Dragons are among the most popular type of fantasy monster known today. These legendary creatures have appeared in the myths and folklore of many cultures over the centuries and have appeared in all aspects of modern media as well. Dragons have generally been depicted as huge reptilian creatures, though their exact shape varies greatly depending on the source.
Types of dragon
There are numerous types of dragon, though the two most prominent types of legendary dragon are the European and Eastern dragons.
European dragons are huge reptilian creatures that move on four legs and have tremendous bat-like wings enabling them to fly. Whereas some tales of these creatures depict them as being savage and bestial, others still have described them as being highly intelligent, even more so than humans. Oftentimes, they have been portrayed as evil creatures and several medieval-themed stories have cast them as kidnappers of princesses who are challenged and slain by a valiant knight. Those dragons said to be of the benevolent persuasion have been regarded as ancient and wise creatures who befriend humans and share their knowledge of the world with them.
Another common trait of European dragons - both good and evil ones - is their greed. They are notorious hoarders and fill their lairs with heaps of gold, gemstones and other treasures. Dragons are extremely protective of their hoards and are very meticulous about the individual items they collect. Even taking a single coin from a dragon's hoard will not go unnoticed.
As far as abilities go, European dragons are among the strongest creatures believed to have existed. Their scales serve as natural armour that can deflect most blows; they are capable of flight and can remain airborne for days on end. They live extremely long lives, said to be in the range of a thousand years, perhaps more. The ability that dragons are most well known for is, arguably, their fiery breath. They can freely discharge great blasts of fire from their mouths and reduce foes to ash instantly. Some stories tell of dragons burning entire villages to the ground in retaliation for a single person trying to steal from their hoard, or for no reason other than being driven by bestial rage.
Eastern dragons - also known as Chinese or Oriental dragons - exist primarily in the legends and myths of Asian nations such as China, Thailand and Korea. These beasts are of a more serpentine persuasion than European dragons, possessing long snake-like bodies with four limbs. Parts of the body are covered with tufts of thick fur and they often have long whiskers growing from their snouts. Eastern dragons have no wings, but they are still capable of flying. As they fly, they constantly twist and turn in elegant patterns as though they are swimming through the air.
Whereas Western dragons are noted for being malevolent and capable of breathing fire, the Asian dragon is considered a benevolent spirit of good fortune and holds power over water and the weather. It is also believed that Asian dragons possess many other supernatural powers and are practically gods, with no established limit to what they can do. Such powers include telepathy, shape and size alteration and altering the laws of probability.