List of dragons in literature

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The dragon guarding the golden fleece, as in Apollonius's Argonautica.

This is a list of dragons in literature. For dragons in other media, see the list of dragons in popular culture. For dragons from legends and mythology, see the list of dragons in mythology and folklore.

Before 1900[edit]

Antiquity (until fifth century AD)[edit]

Middle Ages[edit]

St. George slaying the dragon, as in Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend.

Early modern period[edit]

Nineteenth century[edit]

Twentieth century[edit]

By publication date of first installment in a series.

1900s[edit]

1910s[edit]

1920s[edit]

  • E. Nesbit, The Last of the Dragons (1925): the last dragon on earth, who is tired of being expected to fight a prince for a princess, and becomes the princess's pet instead. Drinks petrol ("that's what does a dragon good, sir") and, at his own request, is eventually transformed by the king into the first aeroplane.

1930s[edit]

1940s[edit]

1950s[edit]

  • Robert A. Heinlein, Between Planets (1951): the sentient inhabitants of Venus are huge flightless dragons, who are described as highly intelligent with an enormous aptitude for scientific research, who are very warm and friendly to humans. Since humans can't prononce their real names, they habitually take - while conversing with humans via a special device - the name of a prominent past human scientist (the book's main dragon protagonist calls himself "Sir Isaac Newton").
  • C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952), one of the Chronicles of Narnia: The unnamed elderly dragon who dies, and then Eustace Scrubb, who becomes a dragon by magic when he greedily sleeps on the dragon's hoard. Eustace actually eats much of the dead dragon by instinct; Lewis explains that dragons like to eat other dragons, and are therefore usually alone, echoing his thoughts on dragons in The Pilgrim's Regress (see above).
  • Ray Bradbury, "The Dragon" (1955): set simultaneously in the recent and distant past, the short story features a pair of knights setting out to fight what they think is a dragon. After they are killed by it, it is revealed that the "Dragon" is actually a steam train.

1960s[edit]

The dragon Yevaud on the cover of Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea.
  • Michael Ende, Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver (1960): Nepomuk, half-dragon by birth – his mother was a hippopotamus –, kind and helpful, later on warden of the Magnetic Cliffs. Frau Mahlzahn (Mrs. Grindtooth): A pure-blood dragon and the main villainess of the story. Very knowledgeable, runs a school for human children in Sorrowland, likes to torment lesser beings with her power.
  • Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, The Ice Dragon (1962), one of the books in The Saga of Noggin the Nog: an ice dragon whom Noggin intends to fight, but instead helps.[5][6]
  • Ursula K. Le Guin, world of Earthsea (1964): the portrayal of dragons undergoes significant changes from book to book. In the original, they resemble Smaug, with unbounded greed for hoards of precious jewelry; later, they grow in stature and nobility, to become virtual demi-gods who speak the "Language of Creation" as their mother tongue. Later still, it is revealed that they share an ancestry with humanity, and that some rare humans (always women) can change into dragons at will (or they may be considered as dragons who can take human form at will). In contrast to the dragons of C.S. Lewis's fiction, the dragons of Earthsea do not eat each other.[7] Like Tolkien's Smaug,[8] they are susceptible to drowning.[9]
    • Kalessin the creator of the world of Earthsea. (The Farthest Shore, 1972)
    • Orm, the great dragon who slew and was slain by the legendary Warrior Mage Erreth-Akbe.
    • Orm Embar, Orm's descendant, who died battling the evil magician Cob on the eastern shores. (The Farthest Shore, 1972)
    • Yevaud (A Wizard of Earthsea, 1968)
    • Orm Irian and Tehanu, each of whom was a dragon in human form who acted as a diplomat between her races.
    • various dragons
  • Ruth Manning-Sanders, A Book of Dragons (1965): 14 fairy tales about dragons.
  • Anne McCaffrey, Dragonriders of Pern series (1966): The (genetically engineered) Dragons of Pern. Dragons in Pern (genetically modified fire-lizards, which were Pernese natives) are ridden by "dragonriders" to protect the planet from a deadly threat, the Thread. The dragons include Faranth, Mnementh, Ramoth, and Ruth.
  • Clifford D. Simak, The Goblin Reservation (1968): A beautiful dragon from a previous universe plays a key role in the novel's unexpected denouement.

