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We all know that 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 
  • Berserk: Grunbeld 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, permanently transforming them into dragons. While it's possible for them to regain their human appearances through transformation magic, it can't accommodate for a dragon's senses, potentially driving them mad. The Dragon Slayers known to have succumbed to this are Acnologia, who was driven mad specifically because he hates dragons; Irene Belserion, the inventor of Dragon Slayer magic, who was blindsided by the effects; and Elefseria (from 100 Years Quest), who knew the risks from the start and managed to adjust.
    • The Dragon Gods 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 Familiar of Zero: Silpheed and other rhyme dragons are this, as their main ability.
  • Fate/Apocrypha: In the end, Sieg transforms into a copy of the legendary dragon Fafnir thanks to having Fafnir's blood within him and a wish on the Holy Grail. He stays that way for what is implied to be centuries until his love Jeanne d'Arc arrives, then he returns to human form.
  • Ghost Sweeper Mikami: Shoryuki 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Chromium, the Mutable can transform into an unremarkable human to escape notice.
    • Dragonsoul Knight can transform into a large dragon by using up one Mana of each color.
    • The dragon-obsessed planeswalker Sarkhan Vol eventually gains the ability to turn himself into a dragon, though his natural form is human.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • 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 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, Smaug and Kathryn's twins, Kolstros and Vervenia, are born as human babes but shift themselves into dragons only one week after their birth. Gandalf says they're the first dragons to be born with this ability, and Galadriel theorizes that they can shift with less effort than their father because they're connected to Raw Magic like their mother.
  • Lost to Dust: Oryou can shift back and forth from her true form as a Grimm Dragon and that of a human woman.
  • Project Bluefield: Endragon/Endra, Bluefield and Dreyza all possess dragon forms that they can take on at will.
  • Wyvern: Taylor obtains Lung's canonical power, and gains the ability to turn into a fire-breathing wyvern. Unlike Lung, the shift from human to dragon is effectively instantaneous and doesn't go through a Draconic Humanoid stage. This is largely an involuntary process; she transforms automatically when she experiences a strong negative emotion and can only turn back when she's entirely calm and relaxed. Glory Girl gets around this at first by using her emotion-inducing aura, but Taylor begins to gain greater aptitude at controlling her transformation as the story goes on.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • 24 DS: Dragons have two forms; human and dragon. The former form has human features such as hair and naked skin, but also dragon-like features such as scales, wings and claws. The latter form hasn't been described beyond Tedrick's description of Inazuma's as "a hundred tons of yellow, scaly reality".
  • In The Bad Unicorn Trilogy, the dragon king Obsikar takes a human form to speak to the human protagonists.
  • A Certain Magical Index: The final New Testament book, 22 Reverse, reveals that when Touma Kamijou loses his Imagine Breaker, he gains the ability to transform into a dragon. His evil clone can likewise turn into a dragon.
  • The Cloistered Sanctum: The dragons on Ullord can change between his dragon and humanoid forms at will.
  • The Dragon Delasangre, a Xeno Fiction series, features shapechanging and telepathic dragons as protagonists.
  • Dragons of Requiem: The Vir Requis 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.
  • The Dresden Files: Ferrovax, a semi-divine capital-D Dragon, appears at a party in the form of a middle-aged human. He makes the Blasé Boast that his true form would drive mortals mad and break the earth beneath his feet.
  • Earthsea: Skilled wizards 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.
  • Elcenia: Dragons 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. "Thudias", the non-dragon children of dragon/humanoid couples, work the opposite way; they're their non-dragon parent's species, but with a few notable draconic traits including the ability to shift into a miniature dragon.
  • The Guardian Series: All dragons are innate shapeshifters, and book two reveals that the main character's best friend Mordon became one in childhood when the dragon Rojan decided to bond their souls into one in order to save Mordon's life.
  • The Heartstrikers: Dragons can take a human form, which is weaker but far more magically efficient. Even in human form however, they are impossibly beautiful, super strong, super tough, and eat literal pounds of food each sitting. The series starts with Julius getting locked into his human form by his mother, who then throws him into the only city in the world where dragons are killed on sight.
  • In The Invisible Library, dragons can transform from their dragon forms, to scaled but somewhat human looking, to normal humans.
  • 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.
  • The Mark of the Dragonfly: Not exactly a dragon, but chamelins can switch between human and dragon-like forms.
  • Night World: In the distant past, the world was terrorized by dragon shapeshifters who could take the forms of other people and animals. They were eventually defeated by the witches, save for one young dragon who was raised among their own kind — her descendants are the Drache family, the rulers of the shapeshifter race. In Witchlight, it's revealed the Big Bad, Ahzdeha, is a dragon who has been awoken by a "witch who isn't a witch".
  • The Witcher: Golden Dragons can take on human form, and often prefer to stay this way.
  • Worm: The gang leader Lung gradually transforms into a dragon when in combat. He starts out by just growing larger, then sprouts claws and golden scales; if a fight goes on for long enough the scales cover him entirely, his head becomes reptilian, his teeth turn into fangs and he eventually sprouts wings, growing larger all the while.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Grimm: Dämonfeuer ("fire demons") are a type of weredragon Wesen and probably the in-universe origin of the dragon myth in general.
  • Once Upon a Time: Maleficent, though still referred to as a fairy, has the dragon aspect of her character 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.

