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Lazy Dragon

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Well, he does breathe fire everyday, so can you blame him for being burnt out?
"A Dragon slumbers in lifetimes, waking only for mere moments of its life. Do not squander its time."
— Flavor text for the Dragon's Lair building, Total War: Warhammer II

A lot of dragons in fiction are lazy creatures who don't do much apart from guarding their hoards.

This typically translates into a sleeping dragon who has been slumbering for millennia, curled atop a pile of treasure in some deep and distant corner of the land (although he will probably get woken up during the plot's unfolding, and that's probably bad news). Their long (sometimes millennia-long) sleep may be handwaved as dragons being so long-lived that a century-long nap is a reasonable hibernation time for them. In some settings, this will be linked to the dragons' age, with younger specimens being more active in the world but spending longer and longer periods of time sleeping or idling in their lairs as they age.

On the other hand, more comedic examples will take full advantage of the comedic potential of these gigantic hellbeasts acting like grouchy old men who never want to go out.

May be based on the Truth in Television that snakes (on whom the earlier European dragons were based) and, indeed, most reptiles, are prone to laying down for hours on end to conserve energy or to warm themselves up. Many reptiles are also ambush predators, lying still so that prey doesn't see them. In fact, crocodilians may be the closest thing to real-life Lazy Dragons due to this. Catlike Dragons are also prone to this portrayal, since Cats Are Lazy.

Naturally a subtrope of Our Dragons Are Different. Often combined with Orcus on His Throne, All-Powerful Bystander and/or The Gods Must Be Lazy, depending on the power level, intelligence and general monstrosity and morality of dragons in the setting. On the other hand, very rarely related to Dragon Their Feet, despite the names' similarities. For other lazy creatures, see Cats Are Lazy, Sluggish Seal, and Laid-Back Koala. See also Dumb Dinos for similar connontations regarding Dinosaurs Are Dragons.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Delicious in Dungeon: Senshi tells Team Touden that dragons the size of the Red Dragon only wake once a month to go hunting. The rest of the time they stay asleep to maintain their massive bodies.
  • Pokémon: The Original Series: While technically not a Dragon-type, the otherwise draconic Charizard is definitely lazy during his rebellious phase, rarely battling on Ash's behalf. This changes in "Charizard Chills", where he's frozen by an Ice Beam and Ash stays up all night thawing him out and warming him back up; afterwards, he's as loyal and dependable as any of Ash's other Pokémon.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: The card Slumbering Dragon depicts a dragon curled up and asleep in its lair while two figures sneak past. It enters play unable to attack and can only do so after the opposing player attacks with a creature card they control, symbolizing the dragon only waking up after being attacked first.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm: Vándlat (Hope-Death) a.k.a. "Dave" the Elder Wyrm has spent effectively the entirety of the last million years asleep, which Harry taunts him about while also suggesting that he's a coward. Vándlat's account, by contrast, is that until Harry turned up he hadn't sensed anything worth waking up for. And as his creation and control of the Wights demonstrates, being asleep didn't really slow him down very much.
  • Ice and Fire (Minecraft): While young dragons roam openly on the surface world, the huge adults spend their time sleeping in underground lairs surrounded by piles of treasure.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfics:
    • The Lazy Dragon of Dragonvale: The titular character is lazy even compared to other dragons. He was the last of his clutch to hatch and the last to leave home (and only because his mother got fed up with him loafing around and literally tossed him out) and spends as much time sleeping as he can manage. Rather than pillaging villages, he decides to found a village of his own simply because he was in a nice spot for one, and finding a pre-existing village was far too much work. Most of the story revolves around him sleeping in one spot until a problem arises, waking up to deal with it, and going back to sleep.
    • Sharing the Night: Dragons are born as fairly active creatures but spend increasingly long periods asleep and increasingly short ones awake as they age. Young adults, like the dragon seen in "Dragonshy", only sleep for a century or so at a time between periods of activity, but the truly ancient ones never wake at all. Aging dragons, instead of dying, simply find a good spot to sleep and stay there, letting plants and dirt gather over their slumbering forms until they become parts of the landscape. It's implied that a very large portion of Equestria, if not its entirety, lays on the backs of hundreds upon hundreds of sleeping, dreaming dragons.
  • Sucked Into the Smash Universe: Played with. Firebrand is not afraid to get involved should the situation call for it, but during moments of low energy he's usually lounging around and is usually riding someone's shoulders.

    Film — Animation 
  • Animalympics sees the torch being lit by holding it in front of a sleeping dragon's fiery breath.
  • Tom and Jerry: The Nutcracker feature film has a sequence where Tom finds himself in a cave inhabited by numerous sleeping dragons (whom he naturally wakes up to disastrous effect).