1970s[edit]

1980s[edit]

The dragon Maur, on the cover of Robin McKinley's The Hero and the Crown.

1990s[edit]

  • Patricia C. Wrede, Enchanted Forest Chronicles series (1990–1993): Various dragons.
  • Jackie French Koller, "The Dragonling" series (1990–1998): Zantor and various other dragons
  • Robert Jordan, The Wheel of Time series (1990–2011): A depiction of a Chinese dragon as the sigil of the Dragon, Lews Therin Telamon.
  • Christopher Rowley, Bazil Broketail book series (1992–1999): Bazil Broketail and many others.
  • Bruce Coville, Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher (1992): Tiamat.
  • Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher series (Sword of Destiny novel, 1992): Villentretenmerth, the golden dragon - intelligent shape-shifting creature, the only dragon among others (green, black, red and white) that can tolerate humans and even take their form. Also known as Borch in his human form.
  • Tamora Pierce, The Immortals quartet (1992–1996): Skysong, as well as Flamewing, Wingstar, Diamondflame, Icefall, Steelsings, Jadewing, Jewelclaw, Moonwind, Rainbow and Riverwind.
  • Dick King-Smith, Dragon Boy (1993), Albertina, Montague, and Lucky Bunsen-Burner, Gerald Fire-Drake and his family
  • R.A. Salvatore, The Spearwielder's Tale trilogy (1993–1995): Robert (also known as Robert the Wretched), the antagonist.
  • Terry Goodkind, The Sword of Truth (1994): Scarlet, the red dragon Gregory, Scarlet's hatchling that Richard saves in Book One.
  • Bruce Coville, the series The Unicorn Chronicles (1994): Ebillan and Firethroat, dragons.
  • Daniel Hood, Fanuilh series of books (1994–2000): Fanuilh, a miniature dragon and familiar.
  • Harlan Ellison and Robert Silverberg, "The Dragon on the Bookshelf" (1995): Urnikh.
  • Robin Hobb, Realm of the Elderlings series (1995): dragons and humans coexisted in the distant past. Their essences became mixed in some cases, producing scaled humans referred to as Elderlings, or small, rubbery-skinned dragons, called "Others" and treated as abominations. Humans carved living dragon statues out of special living stone; these statues were later used as a weapon against the Outislanders by King Verity Farseer of the Six Duchies.
    • Hobb's dragons would begin life as sea serpents, who would swim upriver to a special beach where they would cocoon themselves and hatch as dragons the next year. After a natural disaster changed the shape of the land, the serpents could no longer find their cocooning grounds and remained in the sea, as the cataclysm wiped out all but two of the dragons.
  • Graham Edwards, the Ultimate Dragon Saga trilogy (1995–1997): Cumber, Fortune, Wraith and many other dragon characters.
  • Frank E. Peretti, The Oath (1995): Giant, silver, unnamed dragon; a pact was made with this demonic creature by the citizens of a mining town in the northwest