    Music 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In some editions, 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: Greyhawk Dragons (known as Steel Dragons in other settings) 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. Including one who runs a Mega-Corp and another who was elected president of the United Canadian and American States (and was then killed by a car bomb).
    • Drakes are metahumans granted the ability to turn into (comparatively) small dragons to act as servants to the Great Dragons.
  • The World of Darkness:
    • 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.
    • 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.

    Video Games 
  • Altered Beast: In both the original and Play Station 2 game, a dragon is one of the beast forms that the protagonist can take.
  • Breath of Fire: Ryu series, along with all the other dragons in the same canon, can transform into a variety of different dragons.
  • 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.
  • 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 Dragalia Lost:
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest I: The Dragonlord first appears 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 has the Dragovians, a whole species that can switch between human and dragon forms.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Servant Caster Sieg's Noble Phantasm allows him to take on his dragon form of Fafnir from Fate/Apocrypha.
  • 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 their energy and/or sanity. As playable units they can equip Dragonstones (their own, those of any dragon, or those of dragons from the same tribe, depending on the game and character) as a unique weapon type which lets them return to their original form while in combat, granting hefty stat bonuses. However, since Dragonstones are rare and subject to the usual Breakable Weapons mechanic, they frequently end up Too Awesome to Use.
    • The Tellius sub series replaces Manaketes with Dragon Laguz who can transform without the need for stones (though only for a limited time).
  • 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.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Hyrule Warriors: Volga is referred to as a dragon frequently and backs it up by transforming into one for several of his special moves.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games: General Onox 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.
  • Lunar: Eternal Blue: Nall from the first game has mastered the ability to assume a human form. An artbook shows a human form for Ruby as well, implying she might get this ability after the events of the game.
  • The Witcher: Golden dragons can assume human forms so well that 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.
  • World of Warcraft: Dragons often disguise themselves as humans, elves, or other intelligent races to meddle in the affairs of mankind without being noticed.

    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 join humanoid guests at the dinner 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.
  • Fey Winds: Sid's curse is that he turns into a dragon when stressed. You'd think this a case of Cursed with Awesome but his dad is a famous dragonslayer.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dragon: Jake Long: Dragons 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 stranger by the fact that they can interbreed with humans and apparently the dragon gene can skip generations.note 
  • Dragons: Riders of Berk: Spoofed in "Bad Moon Rising", where 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.
  • PJ Masks features An Yu, who started off exclusively in dragon form, but now seems to spend all her time in human form.

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