Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons have always been kind of a big deal on HBO’s Game of Thrones. Even when the dragons were just adorable baby dragons, their existence was still a game changer on the show. However, it seems the dragons were a bigger deal than ever in season seven. And I don’t just mean their physical size, but they are definitely bigger than they’ve ever been before. Drogon is pretty much the size of Dragonstone. What I’m talking about, though, is in terms of the plot. Season seven has officially made the dragons one of the most integral parts of the show.
Yes, the dragons have always been there to get Daenerys Targaryen out of sticky spots. The dragons defended Meereen and saved Daenerys from the Sons of the Harpy. They are certainly involved in major plot points in that respect. In season seven though, the dragons got maybe the biggest plot point of all when Viserion was turned into an ice dragon, making him the greatest threat to life in Westeros. Yes, poor, tragic Viserion is now the biggest villain on Game of Thrones. More on ice dragons later, though.
The dragons are also playing a more major role in Daenerys’ conquest of Westeros, as she is now comfortable riding them into battle. Just by uttering, “Dracarys,” Daenerys can command her dragons to burn about a zillion Lannister soldiers or White Walkers to ashes, which is something we hadn’t seen her do to this level before.
With these mysterious and terrifying beasts playing a more major role in Game of Thrones than ever, it’s time to get to know them. Below are 16 facts you need to know about the dragons on Game of Thrones. And trust me, you’re going to want to read about the sea dragon. Yes, I said sea dragon!
16. Dragons Can Be Controlled With A Dragon Horn
So what’s a dragon horn? Um, exactly what it sounds like. It’s big ass horn that can supposedly control dragons. However, not much is known about dragon horns beyond that.
Dragon horns originated in Old Valyria, which is where both dragons and the Targaryens also come from. The horns were used by dragonlords, which was an exclusive group of noble families in Valyria who would train dragons. The old Targaryens were dragonlords, so the family has been connected to dragons for quite some time. The Doom of Valyria (more on that later) supposedly destroyed almost all dragon horns in the world.
Though it’s yet to be mentioned on the show, in the books Euron Greyjoy possesses a dragon horn called Dragonbinder, which is a terrifying thought. Euron claims Dragonbinder can control numerous dragons, though it’s unknown if a dragon horn actually can control more than one dragon at a time. Also, isn’t Euron Greyjoy such an arrogant asshole? Hard eye roll to him and his new leather wardrobe.
15. All Dragons Only Have One Rider During Their Lifetime
If you pay very close attention to the show, you’ve probably noticed Daenerys only ever rides Drogon, her biggest dragon. This is not because Drogon is her favorite. Actually, Drogon is totally her favorite, since Drogon is literally the only dragon with whom we’ve seen Daenerys bond. But that’s not the only reason Daenerys solely rides Drogon.
Basically, dragons are super selective about who they let mount them. It’s believed that having a Valyrian heritage (aka Targaryen blood) may be a factor in who they let mount them. Whatever the case, once a dragon lets someone mount them, this dragon and rider will be bonded forever. The dragon won’t let another rider mount them, unless their rider dies. In that case, the dragon may allow a new rider. Also noteworthy, no rider has ever ridden a new dragon while their current dragon was alive, so it kind of goes both ways. Long story short, Daenerys and Drogon are bonded until one of them dies, in which case Daenerys may mount another dragon or Drogon may allow another rider.
14. And Dragons Really, Really Love Their Rider
The connection between a rider and a dragon is really, really deep. It’s even believed that a dragon may sense when its rider is in danger. This special dragon sense was apparent in season five, when the fighting pit was under attack from the Sons of the Harpy. It was looking pretty grim, as Daenerys was completely surrounded. At that moment, Drogon came to the rescue, burned the Sons of the Harpy, and flew away with Daenerys on his back. Since Daenerys flying away on Drogon in this scene was the first time she had mounted him, she wasn’t technically his rider when he sensed she was in danger, but the two were clearly already bonded.
About 200 years prior to the Game of Thrones timeline we’re currently in, there was a dragon named Dreamfyre, because apparently people named dragons stripper names back then. Anyway, Dreamfyre was chained up in Dragonpit when her rider died. It’s said that at that moment Dreamfyre roared so loud it shook Dragonpit and snapped her chains.
