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Easier to grow a little than lose a lot.
Wu to Cole
If you thought your honor would win a special place in my heart, you are mistaken. I have no heart.
"How to Build a Dragon"
Season 9, Episode 4
Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 11.19.32 AM.png
Air date July 10, 2018 (Singapore/Okto)
July 21, 2018 (Australia)
August 11, 2018 (US)
September 29, 2018 (Singapore/CN Asia, Malaysia, Thailand)
Written by Bragi Schut
Directed by Trylle Vilstrup
Episode guide
"Radio Free Ninjago"
"The Gilded Path"

How to Build a Dragon is the fourth episode of the ninth season of Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu and the 88th episode overall. It aired on July 10, 2018 in Australia, and aired on August 11, 2018 in the United States, in Hunted: Part 1. It was also aired on September 29, 2018 in Singapore.


While Lloyd and the rebels celebrate their successful strike against Emperor Garmadon, in the Realm of Oni and Dragons, the Ninja dare an elaborate escape from the clutches of Iron Baron and his Dragon Hunters.[1]


In a flashback, Jay leaves his parents' scrap yard with Edna telling him to be back before dinner and not do anything reckless, to which Jay says he won't. In Ninjago City, Jay prepares to test his gliders for the sixth time and immediately takes off. The wings perform pretty well, even managing to spin twice before it crashes into a billboard. As Jay slowly recovers, he is angered at his invention’s failure before seeing an old man in front of him, claiming to be a dreamer, like him.

In the present time, in the Realm of Oni and Dragons, Jay remembers Wu's words as a radio plays with someone repeatedly proclaiming "The Resistance never quits!" before realizing it is Lloyd. He tells his friends who believe he is insane again, though he tells them that he isn't and his reason.

In Ninjago, The Resistance is in celebration of Lloyd's successful speech to the people, in which Nya, Skylor, and Misako compliment his words. Lloyd goes on to ask if there are more Elemental Masters who could join, only to find that the rest have either been captured, presumably became evil, or have an unknown status. After having his idea of allying with the Serpentine shot down as well, Lloyd tries to brainstorm ideas on who else can help. Dareth hints that he can help as well, to which Lloyd agrees by asking Dareth to get refills for their drinks.

While Cole and Wu are "guarding" the ninja, they make a plan on escaping before Jay remembers what Wu told him the first time he met him and decide to make a mech that looks like a Dragon, which the hunters will believe is the Firstbourne to help out. Over the next few days, the ninja and Wu build the Dragon with parts smuggled out by hiding them in Dragon dung and get them before disposing of it.

As their Dragon was now complete, Cole was hoping to take a test flight, but despite losing weight by cutting sweets, it doesn't work. Wu instead insists he will do it.

At night, Wu flew the dragon mech before a shot from Iron Baron knocks the tail off and the ninja break free before they notice a dragon in the air. They believe it to be Wu, but he crashes down. The ninja then realize it is the real Firstbourne. As she attacks the camp, Wu and the ninja, with Cole giving his identity as Rocky Dangerbuff away in the process, provide a distraction for Kai to free the Dragons before they get out themselves.

After the ninja escaped, thanks to the Dragon that Kai tamed while freeing it, Iron Baron looked at the destroyed Dead's End. Angered, he tells his hunters it was time to go hunting. Daddy No Legs asks if the hunt was for Firstbourne. Baron tells them instead of hunting dragons, it was for the ninja and Wu.



For the transcript of the episode, click here.

Locations featured


The Trivia on How to Build a Dragon needs to be divided into the Trivia and Continuity sections.
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  • The title of this episode is a reference to the popular Cressida Cowell book series and DreamWorks movie franchise, How to Train Your Dragon.
    • When Kai tames the Wind Dragon, it is similar to the scene from How to Train Your Dragon when Hiccup tames the Night Fury Dragon, Toothless, for the first time.
  • This episode is similar to "The Forgotten Element" in that both include the ninja as the captives of a villain who is exploiting their Elemental Powers, and the ninja building something to escape.
    • This is the second time the season parallels Season 4, the first being "Iron & Stone", in which the ninja were forced by the same power-exploiting villain (though Iron Baron hadn't learned about their powers at that point) to fight another power user for the villain's entertainment.
  • Iron Baron exclaims "Manure! I hate manure!" after being covered in dragon dung, referencing the iconic line from the Back to the Future Part trilogy.
  • It's revealed by Karlof that Chamille has possibly become a villain, Skylor says that Bolobo was captured by the Sons of Garmadon, and Griffin says that the Serpentine refuse to help the ninja due to the Time Twins using snakes as their army.
    • Because Chamille's element allows her to shapeshift, her absence in the season was probably decided upon by the show creators for practical reasons (to explore Mystake's shapeshifting abilities instead).
  • Harumi is nearly killed by Garmadon, but she is saved by revealing that she knows the location of the Resistance's base.
    • Garmadon's method of trying to kill Harumi is similar to Darth Vader's preferred method of execution: telekinetically choking his subordinates who fail him.
  • Jay has a flashback of meeting Wu this episode, similar to how Zane and Cole had one last season. Like Cole's, this flashback expands on Jay's first meeting with Wu briefly seen in "The Golden Weapon".
    • This episode marks the last of the original ninja's flashbacks.
    • A Jay flashback was previously confirmed by Tommy Andreasen on Twitter and in an interview with Brent Miller.[2][3]
  • The ninja escape the Hunters' grasp and free the dragons from the Dead's End.
  • The Firstbourne is seen for the first time.
  • Dareth temporarily gets powers from drinking tea, confirming one of the three April Fools spoilers.[4]
  • As Edna's voice is heard in Jay's flashback, this is Jillian Michaels's first role since Season 7, though she only has two lines.
  • It is unknown how Wu was able to make a bird from a paper that really flew and fluttered its wings.
  • When a fan asked The Hageman Brothers on a scene they wanted to add, but the network wouldn't allow, the brothers wanted to show Dareth urinating, or at least let it be heard, but the network rejected it.[5]


