Dragon

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Dragons in flight, by Tomasz Jedruszek © Fantasy Flight Games

Dragons are magical flying and fire-breathing reptilian creatures. They existed on the continents of Westeros and Essos, but were considered to have been extinct for almost one hundred and fifty years. The only remaining traces of dragons were skeletal remains and petrified dragon eggs. But during the events described in the main series of books, the species is brought back to life when Daenerys Targaryen magically hatches three dragon eggs.[1]

Newborn dragons are known as hatchlings; dragons that are older but not full-grown are known as drakes.[2] Unbonded and unridden dragons are referred to as wild dragons, whereas dragons that have lost their riders are sometimes referred to as castle dragons.[3]

Appearance

A dragon skull and a book of dragonlore, by Tiziano Baracchi © FFG

Dragons are scaled,[4][5] reptilian creatures. They have four limbs: two wings, which are used as forelegs like bats and pterosaurs,[6] and two rear legs.[7][8] George R. R. Martin's dragons thereby differ from the traditional depiction of dragons as six-limbed creatures. Martin came to his decision because he was bothered by the fact that no animal in nature has ever evolved in such a way (i.e. four legs and two wings).[7] Nonetheless, some A Song of Ice and Fire artwork shows them with four legs and a detached pair of wings.

Dragons have strong jaws,[9] sharp teeth[10] and claws,[5] leathery wings,[11][12] and long necks[13] and tails,[11] with horns on their heads.[5] As young hatchlings, they are around the size of a cat.[5] If it has enough food and freedom, a dragon never stops growing.[14][11] A dragon given such freedom can reach a span width of twenty feet within a year and a half.[13] Dragons which are locked up, e.g., the Targaryen dragons housed in the Dragonpit in King's Landing, do not grow as large as dragons left free to fly as they wish.[14][11] Although increasing age means increasing size, a larger size does not necessarily show a higher age: for example, the wild dragon Cannibal, reportedly living on Dragonstone even before the Targaryens arrived there, was smaller than Vhagar and Vermithor,[3][9] and Vermithor was considered bigger than Dreamfyre, despite being a few years younger than the other dragon.[9][15][16] Balerion, the largest Targaryen dragon in history, was large enough to swallow an aurochs or a mammoth from Ibben whole.[17]

According to Martin, the color of a dragon has no bearing on its character.[18]

Dragon bones are black, due to their high iron content.[17] The polished skulls of the Targaryen dragons look like glittering onyx, and their teeth look like curved daggers of black diamond.[17]

Characteristics

The Field of Fire, by Tomasz Jedruszek © Fantasy Flight Games

It is said that dragons are fire made flesh.[19][20][13] Great heat emanates from dragons' bodies, to the point that they steam during cold nights.[5] When a dragon is wounded, their blood is known to smoke.[13][21][3] Smoke often comes from a dragon's mouth and nostrils,[1][22][3] and dragonflame is expelled from a dragon's gullet and out of its mouth.[14]

Dragons are carnivore creatures, eating meat as well as fish, and breathing fire to cook their food before consuming it.[5][3] They are also known to exhibit behavior of opportunistic cannibalism.[3][16]

A dragon's scales are largely, but not entirely, impervious to flame, and serve as protection for the more vulnerable flesh and musculature beneath. As a dragon ages, its scales thicken and grow harder, affording even more protection,[9] leaving dragons nearly immune to fire,[7][23] although they can still be wounded by dragonflame (e.g., Moondancer's eyes being blinded by Sunfyre's fire during the Dance of the Dragons). Similarly, as dragons age, the fire they breathe becomes hotter and fiercer. Where a hatchling's flame can set straw aflame, the flames of older dragons, like Balerion and Vhagar in the fullness of their power, could melt steel and stone.[9]

Dragons are believed to be intrinsically tied to magic in the world. Since the death of the last dragon in 153 AC, it was said that summers grew shorter and the winters colder and crueler,[24] while magical spells became less powerful.[25]

Life and death

Vhagar kills Arrax in the fight above Shipbreaker Bay, as depicted by Chase Stone for The World of Ice & Fire

The lifespan of dragons is many times that of a human, though their maximum natural lifespan is difficult to determine: as beasts of war, most of the known examples died in battle.[14] Balerion, the largest and oldest Targaryen dragon, was already alive when House Targaryen moved from Valyria to Dragonstone in 114 BC,[26] and died of old age[27][28] in 94 AC[29] during the reign of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen. Balerion was at least two hundred and seven years old when he died,[14][30] but as the only known example of a dragon who died of old age, it is unclear if this should be considered typical. It is possible that the wild dragon Cannibal, whose date and cause of death is unknown, was about two hundred and fifty years old during the reign of Aegon III Targaryen, if there is truth to the claim that he was living on Dragonstone even before the Targaryens arrived there.[3]

