The Dragons (drah-gkon and dov-rha to the ancient Nords, or dov in their native language) are a rarely-seen race of large reptilian beasts. They are rumored to be from Akavir (which literally means “Dragon Land”), though there are ancient tales of dragons also coming from Atmora. They are large, scaled creatures, easily several times larger than a human or elf. They have long, slender extremities, with thin bat-like wings and ridges of spikes along their back. Dragons have three sharp talons and one vestigial digit known as a dewclaw on each of their legs, as evidenced by their alphabet.
Read more about them at Lore:Dragons. Dragons were one of the main selling points for Skyrim, and they pulled them off in a big way (no pun intended). However, before their main reveal in Skyrim, dragons did manage some fantastic moments in the series. Who can forget the entirely bizarre tale of King Edward, which heavily featured a dragon who went by the name of Akatosh (not the One most people would be thinking of) and its adventures alongside a group of mortals. Notably, King Edward has yet to be released again after its initial debut in Daggerfall. Besides that, there were little details on dragons this early in the series, though. We knew Akatosh (both of them) were dragons, but few actual details were given. To make the matter even more confusing, a monster that went by the name “Dragonling” could be found across the Iliac Bay, confusing an already not understood subject to a greater degree. I guess if you really looked into it, you’d discover the dragon Skakmat, but he doesn’t count simply because he couldn’t be bothered to actually show up in the game. So to put it simply, dragons in dragons in Daggerfall just did not count.
Following Daggerfall, we wouldn’t see dragons again until the release of Battlespire, where we would meet Nafaalilargus. Nafaalilargus would try to stop Cyrus, unsuccessfully, in the first real dragon fight of the series. Cyrus of course defeats him. Although, since Cyrus was not Dragonborn, he could very well be alive once more. Astute readers will also note that dragon name does not work within our knowledge of their language. The best guess is that he is actually “Nahfahlaar”, just using a different spelling or pseudonym.
Our last encounter with dragons would come with game preceding Skyrim, Oblivion. Well sort of. I mean, if you’re not counting the Time Dragon arriving in person, or at least its avatar, what can you count? The answer to that question? Not Dragonlings.
(image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)