Follow TV Tropes


The Dragon

Go To
"My apprentice, Darth Vader, will find and crush your pitiful little band of Rebel friends."
"This world and everything in it now belong to darkness! They belong to my master!"

The Big Bad needs a Number Two; this would be the Evil Counterpart of that (or The Lancer). He's the main villain's closest confidant (or something akin to it), frequently acts as his Foil, and may be seen working as the front-liner of the evil forces to personally carry out his master's orders as one of his most dangerous and competent subordinates.

Tropes related to The Dragon:

  • Beta Bitch: Number Two to the Alpha Bitch, often fills the Dragon role when the Alpha Bitch is the Big Bad.
  • Co-Dragons: Two or more characters split the Dragon role between them.
  • The Creon: A second-in-command that's happy with his position.
  • Demoted to Dragon: A previous Big Bad is revealed to be, or is reduced to being, the Dragon to another villain.
  • Devour the Dragon: The Big Bad kills the Dragon in order to become stronger.
  • Advertisement:
  • Dragon Ascendant: When he takes over from the Big Bad after the latter is defeated or leaves.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: When he is more dangerous than the Big Bad and the de facto main villain of the story. Like Dragon with an Agenda, may be The Man Behind the Man. Not to be confused with The Heavy.
  • Dragon Their Feet: When the Big Bad is defeated or killed first. The Dragon may or may not show up afterwards to rescue or avenge him, but he might just take his business elsewhere.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: When he has different goals from the Big Bad. If those goals are mutually exclusive, The Starscream, Rule of Two or Dragon-in-Chief may be in play.
  • The Heavy: The "active" villain that drives most of the plot. While this villain can be either the Dragon or the Big Bad, many authors tend to use The Dragon in order to keep the Big Bad in the background and mysterious for most of the story. Not to be confused with Dragon-in-Chief.
  • Advertisement:
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: When the Dragon is the hero's Arch-Enemy instead of the Big Bad.
  • Mook Lieutenant: When the Dragon is merely the leader of the Big Bad's minions when the Big Bad isn't around.
  • Mouth of Sauron: 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.
  • Noble Top Enforcer: A trope that often overlaps with the Dragon; when the Big Bad's Number Two is an Anti-Villain that is considerably more virtuous than his master. Likely to turn on the Big Bad if their actions piss him off enough.
  • Number Two: The second-in-command of a team or organization, often overlapping with The Dragon.
  • Pre-Final Boss: A major Boss Battle that immediately precedes the Final Boss. By nature, this is often The Dragon, with the Big Bad being faced afterward.
  • Rule of Two: A standard Big Bad and Dragon dynamic where betrayal is expected, and often inevitable.
  • The Starscream: A traitorous Number Two; often fulfills the role of the Dragon.
  • Villainous Friendship: When a Dragon is good friends with the Big Bad.

A Big Bad and a Dragon aren't a Big Bad Duumvirate, as this would require them to be on equal footing for it to apply. Though a Duumvirate can have one or more Dragons of their own.

