Monstrous Monday – Wyverns

Welcome to another Monstrous Monday! Thank you for joining me!

Today we’re going to continue our dragon jaunt and take a look at Wyverns, the more commonly known beasties from today’s entertainment and media. In all fairness, there is no historical or legitimate difference that I can see in respect to the terminology of a dragon vs a wyvern. It’s mostly semantics at this point and some will belabor the issue needlessly. I’m simply drawing a distinction between these two different types of dragons (i.e. true and otherwise). I’ll still call all of these critters dragons in casual conversations, but it does, in part, give me another excuse to talk about them. haha

As we discussed last week, wyverns are under the umbrella term of dragon and they differ from true dragons in the fact that they have two legs and two wings only (four limbs versus six limbs in total). Everything else about them is otherwise similar to the ones we discussed last time.

Case in point:

https://lotr.fandom.com/wiki/Smaug

Smaug!!! We all remember this baddy voiced by the fantastic Benedict Cumberbatch. He (the dragon, not the actor) is a prime example of a wyvern. As you can clearly see in the image above, he has all the other draconic characteristics we are familiar with, but he only has two wings that function as his front arms. Like most other wyverns, he also breathes fire and that is a trait that we see commonly among such creatures. True dragons will often appear with different breath abilities, as we talked about in reference to Dungeons and Dragons especially, but you’re far more likely to see a wyvern with fire only.

Fun fact, Smaug was apparently originally designed as a true dragon initially, but this was changed when they looked in the book where he was described more as a wyrm or wyvern type creature.

https://lotr.fandom.com/wiki/Smaug

Another distinction you’ll often see about wyverns is that they are typically smaller than their true dragon cousins. Since they’re smaller, they’re often more agile and faster, but this is mostly conjecture. I don’t have anything to compare their sizes other than a blog post that looks at this distinction.

Wyverns vs Dragons

And it looks like the size differences here are coming from the PC video game Age of Wonders III, which may or may not be indicative of the size difference as a whole.

I mean, comparatively speaking, Smaug was big. Larger than Draco from Dragonheart who is a true dragon. Much larger than Toothless who is also a true dragon. The same could be said of Drogon from Game of Thrones.

https://gameofthrones.fandom.com/pl/wiki/Drogon_(serial)

He got pretty big by the end of it…

Similarly, one of my first introductions to wyverns was actually from Dragonslayer (1981).

Cantankerous beastie, this one. Maiden eater, village destroyer, your prototypical villainous dragon in the days of yore. Of course it’s a bit dated now, but it was quite the watch at the time. Not bad design work either.

Though I must admit to being partial to a more recent (a la twenty years later) movie featuring dragons and a surprisingly buff and hard ass Matthew McConaughey: Reign of Fire (2002).

As you can see, with the exception of Drogon here, wyverns are often used as a villainous creature or character. Of course, this isn’t always true. Yowler here is about as sweet as they come:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109661/

Barring him and Drogon, you’ll generally see wyverns as the bad creatures in any flick, especially those so-bad-they’re-good SYFY B-movie shows that go straight to TV and skip the theater entirely. haha

They make great bosses or monsters to fight in Dungeons and Dragons too…

Okay, so that’s what I have for today. As always, I’m curious as to which one is your favorite or which wyverns you already know? If I didn’t mention them today, please feel free to let me know in the comments below. I’d be happy to investigate more dragon / wyvern material. Woot!

But thank you for stopping by and I hope you have a lovely day!

**Header image pulled from: https://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Wyvern

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