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Playing With / Dragon Rider

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Basic Trope: Someone is badass enough to ride on a dragon's back.

  • Straight: Evulz rides into battle from the back of his dragon Brangor.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Evulz has an entire air-force of dragon-riders.
    • One castle-sized dragon has a howdah on it's back, filled with warriors.
    • Evulz rides on Brangor, who rides on an even bigger dragon that's riding on a final dragon that's even bigger.
  • Downplayed: Evulz is carried around by Brangor and is dropped whenever the latter needs to fight.
  • Justified:
    • The dragons in question are both non-sapient and domesticated, making them easy partners.
    • Dragons are Bond Creatures.
    • It took CENTURIES to domesticate dragons to the point of the story. Ancient people noticed that some dragons raided livestock pens simply because it was easier to swoop down and kill a sheep or cow in a fenced pasture, so some humans started leaving meat out for dragons to start associating people with a food source and tamed them after getting their trust. Over time, they bred the dragons with the right physiology and temperament to make them easier to ride, so domestic dragons now have key differences from wild ones: They have smoother necks (either from breeding away the neck-spines or trimming/removing them), are comparatively smaller (to make feeding, housing, and controlling them easier), and are less aggressive than wild dragons (which is still a matter of "hitting opponents with their tail" instead of "burning everything in a twenty-foot radius"). Plus, this still doesn't give people the excuse to mistreat or neglect them, because the dragon will either turn on the rider in revenge or escape to live with their wild cousins. It's also noted that domestic dragons can become more dangerous than wild ones, because while wild dragons only attack humans in defense or for food, feral dragons SEEK OUT humans to attack.
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    • Alternately, sapient dragons willingly bond with humans because they view humans as a species full of caretakers—unlike wild dragons, the ones with riders get free meals and medical care. Talons and sharp teeth are great for fighting and hunting, but you can't really use them to clean off or tend to your wounds.
    • Going into battle on flying dragons allows their riders to launch aerial attacks on ground-based targets like real-life fighter pilots.
  • Inverted: A Shoulder-Sized Dragon rides around on Evulz.
  • Subverted:
    • It looks like Evulz is riding on Brangor at first, but then it turns out it's a failed Colossus Climb and they're currently fighting to the death.
    • Dragons cannot be mounted for anatomical reasons (spines in the backbone, the backbone serving as anchorage for the wings' musculature, etc.), so the rider is instead carried on the dragon's claws (big ones), or in a sort of ventral pod.
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  • Double Subverted: Defeat Means Friendship and Evulz wins the battle. This can only lead to one thing.
  • Parodied:
    • Hiro asks Brangor why he's taking orders from a weakling like Evulz. Brangor pauses for a second, then eats Evulz and flies off.
    • When flying into battle on his dragon, Hiro says "I feel the needthe need for speed!"
  • Zig Zagged: ???
  • Averted: No dragons are ridden.
  • Enforced: ???
  • Lampshaded: "He's on a dragon? ...I want one!"
  • Invoked: Evulz focuses on mind control in order to bring a dragon under his control, specifically so he can ride it.
  • Exploited:
    • The dragon isn't a willing servant, and so the heroes aim to knock Evulz off in order to remove his greatest asset.
    • Evulz participates in a joust while on dragonback. Their Ain't No Rule you had to be mounted on a horse to compete...
  • Defied: Bragonor learns to flip onto his back in order to deny people a chance to mount him.
  • Discussed: "He's going mount that dragon like a copper piece harlot, isn't he..."
  • Conversed: "I wonder how he gets it not to eat him?"
  • Implied:
    • Brangor is never called a dragon and but Evulz rides on it regardless.
    • Evulz can command Brangor but is never seen on its back.
  • Deconstructed: A dragon can be ridden on, but it's not a willing servant: if you do not threaten it into compliance or subject it to mind control, it will kill you immediately. Furthermore, you have to ride on them lying down or else you'll be blown off; and a rider can't do anything but hold on, so they add little to the dragon's already formidable capabilities. Finally, the spines make it really uncomfortable.
  • Reconstructed: Due to a dragon's natural bloodlust and massive power, the only purpose a Dragon Rider has is to stop the dragon from rampaging once the enemy is dead, and that's more than enough to respect them.

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