13. Dragons Don’t Have A Fixed Gender
This fact is debated, but it’s still worth mentioning. It was once said that dragons actually have no fixed gender. They can go from one to the other as “changeable as flame,” which is a poetic AF way of saying gender-fluid.
Though, this gender-fluidity is sometimes questioned by many maesters, who rather believe that it’s just difficult to tell the sex of a dragon because they don’t have external sex organs. Another reason it may be difficult to differentiate male and female dragons is because it doesn’t seem the male or female dragons are bigger than one or the other, as many late dragons believed to be female would grow to be larger than dragons believed to be male. The maesters claim a determining factor in establishing the gender of a dragon is if they can lay eggs, as it’s believed the eggs are laid by the female dragons.
12. Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Their Dragon Bodies
Have you ever, like, really wondered about a dragon’s body? Yeah, me neither but I’m still here to tell you every known detail about dragon bodies.
Dragon bones are apparently black due to the high iron content, which I actually love. I feel like Daenerys should 100% be wearing some chic dragon bone necklace, no? Dragons have scales, which is obvious from watching Game of Thrones. I mean, they are certainly not fluffy animals. These scales are pretty much flame resistant, though not entirely. The scales protect all the more vulnerable muscle underneath.
As a dragon ages, the amount of flame it breathes strengthens, which we’ve seen on the show. A baby dragon can set straw on fire, but a grown dragon can melt steel or stone. Because their flame gets stronger, their scales also get stronger as they grow older. This is to protect them from their own flame, because it would be pretty counter productive if a dragon set itself on fire.
Speaking of all the dragon heat, heat actually comes from within the dragons bodies. During a cold night, you will be able to see steam coming off of a dragon.
11. Dragons Never Stop Growing
Guys, dragons never stop growing their whole lives. THEIR WHOLE LIVES. So, you know how big Drogon currently is? Yeah, well he’s going to keep on growing until the day he dies, which makes me feel like he’s literally going to be the size of Westeros. Daenerys is going to have to go take over another continent just so Drogon has a place to chill.
That said, it’s unknown how long dragons can live, and therefore how large they can grow. The oldest known dragon was Balerion, who lived to be about 200 years old. It’s said that at his largest Balerion could swallow wild livestock whole, so he was obviously pretty big.
However, dragons raised in captivity don’t grow to be as large as they can be. This is why Drogon will always be larger than Rhaegal and Viserion, as Daenerys locked both Rhaegal and Viserion away in Meereen but failed to lock away Drogon.
10. Dragons Are Connected To Both Magic And Winter
It’s said that dragons are tied to both the magic of the world and the season of the world, though this connection is pretty mysterious. One clear connection is that once dragons became extinct, the winters grew longer and colder. It’s also believed that when the dragons became extinct, the power of magic dulled.
With this connection in mind, the dragons could very well be tied to the Children of the Forest, as the Children of the Forest are magical beings and also created the White Walkers. As we saw in the Bran-back (my clever word for Bran’s flashbacks, or whatever they are), the Children of the Forest originally created the White Walkers to protect them from the First Men. The White Walkers then turned on the Children of the Forest, wanting to bring total destruction, total winter, and total death. The Children of the Forest and the First Men had to work together to defeat the White Walkers.
After defeating the White Walkers, the Children of the Forest used their powers to help Bran the Builder build The Wall. So, A LOT of the magical elements on the show come from the Children of the Forest. Considering that, it wouldn’t be insane for the Children of the Forest to have also created the dragons, thus tying dragons to winter/White Walkers.
9. George R.R. Martin Has Been Into Ice Dragons For A Long Time
George R.R. Martin has had a thing for ice dragons for a long time. I’m talking way before Viserion’s tragic end. Back in 1980, GRRM published a children novel entitled The Ice Dragon. So GRRM has been dreaming of ice dragons before many of the Game of Thrones fans were even alive. That’s how long this man has wanted to ruin all our lives with an ice dragon. Damn you, George!
However, The Ice Dragon is not part of Game of Thrones. It’s a different thing in and of itself. We do have a description of ice dragons inside the world of Game of Thrones, as GRRM describes an ice dragon in A World of Ice and Fire. The description reads:
“These colossal beasts, many times larger than the dragons of Valyria, are said to be made of living ice, with eyes of pale blue crystal and vast translucent wings through which the moon and stars can be glimpsed as they wheel across the sky. Whereas common dragons (if any dragon can truly be said to be common) breathe flame, ice dragons supposedly breathe cold, a chill so terrible that it can freeze a man solid in half a heartbeat.”
