Igneel is a male fire dragon and the adoptive father of Dragon Slayer Natsu Dragneel, a wizard of the guild Fairy Tail. He is the king of the Fire Dragons and a friend of fellow fire dragon Atlas Flame. He was also the biological father of Ignia, the Fire God Dragon.
Igneel is a good-hearted and noble dragon. Originally, he was indifferent to the plights and worries of humanity and ignored them, but his adoption of the young boy Natsu Dragneel, brother to the black wizard Zeref Dragneel, changed his mind forever. As a result of adopting Natsu, Igneel learned to love and compassionately protect humanity. Indeed, his love for humans was greater than that of all other dragons. He could be arrogant and brash at times, often referring to himself as "the one and only Igneel", and he was proud and confidant. He was also very wise and was often very stern when need be. His teaching skills were also very impressive, as he was able to tutor Natsu in the fundamentals of Dragon Slayer Magic, reading, writing and cooking. His abilities to teach however were cut short by his need to hide himself inside Natsu in order to survive. He also was the one responsible for teaching Natsu that it was sometimes okay to go "a little overboard" when using their powers (a fact that often gets Natsu into trouble). But nevertheless, his love for his son was his greatest feature. He was immensely proud of Natsu and watched him grow from a little boy into a strong and powerful wizard even while hidden away inside Natsu's soul. Even as he died, Igneel's last words were to encourage his son to become stronger and live his life to the fullest; words only a loving father could speak.
Igneel's relationship with his biological son was negligible, on the other hand. However, this was due to the fact that as was typical of Dragons, males left their children to be raised by their mothers alone.
Appearance and Abilities
Igneel was a gigantic fire dragon whose body was predominantly covered with dark, red scales. The scales on Igneel's stomach, the inner portions of his long tail, and legs, are beige in color. Igneel also has noticeable scars on his stomach, snout and neck, with the largest one, which is X-shaped, located around the center of his body. His back has rows of black spikes reaching down from the back to the end of his tail. Igneel's head is that of a typical western dragon; triangular in shape with horns, a pair of large, round eyes with yellow sclera (which are usually seen as glowing, obscuring his dark, round pupils) and a sharp horn pointing upwards just above his nose. Igneel also sports very sharp teeth, and has red, razor-sharp claws. Igneel also possesses a typical western dragon body plan; four legs and two wings resembling those of a bat.
His strength was immense and he was likely one of the strongest dragons to ever exist. He possessed and taught Natsu most of the magical abilities he possessed (i.e.; Fire Dragon Roar, Iron Fist, Wing Attack, etc). He also was strong enough that none of the other dragons such as Metalicana, Skiadrum, Weisslogia or Grandeeney could match him. Such was his strength that he was able to fight on even terms with Acnologia and eventually rip the black dragon's arm off before Acnologia overwhelmed and killed him. Had Acnologia not stolen Igneel's soul and left him weakened, it is very likely that the Fire Dragon King would have killed Acnologia in their battle over the ruins of Tartaros' fortress.
400 years before the events of Fairy Tail, Igneel met the black wizard Zeref Dragneel while the latter was out gathering herbs for his research, and the two eventually became friends. At some point prior or around this time, Igneel also had a son, Ignia, who became the Fire God Dragon. Additionally, Igneel, like many other Dragons, had his soul stolen from him by the dragon king Acnologia's Dragon Slayer Magic, which left him weakened and half-dead. Some time after this, in an effort to help his friend Zeref, Igneel decided to teach the latter's younger brother, Natsu Dragneel, his signature Lost Dragon Slayer Magic: Fire Dragon Slayer Magic. Igneel trained Natsu and when the time came, he, along with four other Dragons, sealed his soul inside his Slayer foster child's body with the Dragon Soul Technique for several reasons: one was to prevent Natsu from turning into a Dragon like Acnologia by creating antibodies to prevent the Dragonification process Acnologia had succumbed to; and the other was to allow Igneel's wounded soul time to heal by absorbing magical Ethernano particles so that he could reemerge and defeat Acnologia once and for all, like the other Dragons (Grandeeney, Metalicana, Skiadrum and Weisslogia) planned to do. However, Ethernano concentrations were extremely low 400 years ago, so Igneel hatched a plan with Zeref and the Celestial Spirit Mage Anna Heartfilia to use the Eclipse Gate and send the Dragon Slayers housing their foster parents' souls forward to July 7 in the year X777, where Ethernano concentrations were exceedingly great. This gave the Dragon Slayer children the illusion that their foster parents abandoned them on said date, having no idea that they were inside them all along, barring Sting and Rogue, who had their memories modified in an experiment by Weisslogia and Skiadrum to appear as though they killed them, despite Igneel's initial protests at doing so. Natsu would search for Igneel for years after, chasing down any rumors of where he might be, not knowing the fire dragon was inside him all along.
