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|"Besides, you're saying it wrong. It's Leviosa, not Leviosar."
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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 (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 a horcrux) although it is likely the dragon had been guarding the vaults for a long time prior to this. This dragon was trained to expect pain when he hears a sound in a way which Hermione thought was barbaric.
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 with 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.
1998 Break-in of Gringotts
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.
After the goblin Griphook 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. Hermione severed the dragon's chains and used a Gouging Spell to help the dragon carve its way out of the tunnel and toward the surface, at one point it broke 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.
- 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 jump 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 it would be able to defend for itself without difficulty. It is unknown what happened to the dragon afterwards.
- "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 enromous 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 creature with enormous spiked wings and an ugly head with partially blind eyes a milkily pink colour. Due to 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.
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.
Behind the scenes
- This dragon's species was not identified in the novel. It was stated to be a Ukrainian Ironbelly in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, although the dragon's appearance shows great similarities to the New Zealand-native Antipodean Opaleye.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game) they use a Common Welsh Green to guard said vault instead of a Ukrainian Ironbelly.
- As the Hungarian Horntail seen in the franchise, the method of this dragon to breath fire is seemingly based on the way introduced in the SF movie "Reign of Fire" (2002).
- 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 sees a flash of flame and leans out of the cart to investigate, but is hastily pulled back in by Hagrid.
- Hermione commented in Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows: Part 2 that the treatment of the dragon is "barbaric".
- As of the Hungarian Horntail in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Ukrainian Ironbelly's fire-breathing manner seen in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by shooting a pair of chemical liquids that cause a fire blast on contact is possibly based on the same fire-breathing manner used by dragons in the movie "Reign of Fire(2002)".
- When Matthew Lewis was asked in a webcast for the Harry Potter theme park how he would name the dragon, his answer was "Neville", after his character.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) (Mentioned in Daily Prophet)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (First identified as a Ukrainian Ironbelly)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
Notes and references