For literal dragons and their permutations, see Our Dragons Are Different. Not to be confused with Dragon Lady, who is more likely to be a Big Bad than the Dragon, or Dragon, which was a magazine. Definitely not to be confused with Savage Dragon.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Board Games 
  • In chess, the queen is arguably the Dragon of the king, and quite clearly the most powerful piece on the board. Just look at any themed chess set: the Big Bad will be the king, and the Dragon will be the queen.
  • In Betrayal at House on the Hill, there were several Dragons, ranging from a literal example to a slasher killer, a witch, and even man eating plants. One of the players could even be the Dragon to the scenario's Big Bad... or turn out to be Big Bad, and get furnished with a Dragon. The game has "betrayal" in its name for a reason.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Volrath has Greven.
    • ... As Greven has his Vhati il-Dal.
    • And Volrath himself was Dragon to Yawgmoth, until he was replaced by Crovax (and, later still, Tsabo Tavoc).
      • Technically (at least according to the novels) Tsabo and Crovax were active at the same time, not to mention a Phyrexian-augmented Ertai, running about causing havoc. So it's more like a case of triple Dragons, no? Also, in that same block the 5 Dragons were awakened, each of whom had their own Golem Attendant, that could be considered their own Dragons.
      • Ertai has more shades of Evil Genius; Yawgmoth would too, except that he's the Big Bad. The five dragons are more a case of Good Is Not Nice, though.
    • In Kamigawa, Lady Masako the Humorless serves Emperor Konda as administrator, and she's a rather harsh mistress. Oh, and despite the trappings, she's not Konda's wife.
      Konda's servants dared not neglect their duties for a moment under Masako's icy gaze, knowing that what she saw, Lord Konda would hear.
    • In Conflux, Nicol Bolas (the Big Bad despite being a literal dragon) has Gwafa Hazid, Malfegor, and Rakka Mar as minions, but had to go for something extra special to lead them — Sarkhan Vol, a psychopathic, dragon-worshipping (and perhaps Brainwashed and Crazy) planeswalker. He also has Tezzeret, a planeswalker he has rebuilt after said planeswalker was Mind Raped and left for dead by Jace Beleren. Bolas has saved Tezzeret from death twice, so the latter owes the former a significant debt, albeit grudgingly.
    • Tezzeret seems to have a knack for the position of Dragon. He stays on as this to Bolas for the next ten years' worth of sets, eventually kicking off Bolas' final master plan by serving as The Heavy in Kaladesh. He and Bolas both get taken down in War of the Spark, but Tezzeret seems to have moved to serving the Phyrexians, and again serves as The Heavy to Jin-Gitaxias in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney's Aladdin has Iago, who makes trouble for our heroes in stealing their posessions, decieving them with fake voices, and acting as a sort of sentry before the final conflict. He even gives Jafar ideas about how to proceed (like suggesting that he try and usurp the throne).
  • Helga Katrina Sinclair from Atlantis: The Lost Empire is this to Rourke. However at the end of the film Helga is pissed when Rourke throws her off the blimp the two villains are escaping in, and as a result she shoots down the blimp with her Flare Gun.
  • Lefou in Beauty and the Beast to Gaston. Lefou is Gaston's primary lackey, sings a whole Villain Song to get his sprits back up, and does his best to menace the Enchanted Objects when Gaston decides to attack the Beast's castle.
  • The Creeper from The Black Cauldron, who is the only character in the film that wasn't even in the books.
  • Chakal from The Book of Life, has one in a bearded bandit named Chato who informs him of his medal's whereabouts.
  • Molt (Hopper's younger brother) from A Bug's Life. It ends up being subverted, however, as Molt is largely inept at being evil and has no input on Hopper's decision making. The real Dragon ends up being Thumper, whom Hopper actually uses to get make examples of the ants.
  • Care Bears
  • Dr. Nefario serves as this for Gru in Despicable Me. His main capacity is to create weapons for Gru to use during his supervillain schemes. The Evil Minions also have a high amount of respect for him.
    • he then "temporarily" becomes the Dragon to El Macho in the sequel as the person tasked with transforming the Minions with Psycho Serum, a vital step in El Macho's plan... until El Macho sends one of these Minions after Gru's family.
  • Bruton from Dinosaur is actually this to Kron. Also, the Carnotaurus Bruton killed in the cave (which results in him being crushed to death by falling rubble) is actually this to um, Carnotaurus.
