serve as the final antagonists for our heroes to defeat. Fittingly enough, a good deal of them look quite similar to traditional depictions of winged, horned demons and they all exist to create as much chaos and destruction as possible. However, Nuova Shenron is instead a Token Good Teammate who eventually teams up with Goku to try and defeat Omega Shenron. Alas, he is defeated.
  • Inuyasha:
    • Ryukotsusei is an extremely powerful dragon demon (To be more exact, a daiyoukai), who battled the Inu no Taisho, Inuyasha and Sesshomaru's father, to a standstill before being sealed by being stabbed above the heart by one of his fangs. Even then, the injuries suffered by the Inu no Taisho during the battle proved enough to kill him afterwards.
    • Ryuujin, a far weaker dragon demon, has the ability to absorb demonic energy.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Duel Monster Spirit Yubel is a demon (even classified as such in real card game) but was also described as draconic in their past life. This is far more obvious in their Terror Incarnate and Ultimate Nightmare forms.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, the deity on the side of the Kutou Empire, Seiryuu, is a dragon. Unlike most examples of this trope, Seiryuu is an Asian-style dragon, and associated with water more than fire. However, it is shown that Seiryuu himself isn't actually evil; it's just that his purpose is to grant wishes...and that he's the patron god of a very warlike empire, so he's being manipulated by corrupt humans.
  • In Future Card Buddyfight, Big Bad Kyoya Gaen's Buddy Monster is named Demonic Demise Dragon, Azi Dahaka. He's also the leader of Darkness Dragon World's legions of monsters, which include many more examples, though that doesn't figure too much into the plot.
  • Fafnir from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid is a cursed dragon whose true form is nightmarish, with multiple solid-red eyes, a vertical mouth lined with fangs, a jet-black serpentine body, and what appear to be tentacles. Though he's more of a greedy recluse than outright evil.
  • In One Piece, Kaido of the Four Emperors, known as the strongest "creature" in the world, takes the form of a massive East Asian dragon, and rules his territory as a near merciless Evil Overlord.
  • In Fairy Tail: Acnologia is known throughout the world as the "Black Dragon of the Apocalypse" who slaughtered almost the entirety of the dragon race and is feared by everyone who knows him as a calamity that brings nothing but destruction. It's to the point he's the only thing more fearsome than Zeref, the immortal Black Wizard who created various devastating black magics and demons that still plague the world today.

    Comic Books 

  • Hellboy: The Ogdru Jahad is a seven-headed dragon prophesied to destroy the Earth, its physical form consisting of seven cocoons somewhere in deep space. Just about every other villain is trying to accelerate its coming or delay it by killing Hellboy (who is prophesied to wake it). Hellboy himself being an Anti Anti Christ, he ends up slaying an avatar of the dragon, but it still isn't enough to prevent the apocalypse.

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    Fan Works 

  • In We Are All Pokémon Trainers, Umbra during his time as the evil Ghost Lord uses his entire Ghost Army to take on the form of Penumbra, a monstrous dragon resembling a cross between Origin Giratina, Black Kyurem, and the Dark Hide from Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep at the climax of the Conquest arc. In this form he's so powerful that it takes the combined efforts of most of the warlords of Ransei, Tagg using some of his most powerful seals empowered by the Aura Nexus below the Infinity Tower, and a faith-empowered Ammy in order to defeat him.
  • In The Bridge, the normal Equestrian dragons are, relative for a fantasy setting, normal beings whom can be good or evil. The cosmic monstrocity, Grand King Ghidorah on the other hand combines the worst aspects of the character from multiple film incarnations, is responsible for the deaths of untold millions; and is treated more like an Animalistic Abomination that just happens to look like a dragon.
  • A Thing of Vikings: While dragons in this setting are just really weird animals, quite a few characters (namely Christian ones) believe them to be this trope, with some outright calling them demons, devils, or hellbeasts.

