Looking back at the earliest years of childhood, there are certain things that we toddlers can just take an instant liking to. As far back as I can remember, I was a boy that loved Dinosaurs, reptiles and above all … I loved Dragons. They just seem to combine all the coolest elements a mythical creature can poses. There like Dinosaurs, but with wings and can breathe fire, so what’s not to like? To this day, Dragons are my favorites fantasy creatures, and they come in such a wide variety. They can be fearsome monsters, or they can be loyal companions. Speaking personally, I always felt that the image of a dragon has always been present through my child hood, and I preferred to view them as allies to a brave knight. Although, they admittedly can make for cool villains too. So, for this countdown, I’ll be ranking my own personal favorite Dragons that have soared across the screen in either Movies or TV.
#10 King Ghidorah from the “Godzilla” franchise
What’s cooler than a regular fire breathing Dragon … well, how about a three headed dragon from outer space that shoots lightning bolts from his jaw. Aside from being such an awesome looking creature, he’s also credible for being Godzilla’s arch foe. Obviously, Godzilla is no stranger to giant monsters, but King Ghidorah was in a whole other league, as his most powerful and reoccurring adversary in his long running franchise. We also see Ghidorah take on various forms and appearances through the franchise, which makes him all the more unique, and an all-around awesome dragon.
#9 Eustace from “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”
When three children embark on yet another adventure in the mystical world of Narnia, one of the boys named Eustace gets greedy, and tries stealing gold. For punishment, he’s transformed into a Dragon, and while he’s no longer able to speak, his mind hasn’t changed beneath his scaly new appearance. In a nice twist, it’s when the boy takes a new form that he finds himself connecting to his traveling companions, whom he’d been neglectful of as a human. His relation with the enchanted talking mouse is one of the humblest aspects of his journey. Also, while it’s common place to encounter Dragons during a fantasy adventure, it’s quite the rare twist to have someone actually transform into one and remain that way through the whole film. It’s actually kind of cool, I mean imagine getting back from the adventure and getting the privilege to brag about being a mighty fire breathing dragon … that’s awesome.
#8 Slifer the Sky Dragon from the “Yu-Gi-Oh!” series
The Heavens twist and thunder roars signaling the coming of this ancient creature, and the dawning of true power. In the world of “Yu-Gi-Oh!”, kids play a card game featuring a variety of monsters as the main characters. What the children don’t realize is that the monsters on the cards connect to ancient, mythical beasts that once threatened mankind. Now in modern times, the doormat souls of these fearsome beasts have awakened and seek guidance in the modern world. The mighty Dragon of the Sky named Slifer stands as one of the most powerful creatures of them all, to the point where he’s regarded as a God among both mortals and monsters alike. What makes this dragon so unique is that it’s not inherently evil or good, he’s just a mass of power that’s loyal to whomever commands it. His design is awesome, he conveys a mighty presence, and his theme music is about as epic as they get.
#7 Falkor the Luck Dragon from “The Never-Ending Story” franchise
A little luck can go a long way when you’re a young boy sent on a quest to save a mystical world from destruction. Fortunately for the boy hero Atreyu, he’s got a little more then just luck on his side … he has, well, a luck dragon. This unique creature is named Falkor, and he serves as both friend and guide for the young hero. He’s dignified, humble, and even has a personality that’s all his own. He’s basically a Yoda equivalent, just in the form of a dragon that looks like a cross between a dog and a furry snake. It’s certainly one of the most distinct dragon designs I’ve ever seen, but he’s also an icon of 80’s fantasy creatures.
#6 Gringotts Dragon from “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
During a mission to defeat their greatest enemy, Harry Potter and his companions find themselves trapped in the underground caverns of Gringotts wizard bank. It’s there the young heroes discover an albino dragon forced to live as a slave in the underground mines, and is subject to the whim of some rather cruel goblins. With no other means of escaping, our hero’s release the dragon, and ride on his back to freedom. It’s a short and simple sequence, but a refreshing treat to see hero’s aiding a dragon as opposed to battling it like yet another obstacle. Both the digital effects on this dragon and its design are top notch, but what I really love is its animal behavior. When it breaks free, it doesn’t just fly off, it stops, looks around and takes in it’s first breaths of freedom before ascending into the sky. While the Harry Potter series has had its fare share of dragons, my personal favorite is the one that our heroes showed the most compassion for.