  • George R. R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire series (1996–present), and the CCG based on the books: Drogon, Viserion, and Rhaegal, the dragons hatched by Daenerys Targaryen. Also, Balerion the Black Dread, Meraxes and Vhaghar, ridden by Aegon the Conqueror and his sisters in the conquest of Westeros.
  • Cornelia Funke, Dragon Rider (1997): Firedrake, Slatebeard, Maia, Shimmertail and several unnamed dragons. The cannibal Nettlebrand from the same book may also be considered a dragon due to his appearance.
  • Elizabeth Kerner, Song in the Silence (1997): the Kantri, a society of telepathic dragons, including Akhor, the king; Shikrar, his soulfriend; Kedra and Mirazhe, the first new parents in centuries, and Idai, and old and wise admirer of Akhor.
  • J. K. Rowling, "Harry Potter" series (1997–2007): Various dragons (including Norwegian Ridgebacks, Hungarian Horntails, Swedish Short-Snouts, Common Welsh Greens, Hebridean Blacks, and a Chinese Fireball - see magical creatures in Harry Potter). Dragons are mentioned throughout the Harry Potter books and a baby dragon appears in the first installment and dragons later play a significant role in the fourth and seventh. They are portrayed as having strong magic (even in their blood), but they do not exhibit any hints of intelligence or self-awareness. Within the series, dragons are considered very dangerous by most characters (Rubeus Hagrid being a notable exception) and private ownership of dragons is illegal.
  • T. A. Barron, The Fires of Merlin (1998), The Mirror of Merlin, and The Wings of Merlin: Valdearg the Wings of Fire and his daughter Gwynnia (named after Tiamat).
  • Anne Bishop, Black Jewels Trilogy (1998): Lorn, Prince of Dragons and Keeper of the Knowledge of the Blood, Race that created the Race of the Blood and Bestower of the Blood Jewels.
  • Joanne Bertin, Dragon and Phoenix (1999): Kelder Orolin, Linden Rathan and other dragonlords (or weredragons) in The Last Dragonlord (1998) and Minue (a water dragon).
  • Christopher Golden, Strangewood (1999): Fiddlestick, a small musically emotive dragon.
  • James Clemens, the series The Banned and the Banished (1999): Various dragons:
    • Ragnar'k, the stone dragon of A'loa Glen
    • Conch and others, seadragons bonded to the Mer'ai
  • Steven Erikson, the Malazan Book of the Fallen series (1999–present): Soletaken and Warren-ruling dragons.
  • Harry Turtledove, Darkness series (1999): in this magical analogue of the Second World War, the dragons are beasts, highly pugnacious and under complete human control. In the storyline they are the analogue of fighter planes and dragon riders are obviously intended to represent fighter pilots of the Luftwaffe and the RAF.
  • Jeffrey A. Carver, science fiction novels set in the Star Rigger Universe: Dragons in the Stars (1992) and Dragon Rigger (1993); dragons live in the hyperdimensional "Flux" of interstellar space.

