Dragons are terrifying creatures that can spew fire from their mouths. They once thrived during the era of the Valyrian Freehold Empire.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

Dragons are magical reptilian flying creatures found in Westeros and Essos. After the famed civil war of House Targaryen, the Dance of the Dragons, the dragons went extinct. However, everything changed when Daenerys Targaryen, the daughter of King Aerys II Targaryen, hatched three dragons from fossilized dragon eggs she received from magister Illyrio Mopatis.

Dragons thrived during the era of the Valyrian Freehold Empire. However, they mostly got killed after a cataclysmic event called the Doom of Valyria. Though most died, House Targaryen, one of the minor noble houses of the Valyrian Empire, still had dragons as they had moved some years before the Doom.

Lord Aegon Targaryen led a conquest of Westeros with his wives, Queen Rhaenys Targaryen and Visenya, and three dragons, Balerion, the Black Dread, Meraxes, and Vhagar. After the Burning of Harrenhal and the Field of Fire, the Kings of Westeros surrendered and agreed for Aegon the Conqueror to rule them as King; this made the Targaryen Lord become King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men.


As dragons have a long lifespan, they have different stages of growth and development. Newborns are called hatchlings. Those that are not fully grown are called drakes. Dragons that have never bonded to a human or ridden before are called wild dragons, and those that have lost their riders are called castle dragons.


Dragons are scaled reptilian creatures with four limbs. The first pair of their limbs are their leathery wings which they use as forelegs, and the second pair for movement. According to George R. R. Martin, the color of a dragon does not define its personality.

Dragons are known for their ferociously strong jaws, sharp teeth, wings, long necks, tails, and horns. As a hatchling, they are about the size of a fully-grown cat, but they can grow up to twenty feet in about a year and a half. Their size is not an age indicator, as the more restricted the creatures are, the lesser they grow.

The polished skull of dragons looks like glittering onyx, and dragon bones are black because of their high iron content. According to legend, they and many mythical creatures like demons inhabit the cliff caves above the Ash, a river that flows from the Mountains of the Morn through the Shadow Lands to the Jade Sea. 


Dragons are hot-blooded and intelligent creatures. They have scales that make them resistant to attacks and even fire. Like humans, dragons eat cooked meat and use their dragonflame to roast their meal before eating. Though their scale makes them resistant to attacks, it does not guarantee one hundred percent protection.

Many dragons got wounded and even killed in fights through less protected areas on their bodies, like their eyes, and sometimes, a fire can kill them if it is hot enough, like the Fourteen Fires of the Valyrian Freehold. As they age, their body becomes tougher, with their flames burning hotter. At the height of their power, their fire melted steel.


There is no fixed range for the lifespan of a dragon. However, they live far longer than humans. As most got killed in wars, there is no evidence of their lifespan. The only one known to have died of old age was Balerion, King Aegon I Targaryen’s dragon. The creature was alive when the Targaryen moved from the Valyrian Freehold to Dragonstone and died in 94 AC, a span of more than 200 years.

Many believe dragons represent the magic of the world. After their death, magic waned, and the winters grew longer and colder.


There is not much knowledge on the mating process of dragons, and many historians, like Grand Maester Mukun, Septon Barth, and Maester Thomax, have disagreed on how the creatures reproduce. A dragon is female if it lays eggs and male if it does not. However, Septon Barth and Maester Aemon believe they have no predetermined gender and can change sex at will. Some well-known female dragons are Dreamfyre, Syrax, Meleys, and Tessarion.

After the Taegaryens’ ascension to the Iron Throne, it slowly became a tradition to place an egg in the cradle of a Targaryen prince. The tradition started during King Aegon I’s reign when Princess Rhaena Targaryen placed an egg in the cradle of her siblings Jaehaerys and Alysanne.

Later, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen’s wife, Queen Alysanne Targaryen, suggested they put an egg in the cradle of their son Aemon. During King Viserys I Targaryen’s reign, Jacaerys Velaryon, Lucerys Velaryon, Viserys Targaryen, Joffrey Velaryon, Jaehaera Targaryen, Maelor Targaryen, and Jaehaerys Targaryen got dragon eggs in their cradle.