Dragons are not invulnerable. The eyes are where a dragon is most vulnerable, and the brain behind them.[31] A scorpion's iron bolt through the eye killed Meraxes,[32][33] and three arrows through the eye mercy killed a greatly wounded Tessarion.[9] Unlike in stories, a dragon's underbelly scales are just as strong as those along their back and flanks.[31] Young dragons, with their softer scales, are more vulnerable than older ones; on his rider's first flight, Stormcloud was hit by a scorpion bolt through his neck and shot by dozens of arrows into his belly, and died within the hour.[3] Vermax's belly may have been torn by a grapnel, though the dragon definitely died when it became tangled in a sinking ship.[3] Tales also speak of killing dragons with a spear down the gullet, but this is known to be impossible.[31] Still, five dragons were killed in the storming of the Dragonpit, some with axes, spears, and swords, some crushed under stone or by strangulation.[9]

Though it is rare for a man to be a dragonslayer, dragons have often been known to wound and kill other dragons, both in Westeros and Valyria.[34] Many dragons killed each other during the Dance of the Dragons (129131 AC), using their teeth and claws. Meleys half tore off Sunfyre's wing,[3] and Sunfyre was also wounded by Moondancer, though not without blinding the other dragon's eyes with his flame.[9] In a three-way fight between dragons, Vermithor ripped Seasmoke's head off, before he died from the wounds given to him by that dragon and by Tessarion.[9] Earlier, Balerion crushed Quicksilver's neck with his teeth while tearing off her wing with his claws.[15] When Balerion returned from a possible journey to Valyria with Princess Aerea Targaryen, the dragon had half-healed scars and bloody wounds from an unknown cause, including a nearly nine foot rent down his side.[21]

Reproduction

Vermithor and Silverwing were an apparently mated pair of dragons, echoing their first riders, King Jaehaerys and Queen Alysanne Targaryen. Art by Sanrixian ©

Historians, like Septon Barth, Grand Maester Munkun, and Maester Thomax, disagree on the mating habits of dragons.[35] Dragons lay large, scaled eggs to reproduce.[36] According to Archmaester Gyldayn, and agreed upon by Maester Yandel, the ability of a dragon to lay eggs is proof that said dragon is female. When a dragon is never observed to have laid eggs, this is taken as proof that it must have been male.[37] However, according to Barth and Maester Aemon, dragons have no fixed gender, but are “now one and now the other, as changeable as flame”.[36] Barth believed that dragons can change sex at need,[37][36] but Maester Anson believes this to be erroneous, and states in his Truth that Barth's statement is simply a misunderstood esoteric metaphor.[37]

Dragons believed to be female, e.g., Syrax,[38][39][29] Dreamfyre,[22] Tessarion,[29] and Meleys,[27] are referred to as a she-dragon or sometimes a queen.[40]

It is implied that the bonds of a dragonrider and their dragon may affect the dragon's mating habits. King Jaehaerys I Targaryen's dragon Vermithor often coiled with his Queen Alysanne Targaryen's Silverwing, even five decades after their riders' deaths.[9] Daemon Targaryen and his wife Laena Velaryon often visited Dragonstone on their dragons Caraxes and Vhagar to fly with Rhaenyra Targaryen and Syrax, and during that period Syrax produced several clutches of eggs.[29]

Traditionally, Targaryen princes received a dragon's egg in their cradle, allowing the infants to bond with the dragons as soon as the eggs hatched.[29][39] This tradition supposedly started during the reign of King Aegon I Targaryen, when Princess Rhaena Targaryen placed a dragon egg in the cradles of her younger siblings, Jaehaerys and Alysanne shortly after their births.[2][15] From these two eggs, the dragons Vermithor and Silverwing hatched.[15] During the rule of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, the king placed an egg in the cradle of his newborn son, Aemon, in 55 AC, at the suggestion of Queen Alysanne Targaryen.[21] During the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen, placing a dragon egg in the cradle of a newborn princeling became truly customary.[29] Jacaerys Velaryon, Lucerys Velaryon, Joffrey Velaryon,[29] Viserys Targaryen, Jaehaerys Targaryen, Jaehaera Targaryen, and Maelor Targaryen[29] are all known to have received an egg in their cradle during Viserys I's reign. During the reign of King Aegon III Targaryen, eggs were placed in the cradles of Prince Aegon, Prince Aemon, and Lady Laena Velaryon.[41] However, not every hatchling lived to maturity, as seen with Rhaena of Pentos, whose egg hatched into a broken thing that only lived a few hours.[3]

Un-hatched eggs can become petrified at an old age, turning to stone.[42][43]

Culture

Dragons are depicted in the sigils of several Westerosi Houses and personal arms, such as:

Dragonbone is as strong as steel, but lighter and far more flexible, and impervious to fire.[17] It has been used to make brooches,[44] bows,[42][17] hilts of Valyrian steel daggers,[45] and whip handles.[46]

Dragon eggs are highly valuable, for their beauty and rarity,[47] as well as their link to monarchial legitimacy and potential to hatch a dragon.[48][49]

There are many songs and tales of legendary dragonslayers, most existing long before dragons definitely arrived in Westeros.[50][38][51]

