Difference Between Dragon and Wyvern: All You Need to Know
Welcome to you!
The Dragon has long been equated with Wyvern, also known as Vouivre. Many people are confused and think it is the same creature, and it is not! We’ll explain the difference to you, and you’ll be surprised …
The major difference between Dragons and Wyvern can be found in their wings and number of legs. The dragon has 4 legs and a pair of wings, or no wings in the case of oriental dragons. While the Wyvern has only 2 hind legs and a pair of wings that act as arms, like a bird.
As for the Dragon, it has been unleashing passions for thousands of years! As proof, illustrations of the mythological creature dating back 5000 years, at the time of the Sumerian civilization have been found. However, the myth of the Dragon was not formed by chance: it comes from ancient tales imbued with Greek and Chinese mythology. The Greek and Roman Gods themselves recognized these creatures as superior. In fact, the conception of the dragon at the time of Greek mythology was radically different. Just look at this picture of a Persian and Andromeda killing the creature that is nothing but a…crocodile.
But it is important to know that many people today confuse dragon and wyvern. Many debates have taken place and some have even argued that the Game of Thrones directors have put not dragons but Wyverns on the screen. So, was it a mistake on their part? You’re going to know everything. ?
1) THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE DRAGON
A) PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF DRAGONS
It should already be pointed out that there is a difference between the eastern dragon and the western dragon.
► The Oriental Dragon
Also called “Long“, it can be distinguished by three main physical characteristics:
?A beard and mustaches
?A very long snake-like body
It should also be added that it has no wings but it can fly. It also has long sharp claws. A historian describes it as “a mixture of several animals, since it is given the horns of a deer, the neck of a snake, demon eyes, the claws of an eagle or the scales found on carp”. One can only nod! It should be known that it was also inspired by several mythological monsters.
One finds besides many statues of the Chinese dragon a little everywhere in the Asian countries, with the same physical characteristics. One finds models with the disproportionate size, like these two statues of the temple “Khao Phra Kru” in Thailand. They represent a Snake Dragon, also called nāga. The symbol of the snake is particularly important in Buddhism and Mayan mythology.
► The Western Dragon
Legendary winged creature, the European dragon is a mixture of different folklores: Germanic, Slavic, Catalan, or Greek. In the end, there are very few differences, which is why we have agreed on a model that is unique to Europe. What are the main physical features of this terrible fire-breathing monster?
?It has very large wings contrary to its Chinese counterpart at the end of which are sharp peaks;
?It generally has four legs;
?A compact and muscular body filled with thick scales.
Scary, huh? Just by its looks alone, the western dragon exudes power and terror. You’ll see him lower down, he’s a lot less friendly than the western dragon. ?
In short, the physical difference between these 2 monsters is in the length of the body, the wings, and the thickness of their skin! Let us pass to their powers and capacities.
B) POWERS AND CAPACITIES
► The Chinese Dragon
Certainly, the Chinese Dragon may seem less scary (and still, it remains to be seen). But you should know that his status goes far beyond the fantastic: he is a true deity respected and revered by all. You can check out our article on the Chinese New Year: Customs and Traditions to learn a little more about his origins ?. There are 3 main powers & abilities:
?They have meteorological control, i.e. they can cause rain and storms. They are therefore respected but also very feared!
?They can fly and generally come down from the sky. We can see that they are considered superior to men.
?They are a great symbol of luck, and are very much used as lucky charms: decorations, statues, jewels…everything goes through them. ?They are also a sign of the Chinese zodiac, that’s to say! You can get a Chinese Dragon Ring if you also believe in it.
In short, this symbol of happiness is seen as a celestial creature, which is able to reward for the best as well as punish for the worst. It is said that the Chinese dragon is the parhedron of its people, meaning that they are bound by a divine relationship. You will see that things are completely different for our dragon. ?
► The European Dragon
In life, there are certain people you shouldn’t look for. In this case, it is a monster. You probably know Smaug of the Hobbit. It is the exact archetype of the European Dragon, and we are going to explain to you why through its powers and characteristics :
?An outstanding flame-eater; unlike the Chinese dragon, the European dragon’s main defense mechanism is its powerful fire.
?A terrible guardian; he is usually entrenched in the caves or dungeons in which he protects a priceless treasure.
?A role of destroyer; he is not very intelligent and generally thinks of only one thing, to destroy everything in his path. This is why the human species wants to confront the dragon to stop it at all costs before the end of the world. ?
In short, European dragons are dangerous and extremely powerful creatures that are best not to challenge. We all have in mind an image of a dragon that humans are desperately trying to kill, but it must be said that it is anything but easy: its movement is hyper fast, it burns everything in its path, and even if it were to be hit with a metal arrow of a hundred kilos launched at 300km/h, it would only graze it or scratch its scale. What are the people asking for? (not to burn under the flames in any case…) ?.
Chinese dragons are creatures full of wisdom who will never try to destroy humans but rather to teach them essential things, even if it means punishing them. After all, sometimes you have to be severe but fair!
Let’s now move on to Vouivre, also called Wivern or “Wyvern” in English. Not very well known by the general public, this flying being is very often confused with the dragon, but you can see after reading us that finally the two types of creatures can be distinguished quite easily. ?
2) THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE WYVERN
The Wyvern is a legendary creature that is very similar to dragons. Many people equate one with the other, but it is important to know that they have many different characteristics, both physically and in terms of abilities and behavior. Threatening and rather frightening, the vouivre has been used a lot as elements of coats of arms such as the coat of arms of Midland for example.
For good reason, the wyvern was very much linked to war and the early years, and some people wanted to assimilate to its values: great strategist, brave, strong and terrifying. This mythical beast is therefore highly respected in appearance. Let’s see its physical characteristics.
A) ITS PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES
Probably the greatest confusion comes from the fact that the wyvern has a dragon’s head and a rather similar body. But there are important physical differences:
?The wyvern has only two legs, while the dragon has four. It is therefore a bipedal creature. The legs of the wyvern are also more curved and are similar to those of a bird: long and slender ;
?The tail of the wyvern has a kind of “spiked beard” at its tip. You will see in more detail what these spikes can be used for…you will be surprised ;
?The wyvern is seen to be less massive, smaller, but also much sharper and faster than the dragon, which makes it an equally dangerous creature. It usually measures between 2 and 5 meters, while the dragon can reach 15 meters. ?
So you can already see a physical shift with the dragon. We tend to associate the wyverne with the Drake (of the same name as the rapper) which is however considered as an umpteenth sub-species of the dragon, as a kind of “dragonlet”.
B) ITS POWERS AND CAPACITIES
This is where the greatest differences between the two creatures are found. Certainly, wyverns have characteristics similar to those of the dragon. But they can also be removed and added to, which makes them a real danger all the same.
Let’s compare to start with their powers:
?Wyverns do not spit fire. Yes, the sentence has fallen, it’s hard to accept, but that’s the way it is. They are not able to burn whole villages with a single jet of flame, and anyway their bodies are too small for that. There are exceptions, however, since in some rare cases they could spit small balls of fire at their enemies, to the point of being called “drakes of fire” in medieval bestiaries. A point for debate!
?They have a poisoned tail. If you were wondering what the beard full of spikes at the end is for, you have your answer. They are capable of administering a deadly poison in half a second, whether to humans or any other opponent. Ouch! That’s a power the dragon doesn’t have at all.
?Toxic and pestilential breath. Well, yes, if you don’t have a mouth full of molten flames that can burn you to carbon in an instant, you can get so badly intoxicated or melt under the effect of acidity at worst, get diseases like the Black Death at best (although that remains to be seen).
Moreover, it is important to know that if Wyvern is so hated in European culture, it is because it has long been held responsible for the Black Death that killed 30 to 50% of the European population. Faced with the black death that caused a real hecatomb, many have tried to find a responsible person: divine punishment, a virus voluntarily injected into the population, or the attribution of the virus to a mythical creature like wyvern. This dark episode marks the beginning of a real hatred against her, describing her as a vicious and deceitful being.
In terms of their combat skills and abilities, Wyverns are described as very aggressive, often moving in hordes. It is also admitted that they systematically collect treasures, more precisely what is shiny, and take it with them to hide it in a den.
It can be said that they are less intelligent than their cousins for one reason: they will dive headlong into battle even if their opponent is much more powerful than them, which also implies that they will easily get killed. Instead, the dragon will step back and think about a strategy, or even retreat if it doesn’t fit the bill.
C) HIS HABITAT
Another interesting point: the difference between the dragon and the vouivre is in the habitat. You will never find wyverns in landmarks, caves, or caverns to protect a treasure like dragons. Their bodies being smaller, they live in swamps, lakes, or even in the woods. Much too big, the dragon couldn’t do that! You will find it around castles, in caves or sanctuaries, a dragon guarding the treasure.
To go further, it is true that other types of wyverns can be found, especially in games like Monster Hunter or Ragnarock. We can thus meet aquatic monsters, ice monsters, or other joyful. ?
3) PRACTICAL CASE: DRAGON OR WYVERN?
Let’s now look at examples of so-called famous dragons and analyze whether the creatures in question are really dragons or rather wyverns.
GAME OF THRONES: DRAGONS OR WYVERNS?
There was a big debate about the nature of the Daenerys’ children in the Game of Thrones series. Watch closely:
Already, we can notice a rather disturbing thing: Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal are bipedal creatures. If you followed correctly, dragons always have four legs. Second thing: they are physically more similar to the wyvern.
Now, let’s take the elements that go in favor of the fact that they are dragons: first of all, they spit fire, and they do so from a very young age. Second, and not least, they look far too smart to be wyverns. The latter is known to be a simple fighting creature that rushes headlong into battle. On the other hand, daenerys dragons understand it and communicate with it. Finally, if we analyze them a few years later, they easily exceed 15 meters. Verdict: they are indeed dragons to which some features of the wyvern have been lent!
4) BE PROUD TO RECOGNIZE ANY OF THESE FANTASTIC CREATURES!
This article about the Difference Between Dragon and Wyvern is now ended. Hopefully you’ll easily be able to tell the difference now when you see one of these creatures in your favorite movies, series or video games! You can also check out our Dragon Bracelet collection: silver, pearls, natural stones…you’ll love your new style. Be proud to display your preferences for all to see!
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