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Firefox: When Gant is infiltrating the Soviet Union as a common smuggler, in the hope that this will attract less attention from the KGB, he compares what he's doing to someone tiptoeing past a sleeping dragon while trying not to wake it up.
    "If you tip-toe past the dragon, it might just raise an eyelid and sniff at you. But if you awaken it..."
  • Godzilla: In his later, more heroic film appearances, Godzilla often has to be convinced to bother saving the planet from the Monster of the Week.

  • Beowulf: In the second part of the epic, the dragon Beowulf had to face is described as having been sleeping on its hoard within its lair, only awakening when a thief snuck inside and stole a goblet from its treasure.
  • A Chorus of Dragons: Dragons spend the majority of their time asleep, and can slumber for decades at a time. Once, the dragon Baelosh promised the Emperor Simillion that he would hunt him down and kill him after he finished a short nap. When the short nap was over, twenty-five years had passed and Simillion was already dead.
  • The Elric Saga: Dragons need a lot of sleep, sleeping months or years after a few weeks of activity.
  • Fighting Fantasy:
    • Eye of the Dragon: The Black Dragon, as fearsome as it looks on the cover, turns out to be asleep when you encounter it. Unfortunately your only way out is behind the dragon's body, as such you'll need to figure a way to bypass the dragon without waking it up or be dragged into a SKILL 14 boss battle.
    • Legend of Zagor: The War Dragon spends most of his time asleep on his hoard. But when he is awake, you will sorely miss when he was napping...
    • Night Dragon: The Night Dragon spends most of the gamebook in slumber, as it spent eons slumbering to recover from the First Battle.
  • The Firebringer Trilogy: Dragons spend most of their very long lives asleep, but can watch the goings-on of the world through their dreams, as the main character discovers to his dismay in the third book.
  • Harry Potter: Hogwarts School's Canis Latinicus motto translates as "Never tickle a sleeping dragon", alluding to the idea of long-slumbering dragons who may turn fierce when woken up but are safe otherwise. However, the dragons actually seen in the books later on don't reflect this trope.
  • The Hobbit: Smaug appears to have simply been sitting on his gold for an exceedingly long time until he is enraged by Bilbo stealing from him and goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. This is an allusion to Beowulf, where much the same happens — Tolkien was a scholar of English literature and is known to have studied and translated Beowulf specifically.
  • The Paper Bag Princess: The dragon is already exceedingly tired when it is confronted by Elizabeth, having "eaten an entire castle today." She eventually manages to trick the dragon into exhausting himself further to the point where he has to take a nap. The dragon is described as being such a Heavy Sleeper that it doesn't even react to Elizabeth sticking her head into its ear and yelling.
  • Second Apocalypse: The dragons were among the "weapon races" created by the Inchoroi for their wars but, without direction from their masters, they are now lazy and listless, seeing little point in slaughtering humans because more will just replace them.
  • The Tin Woodman of Oz: The dragons were driven underground long ago, and now sleep in their caves for a hundred years at a time and only awaken to eat. Woot the Wanderer meets them when he falls into a cave where a tribe of dragons is sleeping, and they are immensely irritated at being suddenly awoken several decades ahead of schedule.
  • The Wandering Inn: Teriarch is quite lazy, preferring to contact his sole human friend, Lady Reinhart, through spells rather than actually visiting her. He does offer to fly to Magnolia's manor when he learns she is in danger (she's actually safe, and makes fun of the very idea he'd get out and do something), but retracts it as soon as he learns she's in no imminent peril.
  • Wings of Fire: Defied. The Dragonets of Destiny's caregivers accuse Glory of being lazy because she likes to sleep in the afternoon, but it turns out that "suntime" is an important part of a RainWing's daily routine.

