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We all know for Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons! to your work, but when it comes to actually making dragons into characters, it's a little troubling. Large flying lizards are cool but it's hard to put them in buildings or give them emotive expressions.

Enter the Weredragon: a dragon that can spend most of its time comfortably looking like a human being or, alternatively, a human being who can transform into a dragon. Either way, you get a relatable humanoid character while simultaneously having a big intimidating lizard to do lizard stuff. The reason they might be human can vary. Sometimes it's because maintaining a dragon form can consume energy, sometimes it's to blend in, or sometimes its in order to play A Form You Are Comfortable With. However they will still commonly be referred to and identified as a dragon even if they spend most of their days as a human. Whether they are born like a human or hatch from an egg is usually a question left to fan speculation.

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A Sub-Trope of Our Werebeasts Are Different, Voluntary Shapeshifting and, for the dragon-to-human variant, of Humanity Ensues. See also Scaled Up for transforming into (large) reptiles (including dragons) as a One-Winged Angel; it can overlap with this if the dragon is their true form (as opposed to gaining a dragon form).

Compare Draconic Humanoid (subtrope of Beast Man), creatures who have humanoid figure and draconic features; Weredragons may be able to assume a Draconic Humanoid form, but it's not necessary.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: The dragons are capable of changing between three forms. Their dragon form is their natural form, with various different appearances depending of the dragon. They can also adopt a mostly human form that retains some aspects of their dragon form, primarily their tails and horns, with the option of manifesting wings; their scales likewise shape-shift into clothing in this form. The third form is a completely human one, retaining only the scales-turned-clothing and reptilian pupils.
  • Grunbeld from Berserk is a giant Apostle wielding a hammer and a shield with a flamethrower, clad in dragon-themed armor, and can transform into a dragon the size of a building.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • This is the ultimate fate of all Dragon Slayers who overuse their magic. The first such Dragon Slayer to suffer this was Acnologia, although he found a way to assume his old human form as he pleases.
    • The creator of Dragon Slayer Magic, Irene Belserion, also succumbed to this fate, but was given a superficial human appearance by a certain benefactor. Unfortunately, a fake human body can't accommodate for a dragon's senses, which drove the poor wizard off the deep end.
    • The God Dragons approach this from the other end of the spectrum, in that their true forms are their dragon forms, but each of them knows Transformation Magic that allows them to appear as human for convenience.
  • The Middle-Earth based Hentai movie Dragon Rider is about a knight who's a dragon rider, and his lover, a blonde girl who's a dragon who prefers to stay in human form.
  • Shoryuki from Ghost Sweeper Mikami is a dragon goddess that takes care of Myoujinsan. She trains Ghost Sweepers that visit the mountain, including Emi Ogasawara and Reiko Mikami. She usually prefers to stay in human form disguised as a redhead girl with little horns. She has a green scale in her back, and if it touched, she changes into a berserk dragon.
  • The Familiar of Zero: Silpheed and other rhyme dragons are this, as their main ability.
  • Rage of Bahamut: Genesis reveals that in addition to the titular Eldritch Abomination there are a lot of more reasonable (if somewhat less powerful) dragons who are willing to coexist with humanity, many of whom can assume human form at will. The protagonist of the second series, Virgin Soul, Nina Drango comes from such a village — her father is a dragon and mother is human — though she has little control of when she transforms.
  • My Hero Academia: The Quirk of the 9th-ranked Pro Hero Ryukyu is that she can transform into a giant dragon.
  • One Piece: Momonosuke, after eating an artificial Devil Fruit, can turn into an Eastern dragon that can fly. He has little control over this transformation, however.
    • Kaido, King of the Beasts, can turn into an absolutely MASSIVE Eastern Dragon.

    Comic Books 
  • D'Bra, also known as Debra and Princess Star Platinum in Gold Digger is an actual dragon, but she passes as human some of the time. This shows some of her transformation.
  • From Southern Knights comes Moranderin the Dragon, who can assume the form of a man named Mark Dagon.
  • In Ironwood, all dragons can take human form and actually need to do so in order to breed. Dragons are asexual but assume the form of human males in order to procreate with human females. Offspring of these unions are born human and remain in human form (albeit much tougher than an ordinary human) until they reach maturity.

    Fan Works 
  • During the course of The Heart Trilogy, the great Fire-Drake Smaug avoids his canon fate thanks to his beloved Kathryn who inadvertently turns him into a human. After he eventually first turns back into a dragon, he learns to shift between these two forms (though it's magically more taxing to shift from a man into a dragon than the other way around). According to Gandalf, no other dragon has ever displayed this ability.
    • In the first part of the trilogy, Smaug briefly turns Kathryn into a dragon through their bond so that she can fend off Bolg and his Orcs. In the second part, she shifts two times of her own accord, first when she's furious with Smaug over the murder of Freyja, and secondly to battle against Fankil.
    • In the third part of the trilogy, the twins of Smaug and Kathryn, Kolstros and Vervenia, are born as human babes, but they first shift themselves into dragons only one week after their birth. Gandalf says they're the first dragons to born with this ability, and Galadriel theorizes they can shift with less effort than their father because they're connected to Raw Magic like their mother.