    Films — Animated 

  • All Dogs Go to Heaven: During Charlie's nightmare, he's dragged into Hell and confronted by a massive dragon-like demon. The dragon appears at the very end, waiting to drag Charlie's soul down to Hell. The whippet angel appears before that happens, however, drives the dragon away, and tells Charlie his place in Heaven has been restored due to his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • The evil fairy Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty proclaims to Prince Phillip prior to fighting her that he must now face her and "all the powers of Hell", before transforming into a giant black dragon with glowing green eyes and the ability to breathe green flames.
  • Wizards: Blackwolf, an evil character, is depicted as turning a Bambi-like Deer into a dragon which the narrator describes as "torturing small animals." Ironically many viewers considered it rather awesome.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God: The eponymous dragon god Faluzure is a creature of decay and undeath who the evil mage Damodar intends to awaken.
  • Godzilla.
    • King Ghidorah. In the Showa era, he was the cause of the extinction of life on Venus or Mars. Then there was the Rebirth of Mothra version who killed all the dinosaurs and wanted to eat the souls of children.
    • Destoroyah's final form looks like a cross between a dragon and Satan himself. He is treated as the most vile kaiju to face Godzilla since he killed his son.
  • Dragonslayer: The dragon (the Vermithrax Pejorative) is just a beast (although one that is incredibly devastating), however from the point of view of many characters it is a demon in the flesh (being a living representation of one of the film's sub-plots, that The Magic Goes Away and is being replaced with Christianity... and the magic is not "going away" quietly).
  • Yamato Takeru features a massive fire-breathing lightning-shooting version of the Yamata no Orochi which is the Scaled Up form of Big Bad Physical God Tsukuyomi.

    Literature 

  • Dragons, such as Smaug and Ancalagon the Black, are described in Tolkien's Legendarium as creations of Morgoth (the setting's Satan Expy) that are inherently evil as a whole.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Dragons appear to be representative of vice, such as in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader where Eustace is turned into one after indulging his greed.
  • Saint George and the Dragon: The dragon defeated by Saint George, which was terrorizing towns eating people and livestock. George claims to have defeated the creature through the power of Christ, which implies the dragon is literally of demonic origin.
  • Redwall: Snakes serve as the setting's stand-in for dragons and are portrayed as the most intractably evil of all species in the 'verse. The first one we meet, Asmodeus Poisonteeth, invokes this trope, sharing a name with a demon lord from Christian demonology, and stated in story to be the "devil himself."
  • The Saga of the Jomsvikings speculates that a sea-serpent seen in Hjorunga Bay is either the ghost of Bui guarding the two chests of gold he took with him to the sea-bottom, or else that it is "some evil spirit" which has taken possession of the treasure.

    Religion And Mythology 

  • In The Book of Revelation, Satan transforms into a seven-headed dragon so big that a sweep of his tail sends a third of the stars in the sky to Earth, and is likened to a dragon throughout the book. More generally, dragons in medieval Christian imagery were strongly associated with Hell and evil, often being out-and-out stand-ins for Satan and his demons. In other stories, they symbolize the sin of Greed.
  • Orochi from Japanese Mythology, the eight-headed serpent dragon slain by Susano, god of thunderstorms, and a being powerful enough to frighten the earthly gods of the area into doing nothing as he eats their daughters.
  • In Norse Mythology, Nidhoggr is a giant dragon that gnaws at the roots of Yggdrasil in hopes of destroying all worlds.
  • Vritra from Hindu Mythology is a serpentine dragon and a personification of drought, who was slain by Indra.
  • Among the Persians Azhi Dahak, a three-headed dragon imprisoned beneath Mount Demavend is the Lord of Lies. In the Shahnameh he also possesses a foolish prince named Zahak, turning him into a tyrant and cannibal.
  • Interesting variant from Slavic mythology where dragons are only mostly associated with Satan and demons. "Zmey" are often antagonistic and most of them are affiliated with forces opposing God but are often explicitly said to be capable of converting to Christianity. This oddity makes a bit more sense when you consider they were most likely analogues to foreign invaders. note 

