Dragons are giant winged, fire-breathing reptiles. Widely regarded as terrifying yet awe-inspiring, they can be found all over the world and are frequently referred to in Asian and medieval European folklore.
Able to fly and breathe fire through their nostrils, they are one of the most dangerous and hardest to conceal creatures in the wizarding world. The Ministry of Magic classifies them as XXXXX, known wizard killers that are impossible to train or domesticate. Despite how dangerous they are, there are people who are trained to work with them, called dragon keepers, or dragonologists. A wizard who trades and sells dragon eggs (which is an illegal activity) is referred to as a dragon dealer.
Early life of a dragon
Dragon mothers breathe fire on their eggs to keep them warm. The dragon's first fire breaths, usually accompanied by thick grey smoke, appear when the dragon is around six months old. However, the ability to fly is normally developed later, at around twelve months, and the dragon will not be fully mature until it is two years old and ready to live on its own. Dragon Breeding for Pleasure and Profit states that you are to feed a baby dragon a bucket of brandy mixed with chicken blood every half hour.
There is no officially sanctioned breeding of dragons, as dragon breeding was outlawed by the Warlocks' Convention of 1709. However, they have been known to interbreed, producing rare hybrids. Below is a list of the ten known pure-bred breeds of dragons according to the fifty-second edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:
|Antipodean Opaleye||It is generally considered one of the most beautiful dragons, with pearly scales that line its body, and glittering multi-coloured eyes that have no pupils.|
|Chinese Fireball (known as "Lion Dragon")||The Fireball is scarlet and smooth scaled with a fringe of golden spikes around its snub-snouted face and extremely protuberant eyes.|
|Common Welsh Green (a native dragon of Great Britain)||The common Welsh is green in colour and with two spiked horns that reside on top of it's head. The tail is vert stream-line with a single pointed tip at the end.|
|Hebridean Black (the other native dragon of Great Britain)||It has dark rough scales, ridges along its back, and a tail tipped with an arrow-shaped spike. The Hebridean Black has brilliant purple eyes and can grow to be up to thirty feet long.|
|Hungarian Horntail (considered to be the most dangerous dragon)||It has black scales, and is lizard-like in appearance. It also has yellow eyes, bronze horns and similarly coloured spikes that protrude from its long tail.|
|Norwegian Ridgeback||It resembles the Hungarian Horntail, except for the black ridges on its back, the browner texture in its scales.|
|Peruvian Vipertooth (a highly venomous dragon)||Its scales are smooth and copper-coloured. It also has black ridge-markings and short horns on its head.|
|Romanian Longhorn||The Romanian Longhorn has dark green scales, and two long, glittering golden horns.|
|Swedish Short-Snout||The scales are silvery blue, and its powerful flame is also a brilliant blue colour — and hot enough to reduce timber and bone to ashes in seconds|
|Ukrainian Ironbelly (the largest dragon species ever recorded)||It is a bipedal breed, metallic grey in colour, with an immense wingspan, long talons and rough scales said to be as hard as steel. It is the largest breed of dragon which reaches up to six tonnes, and its eyes are deep red. Sometimes the eyes seem to be the same colour as its body because of a protective scale.|
The existence of these two dragons are only shown on a page of notes concerning the book Dragon Breeding for Pleasure and Profit that is available on J.K. Rowling's Official Site. The scan of the page is available here.
|Catalonian Fireball||It appears to have a black or possibly scorched, somewhat oddly shaped snout and possesses a row of spikes that descends down its neck. Two black horns reside on the top of its head.|
|Portuguese Long-Snout||Its appearance is somewhat similar to that of the Catalonian Fireball, with ridged neck and scaly hide, but with a longer snout and pointier horns.|
Not much is known about dragon behaviour, however it seems that, at least with the Chinese Fireball, females are generally larger and dominant over males. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them states that sometimes females oust males from their territories, at least with the Antipodean Opaleye.