Dragonriders

Queen Alysanne Targaryen riding her dragon Silverwing. © Green Ronin Publishing

Dragons are intelligent creatures[7] which can be trained to serve as battle mounts and understand vocal commands. They are said to be capricious in nature,[12] and have to be trained to keep them from laying waste to everything around them.[52] However, dragons will not allow everyone to mount them. In Valyria, the noble-born dragonriding families, the dragonlord families, frequently married brother to sister to keep the bloodline pure,[53] and it is generally believed that Valyrian heritage plays a part. During the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons, Prince Jacaerys Velaryon called upon Targaryen bastards and their descendants, the so-called dragonseeds, to try and mount a dragon. Regardless, men without Valyrian descent made their attempts as well.[3] Having Valyrian blood (no matter how directly) is not a guarantee that bonding with a dragon will be successful.[11]

Once a dragon has bonded with a rider, that dragon will not allow anyone else to mount it alone while its rider lives, no matter how familiar said person might be to the dragon.[9] But when the person bonded to the dragon is on the dragon's back, they may take a passenger.[26][16] When the rider of a dragon dies, that dragon can bond with a new rider.[27] No rider has ever ridden a different dragon while their current dragon was alive.[54] However, when Prince Viserys Targaryen's dragon Balerion died, according to Martin, "[Viserys] did not take a second dragon",[55] leaving the possibility that a rider might bond with a new dragon after his/her first dragon has died. Indeed, Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, following the death of her dragon Syrax, insisted on finding more dragon eggs, as she "must have another dragon",[9] as did King Aegon II Targaryen after the death of his dragon Sunfyre.[56] Dragons who have had a rider once before are easier to bond with than wild dragons.[3]

A dragon might to be able to sense when its current rider is in distress or has died. This is implied in the case of the dragon Dreamfyre, who, despite being locked and chained in the Dragonpit, is said to have sensed when her rider Helaena Targaryen committed suicide in Maegor's Holdfast, at the other side of King's Landing.[9] The sense of connection between dragon and rider may also be mutual — when Drogon was impaled by a spear, he and his bonded owner, Daenerys Targaryen, both screamed at the same moment, even though she had not yet ridden him.[13]

Dragonriders usually ride their dragons using special saddles. Chains attached to the saddle are fastened to the rider's belt, for security.[16][9] However, a rider could leave their chains dangling, if they wish.[16] A dragonrider may also ride without a saddle, their legs around the dragon's back or neck.[13][57][9]

History

Ancient Dragons

Dragonlords from the Valyrian Freehold, as depicted by Magali Villeneuve in The World of Ice & Fire

In Barth's Unnatural History, the septon considered several legends regarding the origins of dragons. The Valyrians claimed that dragons sprang forth from the Fourteen Flames, a ring of volcanoes on the Valyrian peninsula.[58] In Qarth, tales state dragons came from a second moon in the sky, which was scalded by the sun and cracked like an egg, and a million dragons poured forth. Dragons are also said to have originated from the Shadow Lands beyond Asshai and the islands of the Jade Sea.[4] Ancient tales from Asshai claim that an unnamed people first tamed these dragons, brought them to Valyria, and taught the Valyrians their arts before departing from the annals of history.[58] Barth put forth the theory that dragons were created by Valyrian bloodmages using wyverns, which are flying reptiles that do not breathe flame.[59] Dragons may also be related to firewyrms, which are wingless reptilian creatures that do breathe flame, that may have lived in the Fourteen Flames before the dragons arrived there.[60]

Dragons populated most of the known world in ages past,[61] and ancient dragon bones have been found as far north as Ib and as south as the jungles of Sothoryos.[58] The yellow emperor Chai Duq of Yi Ti is said to have kept a dragon at his court after marrying a noblewoman from Valyria.[62]

In Westeros, Ser Galladon of Morne is said to have slain a dragon with the Just Maid,[51] Crackbones allegedly twisted a dragon's neck into a knot,[51] and Serwyn of the Mirror Shield slew the dragon Urrax.[38] Davos the Dragonslayer is a hero beloved in the Reach,[50] and dragons are also said to have once roosted on Battle Isle until the first Hightower put an end to them.[63] Smallfolk claim that the hot springs below Winterfell are warmed by the breath of a subterranean dragon.[37]

Outside of Westeros, dragons, demons, and other creatures are said to inhabit the cliff caves above the Ash north of Asshai.[64] Sea dragons in the Sunset Sea and ice dragons in the Shivering Sea are recalled in legends and folklore, but scholars have no proof of their existence, or how closely related they are to dragons.[65][66] Nagga is said to have been the first sea dragon.[67]

Valyrian Freehold

The Valyrian shepherds find dragons in the Fourteen Flames, as depicted in Game of Thrones: Histories & Lore