  • Kronk Pepikrankenitz from The Emperor's New Groove is the only one of Yzma's minions who knows about her regicide plans and yet he barely qualifies as evil.
  • In The Flight of Dragons, the evil red wizard Ommadon's Dragon is a literal dragon, Bryaugh, who is defeated by the Hero's literal Lancer, Sir Orin. Sir Orin is a knight who allows Bryaugh to engulf him in flames, then casts his fiery sword into Bryaugh's chest. They both die, though Orin gets better.
  • The Great Mouse Detective has Fidget, Ratigan's loyal bat, who is in charge of carrying out all the kidnapping/stealing/trapping that his Big Bad boss plans.
  • In Disney's Hercules, Pain and Panic are frequently called upon by Hades to assist in his plan to take over the cosmos, namely by turning baby Hercules mortal at the beginning and serving as his eyes and ears on Earth.
  • Hercules (Pure Magic) has King Eurystheus, who follows Hera's orders to get rid of Hercules, setting most of the plot in motion.
  • In Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Phoebus initially fills this post as Minister of Justice Frollo's Captain of the Guard. However he puts an end to that when Frollo burns down a mill full of innocent people, so Frollo promotes Brutish Guard (the tall, muscular half of an Evil Duo with a mustache) to his spot.
  • Mirage from The Incredibles to Syndrome. She serves as his second-in-command and plays an integral part in his plans by luring superheroes to his island to fight the Omnidroid.
  • In The Invincible Iron Man, the leader of the four elemental mini-bosses and The Dragon to the mystically powered Mandarin is an actual dragon, the physically dominating Fin Fang Foom, who gives Iron-man his toughest battle, where the magically powered Mandarin is defeated by reaching out to the Mandarin's host and convincing her to cut the Mandarin's power at its source, the magic rings.
  • The Wolf Boss from Kung Fu Panda 2 commands Lord Shen's wolf army. Interestingly his loyalty to his men is stronger than it is to Shen.
  • The LEGO Movie: Good Cop Bad Cop is this to Lord Business in carrying out the arrest, interrogation, imprisonment and execution of plenty of Master Builders over 8 and a half years. However, Lord Business betrays him by abandoning him to die in the self-destructing Think Tank at the peak of his masterplan, leading to his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Shenzi, the leader of the hyena pack from The Lion King works this way, especially since Scar doesn't want to reveal his role as the Big Bad.
  • Undertow the tiger shark from The Little Mermaid II is this to Morgana. Also, Benjamin the manatee to Marina del Rey in The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning Don't forget Flotsam and Jetsam to Ursula from The Original.
  • Tempest Shadow is this to the Storm King in My Little Pony: The Movie (2017)
  • Megamind has Minion, who helps design his costume and is the only friend he has. Since Megamind has become a superhero, Minion will now be his sidekick instead of his Dragon.
  • Mr. Waternoose from Monsters, Inc. decides to work with Randall as his henchman to kidnap children and extract their screams in order to save the company.
  • Mr. Smee from Peter Pan to Captain Hook.
  • Wiggins from Pocahontas. Curiously enough, both him and the film's Big Bad are both voiced by David Ogden Stiers.
  • The Prophet: The Commandant is in charge, but its the Sergeant who enacts his will; be that leading the soldiers, retrieving Mustafa, or destroying Mustafa's work to ensure his legacy will be gone.
  • Snoops from The Rescuers, Madame Medusa's bumbling Beleaguered Assistant.
  • In the Disney version of Robin Hood (1973), the Sheriff of Nottingham is clearly Prince John's Dragon. He's a constant physical threat, leads the squads of Mooks in their attempts to capture Robin, constantly (and relatively loyally) takes orders from his (somewhat) brighter boss, and serves as Robin's final opponent during the movie's climatic battle. Not bad for an overweight wolf with a Southern accent.
  • In the obscure movie Twice Upon a Time, The Big Bad Synonamess Botch has a dragon in the form of Ibor, a giant mechanical gorilla with a television for a face. (Neatly, one of the clips that turns up on said face is of Darth Vader from The Empire Strikes BackGeorge Lucas executive produced this film.)
  • White Snake (2019): The "Little Daoist" is The General's apprentice and his main enforcer. He also shows hints to be a Dragon with an Agenda, trying to capture Blanca on his own so he doesn't have to share the credit with The General, but he's defeated before it comes to that.