That said, Viserion may not necessarily be an ice dragon in every aspect. Yes, he died and the Night King used his magic to resurrect Viserion into a White Walker version of a dragon. So, ice dragon. But because Viserion died, I doubt the likelihood of him growing to be larger than Drogon, which would not make Viserion “larger than the dragons of Valyria.”
8. There May Possibly Be A Dragon Under Winterfell
This is a total fan theory, but it’s a good one to know. Many book readers believe that there may be another dragon living under Winterfell. Yes, UNDER Winterfell. It seems a bit out there, but there are several clues in the books that point to this being a possibility.
One of the biggest clues that points to a dragon living under Winterfell is that Winterfell was built over “hot springs,” as the water is always hot in Winterfell. Hot water is nice in summer, but it’s said to be the difference between life and death during winter, which is why Winterfell withstands cruel winters better than the other northern areas.
Furthermore, there are only hot springs in two other locations in the world of Game of Thrones: the Fourteen Flames and Dragonstone. Both of these locations are linked to dragons, as the Fourteen Flames is where dragons were first discovered and Dragonstone is where the Targaryens lived before they took over Westeros. There’s also the fact that Dragonstone and Winterfell are the only two places in Westeros with dragon gargoyles.
7. Where Dragons Came From
There is much debate about where exactly dragons come from, but it is largely agreed upon that they are native to Essos, which is the continent on which Daenerys spent almost the whole series. Essos also just so happens to be the continent on which Valyria was located. The people of Valyria believed dragons came from a ring of volcanoes on the Valyrian peninsula. This theory would maybe explain why dragons breathe fire.
Another belief is that the dragons came from the far east. So east of Essos, which is largely unknown and unexplored. A burning question of Game of Thrones is what is east of Essos and west of Westeros? But for real, are we ever going to find that out?
There’s also the Qarth belief that dragons came from a second moon in the sky. Yes, this is what they actually believe. It’s said the second moon was burnt by the sun, cracked open, and out sprang one million dragons.
6. The Doom Of Valyria
The Valyrian Freehold was arguably a more advanced civilization than any and all the civilizations we see today on Game of Thrones. It was the cultural and military center of the world. It was there that dragons were both first discovered and tamed by man. Valyria was also known to be very magical. Oh, and the Targaryens lived there. Like, what more could you want in a city?
Daenys Targaryen, who was but a young woman at the time, had a powerful dream of Valyria’s destruction. It was so powerful that her father moved the Targaryen family and five dragons to Dragonstone. Shortly after the Targaryens fled Valyria, the Doom of Valyria happened. It’s said every hill for 500 miles exploded, which filled the air with poisonous smoke, killing all the dragons. There were earthquakes, fires and tsunamis. Basically, every single natural disaster you can think of happened all at once in Valyria.
With the Doom, Valyria was lost, along with all the dragons, magic, and knowledge in that city. This is how the Targaryen family became the only family with dragons. Actually, the Targaryens’ escape is why there are any dragons left at all in the world, as all the other dragons died.
5. The Dragons In The War Of Conquest
After the Doom, the Targaryens chilled on Dragonstone for a quite a few generations. It wasn’t until about 100 years later that Aegon the Conqueror was born and decided the Targaryens were too good for little ol’ Dragonstone. Seeing that his name is Aegon the Conqueror, I’m sure you can guess what he did. Yep, he conquered Westeros.
For a long time, the only dragon alive was Balerion, who was Aegon’s dragon. From dragon eggs hatched Vhagar and Meraxes, giving the family three dragons, which they used to conquer Westeros. While Aegon rode Balerion into battle, his two sister-wives, Visenya and Rhaenys, rode the smaller dragons.
Yes, Aegon married BOTH his sisters. And yes, the inbreeding in Targaryen culture still creeps me out. Sorry, I just don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.
4. Dragons Haven’t Been Extinct All That Long
After Aegon’s Conquest, quite a few dragons hatched. By 129 AC (which stands for after conquest, by the way) there were twenty living dragons. What a time to be alive, right? Well, not all of these dragons lasted all that long. During this time period, Aegon II and his half-sister Rhaenyra had a dispute over who would inherit their father’s throne. This dispute began a Targaryen civil war known as Dance of the Dragons.