    Films — Animation 
  • Maleficent in Disney's Sleeping Beauty. Near the end of the movie she turns from her humanoid form into a huge fire-breathing dragon. Though even her humanoid form resembled one, possessing horns, scales, and a cape that resembled wings, and shooting fire at her minions when she's angry.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • In The Bad Unicorn Trilogy, the dragon king Obsikar takes a human form to speak to the human protagonists.
  • Ferrovax fromThe Dresden Files by Jim Butcher appears as a middle-aged human. He implies that his true form would drive mortals mad.
  • Golden Dragons in The Witcher can and often doprefer to stay in human form.
  • In Loyal Enemies, dragons can take human forms until they come of age and lose that ability. Gloom is such a dragon and spends most of his page time in human form to better be able to travel and hide with his companions. Since the only thing that remains draconic in his human appearance are his eyes, he pretends to be blind by wearing a black piece of cloth over his eyes.
  • Alan F. Troop's The Dragon Delasangre seriesfeatures shapechanging telepathic dragons as trippy protagonists.
  • Skilled wizards in the Earthsea books of Usrula K Le Guin can take dragon form. It's speculated that a powerful evil wizard who once threatened Earthsea was a dragon in human form. Humans and dragons, in the setting, have the same origin. Certain characters are both human and dragon and can take either form accordingly.
  • The Vir Requis from Dragons of Requiem are this. They can turn into giant, western-like dragons on their own free will, and can still talk while in dragon form. That being said, they find the term "weredragon" offensive.
  • Dragons in Elcenia all have a certain amount of Voluntary Shapeshifting, and it is customary for at least one form to be one of the local humanoid sapients. Half-dragon "thudias" work the opposite way, primarily resembling their non-dragon parent's species but with a few notable draconic traits including the ability to shift into a miniature dragon.
  • In The Invisible Library, dragons can transform from their dragon forms, to scaled but somewhat human looking, to normal humans.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Maleficent from Disney canon returns in Once Upon a Time. Though she is still referred to as a fairy, the dragon aspect of her character is played up to the extent that she mated with a male weredragon and laid an egg which hatches into another weredragon named Lilith. It eventually turns out that the male weredragon was Zorro.
  • Supernatural has weredragons as the Monster of the Week in "Like a Virgin". Their draconic form is not shown.
  • The Dämonfeuer (fire demon) is a type of weredragon Wesen in Grimm and probably the in-universe origin of the dragon myth in general.

    Music 
  • In the Concept Album Der Fluch des Drachen ("The Curse of the Dragon") by Corvus Corax, the dragon Furio can shapeshift into a human.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • All of the eponymous dragons can assume humanoid form at will, and many good-aligned ones will do so in order to subtly guide heroes on their adventures. Moreover, in humanoid forms, they can also interbreed with pretty much any other humanoid species, producing half-dragon offspring who (as well as their own progeny) are humanoid, but can learn to transform into dragons themselves, if they want.
    • In the 1st and 2nd Edition of AD&D, most dragons did not have the innate ability to change to human form. Some who did:
      • 1st Edition Monster Manual: gold dragons, silver dragons and Bahamut the Platinum Dragon can take the shape of human beings in order to deal with humanity.
      • 1st Edition Dragonlance setting: The evil goddess Takhisis is normally in dragon form, but can change into the form of a beautiful woman to tempt human men.
      • 1st/2nd Edition Greyhawk Adventures: The Greyhawk Dragon can assume human form in order to live in human cities and observe humanity.
      • 2nd Edition Forgotten Realms setting: During the days of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, this setting was home to a creature literally called the weredragon — an all-female species of iridescent blue-silver scaled dragons similar in appearance to Copper Dragons, defined by their ability to assume the form of human women, and their love of integrating into human society. They have a particular fondness for using their beauty to beguile evil men into becoming their suitors, and then murdering them once they can financially benefit from their deaths. In 3rd edition, they were changed only slightly to become the Song Dragon race.
    • The Epic Level Handbook allows Epic Druids to take their Voluntary Shapeshifting Up to Eleven with a dragon form.
    • The "Master of Many Forms" Prestige Class can also pick a draconic form at maximum level, which can be reached even before epic level.
  • Shadowrun
    • Dragons can often take on humanoid forms, to allow them to fit in in modern society. (A lot of them are businesspeople.)
    • Drakes are metahumans granted the ability to turn into (comparatively) small dragons to act as servants to the Great Dragons.
  • In Changeling: The Lost, Dzarûmazh the Conqueror Worm is a dragon-like True Fae of horrific power who passes undercover in the mortal world as a human, Changeling, or some innocuous animal. People who see him in disguise still get the impression that they're in the presence of some serious power.
  • The Old World of Darkness game Werewolf: The Apocalypse features the Mokolé, reptilian shape-changers that are most commonly crocodilian or lizardlike in their bipedal war form. However, it's possible to blend many different reptilian features during character creation to create a draconian war form, complete with wings and a pearlescent bone similar to a Chinese dragon.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, Chromium, the Mutable can transform into an unremarkable human to escape notice.