After the events that transpired at the Tower of Heaven in which Natsu had defeated the wizard Jellal Fernandez, Igneel is seen residing in a volcanic region (in reality a hidden realm inside Natsu's soul), talking to the Dragon who raised Wendy Marvell, Grandeeney, about Natsu. Igneel immediately orders Grandeeney to leave, while she warns him that if Natsu continues fighting as recklessly as he has, he may wind up dead. Igneel then makes a reference to the Black Wizard, Zeref, and the Dragons' removal from human affairs. He then shows that he is in fact very firm about leaving humans alone, especially Natsu. Hearing these words, Grandeeney leaves Igneel, hoping that Natsu's friendship with Wendy will be better than his "friendship" with Metalicana's foster son, Gajeel Redfox.
During Natsu's fight against the dark wizard Zero of the dark guild known as the Oracion Seis, Natsu is sent to the Land of Nil through Zero's Magic Genesis Zero, and opening the Gate of Wraithwail. Through there, Natsu is about to lose hope, cursing everything he had done. Suddenly, he hears Igneel's voice, saying that Natsu should not be defeated by the likes of Zero. Igneel also mentions that this is what a child of Igneel is and a flashback focuses on Natsu questioning Igneel on how he's supposed to destroy a mountainous rock. Igneel explains to him that he must not let his feelings get the better of him, saying he must not lose faith in his power. He encourages Natsu, saying he's a Dragon Slayer, and that he must not forget the pride that comes with that title. Igneel finishes by stating that he is with Natsu, and, with this, Natsu manages to burn off Zero's Magic and come back from the Land of Nil, allowing Natsu to defeat Zero and thwart his plans once and for all.
Igneel later is seen talking to himself about the potential of the Dragon Slayers Weisslogia and Skiadrum created during the events of the Grand Magic Games. He then wonders if humans will ever surpass Dragons in power, or if it is merely a hopeless dream. Igneel then notes that the time for the Dragons to take action has come, as the Dragon King Festival (the anniversary of Acnologia's rise to power) draws ever nearer.
While Acnologia springs into action during the attack by the demons of Tartaros guild in their plot to destroy magic, and the black dragon arrives at Tartaros Guild's location, Igneel wonders if "the time has come". Talking to Natsu, whose body reacts to Acnologia, Igneel expresses his belief that Natsu is capable of E.N.D.'s defeat. While Natsu is confused, not knowing why he can hear the Fire Dragon, Igneel emerges from his son's body and states that he has to rid the world of Acnologia. Revealing that he has been in Natsu's body this whole time, Igneel asks for forgiveness and tells his son to live as he charges the Black Dragon.
Igneel collides with Acnologia in midair and the two begin to fight over the Tartaros Guild base ruins, but are interrupted when Natsu launches himself at Igneel, demanding that the dragon explain why he disappeared so many years ago. Angered, Igneel tells Natsu to stay away, and uses a large attack on Acnologia to blast the other Dragon back, almost shaking Natsu off in the process. Grabbing the Dragon Slayer in his claws, Igneel tells Natsu to leave as Acnologia regains his composure after the attack, and, recalling that Natsu works in a guild, asks the Mage to complete a job for him. Igneel then points out Mard Geer in the ruins below, and tells Natsu to go retrieve the book of E.N.D. that he holds. Natsu questions why such a thing is important, though Igneel merely remarks that the book should not be in Mard's hands, and warns Natsu to never open it; he also agrees that the reward for Natsu's completion of the job request will be an explanation of anything and everything Natsu wishes to know. With Natsu agreeing to take on the job, Igneel tosses the Dragon Slayer down to Mard, before he turns to continue his fight against Acnologia. As the battle rages on, Igneel is seen striking Acnologia with his claws set aflame, while at the same time, his son hits his opponent with a similar technique, Fire Dragon's Iron Fist, but Igneel fails to injure the Black Dragon.
