Dragons! Just saying the word fills you with so much joy. Dragons are magnificent fantasy creatures. From their beautiful designs, rich lore, and their sheer power, dragons are always a delight to see on the big or little screen. They are a huge part of film, books, TV, video games, and more. Many have even experimented with a traditional dragon, twisting its abilities or its appearance. Of course, there are so many top-tier dragons in media. However, these are the coolest 20 best dragons in fiction.
Here’s to the best fire-spitting, majestic sky-soaring reptiles we ever did see.
20 Best Dragons In Fiction
20/20. Rathalos – Monster Hunter Franchise
We begin this list with one of the most iconic monsters of the Monster Hunters franchise. Rathalos has been a staple of the Monster Hunter franchise. Being the face of a franchise from its first appearance in 2004, the dragon has also been featured in other Capcom games and crossovers. The territorial beast spends its time in the air, launching fireball projectiles at any intruding players. On top of that, its talons are dangerously poisonous.
Did we also mention the ridiculous amount of armor and scales that protect most of his body? All of this combines into a tough solo fight, with many new players underestimating this foe. However, this makes it even more satisfying when players kill him and get some of the best loot early game.
19/20. Saphira – Eragon Franchise
Nothing can break the bond between a dragon and its rider. Saphira is a beautiful and wise dragon. With her blue scales and sapphire eyes, Saphira is a beauty to look at. Whilst this causes her to be vain and shallow at times, she is willing to get dirty when push comes to shove.
Surviving the Fall of the Dragon Riders as an egg, Saphira chose a young Eragon as her rider. She is a young dragon. However, she is the most agile and strongest dragon in the world. She has survived and beaten bigger dragons than her, such as Shiriken (who could take down multiple dragons at once), stopped the tyrannical reign of the dark wizard Galbatorix and began a new era of dragons.
18/20. Fafnir – Beowulf
The epic poem of the legendary sword fighter Beowulf is one of the oldest and most influential pieces of literature left from the Middle Ages. In the final act, after ruling for 50 years, Beowulf battles a dragon. Fanfir is one of the influential dragons in European mythology. This was the first story in literature where the hero slays a dragon. This dragon and this story also gave dragons many traits we see in other stories. The fire breathing, destructive and territorial behavior seen in other dragons all came from Fanfir, as he destroys an entire town because a slave stole a gold cup from his lair.
17/20. The Hungarian Horntail – Harry Potter Franchise
The wizarding world of Harry Potter is full of wonderful creatures. However, one of the most dangerous series we see through the books is the Hungarian Horntail. As part of the first trial of the Triwizard Tournament in The Goblet of Fire, contestants had to steal an egg guarded by THIS. This dragon spews fire up to forty feet in front with a lizard-like appearance. The tail is also a dangerous weapon, slashing Harry on the arm with it. Good thing Harry Potter is a wizard with a broom!
See Also: Harry Potter vs The Lord Of The Rings
16/20. Gaping Dragon – Dark Souls franchise
Dark Souls is full of bosses and dangers. At first, it appears to have a crocodile-like appearance, fooling the entire player base. But then the rest of it comes onscreen. Even after two more games in the franchises, few bosses had players go “oh crap” more than this boss has. The epic introduction leads to a boss fight, with some signature moves. The Gaping Dragon dashes across the floor, slash the player with its tail and throws up acid. Whilst this boss is optional, it does have some cool rewards such as 25,000 Souls and the key to the upper entrance to Blighttown. Those who manage to cut off this beast’s tail are rewarded with the Dragon King Greataxe.
15/20. Kipepeo – Resident Evil Franchise
Resident Evil, is a franchise that questions what is worse, a zombie apocalypse or greedy corporations? There are many variations on the original virus. In Resident Evil 5, this dragon-like zombie is a mutant created from the T-virus pandemic from TRICELL. It is not your typical dragon in fiction with its butterfly-like wings, detachable spines, and humanoid head. Varying in sizes, the Kipepeo can rip a helicopter in half with their pincer claws. Unlike many other dragons, these mutations hunt in packs. To all the potential evil scientists reading this, please don’t bring these to life!
14/20. Chimera – Wrath of The Titans
This is the first monster our demi-god hero faces in his new adventure. The Chimera is an amalgamation of monsters, both in mythology and in this film. The chimera in the film has two razors teethed heads, large wings on its back, and a tail with the head of a serpent attached to it. This is slightly different from the creatures of the myth. Usually, there is a lion’s head involved. However, both are equally terrifying. In both versions of the creature, they can spew fire. As the first monster is released from the collapsed walls of Tartarus, it sets the tone for the rest of the film. No wonder the appearance of the Chimera was considered an omen for disasters to come.
13/20. Buck Dragon – Reign of Fire Franchise
Reign of Fire is the ultimate ‘Humans v Dragons’ fantasy. Taking place in 2020, the main antagonist is Buck Dragon. Buck stands for male. As the only surviving male dragon, the Buck dragon is the largest dragon we encounter in this film. It was as large as a castle! He can easily topple and eat smaller dragons than him with this giant weight. The dragon’s scales are extremely tough. This dragon’s only weakness is that it is vulnerable for a few seconds before it spews fire. No ordinary bullet can take this beast down, but an explosive C-4 and magnesium crossbow bolt down its throat seem to do the trick.
12/20. Lockheed – X-Men franchise
Dragons are usually seen in a medieval setting of some kind. So, it’s always surprising when dragons are put into a futuristic setting away from the swords and knights in shining armour. Lockheed is a dragon-like alien, part of a hive-like race known as the “Flock”. He becomes quite friendly with the X-Mex, saving them from the Brood. As well as being able to breathe fire, Lockheed also can breathe smoke to coat an entire rook with smoke. His ability to understand any spoken language in the universe has also helped him and the X-Men out.
11/20. Drogon – Game of Thrones franchise
In Game of Thrones, the Targaryen bloodline was always associated with dragons. Daenerys I Targaryen became the Mother of Dragons when she hatched these three eggs. Drogon is the biggest dragon, making him her mount. Fiercely loyal to Daenerys Targaryen, with one command ‘Dracarys’ (High Valyrian for dragon fire), Drogo spews fire upon entire platoons of ships. He is prone to violence and anger, especially when someone insults his mother. However, sometimes his anger gets the best of him. In the end, this angry boy stayed by his mother’s side and was one of the few things done right in season 8. Drogo has become a standard for other dragons on TV to follow, just from how detailed his animations were.
10/20. King Ghidorah – Monsterverse (King Kong v Godzilla)
In this film universe (known as the Monsterverse), we have King Kong and Godzilla. However, going up against these two legendary beasts is King Ghidorah, a three-headed dragon. In the 2019 film Godzilla: King of the Monsters, this Titan is violent, dangerous, and psychotic. He would often play with any humans who try to stop him and actively slaughter hundreds of humans. He has many powers, such as absorbing a city transformer to blast out lightning bolts and shoot yellow gravity beams that obliterate buildings. This gravity beam has also taken out Titans such as Mothra and even penetrated Godzilla’s scales. Thank God he does not exist!
See Related: Top 20 Best Enemies of Godzilla, Ranked
9/20. Shenron – Dragon Ball Franchise
In the franchise of Dragon Ball, people die and come back the next day. Part of the reason is the Eternal Dragons. The first of whom we meet is Shenron. When all seven dragon balls are put together, Shenron is summoned. Shenron is a wish-granter, regardless of the wish itself or his summoner. He even tries to advise the summoner to get the most out of the wishes. Shenron, however, is not all-powerful in Dragon Ball. There are limitations to his wish-granting. He cannot get rid of someone more powerful than himself or their creator (Kami). Nevertheless, this dragon is one of the more friendly dragons in fiction. He is not typically possessive or spews fire everywhere.
8/20. Ginko-Who-Soars – Doctor Dolittle
Doctor Dolittle (2020) was a weird film. However, one of the film’s most impressive visuals is the dragon attack sequence. On their quest to find a cure for the Queen, Dolittle finds himself in this dragon’s lair. Like many other dragons, she is hostile to these intruders at first. Using her tail and fire breath, the dragon makes short work of many foot soldiers. However, audiences felt sympathy for the dragon when Dolittle spoke to her. As the last of her kind, he empathized with her pain of losing her loved ones. The dragon becomes an ally with Dolittle, where he helps her deal with gas (it is as ridiculous as it sounds). To see her color change depending on her mood was also very creative. She won our hearts and blew us away as very few dragons could have.
