IY: Fantasy Creatures – Dragons – European Dragons


These guys, at least in western society, will probably be closer to what you think of when someone says ‘dragons.’

There are some excellent pictures, but rather than littering this post with lots of them, I’m going to give you a little gallery to browse at your leisure.

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Attributes

If the pictures above aren’t enough to give you a clue, then these are the basics:

  • Wings.
  • Big ass teeth
  • Tail
  • Four legs (sometimes two)
  • Spikes and/or ridges along the spine and tail
  • Able to breathe fire from their mouths
  • Tough or scaled skin

There are also other aspects like:

  • They tend to hoard gold
  • The live in caves or underground lairs
  • They have a rotten temper

Depending on what you look at, a fiery breath weapon isn’t the only one in a dragon’s arsenal. The wings and tail can cause incredible damage on their own and the colour coded beasties of Wizards of the Coast’s, Dungeon and Dragons series of games and books (squee!) have their own breath weapons and personality types. Red = fire. Black = acid. Blue = water. White = ice . . .

In Legend

I’ve already discussed—briefly—a couple of different legends/myths surrounding dragons. These examples were primarily from the Christian religion and feature saints fighting dragons, almost as a parallel of man’s struggle against the evil that is Satan. I’m not making that up, by the way. The word ‘dragon’ comes from the Latin word ‘draco’ which I believe means snake or serpent. Adam and Eve, anyone? But prior to the influence of Christianity, dragons were viewed as benevolent (and here I’m thinking specifically of the Welsh dragon, Y Ddraig Goch).

But Wait, There’s More!

Darn tootin’. It doesn’t stop there. There are dragon myths and legends all over Europe, all with a slightly different flavour. I dare you to check out any of these other types and tell me they’re not awesome.

  • Slavic dragons
  • Russian dragons
  • German dragons
  • Romanian dragons

Yeah? So What’s A Wyvern

A slightly lesser known variant of the dragon, that’s all. Dragon shaped (reptilian, wings, tail) but with only two legs. Also, since these creatures are often associated with ice and water you generally won’t find them breathing fire.

They do pop up every now and then, though they are often mistaken for dragons because of the similarities. But there is an example I’ll bet you recognise what you see it. One probably still out there and on the roads right now.

Look familiar? ;-)

Look familiar? 😉

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About Ileandra Young

I'm a thirty-*mumbles* year old (purple loving, cheese worshipping) author of fantasy, juggling a pair of beautiful twin boys with my burning desire to make up stories and write them all down. When I get the chance, I play games, listen to music, and in days long past I even ran a radio show. Though I occasionally write non-fiction, my heart lives in fantasy and my debut novel, Silk Over Razor Blades is now available through Amazon along with part two of the trilogy, Walking The Razor's Edge.
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2 Responses to IY: Fantasy Creatures – Dragons – European Dragons

  1. Interesting how dragons feature in so many myths and legends from different cultures. In China, the dragon is noble and largely benign. And the Chinese dragon does NOT breathe fire.

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