    Video Games 
  • Way back in the days of Dragon Quest I (and more recently Dragon Quest Builders), the Dragonlord first appeared to be an Evil Sorcerer with a fairly nonthreatening design. After beating on him enough, though, he assumes his true form, a gigantic dragon.
    • Dragon Quest VIII also had the Dragovians, a whole species of folk that could switch between human and dragon forms.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Manaketes have both human and dragon forms. According to the lore they were initially full on dragons but a cataclysm forced them to seal their dragon powers in stones and take on human forms to conserve energy. If they have their Dragonstones however they can transform to partake in battle.
    • The Tellius sub series replaces Manaketes with Dragon Laguz who can transform without the need for stones (though only for a limited time).
  • General Onox from The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games reveals that his true form is a dark dragon during his final boss battle. Why he spent most of his time as a ten foot tall flail wielding humanoid is anyone's guess.
  • Volga from Hyrule Warriors is referred to as a dragon frequently and backs it up by transforming into one for several of his special moves.
  • Ryu from the Breath of Fire series, along with all the other dragons in the same canon, can transform into a variety of different dragons.
  • World of Warcraft's dragons often disguise themselves as humans to meddle in their affairs without being noticed.
  • In Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars and Dota 2, Davion the Dragon Knight's ultimate ability allows him to turn into a dragon, replacing his melee sword slash attack with a ranged Breath Weapon that can inflict poison, splash damage, and slow as it increases in levels.
  • Golden dragons in The Witcher series can assume human forms so well, most people never realize they are anything but human. Geralt meets a male golden dragon in one of the novellas in Sword of Destiny and his daughter, in The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings video game.
  • By the events of Lunar: Eternal Blue, Nall has mastered the ability to assume a human form.
  • In Divinity: Dragon Commander, the player is the offspring of a human and a dragon, and as such can transform themselves into a massive dragon on the battlefield to support their troops in combat.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, though it doesn't happen onscreen, one legend (and a poem that you can "update" as part of the Bard's College quests) says that the much reviled King Olaf One-Eye could transform between a human and a dragon.
  • Altered Beast: In both the original and Play Station 2 game, a dragon is one of the beast forms that the protagonist can take.
  • Fate/Grand Order: Rider Servant Sakamoto Ryoma has a dragon as his ride, named Oryo. She normally goes by a human form, but she'll turn into a dragon that Ryoma rides in his Noble Phantasm's animation.
  • Guilty Gear: The protagonist Sol Badguy looks completely human at first, but his true form is that of a Draconic Humanoid that's only held back by his Power Limiter headband. In his Dragon Install, he assumes that form for a few seconds.

    Webcomics 
  • In Darken, Queen Silvador of Hextoria is a gigantic blue dragon who generally appears in human form and who has Half-Human Hybrid children. At the very least, it makes it easier to dine with guests at the same table.
  • In Daughter of the Lilies, Master Wu is a Wizard who can take the form of a golden Eastern dragon, which is referred to as the "Sacred Shape" and is implied to be related to his role as an agent of the setting's Crystal Dragon Jesus.
  • The Felicia Sorceress of Katara universe features a few:
    • The "Curse of the Were-Dragon" arc of Champion of Katara featured a noblewoman cursed to become a rampaging dragon when the moon was full.
    • The first issue of Melari's Wish encountered a small lizard-like creature that could temporarily look like a dragon, and got squished underfoot after Felicia revealed its true form. And a real dragon that impersonated the captain of the guard and turned him into said squishable lizard.
    • In the climax of the novella The Dreaded Book of Un the "villain" uses the Book of Un to turn a half-undead corpse into a dragon, fortunately she accidentally erases the two of them from existence shortly after.

    Western Animation 
  • Dragons in American Dragon: Jake Long spend most of their time in human form, though the dragon form is said to be their true form on multiple occasions. Made all the more stranger by the fact that they can interbreed with humans and apparently the dragon gene can skip a generation.note 
  • Spoofed in episode "Bad Moon Rising" of Dragons: Riders of Berk when Tuffnut appears with a unusual bite mark in the arm. Gobber convinces him that is the bite of the Lycanwing (a weredragon) and Tuffnut thinks he's going to turn into a weredragon during the full moon. Of course as the show has no supernatural elements (other than dragons), it's just a wolf bite.


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