    Tabletop Games 

  • Dungeons & Dragons has both good and evil dragons, Color-Coded for Your Convenience. Though both are hoarders of treasure, chromatic (colored) dragons are full-on evil 99% of the time. There are also evil draconic deities, including Tiamat, a goddess of greed who is also a member of the Forgotten Realms' main pantheon. Metallic dragons are usually good-aligned, but may fall under Good Is Not Nice. Special mention to the Dark Sun setting, in which all dragons are the embodiment of the horrific, rapacious corruption of arcane magic on Athas, each one born from an act of genocide.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Chromatic dragons, as in D&D, are beings of evil and destruction and often worshipped by other mortal beings as living gods who must be appeased through sacrifice and lavish offerings. The metallic dragons usually avert this, but when they fall and tarnish they can become as evil and destructive as any chromatic.
    • One of two main dragon gods, Dahak, is a monstrous, sadistic brute who lives to spread pain and suffering, especially to his own draconic creations — he is explicitly described as having created the first mortal dragons in order to hunt them for sport. Even the chromatic dragons hate him.
    • The outer dragons — dragons native to the various planes of the afterlife — include some rather unpleasant natives of the Lower Planes. Hell dragons are horrific monsters in league with the devils and always seeking to damn souls to the flames of Hell, while the rift dragons of the Abyss are demonic entities who often make their way to the material plane to force mortals to worship them as demigods of suffering and destruction.
  • In Iron Kingdoms, the core factions of each gameline have the same basic arrangement: Good-Ish Guys (Trollbloods, Cygnar), Well-Intentioned Extremist Guys (Menoth, Circle Orboros), Imperialistic and Kinda Dickish Guys (Skorne, Khador), and Straight-Up Bad Guys (Cryx, Everblight). In both lines, the Straight-Up Bad Guys faction is tied to dragons: Cryx is ruled by the first of the dragons, and their long-term objective is killing all of the other dragons so that Toruk can regain his full power, while Everblight is one of Toruk's spawn who has corrupted most of the Nyss elves. Aesthetically, Cryx is a horrible den of undead and black, hissing insect-like warjacks, while the forces of Everblight are a nightmarish mess of Body Horror mutations who direct blind monsters bred solely to kill against their enemies.

