If you are a fan of epic fantasy games, literature, or some other form of entertainment, you should come across terms wyverns, dragons, and drakes.
They are magical creatures from a fantasy genre that can possess great power.
Knowing the differences between these three magical creatures can be a tough question even for those that into magic and fantasy lore, so we made a short but informative article for everyone.
What is the deal with these mythological creatures? How can we define them, and what sets them apart? We can start from the most common – the dragon.
What is Dragon?
It is a well-known creature from myths around the world. The word dragon is derived from the Greek language, and it describes a great sea or land serpent.
It possesses magical properties, loves to amass gold and guard it.
Often it is bestowed with a high level of wisdom and intelligence. They commonly make their homes on the cliffs or in deep caves. In most tales, dragons hunt humans, especially young maidens, and eat them.
Regarding their physical attributes, dragons are always shown as gigantic creatures with four legs and wings. Among their great physical strength, dragons can breathe fire, and sometimes their tail is barbed and poisonous.
Dragons are generally perceived as evil creatures that will confront humans on every occasion.
What is Drake?
Drakes are mythological creatures with 4 legs and no wings and are often confused with reptiles.
They are covered in armored scales, have a large tail, and sometimes have a horn in their forehead just like a unicorn. Their back legs are usually shorter than the front ones, giving drakes the look as if they were ready to jump.
They are smaller and less dangerous than their dragon cousins, but they were mentioned before them. In mythology, first dragons didn’t have wings, but the rest of the attributes were almost the same as dragons.
So we can say that dragons evolved from drakes.
What is Wyvern?
Wyverns are creatures with two legs and with wings. They have a powerful barbed tail that can be poisonous and is sometimes shown with eagle claws on the tips of their wings.
In mythology, wyverns are associated with war and disease. It is often used in heraldry as a symbol of strength, and to put fear into enemy soldiers.
Dragon vs Drake vs Wyvern: Comparison Chart
|Features 4 legs and wings||Has 4 legs and no wings||Has 2 legs and wings|
|High level of intelligence||Smart but not as a dragon||Intelligence like a drake|
|Considered evil. Humans are their prime enemies.||Evil like dragons. Always found around battlefields spreading disease.||Sometimes described as gentle creatures that bring enlightenment.|
Now when we defined all these creatures, we can dive deeper, and learn some interesting facts about them, and what sets them apart from each other. Stay with us!
Dragon vs Drake
When drakes are compared to dragons, the main difference is in their lack of wings. They still have four legs and are quite large. In some myths, drakes are considered to be just a subtype of a dragon.
It may resemble a lizard by its scaly skin, but it is far larger than any known lizard. When discussing the intelligence of a drake, it can`t be compared with dragons, because dragons are the most intelligent fantasy creature out there. However, the drakes are still smart when compared to other fantasy creatures.
Dragon vs Wyvern
Wyverns in comparison to dragons and drakes have only two legs, but still have wings.
Their poisonous, barbed tail is known to be dangerous just as a dragon’s tail. Wyverns are more cunning than most of the creatures, but still lack the intelligence and wisdom of a dragon.
In early mythology, wyverns were perceived as dragons, just as drakes. In the modern myths and stories, there is an exact distinction between them. Unlike dragons, wyverns in some epics are described as gentle creatures that can even bring enlightenment to those who come in contact with them.
Dragons in Tolkien Works
When writing his Middle Earth tales, Tolkien named only 4 dragons:
Ancalagon the Black
This dragon was bred by Morgoth, and it became one of his most powerful servants. During the War of Wrath, Ancalagon led the group of winged dragons into the battle against Dark Lord`s enemies.
Eärendil with the help of his allies and eagles defeated the dragon and his army. Ancalagon`s power was so immense, that Gandalf once told Frodo, that even Ancalagon could destroy the ring.
Gandalf used this dragon’s power to describe something so powerful, that in a way that is a testament to his power.
This was a long worm dragon that lived in the Gray Mountains. And there is very little information about this dragon.
It is known that it wreaked havoc around Grey Mountains and that it was slain by a Fram, a leader of a human clan named Éothéod.
This was the firstborn dragon in the Tolkien world.
He was wingless, however, he had great mental power. He turned some of his enemies mad, like Turin Turambar and his sister Nienor. They married each other without knowing they are related.
This dragon was the last-named in the Middle Earth tales. He had all the characteristics of a dragon – he stole gold, and guard it; Smaug was somewhat lazy but also dangerous with his fire-breathing power.
Smaug lived in the misty mountains which he took over by force from the dwarves Smaug`s only weakness was a soft spot on his chest. Bilbo Baggins noticed it and informed Dale of the bowmen, so he could take him out.
What is the name of a dragon without wings?
Dragon needs to have wings to be called a dragon. In the early myths, there were dragons without wings, but now they are called drakes.
Are wyverns considered dragons?
In the early myths, there was no distinction between dragons, wyverns, drakes, and other scaly beasts, they were all considered dragons.
During the 16th century in England, Scotland, and Ireland wyverns were separated from dragons because they had only two legs compared to dragon’s four legs.
This article explains the main difference between similar fantasy creatures. And we hope we brought some light to this question.
These creatures can bring our imagination into other worlds and dimensions. And we wanted to bring you something interesting and creative to think about.
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