The civil war lasted two years, during which time both Rhaenyra and Aegon II died. This civil war saw Targaryens battling each other on dragons. Like, Targaryens and dragons going head to head and killing each other. (Spin off please, HBO?) During this war, many of the dragons died, which makes sense. I mean, a dragon is probably one of the only living things that can kill another dragon.
With very few dragons remaining after the civil war, the last dragon died during Aegon III’s rule, leaving him with the nickname Aegon the Dragonbane. Aegon’s mother was none other than Rhaenyra, who had started the civil war. During the war, Rhaenyra met her fate by being fed to a dragon, all while little Aegon III watched. Yes, he watched a dragon EAT his mother. Because of this, it’s rumored that Aegon III actually poisoned the last living dragon himself. And again, this should be the spin-off, HBO.
The last dragon died in 153 AC, only about 150 years before the time of present day Game of Thrones. Knowing this is interesting, as people make it seem like dragons have been gone for thousands of years.
3. There Are A Lot Of Unhatched Dragon Eggs
After their extinction, the only things that remained of dragons were their skulls in the Red Keep and their eggs. And there are A LOT of dragon eggs, so a potential for A LOT of dragons, right? Well, not really. Many dragon eggs are petrified, which means a dragon will never hatch from those eggs. However, petrified eggs are still valuable for their exotic and beautiful nature. Unfortunately, the location of many of the dragon eggs that may hatch (so potential dragons) is largely unknown.
In the Red Keep, there is a collection of dragon skulls, some of which we saw in this season of Game of Thrones when Qyburn shot an arrow through one of the skulls. Of course, Qyburn had to damage this dragon skull to prove to Cersei his arrow contraption could harm a dragon. But if Daenerys ever does actually take the Iron Throne, she’s going to be pretty mad to see a dragon skull with a big hole in it. Qyburn, you better run.
2. Euron Greyjoy Threw A Dragon Egg Into The Sea, So Sea Dragon?
Everything Euron Greyjoy says should be taken with a grain of salt. With that in mind, Euron Greyjoy claims he had a dragon egg that he threw into the sea. UM, IS A SEA DRAGON GOING TO HAPPEN?
Again, Euron Greyjoy should totally not be trusted. He’s probably lying. But if he did throw a dragon egg into the sea and it did hatch, would this be a sea dragon? WOULD IT?
And yes, there are supposedly sea dragons in Game of Thrones. The legend of the sea dragon claims that there was a huge dragon that would feed on drowned islands when it was angry. Um, a sea dragon literally eats islands. Guys, we need a sea dragon! Okay, but back to the legend. The Grey King, blessed by the Drowned God, is said to have defeated the sea dragon and used its bones to build his great hall. The Grey King is also said to have married a mermaid and lived for 1,000 years, so again with a grain of salt.
1. The Names Of Daenerys’ Dragons All Have Special Meaning
All of Daenerys’ dragons have special names that may actually tell us more about the dragons than we think.
Drogon was named after Khal Drogo, Daenerys’ first husband who was a hell of a warrior. In season one, Khal Drogo died due to complications from a chest injury. Much like Khal Drogo, Drogon is Daenerys’ largest and most destructive dragon. Also like Khal Drogo, Drogon sustained a chest injury this season when Bronn shot him with an arrow. Luckily, this injury didn’t end Drogon’s life like it did Khal Drogo’s, because Daenerys would be in trouble.
Viserion was named after Viserys Targaryen, who was the worst older brother of all time. If you can remember back to season one, Viserys was a total loony toon. He absolutely, definitely, 100% caught the Targaryen madness. Viserys’ madness became an issue when he threatened to cut the baby from Daenerys’ womb, at which point Drogon poured molten gold on Viserys because no. Just no, Viserys. Like Viserys, Viserion went over to the dark side, as he is now an ice dragon and possibly the new biggest villain on the show. Will Drogon have to kill Viserion, just as Khal Drogo killed Viserys? I’m guessing yeah, because GRRM loves to make everything come full circle.
Lastly, Rhaegal was named after Rhaegar Targaryens, Daenerys’ not-insane brother. Rhaegar “kidnapped” Lyanna Stark, which led to Robert’s Rebellion and the overthrow of the Targaryen dynasty. Also worth noting is the fact that Rhaegar is the father of Jon Snow. With that said, many people assume Jon will be Rhaegal’s rider.
Um, does anyone else kind of want a pet dragon now?
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