The Valyrians were originally a civilization of humble shepherds, who discovered dragons in the Fourteen Flames, a ring of volcanoes on the Valyrian peninsula.[58] They mastered the art of raising dragons, and used them as weapons of war to carve out a massive empire, the Valyrian Freehold. Valyrians told tales of themselves that claimed they were descended from dragons, and were kin to the ones they now controlled.[58] The Valyrians are said to have used binding spells and sorcerous dragon horns to control their dragons.[67][57]

The Valyrians used dragons to conquer the Old Empire of Ghis in the Ghiscari wars,[58] and hundreds of dragons were employed by Valyria during the Rhoynish Wars.[68]

On the day of the Doom of Valyria in 102 BC, the Fourteen Flames and every hill for five hundred miles exploded, filling the air with ash and smoke and fire, which killed even the dragons in the sky.[69] The dragonlords and dragons gathered in Valyria were all killed. A few dragonlords in Lys and Tyrosh survived, but they were soon killed in the political chaos after the Doom, along with their dragons. In Qohor, the dragonlord Aurion declared himself Emperor of Valyria and led a host of thirty thousand men toward Valyria, but he, his great dragon, and his followers were not seen again. The time of dragons in Essos was over.[70]

The Targaryen Dragons

Aegon Targaryen and Balerion destroy Harrenhal. Art by Rene Aigner ©
Visenya Targaryen and Vhagar burn the Arryn fleet during the battle in the waters off Gulltown. Art by John McCambridge, for The World of Ice & Fire

After the Doom and the chaos afterward, the only dragons known to have survived were on the island of Dragonstone.[70] They belonged to House Targaryen, who had brought five dragons from Valyria when Lord Aenar Targaryen and his family emigrated twelve years before, in 114 BC. Four of these dragons eventually died on Dragonstone, leaving only Balerion. However, the other dragons left eggs behind, and from these hatched Vhagar and Meraxes.[26]

Balerion was eventually claimed by Lord Aegon Targaryen, some time before he married his sisters Visenya and Rhaenys.[30] Aegon became involved in the wars in the Disputed Lands when Pentos and Tyrosh approached him, inviting him to join a grand alliance against Volantis. Aegon flew Balerion to meet the Prince of Pentos and the magisters of the Free City, then flew to Lys in time to set ablaze a Volantene fleet trying to take the city.[70][35]

As the Century of Blood came to an end, Aegon's interest in Westeros grew. His sister-wife Visenya had claimed Vhagar, and his other sister-wife Rhaenys rode Meraxes. In 2 BC – 1 AC, Aegon and his sisters used Balerion, Vhagar, and Meraxes in their Wars of Conquest against the Seven Kingdoms. Dragons were instrumental in the burning of Harrenhal and the Field of Fire, and the threat of dragons led to the submissions of Torrhen Stark and Sharra Arryn.[26] Dragons were also used in the First Dornish War, which caused the death of Rhaenys and Meraxes at the Hellholt in 10 AC.[71]

Balerion kills Aegon Targaryen and Quicksilver during the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye, as depicted by Michael Komarck in The World of Ice & Fire

Many dragons were hatched after Aegon's Conquest. During Aegon I's reign, "half a dozen" hatchlings were born on Dragonstone. One of the first was Quicksilver, hatched in 7 AC, who bonded with Aegon I's elder son and heir, Aenys. Another two dragons hatched during the first year of Aenys's reign, in 38 AC.[15] Dragon fought dragon for the first time since the Doom of Valyria in the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye, resulting in the death of Quicksilver in 43 AC.[72][15]

Over the course of one hundred and fifty years, the Targaryens rode their dragons as a symbol of their power, and as a means of transport. In addition, a valuable golden coin of the kingdom became known as a golden dragon.[73] It is said that King Jaehaerys I Targaryen took six dragons with him to the north, including Jaehaerys's Vermithor and Queen Alysanne's Silverwing, to visit the Warden of the region;[74] however, it is possible that the story is just a fable, since the historical record of the visit does not mention that number of dragons.[21]

Balerion died of old age[27] in 94 AC, late in the reign of Jaehaerys I.[75] Jaehaerys's grandson and eventual successor Viserys I was Balerion's rider at the time of its death.[29][76] This left Vhagar as the largest living dragon, and by 129 AC she was approaching Balerion's size.[16]

By 129 AC, on the eve of civil war between Rhaenyra and Aegon II, there were twenty living dragons.[34] The largest and oldest dragons were Vhagar, Vermithor, Silverwing, Dreamfyre, Meleys, Caraxes, and Syrax. Younger dragons still large enough to be ridden to war were Seasmoke, Sunfyre, Tessarion, Vermax, Arrax, Tyraxes, and Moondancer. Stormcloud, Morghul, and Shrykos were very young dragons, not yet big enough to ride.[3]

There were also three wild dragons living on Dragonstone which had never been successfully claimed by any rider: Grey Ghost, Sheepstealer, and the Cannibal. Sheepstealer hatched when Jaehaerys I was still young, and the Cannibal was even older (none knew for certain when it had hatched), and thus they were also quite large by the time of the Dance of the Dragons, while Grey Ghost was a younger and smaller beast.[3]

