Sometimes dragons are the majestic lords of the sky, noble creatures who are wise and powerful. Sometimes they're evil incarnate, greedy enemies of humanity. And sometimes, they're just jerks. Here are 10 wyrms that give the entire species a bad name.
1) The Dragon, Beowulf
The stereotype that dragons sleep are evil, hoard gold, and breathe fire on anyone unlucky enough to stumble into their lair? They pretty much all begin with the nameless dragon who stars in the third act of the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf. When a slave happens to come across the dragon's treasure pile and takes a golden cup — a single golden cup — he decides the entire land of the Geats must burn for this theft. No free handouts for the impoverished, dammit! He's pretty much set on killing every Geat ever, and the only reason he stops is because Beowulf shows up with Wiglaf to take him out. Still, the dragon manages to fatally wound Beowulf in one last act of dickishness.
2) Smaug, The Hobbit
What Beowulf's asshole dragon began, Smaug perfected. Tolkien calls his dragon "especially greedy," and seeing as Beowulf's dragon lost his shit over a single cup, this is clearly saying something. Not only did he sieze the kingdom of the Lonely Mountain from the dwarves who lived their, co-opting their treasure, but he also decimated the nearby town of Dale, just for kicks, seemingly. And when King Thorin attempts to take his birthright back, he angrily decides to destroy Lake-town for "helping" him, even though they really didn't. Basically, Smaug pulls the same shit the dragon in Beowulf does, except no one even steals a cup from him. Jerk. And don't even get me started on how smug he is when Bilbo starts calling him crap like the Tremendous, the Mighty, the Unassessably Wealthy, and the Chiefest and Greatest of All Calamities…
3) Drogon, A Song of Ice and Fire
Compared to Smaug and Beowulf's foe, Drogon — Daenerys' biggest and most unruly young dragon — is practically a saint by comparison. However, he's still a massive jerk when compared to his smaller, calmer brothers Rhaegal and Viserion. Like his namesake, Drogon is incredibly aggressive and completely unafraid of humans or consequences. Maybe this will pay off when Daenerys returns to Westeros, but for now Drogon is just a pain in her ass, slaughtering her subjects' sheep, killing her subjects' sheep, and attacking whoever or whatever the hell he feels like. Dude, your mom is currently trying to rule Meereen and your bullshit is not helping. Can't you appreciate the political instability here?
4) Syn Shenron, Dragonball GT
The titular dragon of Dragonball — Shenron, who shows up to grant a wish when all seven Dragonballs are gathered together — isn't exactly a peach. Seeing as he'll grant anybody's wish, no matter how good, evil or dumb it is, he's actually pretty passive-aggressive to the human race, truth be told. But he doesn't hold a candle to Syn Shenron, one the seven evil dragons created when the Dragonballs cracked from a build-up of negative energy in the third anime series. He's selfish, insulting, and is not at all interested in a fair fight, which more or less makes him the most diabolically evil person in the entire Dragonball universe. This is way worse than ripping the universe in two (which is something he also tries to do, for the record). Sure, destroying the universe is one thing, but not respecting the sanctity of a fight?! Madness!
5) King Ghidorah, Return of Mothra III
Okay, Godzilla's three-headed foe has a different origin in pretty much every monster movie he's starred in, and in most of them he comes from space and is controlled by aliens. Still, he has wings, scales and a breath attack — and a space dragon is a still a dragon, right? And he's not lacking in the asshole department. First of all, anyone who refers to himself as King is a self-important douchebag, even if he does have royal blood flowing in his three necks (which is not, to our knowledge, the case). But the kaiju hits his prime dickishness in Return of Mothra III where K.G. begins the movie by singlehandedly killing all the dinosaurs back in the Cretaceous period. In the present, he attacks Earth again, but this time specifically to eat human children. It should be noted that King Ghidorah was completely okay with eating adults, but he much preferred eating children. More like veal, I guess.
