The Dragonpit is a huge, cavernous building that sits atop the Hill of Rhaenys in King's Landing. Once a home for the royal dragons of House Targaryen, it has been abandoned for a century and a half and now lies in ruins. It is believed that the confines of the Dragonpit restricted the growth of dragons kept within. It is one of the largest buildings in the city.
The Dragonpit is a huge domed castle at the crown of Rhaenys's Hill. The main gate consisted of massive doors, mainly bronze with some iron, and were so wide that thirty knights could ride through it at once. A score of lesser entrances were also present, some of them were oak-and-iron doors. The building's walls were thick and the roof strong.
Within the structure, long brick-lined tunnels have been dug deep into the hillside, fashioned like caves, five times as large as the dragon's lairs on Dragonstone. Beneath the dome, there were forty huge undervaults which had been carved in a great ring. These man-made caves were closed off at both sides by thick iron doors. The inner doors opened on the sands of the pit itself, and the outer doors opened to the hillside.
When living dragons still nested beneath the dome, light would shine through the windows at night.
During the Storming of the Dragonpit during the Dance of the Dragons, the Dragonpit was destroyed. The huge dome is now broken, the building ruined, the pit's walls blackened by fire. The pit has been abandoned for a century and a half, and its huge doors have been sealed for a century.
In 42 AC, during the early phase of the Faith Militant uprising, King Maegor I Targaryen used the dragonflame of Balerion in the burning of the Sept of Remembrance on the top of Rhaenys's Hill. Three years later, shortly after the completion of the Red Keep's construction, Maegor ordered the construction of the Dragonpit, which he called "a great stone stable for dragons". Because Maegor had killed all those who had built the Red Keep to hide its secrets, many of those hired to construct the building fled. Maegor eventually had to use city prisoners, with supervisors from Myr and Volantis.
Construction of the Dragonpit continued during the reign of Maegor's successor, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, initially led by Jaehaerys's Hand of the King, Lord Rogar Baratheon of Storm's End. In 49 AC, Rogar married the Queen Regent, Alyssa Velaryon, in the Dragonpit, witnessed by forty thousand people. Rogar wished to complete the Dragonpit before Jaehaerys came of age and would start to rule on his own, but found himself lacking the proper funds to continue construction by 50 AC. After Jaehaerys assumed rule on his own, his newly-appointed master of coin, Rego Draz, secured funds by loaning gold from the banks of Braavos, Tyrosh and Myr. By 52 AC, King Jaehaerys would often visit the Dragonpit to keep an eye on the progress of its construction. Eventually, due to all of the taxes imposed by the master of coin to pay for the Dragonpit's completion and the other improvements on King's Landing, Rego's popularity plummeted significantly.
Construction on the pit was finally completed in 55 AC and a great tourney was held in celebration. Ser Lucamore Strong, the victor of the melee, was rewarded with the white cloak of the Kingsguard.
When Balerion returned to Westeros in 56 AC, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen had the dragon confined to the Dragonpit. He also created a new order of seventy-seven warriors, the Dragonkeepers, to guard the royal dragons. Three younger dragons were soon housed in the Dragonpit along with Balerion, though Jaehaerys and Queen Alysanne Targaryen kept their own dragons, Vermithor and Silverwing, at the Red Keep.
By 72 AC, Caraxes was considered the fiercest of the young dragons living at the Dragonpit. In 75 AC, Princess Alyssa Targaryen claimed Meleys as her mount in the Dragonpit. In 84 AC, Princess Saera Targaryen attempted to sneak into the Dragonpit, but was caught by the Dragonkeepers and returned to the Red Keep. In 93 AC, Prince Viserys Targaryen claimed Balerion from the Dragonpit.
Dance of the Dragons
In 129 AC at the start of the Dance of the Dragons, King Aegon II Targaryen was crowned in the Dragonpit. According to Grand Maester Munkun, more than a hundred thousand smallfolk were jammed into the building, while the fool Mushroom claims the stone benches were only half-filled.
