This was the first movie to use go-motion, a variant of stop-motion animation, in which parts of the model (in this case, the dragon) were mechanized and the movement programmed by computer. During shooting, the computer moves the model while the camera is shooting, resulting in motion blur, which makes the animation more convincing.
George R.R. Martin, author of the "A Song Of Ice And Fire" novels, upon which Game of Thrones (2011) is based, has said that Vermithrax Pejorative is "the best dragon ever shown on film." One of the deceased dragons mentioned in the 1st season of the series, by Viserys Targaryen, was named "Vermithrax".
The story has many familiar dragon motifs found throughout Western culture, in particular, "St. George and the Dragon", in which maiden sacrifices were made to appease a harassing dragon. St. George's tale also includes a sacrificial lottery resulting in the surprise condemnation of a Princess. St. George is also frequently depicted with a magic (blessed) lance or a sword.