Dragons are generally highly aggressive towards anything, even wizards, and will sometimes attack humans without provocation, such as in the case of the Ilfracombe Incident.
Dragons in the wizarding world
The motto of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is Draco dormiens numquam titillandus; Latin for Never tickle a sleeping dragon. The Hogwarts gamekeeper, Rubeus Hagrid, loved and adored dragons, briefly owning a Norwegian Ridgeback named Norbert, who turned out to be a female and was subsequently renamed Norberta. In 1993, the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, suggested placing dragons to guard the school, after being compelled to remove the Dementors, something that Professor Dumbledore thought Hagrid would be very happy with.
Many useful materials come from dragons, but they are hard to obtain (see Uses below). It takes over a dozen wizards just to stun a dragon. Muggles believe that dragons are a mere myth, but have been known on occasion to glimpse these beasts. To prevent them from being seen by Muggles, and to protect them from poaching, dragons are kept on dragon reserves around the world, most of which are far from human habitation. Dragons cannot be domesticated, despite individuals trying to do so. However, it is possible to condition them via torture to make them somewhat subservient, as Gringotts Wizarding Bank had done to the one guarding the lower vaults, who had been trained to expect pain upon hearing a certain noise. The selling of dragon products is closely regulated by the Ministry of Magic, and only dragon species that are over-breeding are killed to make these items.
Dragons have many uses in the wizarding world.
Dragons were used in the First Task of the Triwizard Tournament of 1994, in which the champions had to retrieve a golden egg from a nesting mother. The varieties used were: the Hungarian Horntail, the Chinese Fireball, the Swedish Short-Snout, and a Welsh Green. Ron Weasley's brother Charlie worked with dragons in Romania at the time, and helped transport the dragons used in the Tournament. Dragons are also used to guard certain vaults at Gringotts Wizarding Bank, and one was used by Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger to escape the bank following their break-in in 1998.
Though they cannot be domesticated, there is one known instance of a dragon being used as a mount. In May 1998, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger rode on the back of a dragon, though they had trouble maintaining a grip on their steed, and could not control its flight. During the 1993–1994 school year, before playing in the Quidditch final against Slytherin, Harry dreamed that the Slytherin team were flying on dragons instead of broomsticks. When he awoke he realised that they would not be allowed to ride dragons.
|Dragon blood||Albus Dumbledore discovered the twelve uses of dragon blood. The twelfth use is as an oven cleaner. Another one is spot remover.|
|Dragon claw||During the 1995 school year, in the midst of the O.W.L.s, a trade sprang up among the fifth and seventh year students for various supposed brain stimulants. A student named Harold Dingle was offering powdered dragon claw, though Hermione Granger confiscated it, as it turned out to be dried Doxy droppings. Ron Weasley said that dragon claw does work, and that it gives your brain a boost, making you cunning for a few hours, though it is not known if this is actually true.|
|Dragon dung||Dragon dung is sold by the barrel in Knockturn Alley. It is a rich fertiliser used by students at Hogwarts in Herbology.|
|Dragon eggs||Dragon eggs are classified as a Class A Non-Tradeable Material by the Ministry of Magic. Despite the ban, many dragon eggs can still be found on the black market. Chinese Fireball egg shells are highly prized as potion ingredients by Chinese witches and wizards.|
|Dragon heart||Dragon heartstring is an exceptionally powerful, and one of the most common kinds of, core used in wands.|
|Dragon horn||Powdered dragon horn is used in many potions. Romanian Longhorn Horns are listed as a Class B-Tradable Material by the Ministry of Magic.|
|Dragon hide||Dragon hide is used to make clothing. Where Muggles would wear leather, wizards wear dragon hide. The skin is very tough, impervious to some spells, and provides the same physical protection as leather, while at the same time having the same texture and appearance as snake skin. Dragon hide is used to make gloves, boots, jackets and shields. In high demand at the moment is the skin of the Swedish Short Snout. Fred and George Weasley wore dragon skin jackets when they greeted Harry after his fifth school year. Professor Horace Slughorn has a dragon-skin briefcase, with gold clasps. When Rubeus Hagrid and Olympe Maxime went to be emissaries to the giants, on Albus Dumbledore's behalf, they brought a roll of dragon skin as a gift for the Gurg.|
