Weekend Roundtable: Dungeons Not Required

One of the highlights of this past week’s season premiere of Game of Thrones was Jon Snow’s thrilling dragon ride over the lands of the North. Beyond that show, what are your other favorite dragons from movies or TV?

Brian Hoss

Setting aside Arthurian legends and the like, I’m a big fan of the original Dragon Ball anime, and its wish-granting Shenlong/Shenron dragon. Having been created specifically to grant the wish of anyone who gathered the Dragon Balls, and having lain dormant for an age, the awesome Shenlong is incredibly dismissive and impatient of whomever manages to summon him. For being a giant, flying, powerful, wish-granting dragon, Shenlong is cantankerous and his static red eyes betray nothing but that contempt.

Deirdre Crimmins

Dragons are one of the more versatile mythological creatures out there. For every fire-breathing monster from hell, there’s a complementary kind and helpful creature. My favorite of this gentler classification is Falkor, the luck dragon from The NeverEnding Story. Like Domino in the Deadpool comics and films, Falkor’s primary gift (aside from flying) is luck. Whenever Atreyu is about to lose everything, Falkor sweeps in and saves him from falling or from The Nothing. Not only that, he’s kind and adorable. He may have cavernous nostrils, but his iridescent scales and cocker spaniel ears make him look like a magical old friend.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

Granamyr from the Masters of the Universe mythos has long been my favorite dragon in pop culture.

The oldest and wisest of dragons figured into some of the original animated series’ most memorable episodes. In The Dragon’s Gift, He-Man came to realize the significance of life in all its forms, thanks to a challenge presented by Granamyr that could not be solved by strength alone.

Similar messages about responsible use of power pervade his other appearances in the series. There wouldn’t have been any gladiatorial games in Disappearing Dragons, in which dragons are kidnapped to fight for sport, if the extradimensional Darmi hadn’t abused their abilities. The moral of The Return of Granamyr is that it’s often more courageous to resist the temptation to fight. It’s one thing to emerge victorious and another to wholly vanquish one’s opponent. Battle of Dragons explores the honor that separates one from the other.

I love the design of Granamyr, and it’s kind of amazing how much of an impact his helmet makes. His towering, intricately designed action figure from a few years back ranks among the most impressive I’ve ever seen. Even in his iconic seated pose, Granamyr is 14″ tall. Standing, he’s right at two feet in height!

Joshua Zyber

It seems impossible to do this topic without mentioning Dragonslayer, which was perhaps the first truly convincing live-action depiction of a dragon in cinema. I’m not sure the movie as a whole holds up all that well, but the dragon effects are still terrific. He also has the coolest dragon name ever: Vermithrax Pejorative.

I’ll also give honorable mentions to Godzilla’s three-headed foe King Ghidorah and the entire How to Train Your Dragon franchise.

Your Turn

Tell us your favorite movie and TV dragons in the Comments.


  1. EM

    Maleficent, toward the end of Sleeping Beauty (1959 animated, natch). No others need apply—pure gothic grandeur. She also makes for a damned spectacular “life‐size” Lego model outside the Lego Store at Disneyland.

  2. Bolo

    Haku in ‘Spirited Away’ is really well animated. They really give him beast-like movements and expressions. When he’s corned and angry he tenses and hisses and lunges like a ferret or something. In human form he’s a solid supporting character with some problems of his own going on.

  3. Csm101

    I was always intrigued by Tiamat in the Dungeons & Dragons cartoons. I also used to be a big fan of Bravestarr and the big baddie who was even more important than Tex Hex was a big mean dragon with cybernetic looking horns called Stampede. I wish they would’ve made an action figure out of him. As far as “live action” dragons go, I thought Smaug was pretty impressive.

  4. William Henley

    I think I am going to go with Puff The Magic Dragon. Now I should admit, I am not sure if its a show or not. I remember the song as a kid, and there was an animated music video that went with it that played when I was a kid on Disney. I always assumed it was the promo for a show, but I don’t ever recall seeing anything longer than the video.

    My second thought was Eustice from the Narnia series, but once again, my mind is failing me – did Voyage of the Dawn Treader get made into a movie? You know, I could answer that in less time than it took me to write this if I just jumped on imdb, but then my post wouldn’t be as entertaining.

  5. Opinionhaver

    Bryagh from Flight of Dragons, a great and memorable villain despite not even being the main villain. If you like dragons and have never seen this movie somehow, look it up; it’s criminally underrated.

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