Dragon AU

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Trope · Genre
Related: AU, Magic AU, Were-Animal
See Also: fantasy
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Dragon AU is a term that can apply to any number of disparate types of fantasy AU common in fanfic. At its most basic, a "dragon AU" is any AU fic where dragons exist, either secretly or as a common part of the environment, and are important to the plot. The details of these fics can vary from a wholesale fusion or crossover with a pre-existing universe that has dragons, such as Pern, to the characters secretly being dragons themselves or merely having dragons as pets.

Trope Conventions

Dragon AUs can broadly be sorted into two categories: stories where dragons are simply a prominent part of the worldbuilding and stories where characters are (usually secretly) a dragon. There is no real distinction between these two types of fic on AO3, although sometimes fic where a character is a dragon will be tagged with "Dragon [Character Name]," and the distinction becomes even less clear on sites like Wattpad where the tagging system is less robust or even FanFiction.Net where only limited information can be tagged.

Fic where dragons are simply a prominent part of the worldbuilding are most often a fusion or crossover with a preexisting world where dragons feature prominently. In addition to Pern, common fandoms for this type of AU include Temeraire and How to Train Your Dragon. A Harry Potter AU can also often prominently feature a dragon, and canon Harry Potter fic often features canon divergence involving the dragons from the First Task in the Triwizard Tournament.[citation needed]

The second type of dragon AU, where a character is a dragon, encompasses several sub-tropes. This type of fic usually invokes Were-Animal or Animal Transformation, sometimes by way of magic, but it can also involve a character simply being a dragon.

Popularity and Spread

On AO3 this trope is seen most often in Marvel Cinematic Universe and Torchwood stories.[1] The popularity of this trope in Marvel Cinematic Universe fic can likely be attributed to the importance of dragons in Marvel Comics. From actual dragon characters, such as X-Men's Lockheed and reoccurring characters such as Fin Fang Foom, to characters like Danny Rand and Moondragon that feature dragons prominently in their backstories, Marvel fandom has a number of ways to incorporate dragons into a story. Similarly, Doctor Who has a long history of incorporating dragons into their canon so that Torchwood, who fought a dragon in the audio drama torchwood_cascade_CDRIP.tor, would also frequently incorporate dragons into their fic.

There are also several cases of "Dragon [Character Name]" being canonized on AO3. Possibly as a result of Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch also appearing in The Hobbit films, with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the dragon Smaug, "Dragon Sherlock Holmes" is a canonized tag on AO3 with almost 300 works.[2] Owing to the popularity of the fantasy setting in the third ED, where Kirishima appeared as a dragon, the Boku no Hero Academia fandom has "Dragon Kirishima Eijirou" with over 400 works.[3] The popularity has spread to other characters too, leading to the less popular tags "Dragon Bakugou Katsuki"[4] and "Dragon Midoriya Izuku."[5]


Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Resources and Links


  1. ^ "Alternate Universe - Dragons" tag. Accessed 9 Oct 2019, when the top three fandoms appearing in the tag were Torchwood and MCU/The Avengers.
  2. ^ "Dragon Sherlock Holmes" tag on AO3. Accessed 9 Oct 2019, when the number of works in the tag was 272.
  3. ^ "Dragon Kirishima Eijirou" tag on AO3. Accessed 9 Oct 2019, when the number of works in the tag was 420. (Blaze it.)
  4. ^ "Dragon Bakugou Katsuki" tag on AO3. Accessed 9 Oct 2019.
  5. ^ "Dragon Midoriya Izuku" tag on AO3. Accessed 9 Oct 2019.