Extinction and Attempts at Revival

Vhagar, Sunfyre, and Caraxes fight in the Battle at Rook's Rest. Art by Jota Saraiva ©

By the end of the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen, twenty dragons were alive. The majority of these dragons died during the civil war called the Dance of the Dragons, which began in 129 AC and lasted until mid 131 AC.[39] By the end of the Dance in 131 AC, only four dragons remained alive: the wild Cannibal, never ridden; Sheepstealer, hiding in the Mountains of the Moon with its rider; Silverwing, who had gone feral after the deaths of her rider and her mate; and the young dragon Morning, who had hatched during the war.[39] In 132 AC, a messenger from Alys Rivers, witch queen of Harrenhal, claimed to have seen a dragon within the castle, though the truth of the matter is uncertain.[77]

There were still many dragon eggs left after the war, and at least a few hatched. Terrifyingly, one hatched a blind and wingless wyrm that attacked its cradlemate and was killed.[41] At least two Dragonstone hatchlings were misshapen, and grew no bigger than mastiffs before they died.[17] The last dragon was a green female, small and stunted, with withered wings.[24] She died young in 153 AC, during the reign of King Aegon III Targaryen, thereafter known as the Dragonbane.[78][24][79] She laid a clutch of five eggs,[48] which never hatched.[24]

Archmaester Marwyn holds that the order of maesters, with their secret goal to suppress magic, was responsible for the extinction of dragons.[80] According to Ser Arlan of Pennytree, the summers became shorter after the last dragon died, and the winters longer and crueler.[24]

The skulls of the Targaryen dragons. Art by Thomas Denmark © FFG

After their extinction, the only remnants of dragons were their bones,[17] their skulls,[17] and their eggs, which eventually turned to stone over time.[48][81][43] The eggs were highly valued for their beauty and exotic nature.[47] The Targaryens had a collection of nineteen dragon skulls of various sizes and ages, that they displayed on the walls of the throne room in the Red Keep. The oldest was thousands of years old.[17]

Many futile attempts were made to revive dragons. Aegon III Targaryen had nine mages cross the narrow sea to use their magics in attempt to hatch remaining dragon eggs.[82][79] The pious King Baelor I Targaryen attempted to hatch his egg by praying over it.[82][81] Aegon IV Targaryen ordered pyromancers to build seven mechanical "dragons" that shot jets of wildfire. Hundreds of men died in a failed attempt to use them to invade Dorne.[82][83] Prince Aerion Targaryen drank wildfire, believing it would transform him into a dragon, but only died screaming.[82][84] The tragedy of Summerhall resulted from the attempt of King Aegon V Targaryen to hatch dragon eggs.[85][86] King Aerys II Targaryen attempted to hatch dragons from eggs found in the depths of Dragonstone, to no result.[43] He may have believed his attempt to immolate King's Landing would transform him into a dragon.[87]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

During a dream while comatose, Bran Stark sees dragons stirring beneath the sunrise in Asshai by the Shadow.[88]

At Daenerys Targaryen's wedding to Khal Drogo, Magister Illyrio Mopatis gives her a gift of three fossilized dragon eggs.[42] When Drogo becomes deathly ill, Daenerys has the the maegi Mirri Maz Duur perform a ritual to save him, but it kills her unborn son, and Mirri states that "only death may pay for life".[89][90] After Drogo's death, Daenerys places the dragon eggs on her husband's funeral pyre, beside his body, and also has Mirri bound to the pyre. Drogo's pyre is lit when the first star, a fire red comet, is seen in the sky. Once the entire pyre is afire, Daenerys walks into the flames. The next morning, when the flames have gone out and the ground has cooled down, Daenerys is found among the ashes, naked but unharmed, holding and nursing three living newly-hatched dragons—Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion. With Daenerys's exchange of life for life, the first three dragons alive since 153 AC are born there in the Dothraki sea.[1]

A Clash of Kings

Viserion, Rhaegal, and Drogon as hatchlings feeding upon a carcass, by Raya Golden © Fantasy Flight Games

In King's Landing, Wisdom Hallyne, a master pyromancer of the Alchemists' Guild, tells Tyrion Lannister that their spells are more effective than usual, and wonders if there are any dragons around, as Wisdom Pollitor had once told him that magic had begun to go out of the world the day the last dragon died.[25]

The warlocks of Qarth attempt to kill Daenerys and claim her dragons, but she survives and the House of the Undying is destroyed.[10]

A Storm of Swords

During a small council meeting, Varys reports that sailors back from the Jade Sea report that a three-headed dragon has hatched in Qarth, and is the wonder of that city. Lord Tywin Lannister dismisses the report.[91]

Daenerys uses her dragons to conquer Astapor.[46]

The red priestess Melisandre wishes to wake dragons from stone by sacrificing Edric Storm,[85] but Stannis Baratheon will not let her,[92][82] and eventually Davos Seaworth prevents it entirely by smuggling Edric away.[93]

