Dragon Divinity

I can think of a few different video games with dragon gods, or at least dragons with celestial powers. I suppose that fits in with the East Asian conception of dragons, where they tend to be heavenly beings rather than disturbing monsters (although it’s certainly possible to be both). I searched for “Dragon God” on Google, and the second result was for the Wikipedia entry on Ryujin, which literally means “dragon god.” He’s an ocean deity who lives in a coral palace at the bottom of the sea.

Japanese dragons are often associated with water, and their mythology is influenced by the Chinese account of four dragons ruling the four seas.

In the legend of Urashima Taro, one of the stories about a mortal visiting a magical place where time flows differently, in this case the palace of Ryujin himself.

He has a relationship with the Dragon God’s daughter Otohime. Ryujin is often regarded as the same as Watatsumi, who was created as ruler of the ocean by Izanagi and Izanami. The hunter Hoori, grandson of Amaterasu, was married to the king’s daughter Toyotama-hime, sometimes said to be the same as Otohime, when he ended up under the sea searching for his brother Hoderi’s lost fishhook.

Their son Ugayafukieazu no Mikoto was the father of Jimmu, the legendary first Emperor of Japan. Hoori and Toyotama’s marriage apparently didn’t last, since he ran off when he saw his wife give birth in her natural dragon form. Ugayafukieazu’s wife was his aunt Tamayori-hime, so we have another ancestry story that involves incest.

The Breath of Fire series has the Dragon God as the center of a religion that decreases in popularity over the centuries. While he’s just called Ryu no Kami, or Dragon God, in Japanese, the English translations call him Ladon after the dragon who guards the apples of the Hesperides in Greek mythology. Talking to his statue allows you to save your game or perform other such functions.

A lot of people worship Ladon in the first game. In the sequel, the statues still exist in most towns, but his worship has largely been abandoned for that of St. Eva, actually a front for an evil demon. By the time of the third game, there are hardly any Ladon statues around, but you can become an apprentice to him to learn new skills.

The Final Fantasy series, particularly the first game, was heavily influenced by Dungeons & Dragons, which is where their dragon god, Bahamut, originates.

As I mentioned before, the name comes from a sea monster that holds up the world in Arabian mythical cosmology; but D&D made him a ruler of dragons, so that’s what he is in FF as well. Tiamat, originally a primordial monstrous deity from Babylonian mythology, is Bahamut’s evil multi-headed sister in D&D, and that’s the form in which she appears in the original FF, where’s she’s the Fiend of the Wind.

The Zenithian Trilogy, made up of Dragon Quest IV, V, and VI, has the Zenith Dragon.

He doesn’t consider himself a god, despite ruling a realm of angels in the clouds, as he’s subject to the Almighty Goddess, but some people do. I have to wonder if this specification is only in Western translations, as strict monotheism is more the norm here. He mostly takes a policy of non-interference at the time of DQ4, but will revive your party if they die, and helps you out in some other ways as well. Remakes of DQ3 have another dragon god, Xenlon, sometimes called Divinegon.

He lives in a place called Zenith, presumably not exactly the same as Zenithia, but along the same lines. You can’t fight him until after beating the main game, but if you can defeat him, he can grant wishes. The games’ character designer, Akira Toriyama, probably modeled Xenlon on Shenron from his other creation, Dragon Ball, but I can’t really say I know anything about that. Both of these names are variations on Shenlong, a dragon storm god in Chinese mythology.

His Japanese name, Shinryu, is used for one of the most powerful dragons in the FF series.

Chrono Cross has a Dragon God, specifically called that, but in this case it’s an artificial being created by the Dragonians, descendants of the Reptites in an alternate world.

When Lavos pulls Chronopolis and its supercomputer FATE from the future into 12,000 BC, Dinopolis and the Dragon God are brought there as well to counter it. The being was destroyed and split into six different entities: the Fire, Water, Earth, Sky, Black, and Green Dragons.

While mostly under the control of FATE, they retain some level of agency. Also created from the Dragon God is the character Harle, considered the seventh dragon despite the fact that she appears in human form.

“Harley Quinn? Who iz zat, mon cheri?”
In her mission to bring the Frozen Flame to the dragons, she teams up with both Lynx and Serge.

One name I came across a few times while researching dragons in these game series was Kaiser Dragon. I’m not entirely sure where it comes from, but that was a kind of car made by the Kaiser Motors Corporation in the early fifties. So maybe using the name in games is a pun on this? The original FF6 had a dummied-out superboss called the Czar Dragon.

The data for the monster remain, including a bit of dialogue, but you can’t actually fight it without hacking the game. The intention was presumably that you could battle him after defeating the other eight legendary dragons in the World of Ruin: the Red, Ice, Gold, Skull, Storm, Holy, Earth, and Blue Dragons. As with the ones in Chrono Cross, some of them get elemental names and others are just named after their colors. Consistency must not be a significant concern for dragon zoologists. In re-releases, starting with the Game Boy Advance version, the enemy does appear, although he’s been somewhat redesigned and is called Kaiser Dragon.

Of course, “Kaiser” and “Czar” are both derived from “Caesar,” so it’s really the same name. After beating the other eight, you get access to the Dragons’ Den, where you have to fight them all again in order to gain access to the Kaiser. If you can beat him, you get the Diabolos Magicite. Long before this, however, there was a boss called the Czar Dragon in Super Mario RPG, where he guarded one of the star pieces in Barrel Volcano. He’s formed when a bunch of fiery Pyrospheres merge, resembles a Blargg, and uses fire-based magic.

And going back to the Breath of Fire games, one of the most powerful dragon forms Ryu can take is…yes, the Kaiser Dragon.

In the English translation of the first game, however, it was instead called Rudra, after a Hindu god, while the Infinity Dragon is similarly called Agni.

This entry was posted in Arabian, Babylonian, Breath of Fire, Cartoons, Chinese, Chrono Trigger, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Games, Greek Mythology, Hinduism, Japanese, Magic, Mario, Monsters, Mythology, Religion, Shinto, Video Games and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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