  • Jillian Michaels is not credited despite returning to voice Edna Walker in the episode.
  • When Kai approaches and befriends the Wind Dragon, he is in his Sons of Garmadon outfit.[6] According to Tommy Andreasen, this was in part the fault of the director, Trylle Vilstrup, and in part his own fault, as he was "so invested and focused on the emotional impact that I paid no attention to wardrobe."[7]
  • There are a few differences between the original flashback in "The Golden Weapon" and the expanded version in this episode. For example, in this flashback, Jay had a helmet with goggles, but in the pilot episode when he met Wu, he did not. In the original flashback, Jay also makes no turns and immediately destroys the billboard, but in this episode he makes three turns. Also in this episode, Wu is not sitting on an orange seat and he is not making sugar in his tea when Jay first sees him.
  • In the credits, Heather Doerksen is misspelled "Heather Dorksen," and Kathleen Barr is misspelled "Katleen Barr."



For the gallery of the episode, click here.


Ninjago episodes
Pilot episodes 1. Way of the Ninja · 2. The Golden Weapon · 3. King of Shadows · 4. Weapons of Destiny
Mini-movies 1. Secrets of the Blacksmith · 2. Flight of the Dragon Ninja · 3. The New Masters of Spinjitzu · 4. An Underworldly Takeover · 5. Return to the Fire Temple · 6. Battle Between Brothers
Season 1: Rise of the Snakes 1. Rise of the Snakes · 2. Home · 3. Snakebit · 4. Never Trust a Snake · 5. Can of Worms · 6. The Snake King · 7. Tick Tock · 8. Once Bitten, Twice Shy · 9. The Royal Blacksmiths · 10. The Green Ninja · 11. All of Nothing · 12. The Rise of the Great Devourer · 13. Day of the Great Devourer
Season 2: Legacy of the Green Ninja 14. Darkness Shall Rise · 15. Pirates vs. Ninja · 16. Double Trouble · 17. Ninjaball Run · 18. Child's Play · 19. Wrong Place, Wrong Time · 20. The Stone Army · 21. The Day Ninjago Stood Still · 22. The Last Voyage · 23. Island of Darkness · 24. The Last Hope · 25. Return of the Overlord · 26. Rise of the Spinjitzu Master
Season 3: Rebooted 27. The Surge · 28. The Art of the Silent Fist · 29. Blackout · 30. The Curse of the Golden Master · 31. Enter the Digiverse · 32. Codename: Arcturus · 33. The Void · 34. The Titanium Ninja
Season 4: Tournament of Elements 35. The Invitation · 36. Only One Can Remain · 37. Versus · 38. Ninja Roll · 39. Spy for a Spy · 40. Spellbound · 41. The Forgotten Element · 42. The Day of the Dragon · 43. The Greatest Fear of All · 44. The Corridor of Elders
Season 5: Possession 45. Winds of Change · 46. Ghost Story · 47. Stiix and Stones· 48. The Temple on Haunted Hill · 49. Peak-a-Boo · 50. Kingdom Come · 51. The Crooked Path · 52. Grave Danger · 53. Curseworld, Part I · 54. Curseworld, Part II
Chen mini-movies (non-canon) 1. Chen's New Chair · 2. Chair Play Chen · 3. Chair Up Chen · 4. Chairful What You Wish For · 5. Bad Chair Day
Season 6: Skybound 55. Infamous · 56. Public Enemy Number One · 57. Enkrypted · 58. Misfortune Rising · 59. On a Wish and a Prayer · 60. My Dinner With Nadakhan · 61. Wishmasters · 62. The Last Resort · 63. Operation Land Ho! · 64. The Way Back
Tall Tales (non-canon) 1. The Tall Tale of Flintlocke · 2. The Tall Tale of Clancee · 3. The Tall Tale of Doubloon · 4. The Tall Tale of Dogshank · 5. The Tall Tale of Monkey Wretch · 6. The Tall Tale of Sqiffy and Bucko
Special Day of the Departed
Operation Heavy Metal 1. Operation Heavy Metal: Machia · 2. Operation Heavy Metal: Buffmillion · 3. Operation Heavy Metal: Blunck · 4. Operation Heavy Metal: Raggmunk