    Religion and Mythology 
  • In Guaraní mythology, Teju Jagua was the first son of Tau and Keraná's cursed matrimony and was described as a fearsome reptilian monster that could shoot fire from his eyes. Despite this, he was surprisingly the most docile of the seven legendary monsters because of his highly limited movement (which, depending on the tale, was the result of either having seven heads or only one oversized head), and as such preferred to spend his days sleeping on his cave, rolling on his collection of jewels and treasures while eating honey and fruit.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Darksword Trilogy: The Darksword Adventures, which provides rules for playing a tabletop game in the story's world, describes stone dragons, gigantic dragons made of solid stone and prone to settling in one spot for years-long naps. Since, when not moving, a stone dragon is indistinguishable from a regular crag or hill, this has caused more than one building to come tumbling down when the ground it was built on decided to get up.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In 1st Edition Advanced D&D, all dragons encountered inside their lairs have a percentage chance of being discovered while asleep. This ranges from a low of 5% for Bahamut the Platinum Dragon to a high of 60% for a white dragon.
    • The Slayer's Guide to Dragons mentions how dragons must sleep for long periods of time, especially as they grow older. The oldest are only awake for fifteen minutes of every day, which means they spend nearly 99% of their time asleep. The book explains that dragons will take long naps to balance out this ratio.
    • Mountain landwyrms spend most of their time sleeping within their lairs or curled up on some mountain peak, during which time they're almost indistinguishable from the rocky landscape around them. Similarly, tundra landwyrms pass a large part of their lives hibernating beneath the permafrost.
  • Pathfinder: Sea linnorms hibernate for centuries at a time, awakening only to feed and check over their territories before returning to their sleep.
  • RuneQuest: True Dragons spend the majority of their everlasting lives in deep sleep, allowing soil and plants to accumulate on their bodies and eventually making them indistinguishable from inanimate landscape features. This is a very good thing for other species, since True Dragons are the size of mountains. As they sleep, their dreams bleed over into reality in the form of Dream Dragons, Living Dreams born from the subconscious thoughts and desires of the greater beasts; these are the ravening firebreathers that most are familiar with.
  • Warhammer: In the modern-day, dragons need to spend extremely long periods of time asleep. This was not always so but, for poorly understood reasons possibly linked to the cooling of the volcanic mountains where they lived, they were afflicted by a species-wide state of chronic torpor. The majority of the dragon species is in perpetual hibernation deep beneath the mountains of Caledor, in the high elven homeland, waking only briefly when certain magical songs are sung, and even the dragons who live among other factions or on their own in the rest of the world spend most of their time asleep in their lairs.
  • World Tree (RPG): Merklundum Harnispundum, a god who favors draconic form, is one of the most inactive deities in the World Tree and spends the vast majority of his time sleeping in a cave somewhere in the World Tree's distant reaches.

    Video Games 
  • Dragon's Lair: When Dirk comes upon Singe the dragon, the latter is in the midst of a nap.
  • Earthbound Beginnings: A dragon in Crystal Cavern guards not a literal hoard of treasure, but it knows the sixth melody. It won't awaken until Ninten is strong enough for it to sense his presence.
  • Fire Emblem: Tiki the manakete — a dragon-descended human capable of taking dragon form — has been known to sleep for millennia at a time throughout the long history of the setting. Fire Emblem: Awakening portrays her as a Sleepyhead as a joke on her tendency for millennial naps.
  • Flight Rising: Invoked with the Hibernal Den, which simulates the dragons hibernating for any length of time at the player's discretion. Dragons sent to the Den have limited interactivity options, but they do not require any food to maintain their energy levels.
  • Golden Treasure: The Great Green: The player's dragon character undergoes hibernation periods to end childhood and adolescence. The time awake is about two months and one year, respectively, and then about sixty years of total hibernation. During the Wisdom ending, the Draak-Kin only find it slightly inconvenient to hibernate again for untold years on their journey across deep space.
  • Nightmare Ned: Played for Black Comedy. In the Attic/Basement level, at one point you come across a dragon head mounted on the wall... but then you see that she's actually just sleeping, and the rest of her body is visible near the wall. Despite this grisly introduction, she's actually really friendly. Waking her up will prompt her to tell you poems (albeit somewhat macabre ones) with a cheerful Granny Classic voice.
  • Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs: The only thing that the elderly dragon Ba'kari wants to do is sleep peacefully for the next couple centuries. This causes certain complications for two feuding factions when the area they start fighting over turns out to be his home and their battling wakes him up, forcing them to deal with a dragon highly irritated at his new neighbors that won't let him sleep in peace.
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse: In the Saliva Island stage, Shantae comes across a sleeping dragon-like being called a Giga Lummox. It never wakes up in the game — a sign states that it might wake up if it picks up the smell of ham, but giving it a whiff of the food only causes it to start drooling copiously without actually waking up.
  • Super Mario Odyssey: The Ruined Dragon can be found after his boss fight lounging in his boss arena and complaining about being tired. Though this is in large part because he spent so much energy in the fight against Mario.

  • Kill Six Billion Demons: The immortal dragon Demiurge Mammon has spent the last few centuries holed up in a vast Treasure Room at the heart of an infinite, extradimensional labyrinth in his fortress of Yre, attended only by the Priests of the Count who run his multiverse-spanning bank. It turns out that Mammon's immortality does not protect against senility, and the vault is actually to protect him from the outside world.
  • Slack Wyrm features a lazy and indolent Villain Protagonist dragon whose main activities consist of lying around in his castle or on local hillsides and letting the world happen around him.

    Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony
    • My Little Pony (G3): In The Princess Promenade, Spike the Dragon awakes from an 1000 year sleep to declare Wysteria the new Princess and teach her royal duties. When Wysteria decides not to be a Princess (or at least not follow the rules as strictly as Spike would like), Spike is shocked and nearly falls asleep again.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Dragonshy", a dragon only poses a passive threat because of the smoke it breathes out while sleeping. It spends most of the episode asleep on its hoard — it's stated it will keep sleeping for a century if left undisturbed — and the biggest reaction it has to the ponies before Rainbow Dash kicks it in the snout is to yawn, stretch and go right back to sleep. Not even quakes on the mountain it nests in are enough to wake it.