    Video Games 
  • In the second Actraiser game, the embodiment of the sin of Greed is a dragon.
  • Fire Emblem: Dragons tend to be enemy characters throughout the series. Wyvern riders are also a common sight in enemy armies. Even Dragons who are not evil are in danger of going insane and entering a Kill All Humans state of wildness if they don't conserve their power. The common enemy dragons are as follows:
    • Fire Dragons (image) are immense dragons described as capable of incinerating everything in their path, and have wings made of flame. They have a long history of mutual antagonism with humanity. Aside from one individual in the first game, and its sequel, all Fire Dragons are enemy characters.
    • Mage Dragons (image), sometimes translated as Demon Dragons are snake-like Dark Purple Dragons that seal all magic attacks while dealing damage with their magically infused breath. All Mage Dragons are enemy characters in the series, either members of an evil empire, or having fallen to the madness listed above.
    • Earth Dragons (image) are gigantic armored dragons with features of crocodiles, komodo dragons, and various dinosaurs. Earth Dragons command the forces of the earth, and shadow, being one of the strongest dragons. Virtually all Earth Dragons fell victim to insanity mentioned above, were the most dangerous of the mad Dragons, and were sealed. The few survivors are also enemy characters. Some have reached an advanced form known as a Shadow Dragon which is unsurpassed in power.
      • Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light: Medeus, the leader of an evil empire of Dragons, resurrects, gathers up his old soldiers, teams up with an Evil Sorcerer, and starts Taking Over The World. Medeus does have a Freudian Excuse of being antagonized by humanity for many years. In the sequel Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem Medeus returns in the form of a Shadow Dragon as the seal on the insane dragons starts to weaken. This also applies in backstory as the same myths that made Naga an outright god, depicted Dragons as monsters from Hell, are actually an exaggerated version of Naga protecting humanity from dragons that had gone feral.
      • Fire Emblem Gaiden:
      • Duma, the God of Power, is revealed in Echoes to be a Divine Dragon suffering from dragon degeneration, and has the ability to turn people into Witches by having their soul offered to him, and can turn the corpses of fallen dragons into Necrodragons. His class is also Fell God (Evil God in Japan), he uses Fell Dragon magic (evil magic in Japan), he summons evil beings from the darkness, he has a single glowing red eye, and his body is darkly colored with tattered wings.
      • The Brethren in Echoes are living dragons that are a common enemy in dungeons who are implied to have gone completely feral from dragon degeneration.
    • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War: Loptyr, an Earth Dragon who escaped being sealed under the Dragon's Table through blood-bonding with the bishop Galle, is often described as less of a regular (albeit evil) dragon, and more something akin to an Enemy Within due to his heavy association with darkness, habit of Demonic Possession of those with major Loptyr blood through his eponymous tome, and having a whole Religion of Evil based around him. He is the archenemy of Naga, the leader of the Divine Dragons.
    • Fire Emblem Elibe: This setting has its dragons sent to another dimension after losing a war against humanity. While both played dirty in the war, it was actually humanity that started the war. The prequel Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade has an Evil Sorceror attempt to unleash Dragons on the war as part of a plot to get revenge on the world. The sequel Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade has a has the last dragon soldier left on the continent team up with a nihilistic King to restart the dragons ancient line of artificial Dragon soldiers, and use them to conquer humanity in favor of dragonkind. Fittingly the dragon they use produce these soldiers is literally called the Demon Dragon.
    • The Fell Dragon Grima from Fire Emblem Awakening is also Naga's greatest rival, and is also an evil dragon that possesses a suitable host and surrounds himself with a death cult of fanatical supporters, the Grimeal. Much like Loptyr, his plan for full resurrection involves the use of a suitable host bred for the task, in this case the Avatar. Grima himself is a fiendish-looking city-sized monstrosity with multiple eyes. On top of that, Shadows of Valentia reveals that he's the result of a dark alchemy experiment that sought to create the perfect lifeform.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates, King Garon transforms into the Blight Dragon during the final battle of Birthright, complete with glowing red eyes.
  • Warcraft:
    • Dragons were inherently evil in Warcraft II, used by orcs as flying shock troops. Warcraft III had them released from the orcs' mind control into a more neutral position, though their leaders are either good (Alexstrasza, the formerly imprisoned Dragonqueen) or evil (Deathwing, pictured above).
    • Expanded further in World of Warcraft. Black dragons (like Deathwing) are Always Chaotic Evil due to being corrupted by the Old Gods. The other flights are usually neutral or good, but dip into evil on occasion. The blue dragons became antagonists in Wrath of the Lich King when their leader went insane. The time-travelling bronze dragons become the evil Infinite Dragonflight in a possible future, and frequently attempt to muck with the timestream. Green dragons are occasionally warped by the Emerald Nightmare, a corrupted version of the dream realm they usually reside in. Red dragons are the only flight to fully avert this, although some have been driven to insanity before.
    • Aside from the natural flights, there are also chromatic dragons, which are artificial dragons made from the blood of all five flights, and nether dragons, made by exposing black dragon eggs to the Twisting Nether. Both are creations of the Black Dragonflight, and are of course evil by nature.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