Riding a Dragon

Dragons can get mounted for war, and they understand vocal commands. Though they can get trained, they will not allow anyone to ride them; this led to the Valyrian tradition of inbreeding, as it got believed dragons would not let someone of impure blood ride them. However, though a person can have Valyrian blood, it does not guarantee that a dragon will bond with them.

The bond between a dragon and its rider is only breakable by death. The creature will not allow anyone besides its rider to mount, and the only time another person can bond with a dragon is when the previous rider dies. There is also a connection between a dragon and its rider as both can feel each other’s existence, distress, and even pain.



The origin of dragons has been the subject of debate by many scholars. There are many legends stating how the creatures came into existence. According to ancient tales from Assahia, they originated from the Shadow Lands, beyond Asshai and the islands of the Jade Sea. They got trained by mysterious beings who introduced them to the Valyrians and disappeared.

The Valyrians claimed the dragons came from the Fourteen Fires, a ring of volcanoes in the Valyrian peninsula. In Qarth, legends say the creatures came from a second moon in the sky. However, historians like Septon Barth believe the creatures got created by Valyrian bloodmages from Wyverns.

Dragons roamed the ancient world for a long time. They reached as far as Ib, in the continent of Sothoryos. The Yellow Emperor, Chai Duq of Yi Ti, had a dragon in his court after he married a Valyrian noblewoman.

In Westeros, there are many legends involving dragons. Ser Galladon of Morne is a knight that was said to have slain a dragon, and Crackbones, a legendary hero, was said to have twisted a dragon’s neck. Other heroes said to have killed the creatures include Davos the Dragonslayer and Serwyn of the Mirror Shield. The smallfolk of the North believe Winterfell’s warm spring got heated by a dragon.


The Valyrians were the only people known to have tamed dragons. Some sources claimed they did so using dragon horns. After taming the creatures, they led a war against the Old Ghiscari Empire and defeated it to become the dominant force in Essos. Years later, the Valyrian Freehold got destroyed by the Doom, and only five dragons remained on dragonstone. Four died, leaving behind eggs that hatched into the great dragons Vhagar and Meraxes.

Targaryen Era

After Lord Aegon became King of Westeros, many dragons’ eggs got hatched, and for over one hundred years, House Targaryen ruled with the might of the creatures. Balerion was the largest of all dragons until he died in 94 AC when Vhagar became the biggest.

Before the Civil War of House Targaryen, there were about twenty living dragons and some unhatched eggs. The dragons alive were Vhagar, Silverwing, Vermithor, Meleys, Caraxes, Dreamfyre, Syrax, Sunfyre, Seasmoke, Tessarion, Arrax, Vermax, Moondancer and Tyraxes. Shrykos, Morghul, and Stormcloud were still hatchlings. There were also wild dragons like Sheepstealer, Grey Ghost, and Cannibal.

The Dance of the Dragons

After the death of King Viserys I Targaryen, his wife, Queen Alicent Hightower, claimed her son Aegon, was King; this led to a brutal civil war between the Queen and Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Viserys’s heir. The Dance of the Dragons had one of the most epic dragon fights, as Prince Daemon Targaryen fought Aemond Targaryen in the Battle Above the Gods Eye.

By the end of the war, all the dragons of the Targaryen were dead, and only their eggs remained. Many Kings, including Aegon II, Aegon IV, and Baelor I, tried many attempts to hatch the remaining eggs to no avail.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire

A Game of Thrones

After Daenerys Targaryen marries Khal Drogo, Magister Illyrio Mopatis of Pentos gifts her three petrified dragon eggs. As Dany follows her husband across the Dothraki Sea, she feels power emanating from the eggs. Dany lights Drogo’s funeral pyre and enters the fire with her dragon eggs. She comes out unharmed with three dragons Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion.

Meanwhile, after Bran Stark falls from a tower at Winterfell, his father, Lord Eddard Stark, leaves for King’s Landing. When Arya Stark chases cats in the vaults of the Red Keep, she overhears two men talking about killing her father.

A Clash of Kings

In King’s Landing, Wisdom Hallyne, a pyromancer of the Alchemists Guild, tells Tyrion Lannister that their magic is more potent than usual, and he wonders if any dragon is alive. Meanwhile, Daenerys travels to Qarth, where she visits the House of the Undying. She gets saved by Drogon, who burns the house down.

A Storm of Swords

Daenerys travels to Pentos to get an army. She meets Kraznys mo Nakloz and negotiates to give him her dragons for eight thousand Unsullied soldiers. However, Drogon kills Kraznys, and Dany sacks the city. In King’s Landing, Lord Varys tells Lord Tywin Lannister of tales from Qarth of a three-headed dragon. However, Tywin dismisses the story.

A Feast for Crows

When the small council of Queen Regent Cersei Lannister hears about tales of dragons in Essos, they dismiss the stories.

A Dance with Dragons

While in Meereen, Daenerys encloses her dragons when news of them killing a child surfaces. Drogon evades capture and later resurfaces when a festival celebrating Dany’s marriage to Hizdahr zo Loraq gets held in the fighting pits. To prevent carnage, Daenerys flies away on Drogon and falls sick. She later gets found by Khal Jhaqo. Meanwhile, Euron Greyjoy sends his brother Victarion to Meereen with a dragon horn.

Relevance in Adaptation

In HBO’s Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, dragons were crucial in everything. In GOT, Daenerys lost one of her dragons after it got shot down by the Night King. She and Jon Snow later rode the other two to fight the White Walkers and defeat them. Later, Euron Greyjoy successfully kills Rhaegal. In the final Battle of King’s Landing, Daenerys destroys the city with Drogon. Even when the men surrender, she refuses to accept and destroy everything. Jon Snow eventually kills her, and Drogon melts the Iron Throne.

In House of the Dragon, Milly Alcock and Emma D’Arcy starred as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, Matt Smith portrayed Prince Daemon, and Paddy Considine portrayed King Viserys I. After King Viserys death, Alicent made her son King, leading to a war between the Blacks and Greens.

Dragons: An Misused Force

Dragons are a weapon that humans were never supposed to tame. They were magnificent beasts that got caught up in the greedy desires of humans to dominate. Their extinction should have never happened if the Targaryens did not fight an unnecessary war fuelled by the need for power and control.

Dragons and Their Owners

  1. Balerion, the Black Dread: King Aegon I Targaryen, King Maegor I Targaryen, Princess Aerea Targaryen, Prince Viserys Targaryen.
  2. Caraxes, the Blood Wyrm: Prince Aemon Targaryen, Prince Daemon Targaryen.
  3. Drogon: Queen Daenerys Targaryen.
  4. Meleys, the Red Queen: Princess Alyssa Targaryen, Princess Rhaenys Targaryen.
  5. Meraxes: Queen Rhaenys Targaryen.
  6. Moondancer: Lady Baela Targaryen.
  7. Quicksilver: King Aenys I Targaryen, Prince Aegon Targaryen.
  8. Rhaegal: Queen Daenerys Targaryen.
  9. Seasmoke: Ser Laenor Velaryon, Addam Velaryon.
  10. Silverwing: Queen Alysanne Targaryen, Ulf the White.
  11. Sunfyre, the Golden: King Aegon II Targaryen.
  12. Syrax: Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen.
  13. Tyraxes: Prince Joffrey Velaryon.
  14. Vermithor, the Bronze Fury: King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, Hugh Hammer.
  15. Vhagar: Queen Visenya Targaryen, Prince Baelon the Brave, Lady Laena Velaryon, Prince Aemond Targaryen.
  16. Viserion: Queen Daenerys Targaryen.


Who was the strongest Targaryen dragon?

Balerion was the strongest dragon the Targaryens ever had. Known as the Black Dread, he was an absolute monster with black fire. Many have claimed he was the mightiest dragon to have graced the known world, and he was so terrifying that after King Torrhen Stark saw what he did, he bent the knee to Aegon Targaryen.

Which dragon was the strongest during the Dance of the Dragons?

Vhagar was the mightiest dragon during the Targaryen Civil War. He got ridden by Prince Aemond Targaryen of the Greens and delivered carnage to many supporters of the Blacks.

What happened to the dragons?

After the fall of the Valyrian Empire, the dragon lords in the Free Cities of Essos got killed. Only house Targaryen remained with dragons, and after moving to Westeros, some dragons laid eggs, and they hatched. The Targaryen had twenty living dragons, but the Civil War caused their death.

Is Drogon stronger than Balerion?

Balerion is by far the strongest dragon to have lived. Drogon is still growing and is yet to achieve the feet Balerion did.

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