Season 7: The Hands of Time 65. The Hands of Time · 66. The Hatching · 67. A Time of Traitors · 68. Scavengers · 69. A Line in the Sand · 70. The Attack · 71. Secrets Discovered · 72. Pause and Effect · 73. Out of the Fire and Into the Boiling Sea · 74. Lost in Time
Wu's Teas mini-movies (non-canon) Wu's Teas
Ninjago: Decoded 1. Legacy · 2. Vehicles and Mechs · 3. Legendary Places · 4. Ninjago's Most Wanted · 5. The Digiverse and Beyond · 6. The Elemental Masters · 7. Beasts and Dragons · 8. Rise of Garmadon · 9. Prophecy of the Green Ninja · 10. Greatest Battles
Season 8: Sons of Garmadon 75. The Mask of Deception · 76. The Jade Princess · 77. The Oni and the Dragon · 78. Snake Jaguar · 79. Dead Man's Squall · 80. The Quiet One · 81. Game of Masks · 82. Dread on Arrival · 83. True Potential · 84. Big Trouble, Little Ninjago
Season 9: Hunted 85. Firstbourne · 86. Iron & Stone · 87. Radio Free Ninjago · 88. How to Build a Dragon · 89. The Gilded Path · 90. Two Lies, One Truth · 91. The Weakest Link · 92. Saving Faith · 93. Lessons for a Master · 94. Green Destiny
Tales from the Monastery of Spinjitzu 1. Master Class · 2. Green and Gold · 3. The Weekend Drill · 4. Elemental Rider · 5. Blue Lightning · 6. Samurai X-Treme
Season 10: March of the Oni 95. The Darkness Comes · 96. Into the Breach · 97. The Fall · 98. Endings
Season 11: Secrets of the Forbidden Spinjitzu 99. Wasted True Potential · 100. Questing for Quests · 101. A Rocky Start · 102. The Belly of the Beast · 103. Boobytraps and How to Survive Them · 104. The News Never Sleeps! · 105. Ninja vs Lava · 106. Snaketastrophy · 107. Powerless · 108. Ancient History · 109. Never Trust a Human · 110. Under Siege · 111. The Explorers Club · 112. Vengeance is Mine! · 113. A Cold Goodbye · 114. The Never-Realm · 115. Fire Maker · 116. An Unlikely Ally · 117. The Absolute Worst · 118. The Message · 119. The Traveler's Tree · 120. Krag's Lament · 121. Secret of the Wolf · 122. The Last of the Formlings · 123. My Enemy, My Friend · 124. The Kaiju Protocol · 125. Corruption · 126. A Fragile Hope · 127. Once and for All · 128. Awakenings
Prime Empire Original Shorts 1. Let's Dance · 2. Upgrade · 3. The Meaning of Victory · 4. The Stowaway · 5. Manhunt · 6. Gayle Gossip: A Closer Look
Season 12: Prime Empire 129. Would You Like to Enter Prime Empire? · 130. Dyer Island · 131. Level Thirteen · 132. Superstar Rockin' Jay · 133. I am Okino · 134. The Glitch · 135. The Cliffs of Hysteria · 136. The Maze of the Red Dragon · 137. One Step Forward, Two Steps Back · 138. Racer Seven · 139. The Speedway Five-Billion · 140. Stop, Drop and Side Scroll · 141. Ninjago Confidential · 142. The Prodigal Father · 143. The Temple of Madness · 144. Game Over
Season 13: Master of the Mountain 145. Shintaro · 146. Into the Dark · 147. The Worst Rescue Ever · 148. The Two Blades · 149. Queen of the Munce · 150. Trial By Mino · 151. The Skull Sorcerer · 152. The Real Fall · 153. Dungeon Party! · 154. Dungeon Crawl! · 155. Grief-Bringer · 156. Masters Never Quit · 157. The Darkest Hour · 158. The Ascent · 159. The Upply Strike Back! · 160. The Son of Lilly
The Island 161. Uncharted · 162. The Keepers of the Amulet · 163. The Gift of Jay · 164. The Tooth of Wojira
Season 14: Seabound 165. A Big Splash · 166. The Call of the Deep · 167. Unsinkable · 168. Five Thousand Fathoms Down · 169. The Wrath of Kalmaar · 170. Long Live the King · 171. Escape from Merlopia · 172. The Tale of Benthomaar · 173. The Storm Amulet · 174. Riddle of the Sphinx · 175. Papergirl · 176. Master of the Sea · 177. The Calm Before the Storm · 178. Assault on Ninjago City · 179. Nyad · 180. The Turn of the Tide
Ninjago: Reimagined 1. Golden Legend · 2. Gold Rush · 3. A Day in the Life of a Golden Ninja · 4. Sweatin' to the Goldies · 5. Golden Hour
Season 15 TBA