  • The dragons in Tales of Zestiria are particularly powerful Hellions, and thus are evil by definition. Only a few are encountered during the game, and they are all extremely dangerous foes.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Volvagia from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was an ancient dragon who terrorized the Gorons before being slain by a Goron wielding the Megaton Hammer. Ganondorf ends up reviving Volvagia in a plot to feed all the Gorons to him as punishment for defying his regime.
    • The Obviously Evil Onox, General of Darkness in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons. He's the final boss of the game and spends most of it in the form of a humanoid knight rather like a Darknut, but his One-Winged Angel form is a huge black dragon.
    • Argorok from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is a wyvern who possesses a shard of the Mirror of Twilight, and a malevolent being who terrorizes the Oocca of the City in the Sky.
  • Urgash the Dragon God of Chaos from the Ashan series of Heroes of Might and Magic exists as a Satanic Archetype in opposition to his sister Asha, goddess of Order and creator of the world, and fathered the first demons as a mockery of her claiming the right to creation.
  • Tathamet in the Diablo franchise is a seven-headed dragon who is also known as the Prime Evil. It is said that when he was killed while fighting the warrior god Anu, his corpse reformed itself into the Burning Hells, and each of his seven heads became one of the Seven Great Evils, the demon lords who reign supreme over the other demons.
  • While genuine dragons in the Dragon Age series are basically large, bad-tempered carnivores, there are some elements of this: dragon blood can defile holy relics in spectacular fashion, the dragon cult you encounter is evil and practices human sacrifice, and most notably, the Archdemons that lead the darkspawn Blights take the form of enormous dragons (as does Ambiguously Evil witch Flemeth, but that's mostly because it's powerful; Archdemons don't appear in any other form).
  • Pokémon:
    • Giratina, first introduced in Gen IV, is the third member of the creation trio, a Ghost/Dragon type who was banished to the Distortion World by Arceus for its violence, and has a particularly evil-looking appearance, though it isn't inherently evil.
    • Hydreigon from Gen V is a three headed Dark/Dragon type that is described as being willing to attack and devour anything in its path, and is also the strongest Pokémon of Ghetsis, the Unova duology's main villain.
    • Dragalge from Gen VI is a Poison/Dragon type who will sink any ships entering its territory with their acidic poison.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon introduces UB-05 Glutton, aka Guzzlord, an eldritch looking Dark/Dragon type Ultra Beast that can devour whole buildings and even mountains and seas. The Ultra Ruins in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are implied to be an alternate Hau'oli City that was devoured by Guzzlord following a power plant accident.
    • Mega Charizard X definitely looks the part with its Spikes of Villainy, black skin and red eyes. However, it's of the Dark Is Not Evil variety.
  • Ukkuhr-Makhai, the Great Stygian Dragon from the Nexus War games. He was formed from a festering mass of chaos that grew teratoma-style in the pustulent flesh of Tholaghru, the infernal Nexal god of chaos and Body Horror, which eventually clawed itself free. In the first Nexus game he then wandered randomly around Stygia, devouring all in his wake and generally acting as That One Boss when challenged by raiding parties.
  • Final Fantasy XIV features dragons, many of whom are demonic.
    • Bahamut, the elder primal, is a massive dragon that the ancient Allagans sealed in the artificial moon of Dalamud long ago. Near the end of the original version of the game, Bahamut broke free of its prison when Dalamud was brought down to Eorzea, after which it initiated a miniature apocalypse.
    • The dragons of Dravania zig-zag this trope. For the most part, the native dragons do not take part in the war ongoing between dragonkind and the city-state of Ishgard, but are territorial and hostile towards outsiders. Some dragons are actually very wise and noble, and become allies of the heroes. The hoard warring against Ishgard, however, are Always Chaotic Evil, with their leader Nidhogg being demonic in both appearance and in deed.
    • Near the end of the Heavensward post-game storyline, a dragon rivaling the ferocity and danger of Bahamut appears; Shinryu, a dragon primal created by the desperation of Ala Mhigan insurgents led by Ilberd.
  • Xenoblade has only three dragons, but they're the strongest group of monsters in the game, with the latter two dragons even dropping Demonic Everflames once defeated:
    • Dragon King Alcar is the antepenultimate boss of the story, guarding the way to the roof of Prison Island, serving as almost a literal example of The Dragon due to it blocking the way to the Big Bad's realm.
    • Demon King Dragonia attacks Colony 6's ether planters once it reaching 90% completion and must be defeated as a result.
    • Avalanche Abassy is one of the superbosses, appears at night on Valak Mountain during a raging blizzard, and is the most powerful enemy in the game.
  • The Storm Rider in Kingdom Hearts II is a dragon that was corrupted into a Heartless by Xigbar of Organization XIII.

    Web Animation 

  • RWBY:
    • The dragon variant of the Grimm is noted to be the most powerful and dangerous of them, and is capable of summoning other kinds of Grimm.
    • The sea dragon Grimm that Blake and Sun fight in Volume 4 is an unusual take on this trope, as its appearance is based off of Eastern dragons rather than the typical Western ones.

    Web Original 

  • While not literally demonic because they lack the rot associated with demons, dragons in Pact are malevolent beings formed from something feeding into itself when the stars align just right. This can take the form of things such as a god worshipping itself or an elemental spirit absorbing more than it puts out. Treated as being among the most powerful of Others with no real weaknesses, the only surefire ways of defeating them include fighting them directly while being backed by a god or being overwhelmed by a bigger source of whatever they embody.

    Western Animation 


Alternative Title(s): Dark Dragon, Dragons Are Evil, Demonic Dragon, Evil Dragon

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