Dragons. They’ve long been in folklore as the evil jailors of our innocent princess’ or needlessly destroying the homes of hapless villagers, but recently a change has come over the way these scaly beasts are portrayed on the big screen. A more loveable and approachable side to these old monsters is slowly being revealed – begging the question, have we merely misunderstood the intentions of these reptilian giants for centuries?
In honour of the latest fantastically friendly dragons that will soon be hitting the big screen in DreamWorks Animation How To Train Your Dragon (out this week) we’re looking back over the coolest and friendliest dragons that have been tipping the scales in that age old debate – Dragons: Good or Bad?
Elliot – Pete’s Dragon, 1977
Mischievous and clumsy Elliot is the large companion to small Pete, and is always on hand to protect his young friend when the nasty Gogans come looking him. Elliot’s is firmly in the friendly Dragon category, with only his playful humour to blame for any nastiness he happens to fall in to. Knowing who to trust and who to avoid comes naturally to this pleasant dragon who makes the perfect guide to lead a lost young orphan to a family who are happy to have him. Lovely.
How to train your dragon: As some crazy hijinks and high spirits are the only faults to be found with this dragon, there’s almost nothing we would change. And after all, once he’s completed his mission Elliot the dragon will be off to help the next child in need.
Falkor – NeverEnding Story, 1984
Not your run-of-the-mill fire breathing combat dragon, Falkor is of the gentle luckdragon variety whose main distinctive ability is a never ending run of good fortune. While this isn’t especially helpful when it comes to fighting the baddies (not the dragon in this case), Falkor’s capacity for luck proves useful time and again in this NeverEnding Story. Generally giving dragons everywhere a good name Falkor is the ideal good luck charm.
How to train your dragon: Falkor’s natural good nature and luck means little training is needed to make him a worthy dragon companion, just beware of getting in the way of his unusually coloured flames.
Draco – Dragonheart, 1996
On the face of his life Draco is everything that the last dragon alive should be – he lives in a cave, is reluctant to help or meet humans and is really quite scary looking. However, under that rough exterior lies a heart of gold, and he’s willing to give half of his up to save a frankly unpleasant little boy who he knows will grow up to be a tyrant King. Foolish, you say? Perhaps. Teaming up with disillusioned, but still formidable dragon slayer, Bowen, to make the first ever human-dragon extortion alliance has interesting consequences, not least with Draco finally finding the peace that he so craves.
How to train your dragon: This exemplary version of dragoning needs no training, he is both fierce and friendly – the perfect dragon! But unfortunately, also the last…
Mushu – Mulan, 1998
Not quite the stuff of legends, tiny Mushu is the disaster ridden pocket sized companion to cross-dressing Chinese warrior Mulan. Once a guardian spirit of the Fa ancestors, Mushu was demoted following a fatal incident involving a severe case of ancestor decapitation. What Mushu lacks in wisdom though he more than makes up for in sheer determination and enthusiasm, and he saves the day more than once
How to train your dragon: Fundamentally untrainable, Mushu’s chaotic approach to all things (dragoning included) has a tendency to land those he’s meant to be helping in hot water. But his big heart and comic timing will ultimately recompense for any short comings!
Dragon – Shrek, 2001
The unlikely romantic interest for a donkey, this fierce fire cracker is in a league of her own when it comes to Dragon angst at the start of the Shrek films, with flame throwing and knight killing activities on full throttle. Later though we realise this is due in part simply to some seriously high hormone levels, and like many women, Dragon just needs to be understood. Never one to take no for an answer, Dragon hotly pursues Donkey through the film, and at the end of Shrek 2 is made the proud mother of some of the cutest looking donkey to dragon cross-breeds we’ve seen in a while.
How to train your dragon: As with many women, Dragon is just looking to be loved – treat this lady right and you’ll have a soulmate for life.
Toothless – How To Train Your Dragon, 2010
The latest and perhaps we could say greatest addition to our gallery of Dragons. Toothless is a mystical Night Fury, whose bite, at first glance, is worse than than his roar. However, scratch below the surface we can soon see that Toothless is so much more than a scary monster. As Hiccup, the hero of the film soon discovers, everything we know about Dragons is wrong…
How to train your dragon: Well we don’t want to spoil it for you!