January 16th is considered Appreciate a Dragon Day. Don't believe me? Check out the queen of writing dragon books, Donita K. Paul, here. She celebrates Appreciate a Dragon Day every year. I know, so cool, right? If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that I love dragons. If I were a dragon, I would hoard other dragons. These winged-beasts--in any size, form, personality, or ability--are magnificent creatures in my mind. I can easily find reason to appreciate them.
In honor of such a celebration, I've gathered and ranked dragons found in fiction. Here are my top ten favorite dragons.
(Note: This list consists of my favorites. There are many other wonderful dragons in the world; however, since most of the others I've never read about or watched on a screen, I cannot accurately write about why I love them. Thus, popular dragons like those from Game of Thrones or Dragon Tales will not be included in this list. Feel free to comment below with why you love them if you do!)
10. Eustace (The Chronicles of Narnia)
During The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, King Caspian X, along with the two younger Pevensies and their cousin Eustace, visits one of the mystery islands in the Great Eastern Ocean. It's here that poor Eustace Clarence Scrubbs (and he almost deserved it) found himself turned into a dragon. A dragon! Can you imagine? However, Eustace wasn't a very good dragon. He cried. A lot. It's only through the patience and care of Aslan that Eustace sheds his scales and is turned back into a boy.
9. Falkor (The Neverending Story)
While I've only read the book, Falkor the luckdragon remains at the forefront of my mind when I think about The Neverending Story. (He is a dragon, after all.) He helps Atreyu on his quest. He's wise, optimistic, and kind to everybody he encounters. He wouldn't be seen as the typical malevolent, fire-breathing dragon; he's in fact based more on the benelovent, eastern dragon in both personality and body type. But that makes him all the better as a luckdragon. His actions come from his heart, not his mouth.
8. Mushu (Mulan)
There are few dragons in fiction like Mushu. He's sort of clumsy, definitely funny, and very loyal. He can't do much with his size or little fire-breath. But he doesn't allow his downfalls to keep him from helping Mulan save China. He finds other ways--outside the box ways--to get the job done. It's quite clever of him, actually. Plus, he's hilarious.
7. Saphira (Eragon)
One of the first dragons I befriended was Saphira from the Inheritance Cycle. While I never finished reading those books, Saphira still remained a favorite character. She is a wise, strong dragon willing to put with the likes of Eragon. She's also described as quite beautiful with sapphire scales and with a finely structured body for flying. Despite her vanity for her own figure, she's still a strong, independent dragon, who isn't afraid to speak her mind. Nor does she bow to others, which she shouldn't have to. She is a dragon after all.
6. Haku (Spirited Away)
Haku is both dragon and boy. Actually, he's a River Spirit, which gives him the ability to transform into a dragon. In Japanese mythology, dragons are highly associated with rivers and water; thus, Haku's dragon form resembles the eastern dragon with a snake-like body, whiskers, and a wolf-like face (similar to Falkor or Mushu). He also has the ability to fly. In the movie (which you should go watch), Haku helps the protagonist Chihiro save her parents after they're turned into pigs. It's a wild adventure, and it includes dragons!
5. Festus (Heroes of Olympus)
Festus, whose name means "Happy" in Latin, is not your ordinary dragon. He's actually an automaton dragon, which is a highly developed robot machine. Originally, he was created to protect Camp Half-Blood, but somewhere along the line, he short-circuited and went haywire. In The Lost Hero (book one of the Heroes of Olympus series), Leo traps the crazy Festus and fixes him. From then on, he helps the demigods accomplish their mission of defeating Gaia, whether he's in dragon form or attached to the mast of the Argo II. Festus is cool because he's a helpful, robot dragon. Plus, he eats motor oil and Tabasco sauce.
4. Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)
On the scarier side of dragons, Maleficent is truly marvelous. As a sorceress fairy, she can turn herself into a ferocious dragon. This kind of dragon gives children nightmares. Green smoke flares from her nose, her jaws snap with crackling fire, and her massive body looms over the brave Phillip and the little fairies. While she is defeated by a sword to the chest, she's still a pretty badass dragon, and she's considered one of the most sinister Disney villains ever. (I can't help but agree.)
3. Kilgharrah (Merlin)
If you're looking for a wise, old dragon with a bit of sass, Kilgharrah (No, I don't know how to pronounce that) will do the job. He's the mentor of Merlin from the BBC show. He always manages to give Merlin the right bit of advice in the nick of time. In return, Merlin promises to set Kilgharrah free from the chains that bind him. Kilgharrah is also the one who sets Merlin off on his destiny to save Camelot... by helping the prat prince, Arthur. (Yes, the once and future king. Hold the once.) A wise, sassy, British dragon who gives young blokes destinies? Yes, please! Kilgharrah is one majestic dragon.
2. Toothless (How to Train Your Dragon)
1. Smaug (The Hobbit)
No list of dragons could be complete without the all-father of dragons (or something like that). Smaug the Terrible is probably one of the most famous dragons in fantasy. A ferocious dragon, he attacks the dwarven kingdom of Erebor and sets up shop within the mountain in order to take a 150-year nap. He's greedy, cunning, and all-around magnificent. While he's certainly not the biggest dragon to wander Middle-earth (He's actually a teeny-tiny baby dragon in comparison), he still has merit in the realm of dragons. He's been estimated to be the second richest fictional character with a net worth of $54.1 billion. There has even been a species of lizard and bug named after this golden dragon. Quite magnificent indeed. (He is fire and death, after all.)
Who is your favorite fictional dragon? Let me know in the comments below along with what you're doing to celebrate 'Appreciate a Dragon Day'!