Realm: Passamaquoddy, Maine (Early 1900’s)
Featured in: Pete’s Dragon (1977)
Voiced By: Charlie Callas
My all-time favorite of the Disney Dragons and one of my favorite animated dragons, Elliott was one of the first draconic specimens I had seen as a child. He is a dragon unlike any other for a large number of reasons, first and foremost being that he might not be an entirely natural dragon. Elliott’s appearance is definitely that of a dragon but of a child’s own imagining of the great mythical beast. His wings are so small that Elliott has to literally smack his tail against the ground to get proper propulsion for flight. That and I can’t imagine any dragon worth their scales in gold could possess cotton candy pink hair.
There is also Elliott’s ability to speak a language that sounds outright nonsensical at best and plain gibberish at worst to any adult but is easily understood by the child he is currently protecting and trying to find a home for. Aside from the traditional dragon’s breath of flame, Elliott can turn himself invisible to a point where one wouldn’t even be aware of his presence until he either spoke or started moving stuff around, which leads me to my next point.
Elliott is incredibly intelligent but is also childishly naïve, repeating the same tricks as his boy Pete had done on their way into town without realizing the sheer amount of damage he was causing. Of course, no one could see Elliott doing any of these things and laid the blame entirely on Pete, which certainly didn’t help matters for the boy but did make me question how anyone would think footprints in cement that are clearly reptilian in make could belong to a young boy.
Being a dragon, Elliott is fiercely protective of what he considers to be his and that includes anyone under his protection –that being any child who is being physically or emotionally abused— and he will not tolerate even the slightest hint of either no matter what the child may say. He literally tore down the wall of a schoolhouse when the teacher began to smack Pete’s wrist with a ruler and flew into a full red-eyed rage when he was told that Pete was kidnapped by the Gogans who done plenty to harm the boy whom they considered a slave purchased and paid for.
What makes Elliott rather interesting, and somewhat hilarious, for a dragon is his intolerance of alcohol. While legends say that dragons can drink whole tankards of the stuff without batting an eye, poor Elliott could hardly stomach a single flask without literally belching forth jets of flame that left him gasping out clouds of smoke for hours afterward.
While not strictly in the modern world, the time period of the film being somewhere around the early 1900’s, I still found it interesting that people would readily believe in Elliott’s existence. Well, not readily as the first proclamation of the dragon was by way of the town’s infamous drunk but the point remains that when the con artist Doc Terminus caught wind of Elliott’s presence in the town, he managed to convince a large number of fishermen to aid him in capturing Elliott.
Of course, he manages this by playing on their superstition that it’s Elliott, and Pete, who have driven the fish away but considering he was nearly lynched upon entering the town, that’s quite a feat in and of itself. What makes Doc Terminus a truly deplorable villain though is rather than seeking Elliott’s capture as means of making money having an actually dragon alive and in captivity, he wants to dice Elliott up and use his body parts for various medicinal cures he picked up in a book that I’m sure was written more as a fantasy guide than an actual medical tome.
Still, Elliott manages to overcome the odds and becomes something of a hero to the town who sing him merry praises and even offer him a hero’s celebration that he attends whilst invisible, apparently being quite shy amongst large crowds. In point of fact, Elliott is so shy that he all but freaked out when Nora, the lighthouse keeper, proclaimed she would give him a big kiss for his aid in relighting the lighthouse’s flame. When she managed to deliver one right on the nose, Elliott promptly turned invisible and didn’t become visible again until it was time to bid his farewells to Pete and continue on his quest in aiding the children of the world.
Truly, if ever there’s one thing that can be described about Elliott that makes him distinct amongst dragons as a species, it’s that he’s the only one who would shy away from a kiss delivered by a fair maiden.