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The Dragon is the big bad guy in this story. He's the one trying to bring all our good Christian heroes down. He's also really freaky-looking. Let's just get a quick mental picture, shall we?
• He's huge and red (12:3).
• He's got ten horns and seven heads (with crowns on each one) (12:3).
• His tail also knocks down a bunch of stars on his way to devour a baby (12:4). How rude.
This guy is our antagonist. He is the supreme manifestation of evil that drops down to Earth to wreak havoc on God's faithful followers. And unlike the angels who destroy Earth, the Dragon hasn't been sent by God to unleash destruction. He's acting on his own power. And, get this, he actually thinks he can take God. Oh, silly Dragon.
So who is the Dragon, really? Well, that's easy. Revelation comes right out and tells us that he's actually "that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world" (12:9). Whoa, this is big time.
Apparently, Satan is a pretty busy guy, too, so he enlists two beasts to do his bidding later in the story (13:2, 11). But they aren't much match for God either and, before the story is over, all three of them are burning in the lake of fire (20:10).
The Dragon actually has an interesting fate. Though he's defeated by one of God's angels, he only gets chained up and thrown in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years (20:2). At the end of that time, God lets him out again to wreak havoc on the Earth once more. Um, is that the best plan, Lord?
Of course, the Dragon is defeated super easily the second time, but this also begs the question: Why? Was God just toying with him? Rubbing it in? Trying to show the Dragon who was the boss? Or does God simply have some unfinished destroying that he thinks the Dragon can take care of in about 1,000 years or so?
For that matter, we never really get an explanation of why the Dragon does what he does. Sure, he's the manifestation of supreme evil, but what is he hoping to gain? He's tried to enslave the people of the world (he's been doing a pretty good job so far getting them to turn their backs on Jesus) and destroy the One True God. All in a day's work, right? But, what happens then?
Evil red Dragons, like the one in Revelation, show up in other places, too. In the book Red Dragon, the serial killer takes his name from the Dragon himself. In The Inheritance Cycle, Thorn is a red Dragon who is enslaved by Galbatorix and forced to hunt Eragon. He's not red, but Draco Malfoy's name means "Dragon," which is why he might not be such a very nice guy. Not all red Dragons are bad though. In Chinese culture, red Dragons are symbols of goodness and power.