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 fictional 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 pronounce 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 (1967): 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.
  • Robert Munsch, The Paper Bag Princess (1980): A dragon who destroys Princess Elizabeth's kingdom and kidnaps her beloved Prince Ronald. Princess Elizabeth defeats the dragon by getting him to show off his full skills, exhausting him.
  • David and Leigh Eddings, The Belgariad (1982) and The Malloreon series (1988): Unnamed dragons. There used to be three: two males and one female but the males killed each other in the first mating season leaving the female alone for millennia.
  • Raymond E Feist, Riftwar trilogy (1982–1986): Rhuagh, Ryath, Shuruga and others.
  • Laurence Yep, Dragon series (1982–1992): Shimmer the dragon princess.
  • Jane Yolen, The Pit Dragon Trilogy series (1982–2009): Heart's Blood and several others.
  • Terry Brooks, Magic Kingdom of Landover novels (1986): Strabo.
  • R. A. MacAvoy, Tea with the Black Dragon (1983) and Twisting the Rope (1986): Mayland Long, who used to be a Chinese dragon.
  • Alan Dean Foster, Spellsinger series (1983–1994): Falameezar-aziz-Sulmonmee, a friendly Marxist dragon.
  • Terry Pratchett, Discworld novels (1983), notably The Colour of Magic (1983) and Guards! Guards! (1989): Errol, Ninereeds and other dragons. Pratchett's Discworld novels describe two types of dragons: Noble Dragons (Draco Nobilis) which are typical European-type dragons, which are extinct by the time the books take place but can be summoned by magic or created with a lot of magic and imagination; and the Swamp Dragons (Draco Vulgaris), which are the size of small dogs, bred as pets, and, due to their complex, fire-producing anatomy, have a tendency to self-destruct.
  • Steven Brust, Vlad Taltos novels (1983–present): jheregs, tiny dragon-like creatures, and dragons, huge reptiles that cannot breathe fire but have tentacles that pick up psychic impressions.
  • Steven Brust, To Reign in Hell (1984): Belial, one of the Firstborn angels, takes the form of a colossal, insane dragon living beneath a volcanic mountain range.
  • Tracy Hickman, and Margaret Weis, Dragonlance universe (1984): Cyan Bloodbane, a green dragon; Khisanth, Skie, Malystryx, Pyros, Flamestrike, Silvara, Khirsah — among others
  • Robin McKinley, The Hero and the Crown (1984): numerous small dragons, which cannot speak, and the huge, sentient dragon Maur, which is a malevolent force even after death.
  • Barbara Hambly, Dragonsbane (1985): Morkeleb, the black dragon around whom revolves the plot.
  • Paul Edwin Zimmer, A Gathering of Heroes (1987), part of the Dark Border series: Komanthodel, the ancient evil dragon.
  • Melanie Rawn, the Dragon Prince series (1985–1994):
  • Stephen King, The Eyes of the Dragon (1987): Niner, The dragon that Roland killed. Its head is mounted on the wall of his sitting room.
  • Lucius Shepard, stories (e.g., The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule, 1984; The Scalehunter's Beautiful Daughter, 1988): Griaule, a gigantic dragon, paralyzed and moribund yet still capable of casting a baleful influence.
  • Martin Baynton, Jane and the Dragon (children's book series, 1988, later adapted into a TV show): features a twist on the conventional tale, with a friendly and chatty dragon who befriends a teenage girl training to be a knight.
  • R.A. Salvatore, novels set in the Forgotten Realms (1988–present):
    • Icewind Dale Trilogy (1988–1990): Ingeloakastimizilian, also known as Icingdeath, is a White Frost Dragon who fights Drizzt Do'Urden and Wulfgar.
    • Streams of Silver (1989): Shimmergloom the shadow dragon is mentioned.
    • Sojourn (1991), Servant of the Shard (2000): Hephaestus the red dragon is a minor character.
  • Tad Williams, the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series (1988–1993): Igjarjuk, the ice dragon. (The Dragonbone Chair, 1988)
  • Susan Fletcher, The Dragon Chronicles novels (1989–1996): Byrn, Pyro, Embyr, Synge, and others.
  • Gary Gentile, A Time For Dragons (1989), Dragons Past (1990), and No Future For Dragons (1990): Various dragons.
  • Rick Cook, Wizard's Bane (1989), LRD, little red dragon guards the compiler book.
  • Jean Marzollo, Baby Unicorn and Baby Dragon (1989): A young dragon named Moon to match the crescent mark on his head. Became a great friend of Star after the Eight-Horn Friendship Spell in the prequel The Baby Unicorn.

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 Three Jackdaws 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]

2010s[edit]

  • Stephen Deas, Memory of Flames series (2009–2011): centered around a world inhabited by dragons, which are ridden by knights. Plot centers around their re-awakening consciousness.
  • Tui T. Sutherland, Wings of Fire series. Follows the adventures of dragons in the world of Pyrrhia.
  • Marie Brennan, Lady Trent series (2013–2015): Lady Trent's memoirs on how she first started studying dragons in a Victorianesque world.
  • Laurence Yep & Joanne Ryder, A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans (2015): told from the point of view of a dragon named Miss Drake.
  • Julie Kagawa, Talon series (2014–2018): revolves around dragons with the ability to disguise themselves as humans and an order of warriors sworn to eradicate them.
  • George R. R. Martin, The World of Fire and Ice; The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones (2014): A list of dragons mentioned in the book on page 33; Balerion, Vhagar, Meraxes and page 81; Sunfyre, Dreamfyre, Tessarion, Morghul, Shrykos, Syrax, Caraxes, Vermax, Arrax, Tyraxes, Stormcloud, Meleys, Moondancer, Silverwing, Seasmoke, Vermithor, Sheepstealer, Grey Ghost, The Cannibal, Morning. Brief bios of the dragons on page 81.
  • Todd Lockwood, "The Summer Dragon (Evertide #1), released on May 3, 2016, heavily features dragons."
  • Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant (March 2015)
  • James Bennett, Chasing Embers (September 2016): The Ben Garston novels from Orbit Books, dragons at war in human form.
  • Jasper Fforde: The Last Dragonslayer (nov 2010)
  • Jillian Boehme: Stormrise (Sept. 2019)

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. Routledge.
  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