A Feast for Crows

In Oldtown, Armen says he has heard rumors of dragons in Asshai, Qarth, and Meereen, as well as rumors of dragons freeing slaves.[94]

The small council of Queen Regent Cersei Lannister discounts rumors of dragons from Essos.[95]

Maester Aemon discusses dragons with Samwell Tarly.[36]

A Dance with Dragons

Daenerys Targaryen and Drogon in Daznak's Pit, by Marc Simonetti ©

Daenerys encloses Rhaegal and Viserion within the dragon pit of Meereen's Great Pyramid after the death of Hazzea, although Drogon remains free.[96] Drogon later causes chaos at Daznak's Pit,[13] and Daenerys flies on his back to the Dothraki sea.[57]

Rhaegal and Viserion are freed from the Great Pyramid during Quentyn Martell's ill-fated attempt to tame a dragon.[11][97]

Known Dragons

Dragon Riders Notes Died
Arrax Prince Lucerys Velaryon Born during the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen, between 115 AC and 120 AC, after an egg was placed in the cradle of Prince Lucerys.[29] Killed with its rider in 129 AC above Shipbreaker Bay by Vhagar.[98]
Balerion
the Black Dread
King Aegon I Targaryen Born before House Targaryen moved from Valyria to Dragonstone in 114 BC.[26] Died in 94 AC, of old age.[75][29]
King Maegor I Targaryen
Princess Aerea Targaryen
Prince Viserys Targaryen
The Cannibal None A wild dragon, never ridden. Got his name from his habit of eating young dragons and hatchlings. [34] Date of death unknown (vanished after the end of the Dance of the Dragons).[40]
Caraxes
the Blood Wyrm
Prince Aemon Targaryen Claimed by Aemon from 72 AC to 92 AC Killed with its rider in battle by Vhagar above the Gods Eye in 130 AC.[16]
Prince Daemon Targaryen
Dreamfyre Princess Rhaena Targaryen Claimed by Rhaena from 32 AC to 73 AC Died in 130 AC in the Storming of the Dragonpit.[9]
Queen Helaena Targaryen Claimed by Helaena from before 120 AC to 130 AC
Drogon Queen Daenerys Targaryen Hatched from an egg by Daenerys Targaryen, who placed Drogon's egg on the funeral pyre of her husband, Khal Drogo,[1] whom Drogon is named after.[5] Mounted by Daenerys for the first time in 300 AC.[13] [Alive]
Grey Ghost None A wild dragon, never ridden. Caught his own food (fish, etc) at sea. Died in 130 AC when attacked by Sunfyre.[9]
Meleys
the Red Queen
Princess Alyssa Targaryen Claimed by Alyssa from 75 AC until 84 AC Dragon and rider died in 129 AC, during the battle at Rook's Rest.[3]
Princess Rhaenys Targaryen Claimed by Rhaenys from 87 AC until 129 AC
Meraxes Queen Rhaenys Targaryen Born on Dragonstone between 114 BC and Aegon's Conquest.[26] Died at the Hellholt in Dorne in 10 AC during the First Dornish War.[32][33]
Moondancer Lady Baela Targaryen Claimed by Baela before 129 AC until 130 AC Died in 130 AC, during the Dance of the Dragons.[9]
Morghul Princess Jaehaera Targaryen Born during the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen, after an egg was placed in the cradle of Princess Jaehaera.[16] Died during the Storming of the Dragonpit in 130 AC.[9]
Morning Lady Rhaena Targaryen Born during the Dance of the Dragons.[40] Died by the year 153 AC.[79]
Quicksilver King Aenys I Targaryen Claimed by Aenys from 7 AC until 42 AC Dragon and rider were killed in 43 AC by Balerion in the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye.[72]
Prince Aegon Targaryen Claimed by Aegon from 43 AC until his death later that year
Rhaegal None Hatched from an egg by Daenerys Targaryen, who placed Rhaegal's egg on the funeral pyre of her husband, Khal Drogo.[1] Daenerys named Rhaegal after her oldest brother, Rhaegar Targaryen.[5] [Alive]
Seasmoke Ser Laenor Velaryon Claimed by Laenor from before 101 AC until 120 AC Died during the Second Battle of Tumbleton in 130 AC.[9]
Addam Velaryon Claimed by Addam from 129 AC until 130 AC
Sheepstealer Nettles A wild dragon, claimed in 129 AC during the Dance of the Dragons.[3] Date of death unknown (vanished into the Mountains of the Moon).[41]
Shrykos Prince Jaehaerys Targaryen Born from an egg placed in the cradle of Prince Jaehaerys Targaryen during the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen.[16] Died during the Storming of the Dragonpit in 130 AC.[9]
Silverwing Queen Alysanne Targaryen Hatched from an egg placed in the cradle of Alysanne Targaryen. [15] Claimed by Alysanne before 48 AC until 100 AC. Resided on Dragonstone after Alysanne's death. [40] Died by the year 153 AC.[79]
Ulf the White Claimed by Ulf the White in 129 AC. Became wild after the death of her rider in 130 AC, and made her lair in an island on Red Lake.[40]
Stormcloud Prince Aegon "the Younger" Targaryen Born during the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen, between 120 AC and 129 AC, after an egg was placed in the cradle of Prince Aegon. Claimed by Aegon in or before 129 AC, but ridden only once, in 130 AC. Died in 130 AC an hour after its first flight, at the Battle of the Gullet.[3]
Sunfyre
the Golden
King Aegon II Targaryen Said to have been young between 120 AC and 129 AC.[29][40] Died during the Dance of the Dragons in late 130 AC at Dragonstone.[56]
Syrax Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen[38] Born during the reign of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, and named by Rhaenyra after a Valyrian goddess.[29] Died during riots in King's Landing in 130 AC.[9]
Terrax Jaenara Belaerys Lived in Valyria before the Doom. Riding him, she spent three years exploring Sothoryos. Date of death unknown.
Tessarion
the Blue Queen
Prince Daeron Targaryen Claimed before 120 AC until 130 AC Died during the Dance of the Dragons, in 130 AC.[9]
Tyraxes Prince Joffrey Velaryon Born during the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen, between 117 AC and 120 AC, after an egg was placed in the cradle of Prince Joffrey.[29] Died in 130 AC, during riots in King’s Landing.[9]
Urrax Unknown According to legend, Urrax was slain by Serwyn of the Mirror Shield, a legendary figure from the Age of Heroes.[99] Singers claim he was a knight of the Kingsguard,[100] but the order of the Kingsguard was founded in 10 AC,[71] thousands of years after the Age of Heroes and the arrival of the first knights in Westeros. Uncertain chronology
Vermax Prince Jacaerys Velaryon Born during the reign of King Viserys I Targaryen, between 114 AC and 120 AC, after an egg was placed in the cradle of Prince Jacaerys.[29] Died in 130 AC, in the Battle of the Gullet.[3]
Vermithor
the Bronze Fury
King Jaehaerys I Targaryen Hatched from an egg placed in the cradle of Jaehaerys I Targaryen.[15] Claimed by Jaehaerys before 48 AC until 103 AC. Resided on Dragonstone after Jaehaerys's death. Died in 130 AC, during the Dance of the Dragons, at Second Tumbleton.[9]
Hugh Hammer Claimed by Hugh Hammer in 129 AC until 130 AC
Vhagar Queen Visenya Targaryen Born in 52 BC. Ridden by Visenya Targaryen until her death in 44 AC.[72] Remained unridden for twenty-nine years. Killed with its rider in battle by Caraxes above the Gods Eye in 130 AC.[16]
Prince Baelon the Brave In 73 AC Baelon Targaryen claimed and rode her until his death in 101 AC.[27]
Lady Laena Velaryon Vhagar was eventually claimed by Laena Velaryon, who rode the dragon until her own death in 120 AC.[29]
Prince Aemond Targaryen Shortly afterwards, Vhagar was claimed by Prince Aemond Targaryen,[29] and ridden by him.
Viserion None Hatched from an egg by Daenerys Targaryen, who placed Viserion's egg on the funeral pyre of her husband, Khal Drogo.[1] Daenerys named Viserion after her brother Viserys Targaryen.[5] [Alive]
Aurion's unnamed dragon Aurion In the aftermath of the Doom of Valyria, the dragonlord Aurion flew atop his dragon with an army to the destroyed Valyrian peninsula to try to reestablish the Freehold. They were never seen again.[70] Died in 102 BC or shortly after, in the Valyrian peninsula.[70]
Dragon that died in the Red Waste Unknown The skeleton of an immense dragon is found by Daenerys Targaryen lying in the sands of the red waste south of Vaes Tolorro. Whether it was wild or had been ridden is not known.[5] Unknown
The last dragon None Born and died during the reign of King Aegon III Targaryen. Was once seen by Ser Arlan of Pennytree when he was still a boy; it was small and stunted, with withered wings.[24] Died in 153 AC.[79]
Dragon eggs in Game of Thrones