|Dragon liver||Dragon liver is sixteen Sickles an ounce.|
|Dragon meat||When Hagrid returned from his trip to the giants with many injuries (actually acquired from his half-brother Grawp), he put a bloody, green-tinged, dragon meat steak, slightly larger than an average car tire, on his face as it helped the stinging. It is not known if dragon meat is safe for humans to eat but seems fine for canines.|
Spells that affect dragons
|Conjunctivitis Curse||In the Triwizard Tournament of 1994, Durmstrang champion Viktor Krum used this curse on a dragon, with satisfying results.|
|Draconifors||A transfiguration spell, it turns statues of dragons into real dragons, which can then be controlled by the caster.|
|Stunning Spell||The stunning spell has been known to affect dragons only when multiple wizards cast it simultaneously at the targeted dragon. In the Triwizard Tournament of 1994, Charlie Weasley and several other dragonologists used the Stunning Spell to successfully subdue several dragons.|
|Romanian Dragon Sanctuary||Home to several types of dragons. Charlie Weasley works and studies dragons here.|
|Hebrides||The MacFusty Clan cares for their dragons here.|
|Wales||Hidden in the higher mountains.|
|Sweden||Between Arjeplog and Kopparberg. The annual broom race goes right through there.|
Behind the scenes
- Draco Malfoy's first name, Draco, is Latin for dragon.
- There is a wizarding disease called dragon pox.
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Fred and George Weasley have a firework dragon chase Professor Umbridge through the Great Hall.
- One of the many forms Fiendfyre can take is a dragon.
- Charles Weasley is a dragon keeper in Romania.
- Most of the dragons in the films seem to be based on the modern design rather than the classic design for dragons; most noticeably, their wings don´t sprout from their back, but are rather the modified forelegs of the dragon (as in real life bats and flying reptiles or pterosaurs). This style of dragon is actually known as the "Wyvern". Apparently in the movieverse, dragons and wyverns are one and the same, although wyverns are more commonly used than four-legged dragons.
- The Catalonian Fireball appears to be an early draft on the Chinese Fireball because these were notes for Dragon Breeding for Pleasure and Profit on J.K.Rowling Official Site. The same for the Portuguese Long-Snout which seems to be an early draft for the Romanian Longhorn and the Swedish Short-Snout.
- According to Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, in 1932, there was a dragon attack at a muggle beach that a family of wizards on holiday defeated. It earned them the Order of Merlin, First Class. It is known as the Ilfracombe Incident.
- In the credits of the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, it says "No Dragons were harmed in the making of this movie". This probably refers to the scene in the movie where the Hungarian Horntail falls off the bridge.
- Madam Rosmerta owns a silk dressing gown embroidered with dragons, which she was wearing on the night in June 1997 when Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore apparated back from the Crystal Cave.
- In rare cases, a Patronus may take the form of a dragon, according to Pottermore.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game) (Appears as statue) (Dragon egg) (Dragon)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film) (Mentioned on a wood panel in Flourish and Blotts)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game) (Appears as statue)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film) (Fireworks)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (Fireworks) (Fiendfyre)
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- Wonderbook: Book of Spells
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault (mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
Notes and references
- ↑ J. K. Rowling's Official Site
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- ↑ Quote from J.K. Rowling interview with the San Francisco Chronicle
- ↑ Interview with Steve Kloves
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- ↑ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (companion book)
- ↑ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (real)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- ↑ The price in the older versions of the novel was given as seventeen Sickles, but this was changed because seventeen Sickles is equal to one Galleon, so it would be like saying "One hundred cents".
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27 (The Lightning-Struck Tower)