  • In Rhapsody (of Fire)'s musically told-fantasy-epic, the Algalord Saga, Akron the Black King, prone to ravaging every proverbial puppy in the story is served loyally by The Dragon Dargor, a fearless and honourable half-demon warrior prince, who is apparently so awesome as to warrant an entire song of his own (with two variations!). All of this is a fairly transparent foreshadowing of Dargor's Heel–Face Turn at the climax of the story. And HOW!
  • Cyborg Noodle acts as one to Murdoc in the Gorillaz canon.
  • Nikki acts as this for Doctor X in Queensrÿche's Operation: Mindcrime.
  • In the Evillious Chronicles, Lemy Abelard and Gear serve as these for Pere Noël and the awakened vessels, respectively.

    Pro Wrestling 


  • In Survival of the Fittest, the main Dragon to Danya (although he has a number of prominent henchmen) is Steve Wilson, who was effectively in charge of orchestrating a whole slew of the kidnappings which comprised Version 2 of SOTF. However, the three other members of the so-called "Big Four" — Jim Greynolds, Melvin Carter and Sonia Nguyen — could each be considered a dragon in their own right; it's up to interpretation who is the official right-hand man.

    Tabletop Games 
  • This is literally the scenario in the Age of Worms campaign where the Big Bad's second in command is a dracolich. And that character has their own Dragon, who is a vampiric silver dragon.
  • The Herald from the Cthulhu Mythos board game, Arkham Horror. Giving the Ancient One a Herald greatly increases the difficulty of the game and every expansion adds a new Herald to the pool.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In the cosmology, Dagon serves as The Dragon for Demogorgon, he closest thing the Demons have to a leader. It's hinted, though, that Dagon does this because it's a convenient cover for his own plans, and that he gets quite a bit more out of the bargain than Demogorgon (for one, Demogorgon is on pretty much everyone else's hitlist, be they rival demon lords, archdevils, celestial paragons or even some deities and mortals. Dagon? Not so much). He may even be the Obyrith behind the Tanar'ri.
    • Also in the Dungeons & Dragons cosmology, Tiamat (the evil Dragon Goddess of the chromatic dragons) has five dragons (one of each chromatic type) as her Dragons.
    • Within the Greyhawk setting, Kas was the right hand man, enforcer, and assassin of the archlich Vecna until he betrayed his master.
    • Typically averted with actual dragons: if the players meet an evil dragon it is usually the Big Bad of the adventure.
  • The James Bond RPG refers to this character type as the "Privileged Henchman".
  • Quite a few in Legend of the Five Rings, as the Big Bad Fu Leng spends almost all of the story as Sealed Evil in a Can. During the Clan War, the undead Scorpion shugenja Yogo Junzo opened the first of the Black Scrolls that kept Fu Leng imprisoned, and led armies of Shadowlands monsters and undead to find the others. Junzo has his own dragon, Moto Tsume.
  • Various The World of Darkness games give vampires and mages the ability to create what effectively is their own Dragon. Vampires in both Vampire: The Requiem and Vampire: The Masquerade have ghouls, human slaves who are addicted to vampire blood, inherit a share of the vampire's powers, and generally acts as a vampire's bodyguard and enforcer wherever the vampire him or herself isn't required. Mage: The Awakening gives mages have their own version of this, called Sleepwalkers. These are humans immune to paradox, that allow mages to do all sorts of nifty, reality bending tricks without a nasty abyssal horror eating their faces off.

  • In noh theater, this archetype is called the wakizure, second to the waki who is the Big Bad.

    Web Animation 

    Web Videos 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Second Biggest Bad, Penultimate Villain, Trusted Lieutenant


Two-Ton Twenty-One

Following the tragic death of his best friend Henchman 24, Gary now takes on the role as The Monarchs' greatest enforcer to whip the Fluttering Horde into shape.

How well does it match the trope?

4.71 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheDragon

Media sources: