Elephants come from Essos. They are not native to Westeros. They are like real life elephants. There appears to be another species of the elephant on the eastern continent, the dwarf elephant. The Isle of Elephants is located in the Jade Sea.
References in the books
A Song of Ice and Fire
- Elephants are a common sight in the city of Astapor, lumbering about with latticework litters on their backs.
- Daenerys Targaryen acquired three elephants with her pyramid, they remind her of hairless grey mammoths - though their tusks have been bobbed and guilded, and (to her mind) their eyes are sad. They are stabled in the eastern walls of the Great Pyramid. One trumpets at Dany’s small company as they make their way down the pyramid to her dragons Viserion and Rhaegal, one of the dragons gives an answering roar.
- The streets of Old Volantis are overrun with white dwarf elephants. The big grey elephants are not uncommon either.
- The Golden Company has a number of elephants. When Jon Connington reaches the Golden Company's camp, he sees two dozen grey elephants grazing beside the water, pulling up reeds with their trunks. Someone once made off with Harry Strickland's favorite elephant.
- Great cogs carry the Golden Company’s elephants Westerosi shores, some were had last been seen at Lys before the storm that had scattered half the fleet. As Prince Aegon Targaryen arrives to join Jon Connington at the Griffin’s Roost he rides at the head of column of three hundred horse with three elephants lumbering in the rear.
- During the Volantene elections elephants have the names of would-be triarchs painted on their sides.
- Triarch Horonno, a Volantene hero from the Century of Blood, was put to death by being tied between two elephants and torn in half.
- When Tyrion was a boy there was an elephant in the menagerie at Lannisport, but she died when he was seven.
- In Old Volantis dung carts come out in the evening attended by half naked slaves whose task it is to shovel up the steaming piles of elephant dung both great and small. Swarms of flies follow the carts, so the dung slaves have flies tattooed upon their cheeks to mark them for what they are.
- While held captive by Ser Jorah Mormont, Tyrion Lannister sees an elephant lumber past with a dozen naked slave girls waving from the castle on its back, teasing passersby with glimpses of their breasts and crying, “Malaquo, Malaquo”. They make such an entrancing sight that Tyrion almost waddles right into a steaming pile of elephant dung.
- On the way to his secret meeting with Skahaz mo Kandaq in the Great Pyramid Ser Barristan Selmy makes his way past the elephants and the queen’s silver mare.
- Elephants are a game piece in cyvasse. During a game of cyvasse, Tyrion has to explain to Penny that the dragon flies, not the elephants.
There is not a warhorse in all of Westeros that will stand against them—Jon Connington on elephant cavalry
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 27, Tyrion VII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 6, The Merchant's Man.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 24, The Lost Lord.
- Arianne II (The Winds of Winter)
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 61, The Griffin Reborn.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 36, Daenerys VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 47, Tyrion X.