Twenty-first century[edit]

By publication date of first installment in a series.

2000s[edit]

  • Chris d'Lacey, "The Last Dragon Chronicles" series, starting with The Fire Within (2001): Gadzooks, G'reth, Gretel, Gawain, and other dragons. These dragons are made of clay and brought to life by the fire/essence (known as the "auma") of one of Earth's last true Dragons, called Gawain. It is possible that Gawain's line might rise to full draconicity as a result of the actions taken by the student David Rain, his girlfriend the sibyl Zanna, the clayworkers Liz and Lucy Pennykettle, scientist Anders Bergstrom, and the witch Gwillanna.
  • Cressida Cowell, How to Train Your Dragon series (2003)
  • Emily Rodda, Deltora Quest's third installment (2000–2004): Dragons are portrayed as very intelligent and proud; as being divided into seven distinct tribes; as having the capacity to reproduce by parthenogenesis; and as each having a virtue to which it adheres, such as Strength, Honor, Luck, Faith, Hope, Joy, and Truth.
  • Emily Rodda, Deltora Quest 3 (2000–2004): The various Gem Dragons.
  • Neal Asher, several books (e.g., Gridlinked, 2001): The entity Dragon.
  • Robin Hobb, The Tawny Man trilogy (2002–2003): Icefyre and Tintaglia, the last remaining dragons; and The Rain Wild Chronicles (2009-2013): Various dragons
  • Christopher Paolini, The Inheritance Cycle (2002-2011):
  • Robin Wayne Bailey, Dragonkin series (2003): The dragons of Wyvernwood.
  • Margaret Weis, Dragonvarld trilogy (2003–2005): Maristara, an evil black dragon; Braun, her grandson; Draconas, the walker, a dragon in human form; and various other dragons.
  • Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, The Spiderwick Chronicles (2003–2004) and Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles (2007–2009):
    • In The Spiderwick Chronicles serial (2003–2004), Book Five, The Wrath of Mulgarath: The snake-like poisonous dragons raised by the ogre Mulgarath as his weapons of mass destruction. Mentioned as the European Wyrm variety.
    • In Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles serial (2007–2009), Book Three, The Wyrm King: A Hydra, a dragon or snake-like creature with multiple heads and gills appears, called the Wyrm King.
  • Mercedes Lackey, the Dragon Jousters series (2003–2006): Avatre and several others.
  • Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, The Obsidian Trilogy (2003–2006): Ancalader, the dragon bonded to Jermayan.
  • Keith Baker, world of Eberron (2004):
    • Eberron, one of the progenitor dragons. Eberron's bones compose the world.
    • Khyber, one of the progenitor dragons. Khyber rules the underworld and his children are the demons and monsters of the world.
    • Siberys, one of the progenitor dragons. Siberys is the "Dragon Above", his remnants compose the Ring of Siberys, a golden ring of crystal-like shards that glitters in the night sky.
  • Bryan Davis, Dragons in Our Midst series (2004): Clefspeare, Hartanna, Firedda and others.
  • Christopher Pike, Alosha series (2004): Dragons also start life as legless, wingless, tailless, and without fire; in this form, they are known as Kouls. Later in life, a Koul develops legs, a tail, wings, and fiery breath. To do this, a Koul must risk its life for protection of others, learn to swim, and take a literal "leap of faith" from a high place.
  • Donita K. Paul, Dragonkeeper Chronicles (2004–2008): Celisse, Metta, Gymn, Greer and others.
  • E. E. Knight, the Age of Fire series (2005): Auron (later AuRon), the gray, scaleless dragon. Also included are Natasatch (his mate), Irelia (his green mother), AuRel (his bronze father), Jizara (green sister), Wistala (green sister), NooMoahk (black dragon), Rugaard (copper dragon), and many others.
  • Gareth P. Jones, Dragon Detective Agency (2006): Dirk Dilly.
  • Naomi Novik, Temeraire series (2006): Temeraire and the other dragons of the Napoleonic Wars.
  • James A. Owen, The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series (Here, There Be Dragons, 2006): Samaranth, an Eastern-type dragon who offers guidance to the main characters. Also various other dragons.
  • Dave Freer, Dragon's Ring (2009): Fionn, a black dragon who plans to destroy Tasmarin.
  • Rick Riordan: Percy Jackson, Sea of Monsters: The dragon Peleus guards the Golden Fleece at Camp-Half Blood. Percy Jackson and the Titan's Curse the dragon Ladon guards the apples of the Hesperides.

2010s[edit]

  • Stephen Deas, Memory of Flames series, centered around a world inhabited by dragons.

For consideration[edit]

These works have titles suggesting they might describe dragons, but no summaries are readily available which confirm that there are actual dragons in the story.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Translation of Argonautica, Book 2 Translation of Argonautica, Book 3
  2. ^ Translation of Bibliotheca, Book 2
  3. ^ see John B. Coe and Simon Young, ed. and trans., The Celtic Sources for the Arthurian Legend. Felinfach, 1995.
  4. ^ Jones, David (2002). An Instinct for Dragons. Routlege. 
  5. ^ "The Ice Dragon." nogginthenog.co.uk
  6. ^ Later editions on Worldcat.org and Amazon.com
  7. ^ " [Arren:] 'Do they... eat their own kind?' [Ged:] 'No. No more than we do.' " "The Dragons' Run" (chapter) in The Farthest Shore
  8. ^ "[Smaug's] enemies were on an island in deep water—too deep and dark and cool for his liking. If he plunged into it, a vapour and a steam would arise enough to cover all the land with a mist for days; but the lake was mightier than he, it would quench him before he could pass through." Chapter XIV ("Fire and Water") in The Hobbit
  9. ^ Ged says that "plunging into the sea [is] a loathly death for the fire serpent, the beast of wind and fire." "The Dragons' Run" (chapter) in The Farthest Shore