6) Vermithrax Perjorative, Dragonslayer
Despite having the greatest dragon name of all time, Vermithrax is absolutely one of the biggest assholes in dragon-dom as a prime example of one of the species' creepiest hobbies — eating virgins. In the movie Dragonslayer, Mr. Perjorative has assaulted the nearby kingdom of Urland until they agree to offer it a young virgin girl every six months as a sacrifice, selected by a lottery, which Vermithrax and his brood then snack on. Take a moment to think about how insanely creepy this is. Why do they eat virgins? Is it a cultural thing, like restricting yourself to kosher food? Do they taste better than non-virgins? Isn't the only difference between a virgin and a non-virgin an intact hymen? Are hymens like hot fudge topping for dragons? I don't know the answer to these questions, but I do know Vermithrax Perjorative should probably be investigated by the sixth-century equivalent of the Special Victims Unit.
7) Alduin, Skyrim
The primary antagonist of the fifth Elder Scrolls game, a.k.a. Skyrim, has one job — destroy the world. Seriously, he's called the "World-Eater," and as the "first-born" of Akatosh — the Skyrim equivalent of God — he actually has a divine duty to periodically destroy the world. So he's not on this list for covering the planet with hellfire every once in a while and forcing civilization to start over. No, Alduin is on this list because he sucks at his job. As evil as he is, he decided he'd rather rule the world rather than keep destroying it, and basically turned into Dragon Hitler — a jerk who believed that he and his kind were superior and everyone else on the planet was inferior. Eventually, humanity was forced to revolt and send Alduin into the future for someone else to deal with.
8) Bryagh, The Flight of Dragons
In the Rankin-Bass special based on Gordon R. Dickson's novel The Dragon and the George, Bryagh is the evil servant/co-conspirator of the evil wizard Omaddon who decided he'd rather take over Earth than let magic be replaced by science. In many respects, Bryagh is a pretty standard asshole, what with the attempted murder of some of the heroes, the successful murder of many other heroes, and general taunting and mean-spiritedness. But what makes Bryagh such a dick is his habit of eating the eggs of his fellow dragons. They say all is fair in war, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't include eating the unborn children of your enemies.
9) Glaurung, The Silmarillion
In the early days of Middle-Earth, things were intense. Stuff happened that made the events of Lord of the Rings look like an elementary school track and field day. Melkor — the evil god who basically made Sauron cry and wet his pants — bred the first dragon, Glaurung, who would have equally terrified Smaug, basically as a weapon of mass destruction against the elves and men. Glaurung was so powerful and so kill-happy that Melkor actually won (it helped that Glaurung kept spawning a bunch of smaller WMD babies to help consolidate Melkor's brutal rule. But Glaurung was not one to let big picture evilness distract him from being a dick on a more personal level; he cast a spell of "no self-esteem" on the warrior Turin and tricked him into abandoning his girlfriend Finduilas, for no other reason to cruel. Furthermore, he casts a spell on Turin's sister Nienor so they don't recognize each other and get married, like a medieval fantasy adaptation of Oldboy or something. And then, he waits literally years until Turin is about to kill him, all so he can remove the spell and force Turin to realize he's been fucking his sister all this time. Truly, Glaurung was the one asshole to rule them all.
10) Puff the Magic Dragon
So let me get this straight: a directionless, jobless dragon named Puff breaks into the bedroom of a traumatized young boy named Jackie, univited, forces him to sail through pirate infested waters, and then, when he gets to the land of Hannalee and it turns out to be a gloomy shithole, immediately abandons him? And then he has the gall to release a song, making himself out to be the spurned one, where he blames Jackie for growing up and not spending all his time frolicking in the autumn mist? Check these lyrics out:
A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys
One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar
His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane
Without his life-long friend, Puff could not be brave
So Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave, oh!
More like Puff the Emotionally Codependent Dragon. Hey, maybe Jackie didn't grow up as much as he got tired of your bullshit, dick.