Soon after, upon witnessing Natsu be overwhelmed by Mard Geer, Igneel calls out to his son, but is nearly struck by Acnologia's Dragon's Roar, which he aptly dodges. Hearing Acnologia claim that he is going to slay Igneel, the latter remarks upon the former's act of speaking with sarcastic wit and they continue clashing midair. Igneel then continues ascending and Acnologia follows him, claiming that he will not escape. As they reach high enough, Igneel states that he is not trying to escape, choosing this height so they can fight to their fullest. However, Acnologia replies that he will destroy his opponent. Roughly twenty minutes later, as Face activates, Igneel sends a badly wounded Acnologia plummeting to the ground and stands upon his immobile body, telling humanity not to give in. He then tells everyone that the other Dragons have arrived and, as they all destroy Face, that dragons soar through Ishgar's skies once again.
Sensing that the other dragons have finished their deeds, Igneel states that they and Fairy Tail have won: they've stopped E.N.D.'s revival. Sting then brings up Weisslogia, which Igneel overhears, and tells them that Skiadrum, Weisslogia, Metalicana and Grandeeney were all alive inside the Dragon Slayers through a secret art that they performed, and that they had two reasons for doing so, one of which was to prevent other Dragon Slayers from ending up like Acnologia. Before he can let out the second reason, Acnologia rises to continue his fight with Igneel; Igneel screams for Natsu to get E.N.D.'s book before flying off again to deal with his enemy. In the sky, Acnologia questions Igneel's motive for staying hidden, but Igneel merely tells Acnologia to leave the humans alone as E.N.D. is not going to be revived, however Acnologia takes insult to this and replies that he fears nothing, to which Igneel replies that he won't let the other Dragon Slayers become like him and readies to battle Igneel again.
Igneel, however, is quickly overwhelmed by Acnologia, who derides the Fire Dragon King for being weak despite being their ruler; Igneel replies that he's merely been asleep for a long while, but he is repeatedly body-pressed by the Black Dragon. As he is continuously beaten and overwhelmed, Igneel telepathically contacts Natsu and reminds him that the dragons hid inside the Slayers to create antibodies to prevent their "Dragonification" and disclosed the second reason: he was waiting until the time was right for him to kill Acnologia. He then tells a worried Natsu not to come to his location and explains that Acnologia was even stronger than he anticipated. Hearing that Natsu does not care and that they could fight together, Igneel smiles and bats Acnologia off of him before flying upward and ripping the Dragon's arm off. However, Igneel's body is then immediately ripped in half by Acnologia. As he falls, he tells Natsu that he watched him grow from a child and that the days they spent together were his happiest, as well as that Natsu gave him the ability to love human beings. Igneel is then hit by Acnologia's Dragon's Roar and is grievously wounded in the blast as Natsu watches and screams in horror.
Lying defeated and dying in a crater, Igneel listens to Natsu's tearful words of how much he has improved since his disappearance. However, as he lacks a soul and cannot return to Natsu's body, Igneel's remaining lifespan is cut short and he begins to fade away and ascend to a higher plane of existence. Enveloped in light, Igneel offers words of comfort to Natsu, asking what he taught him to do when he was sad, and when his son states that he remembers what to do, Igneel tells Natsu to do it and reminds him that he is always with him. Asking his son to show him his way of life, Igneel listens as Natsu tearfully screams that Natsu will become stronger and kill Acnologia; Igneel praises his son and tells him that his new goal shall become his new will to live before disappearing completely.
Igneel's death would eventually be avenged when Natsu killed Acnologia using the combined might of all the living Dragon Slayers.