When Rhaenyra ruled the city, the Dragonpit housed nine dragons: Caraxes, Vermithor, Silverwing, and Sheepstealer, who eventually flew off to battle, and Shrykos, Morghul, Tyraxes, and Dreamfyre. The Dragonpit became the site of executions of traitors, rebels and murderers. For the price of three pennies, the people of the city were allowed to watch criminals be beheaded and their corpses fed to Rhaenyra's dragons. By 130 AC, it had become the custom that at least one dragonrider resided in the Dragonpit, to rise to the defense of the city should this be necessary.
Near the end of Rhaenyra's hold over the city, the five dragons that remained in the city were killed during the Storming of the Dragonpit, when tens of thousands of crazed and starving smallfolk led by the Shepherd stormed the Dragonpit to kill the dragons. All four dragons remaining inside, as well as Rhaenyra's Syrax, were killed in the struggle, as well as thousands of smallfolk. The Dragonpit was reduced to flaming ruins.
During the Moon of the Three Kings, the Shepherd held sway over tens of thousands of people from the ruins of the Dragonpit. The heads of the five slain dragons were displayed on posts, between which the Shepherd preached every night. Two days after Lord Borros Baratheon reclaimed the Red Keep in the name of Aegon II, the Shepherd was arrested amidst the ruins of the Dragonpit. After Aegon II returned to the city, he commanded the Dragonpit be restored and rebuilt.
Ser Tyland Lannister, the Hand of the King in the first years of Aegon III Targaryen's reign, continued the restoration of the Dragonpit by setting hundreds of stonemasons, carpenters, and builders to work.
During the Great Spring Sickness, so many people from King's Landing died so quickly that there was no time to bury the bodies. Instead they were piled up in the Dragonpit, and when the corpses were ten feet deep, the Hand of the King, Lord Brynden Rivers, ordered the pyromancers to burn them. The light of the fires shone through the windows, and by night citizens could see the dark green glow of wildfire all through King's Landing.
A Game of Thrones
Aboard the Storm Dancer as she is about to dock in King's Landing, Catelyn Stark takes in the view of the capital. Across the city she can see atop Rhaenys's Hill the blackened walls of the Dragonpit, its huge dome collapsed in ruin.
A Clash of Kings
Some whores use the Dragonpit as a place to entertain their customers and one of them, along with their patron, falls through the rotting floor into a cellar. There they find a hidden stash of wildfire, placed by Lord Rossart during Robert's Rebellion.
A Storm of Swords
A Dance with Dragons
In Meereen, just before attempting to steal Rhaegal and Viserion from the Great Pyramid, Prince Quentyn Martell recalls reading that the Dragonpit had restricted the size of House Targaryen's dragons.
Hardly had the last stone been set on the Red Keep than Maegor commanded that the ruins of the Sept of Remembrance be cleared from the top of Rhaenys's Hill, and with them the bones and ashes of the Warrior's Sons who had perished there. In their place, he decreed, a great stone "stable for dragons" would be erected, a lair worthy of Balerion, Vhagar, and their get. Thus commenced the building of the Dragonpit.—writings of Gyldayn
The Dragonpit atop the hill of Rhaenys had been abandoned for a century and a half. He supposed it was as good a place as any to store wildfire, and better than most, but it would have been nice if the late Lord Rossart had told someone.—thoughts of Tyrion Lannister
In King's Landing, your ancestors raised an immense domed castle for their dragons. The Dragonpit, it is called. It still stands atop the Hill of Rhaenys, though all in ruins now. That is where the royal dragons dwelt in days of yore, and a cavernous dwelling it was, with iron doors so wide that thirty knights could ride through them abreast. Yet even so, it was noted that none of the pit dragons ever reached the size of their ancestors. The maesters say it was because of the walls around them, and the great dome above their heads.
—thoughts of Quentyn Martell
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 49, Tyrion XI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 18, Catelyn IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 68, The Dragontamer.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 6, Arya I.
- Fire & Blood, Birth, Death, and Betrayal Under King Jaehaerys I.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Overthrown.
- Fire & Blood, The Year of the Three Brides - 49 AC.
- Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
- The Sworn Sword.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 67, Sansa VI.
- Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I.
- Fire & Blood, A Surfeit of Rulers.
- Fire & Blood, A Time of Testing - The Realm Remade.
- Fire & Blood, Birth, Death and Betrayal under Jaehaerys I.
- Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny and Pain.
- Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Short, Sad Reign of Aegon II.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Voyage of Alyn Oakenfist.