Dragons in various shapes and forms have been part of the mythology in both Europe and Asia for thousands of years. Stories about them have always fascinated humans and it’s not surprising that they are also part of the Harry Potter universe. Let’s have a look where they appear and how they have been represented in LEGO.
This post has been made for the new Magical Creatures page I’ve made on this site. In the coming months I’ll start populating it with more entries.
A dragon as pet
We already get references to dragons in the first Harry Potter book. Harry, Ron and Hermoine visit Hagrid in his hut to hear more about what’s guarding the Philosopher’s stone/Sorcerer’s stone. Hagrid keeps the hut very warm and shows the students a dragon egg that he won from a mysterious person in a poker game the previous night – at this point not knowing this was Professor Quirrell.
Later, Harry gets a note from Hagrid that the egg is about to hatch. Harry, Ron and Hermoine hurry to his hut and enter just in time to see the baby dragon hatching from its egg. The baby dragon sneezes some sparks and tries to bite Hagrid, who still thinks it’s adorable.
“Bless him, look, he knows his mummy!”
-Rubeus Hagrid, after the newborn dragon tried to bite him
Hagrid explains it’s a Norwegian Ridgeback and later names it Norbert.
In LEGO, Norbert has seen an appearance in several sets. Firstly in the first version of Hagrids hut (set 4707) from 2001, which had a baby dragon. It was the first appearance of that element (ID 41535) ever and the only time it has appeared in sand green.
The third version of Hagrids hut (set 4738) from 2010 also had the dragon, this time in dark green (the second version of Hagrid’s hit focused on The Prisoner of Azkaban movie and had no references to Norbert).
The latest version of Hagrids hut (set 75947) from 2019 has the dragon egg sitting cosily in the fire place, though the set otherwise as the second version focused on The Prisoner of Azkaban and in particular the story around the rescue of Buckbeak.
But there is more when it comes to Norbert.
It turned out Draco Malfoy was watching the hatching of the dragon through the window of the hut, but it’s speed by the trio. Realising he may try to use the knowledge to harm Hagrid (and as Hermoine acknowledge having a fire breathing creature in a wooden hut is a bad idea), they convince him to part with the dragon.
But how? Harry remembers he was told when meeting Ron the first time at Flourish and Botts that Ron’s brother Charlie Weasley was in Romania studying dragons. So they send Charlie a letter, asking for help. Charlie, who had always got on well with Hagrid because of their shared love of dragons, agreed to help and arranged for some of his friends to pick up Norbert and deliver him to the dragon sanctuary in Romania where he worked.
Years later, in The Deathly Hallows, at Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour’s wedding, Hagrid is told by Charlie that Norbert was actually a female dragon, now with the name Norberta. Female dragons, according to Charlie Weasley, are more violent and ferocious.
After Norbert, the next time we hear about dragons is in The Goblet of Fire. Here the four contestants in the Tri-wizard tournament each has to steal a golden egg from a dragon’s nest. Each contestant faced a different dragon as per the list below:
- Chinese Fireball dragon – faced by Viktor Krum
- Swedish Short-Snout dragon – faced by Cedric Diggory
- Common Wales Green dragon – faced by Fleur Delacour
- Hungarian Horntail – faced by Harry Potter
In my review of the 2019 Hungarian Horntail – Triwizard Challenge set, I compared the two. They are very different in design – the new mostly brick-built and the older made of very few large moulded parts. The new is easier to pose with more points of articulation while the older, being moulded in fewer parts, has a cleaner look – but maybe a bit too cartoonish.
Guarding the treasures
Returning to the first book, in 1991, when Hagrid talked to Harry about Gringotts Wizarding Bank (the first time they visited the bank), he told him the rumours that dragons were guarding some of their vaults.
Harry, very interested in the magical world he had newly been exposed to, tried to get Hagrid to tell him more about the dragons. As they travel through the underground tunnels on the goblin steered cart to get to Harry’s vault, Harry also sees a flash of flame and leans out of the cart for a better look, but is hastily pulled back in by Hagrid.
Fast forward to 1998 where the Gringott’s Dragon was encountered by Harry, Ron and Hermoine when they infiltrated the bank in 1998, in order to obtain a horcrux in the Lestrange Vault. It was one of the high-security vaults at Gringotts and the dragon had been guarding these vaults for a long time.
Although never formally identified in the book, this dragon’s species was stated to be a Ukrainian Ironbelly in the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
“A gigantic dragon was tethered to the ground in front of them, barring access to four or five of the deepest vaults in the place. The beast’s scales had turned pale and flaky during its long incarceration under the ground; its eyes were milkily pink; both rear legs bore heavy cuffs from which chains led to enormous pegs driven deep into the rocky floor. Its great spiked wings, folded close to its body, would have filled the chamber if it spread them, and when it turned its ugly head toward them, it roared with a noise that made the rock tremble, opened its mouth, and spat a jet of fire that sent them running back up the passageway.”
The trio managed to escape with the horcrux by fleeing on the half-blind Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon, leaving parts of the bank in ruins as it breaks through the roof of the building.
The Ukrainian Ironbelly has not been released as LEGO figure, but there are some good MOCs created by the creative members of the LEGO community.
One such – in minifigure format – is by “Umm, Who?” (yes, that’s the Flickr profile name) is shown below and captures the moment the dragon breaks through the roof of the bank:
The same scene, but in micro-scale, was build by “City Son” for Brother Bricks’ Harry Potter micro-scale building competition in 2018:
I hope you have enjoyed this post about the dragons in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I think I have to come up with my own model of the Ukrainian Ironbelly now. Or maybe I should wait to see if it would be among the Harry Potter models released next year.
Till then – Build the Magic!