Known dragon eggs

  • "wu" means "whereabouts unknown, not known if hatched"
Owner Hatched into Color Notes
House Targaryen wu [three eggs] Were stolen from the Dragonstone hatcheries by Elissa Farman in 54 AC, and sold to the Sealord of Braavos.[2]
Mysaria wu When Prince Daemon Targaryen learned his concubine was pregnant, he presented her with a dragon egg, but King Viserys I Targaryen commanded him to return the egg and send Mysaria away.[29]
Jacaerys Velaryon Vermax placed in his cradle at his birth by royal decree[39]
Lucerys Velaryon Arrax placed in his cradle at his birth by royal decree.[39]
Joffrey Velaryon Tyraxes placed in his cradle at his birth by royal decree.[39]
Viserys II Targaryen wu he possessed an egg during the Dance of the Dragons, so far undescribed – whereabouts unknown.[3]
Rhaena Targaryen

[4 eggs]

(died soon afterwards) A broken thing that died within hours. She possessed another egg at the start of the civil war.
Morning Taken to the Vale with her during the war
wu Taken to the Vale with her during the war, did not hatch
wu Taken to the Vale with her during the war, did not hatch
Maelor Targaryen wu pale green with swirls of silver[16] he was given an egg at birth,[29] which had not yet hatched by the start of the civil war.[34] After Maelor was killed at Bitterbridge,[40] his egg was sent to Lord Ormund Hightower at Longtable.[16]
Aegon II Targaryen wu purple and gold[56] seeking a replacement for the dead Sunfyre, Aegon choose a new egg in the hopes of hatching a new dragon for himself.[56]
Laena Velaryon Unnamed blind and wingless white wyrm undescribed It hatched in 135 AC and tore a bloody chunk from young Laena's arm. Her father, Lord Alyn Velaryon, hacked it to pieces.[41]
[5 eggs] wu from the last dragon's clutch,[48] so far undescribed
Elaena Targaryen wu platinum white and bright golden[101]
Daeron Targaryen wu known to exist,[48] but so far undescribed
Aerion Targaryen wu gold and silver, with veins of fiery colors[48]
Aemon Targaryen wu known to exist,[48] but so far undescribed
Aegon V Targaryen wu white and green swirls[48]
Ambrose Butterwell wu red, with golden flecks and black whorls[48]
[7 eggs] wu used by King Aegon V Targaryen in the ceremony that caused the tragedy at Summerhall.[86] Some of these may have been the unhatched eggs mentioned above. Whereabouts unknown, but possibly destroyed by the fire.
Euron Greyjoy wu Euron claims he had a dragon egg, but threw it into the sea.[102]
Illyrio Mopatis
Daenerys Targaryen
Drogon black as the midnight sea, alive with scarlet ripples and swirls.[42] Acquired by Illyrio, allegedly from Asshai, and gifted to Daenerys for her wedding to Khal Drogo.[42]
(May or may not be the three that were stolen from the Dragonstone hatcheries by Elissa Farman in 54 AC and sold in Essos.)
Rhaegal deep green, with burnished bronze flecks.[42]
Viserion colored pale cream, streaked with gold.[42]

Books and scrolls about dragons

Quotes

Who can know the heart of a dragon?[9]

—writings of Gyldayn
Daenerys Targaryen, the Unburnt, by Michael Komarck ©

For the first time in hundreds of years, the night came alive with the music of dragons.[1]

—thoughts of Daenerys Targaryen

Dragons are fire made flesh, and fire is power.[19]

The last dragon in Westeros was the last dragon. That is well known.[94]

The grief and glory of my house.[103]

Once a man has seen a dragon in flight, let him stay at home and tend his garden in content, someone had written once, for this wide world has no greater wonder.[35]

—thoughts of Tyrion Lannister

All I know of dragons is what my brother told me when I was a girl, and some I read in books, but it is said that even Aegon the Conqueror never dared mount Vhagar or Meraxes, nor did his sisters mount Balerion the Black Dread. Dragons live longer than men, some for hundreds of years, so Balerion had other riders after Aegon died ... but no rider ever flew two dragons.[54]

We shall not pretend to any understanding of the bond between dragon and dragonrider; wiser heads have pondered that mystery for centuries. We do know however, that dragons are not horses, to be ridden by any man who throws a saddle on their back.[9]

—writings of Gyldayn

Death comes out of a dragon's mouth, but death does not go in that way.[104]

—writings of Barth

It is no easy thing for a man to be a dragonslayer. But dragons can kill dragons, and have. Any maester who has ever studied the history of Valyria can tell you that.[34]

There are no more dragons known to exist... but this is a medieval period, and large parts of the world are still terra incognita, so there are always tales of dragon sightings in far off mysterious places. The maesters tend to discount those.[61]

Behind the Scenes

The writer Phyllis Eisenstein convinced George R. R. Martin to add dragons to A Game of Thrones.[105] Martin dedicated A Storm of Swords to Eisenstein.

External links

  • Dragon - Wikipedia article on the real-world mythological creature.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 72, Daenerys X.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Fire & Blood, Birth, Death, and Betrayal Under King Jaehaerys I.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
  4. 4.0 4.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 23, Daenerys III.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
  6. Not A Blog: Awards, Awards (July 15th, 2016) - Comment (July 15, 2016)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 So Spake Martin: Comic-Con (NEW YORK CITY, NY) (February 25, 2007)
  8. Not A Blog: Dany and the Dragons (July 9, 2013)
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15 9.16 9.17 9.18 9.19 9.20 9.21 9.22 9.23 9.24 9.25 9.26 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Overthrown.
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  12. 12.0 12.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 13.7 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 52, Daenerys IX.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 15.7 Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
  16. 16.00 16.01 16.02 16.03 16.04 16.05 16.06 16.07 16.08 16.09 16.10 16.11 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 17.6 17.7 17.8 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 13, Tyrion II.
  18. Twitter: HBO George R.R. Martin Answers Fan Questions (August 8, 2022)
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