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"Nevertheless, as they climbed higher and higher, London unfurling below them like a grey-and-green map, Harry's overwhelming feeling was of gratitude for an escape that had seemed impossible. Crouching low over the beast's neck, he clung tight to the metallic scales, and the cool breeze was soothing on his burned and blistered skin, the dragon's wings beating the air like the sails of a windmill."
Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger escape on the dragon[src]

Gringott's Dragon[3] (more specifically part of the Ukrainian Ironbelly species) was used to guard several high-security vaults, including the Lestrange Vault, at Gringotts Wizarding Bank. It was encountered by Harry Potter and his friends when they infiltrated the bank in 1998 in order to obtain Hufflepuff's Cup, although it is likely the dragon had been guarding the vaults for a long time prior to this.[1] This dragon was trained to expect pain when it heard a sound in a way which Hermione Granger thought was barbaric.[2]


Early life

It is unknown when exactly this particular dragon was placed to guard the vaults it was assigned, but it is known that during this time it was trained to fear the sound of the Clankers as it expected pain upon hearing it, causing it to retreat and allow those who were using the Clankers to access the vaults. This was most likely achieved using the process of classical conditioning. The dragon was aged and half-blind by the spring of 1998.[1]

In 1991, when Rubeus Hagrid talked to Harry about Gringotts (the first time), he told him rumours about there being dragons guarding Gringotts vaults. Harry, taking interest, tried to coax Hagrid to tell him more about the dragons. Harry also saw a flash of flame, which was possibly produced by this dragon, and leaned out of the cart to investigate, but was hastily pulled back in by Hagrid.[4]

1998 break-in of Gringotts

"If Charlie was here, he'd know how to deal with this."
— Ron on Charlie's skills with dragons[src]

The Ukrainian Ironbelly escaping through the Gringotts marble hallway

As Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione had been planning to break into the Lestrange Vault for a few weeks ahead of time, they fully expected to find the dragon and were able to use the Clankers (with the help of Imperiused goblin Bogrod) to drive it away and get into the vault.[1]

After the goblin Griphook betrayed and abandoned them and they were carried out of the vault in a cascade of treasure, Harry, Ron, and Hermione jumped onto the back of this dragon in desperation to avoid the charging wizards and goblins. Harry removed its chains with the Revulsion Jinx and Hermione used the Gouging Spell to help the dragon carve its way out of the tunnel and toward the surface, at one point breaking part of the mine rail causing a cart to go flying off killing several wizards and goblins in it at the time. The other two pitched in, and the dragon crashed through the Gringotts hall, out into Diagon Alley, and took off.[1]

Later life

Hermione: "What'll happen to it, do you think? Will it be alright?"
Ron: "You sound like Hagrid. It's a dragon, Hermione, it can look after itself. It's us we need to worry about […] I don’t know how to break this to you, but I think they might have noticed we broke into Gringotts."
— Hermione and Ron discussing the dragon after they jumped off the dragon[src]

The trio soared on the back of the dragon for a while, but finally jumped off into a lake as the dragon lowered its flying height nearer to the water's surface to get a drink. Although Hermione expressed concern for leaving the dragon in the wild, Ron was confident that it would be able to fend for itself without difficulty. The dragon was last seen flying into the nearby mountain range.[5] It is unknown what happened to it afterwards.

Physical appearance

The dragon breathing fire as it escaped

"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."
— Description of the dragon in 1998[src]

The dragon was an immense, powerful and savage beast with enormous spiked wings and an ugly head with milkily pink, partially blind eyes. Due to it being underground for so long, the dragon's scales were pale and flaky, and it bore the marks of its brutal treatment from goblins: scars on its face made by vicious slashes across its face from, Harry guessed, hot swords. Nevertheless, its scales were described to bear the consistency of steel. Prior to its escape, both of its rear legs had heavy cuffs on them with chains leading to massive pegs driven far into the rocky floor of the subterranean chamber. The dragon's roar was said to make the rock tremble, and it was known to breathe jets of flame.[1]

As an Ironbelly, it had some difficulty escaping from the bank, and took some time to stay aloft in mid-air after it was freed from its incarceration there.[1]

Behind the scenes

The Gringotts dragon atop Gringotts Wizarding Bank at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The trio flying the Gringotts dragon, as illustrated by Mary GrandPré


Notes and references

Gringotts Wizarding Bank
Founder Gringott
Positions Head Goblin · Head Curse-Breaker · Curse-Breaker · Gringotts Guards ·
Gringott's Dragon · Vaults Guardian
Vaults Vault 1 · Vault 2 · Vault 3 · Vault 619 · Vault 687 · Vault 688 · Vault 711 · Vault 712 · Vault 713 · Vault 998 · Lestrange Vault · Spellbook vault · Weasley Vault
Goblins Blordak · Bogrod · Burgock · Gornuk · Griphook · Nagnok · Odbert · Ragnok · Ricbert · Snaglok · Unnamed Head Goblin · Unnamed Stockbroker Goblin · Unnamed goblin guard · Unnamed spokesgoblin
Unnamed goblins: I · II · III · IV · V · VI · VII · VIII · IX · X · XI · XII
Humans Fleur Delacour · Marius · Patricia Rakepick · Teffington · Tertius · Bill Weasley · Unidentified Gringotts guard
Others Follo · Fractcumulus · Frantielo · Hadkiss · Nimbley · Nimbostratus · Rabat · Sickleworth · Willowborough