#5 Smaug from “The Hobbit” trilogy
He is fire … he is death! While the fantasy genera is home to many dangerous creatures and sinister foes, none are more evil or more lethal then the mighty dragon Smaug. Ever sense his inception of the novel “The Hobbit”, Smaug has had a secure slot as one of the most iconic dragons of all time. Just the concept of an intelligent dragon guarding a giant underground treasure chamber is classic in of itself. What really stands out is Smaug’s cinematic portrayal in the live action Hobbit movies. In this series, Smaug is voiced by the distinguished Benedict Cumberbatch, and to say that he shines in the role would be a gross understatement. His chilling vocals, matched with his motion captured body performance make Smaug feel more alive then most other movie creatures. The effects are incredible, the voice is dominate and Smaug himself lights up the screen with his epic presence.
#4 Earth Sea Dragons from “Tales from Earth Sea”
Unlike most dragons of fantasy, the dragons from the enchanted land of Earth Sea are peaceful creatures … that is except for when evil looms on the horizon and throws nature off balance. It’s only then that the once majestic dragons become savage monsters. Another thing that makes these dragons unique is that their humble nature makes them as close to humans as creatures get, to the point where they can even take both the form and life of a human. The 2006 anime “Tales from Earth Sea” has always been a favorite of mine, and one that I feel deserves more attention. These dragons are some of the most stunning ever put to film, brought to life through extraordinary animation and have their own mythos that make them so much more interesting then your typical fantasy creature.
#3 Maleficent’s Dragon form from “Disney’s Sleeping Beauty”
One of the most classic staples of the fairy-tale genera is seeing a prince ride off to rescue a princess who’s locked in a tower, guarded by a fire breathing Dragon. That is the classic formula, and this is the classic final battle that set the template for sword wielding heroes and monstrous foes. Maleficent was already a first-rate villain from Disney’s gallery, and her final form as a deadly fire breathing dragon has always stood out to me as the greatest evil dragon ever captured on film. She’s fast, she’s deadly, her design is awesome, her green tinted flames are unique, and her screen presence is unmatched. While this climax is admittedly very short by today’s standards, it’s still quiet the spectacle for an animated movie dating all the way back to 1959.
#2 The Dragons: Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion from “Game of Thrones”
When it comes to the beautiful female lead in a fantasy setting, she’s usually paired with something whimsical, like a Unicorn, but for Danny Storm-born … it’s three loyal Dragons for the price of one. More than just capable pets, Danny viewers her dragons like her own children, and has such adorned the title “Mother of Dragons”. She certainly has the fighting spirit of a Dragon, and seeing her connect with these three mighty beasts is nothing short of epic. What makes it so fascinating is that, while all three are mostly loyal to Danny, they're still dangerous animals with minds of their own, and that can make them unpredictable. There’s even a fair amount of dramatic depth as we see Danny struggling with how to take action from her dragon’s occasional rouge behavior. As far as CGI is concerned, I honestly think these are the most real looking Dragons ever viewed on screen, which is impressive considering “Game of Thrones” is a TV production. It’s also fascinating to watch their evolution unfold, as they begin as newly hatched babies, and over-time grown into full sized monsters of fire breathing destruction. Beautifully detailed, and connected to one of the greatest characters from one of the greatest fantasy franchises, all three sour above the previous Dragons of my list with ease … but there’s still one left.
Before I sour with my Number One favorite Dragon, here are some Honorable Mentions …
Draco from “Dragon-Heart”
Mushu from “Mulan”
Vermithrax Pejorative from “Dragonslayer”
Girl Dragon from “Shrek”
Guardian Dragon from “The Pagemaster”
#1 Toothless from the “How to Train Your Dragon” franchise
There have been some special Dragon companions on my list, but for a young Viking named Hiccup, he’s got the greatest pet of all time, a fire breathing dragon lovingly nicknamed toothless. Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, you can’t help but wish for a special connection of your own with a creature as awesome and as lovable as this. It may seem odd to call a dragon cute, but honestly, there’s so much more to Toothless then just an adorable mug. This dragon is just brimming with personality, charismatic traits, and a loving bond with his master that allows him to just warm our hearts. His lovable nature alone earns him a spot on my list, but the fact that such a playful personality comes from a monstrous dragon like this makes him so much more special and personally, to call him my favorite dragon would be underselling it … I think he’s one of the absolute cutest, and greatest animated characters of all time.