7/20. Charizard – Pokémon franchise
If you wanna be the very best that no one ever was, you should consider getting this flame Pokemon. Charizard is the final form of Charmander and Charmeleon. Throughout these evolutions, one thing that has remained constant is their tail. Ending with a flame that, if extinguished ends the Charizard’s life, this flame also provides most of the firepower behind Charizard’s attacks. Charizard also always has so much personality and becomes fiercely loyal to their trainer. Charizard has been voted the best fire-type Pokémon in the Official Nintendo Magazine in 2010. Charizard is also one of the most easily recognizable Pokémon, gracing the cover of multiple games.
6/20. Alduin – Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
The Twilight God, The World-Eater, and the First Dragon. These are many names that grace the final boss of Skyrim. Foretold by property that Alduin would resurface during a Skyrim civil war, players are the Last Dragonborn, tasked with killing Alduin. He interacts with the player during many quests, mocking the player for not understanding Thu’um (dragon language). He is known as the destroyer and creator of this world, stating he was a deity in Nordic myth. This is a tough battle, with players using multiple different tactics to beat this Dragon king.
5/20. Mushu – Disney’s Mulan (1998)
There are many reasons why the 2020 Mulan remake was heavily criticized. One is that they removed this guy. Mushu is one of the standout Disney characters of the ’90s. Whilst he starts by using Mulan to get back his Guardian position amongst the ancestors, he truly began to care about Mulan as the film went on. He was there through the highs and lows. Unlike other dragons, Mushu is tiny for ‘travel convivence’. He is quite overconfident, impulsive, and often has a comedic response to everything. He often gets Mulan in trouble, but he is a true friend. Mushu may not be as big as the Great Stone Dragon the ancestors wanted to send, but he was Mulan’s companion and a huge part of the film.
4/20. Vermithrax Pejorative – Dragonslayer
If there is one thing to know about dragons, it is to never miss their young. This applies to Vermithrax Pejorative, as her dragonets are her everything. Vermithrax is an intelligent dragon, brokering peace with King Cassiodorus to receive virgin sacrifices and keep her dragonets a secret. However, once the dragonets were killed, her true powers came out. Despite suffering in constant pain due to her old age, she still spews fire and ripped people apart with her talons. This was one of Disney’s darkest films. For CGI in 1981, Vermithrax was beautifully animated. It still stands up today, as she is still considered one of the greatest and coolest dragons in film history.
3/20. Draco – Dragonheart Franchise
Before Harry Potter took the name Draco to mainstream media, we had this loveable dragon bearing the name. A young dragon who cannot help but make a wisecrack, Draco makes a perfect companion with Bowen. To stop Einon, with whom Draco split his heart to save Einon, Draco uses many abilities. His brown and copper scales let him easily camouflage himself with solid rock. Other skills include incredible strength, flight, and cunning. Plus, it is always a bonus to hear Sean Connery in action.
2/20. Smaug – The Hobbit Trilogy
Speaking of excellent voice acting, Benedict Cumberbatch makes his voice acting debut in the Hobbit. Smaug is everything we see in an evil dragon. Invading the Dwarf kingdom of Erebor, he left it completely unliveable and sent the remaining Drawfs into hiding. For 171 years, he was contemptuous. However, Smaug is extremely possessive and vengeful, burning down Lake-town for helping the Drawfs take back their home. Smaug is also arrogant, smugly boasting his strength to Bilbo (who at this time possessed the One Ring to rule them all). He also enjoys tormenting Bilbo as he chases the hobbit to get to his treasure. However, his greed and vengeance made him reckless. This resulted in his death. Smaug might not have had any special abilities. He left a huge impact on the Hobbits and the audience with his death.
See Related: Drogon vs Smaug Who Would Win?
1/20. Falkor – The Neverending Story
Finally, how can we forget the magic luck dragon? Falkor lived up to his title, helping Atreyu escape from the Swamps of Sadness. Falkor is one of the most uniquely designed dragons in film. With his white and pink color scheme, dog-like head, and beautiful eyes, Falkor is one of the least threatening dragons on this list. Unlike other dragons, Falkor has no enemies, aside from those wishing to destroy his world. He has no grudges and just likes making friends. His soft voice provided by Alan Oppenheimer calms and reassured both Atreyu and the audience down after the swamps. Plus, who cannot smile when he winks? Falkor is a pop culture icon, with the flying scene inspiring a ride. He reminds us that there are adorable dragons out there (besides Toothless).