Dragonstone is a castle constructed by the Valyrian Freehold to serve as an outpost. It was the westernmost point of the Valyrian Empire and got inhabited by House Targaryen, a minor noble house. Located at the entrance of Blackwater Bay, Dragonstone became the crucial point used by Aegon I Targaryen to lead a conquest of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros; this led to the submission of the six great kingdoms of the continent, and with the great doom, the Targaryens became unstoppable as they had the last few dragons left.
- Year Founded: 314 BC.
- Location: Island of Dragonstone.
- Ruling Government: House Baratheon of Dragonstone.
- Ruler: King Stannis Baratheon.
- Religion: R’hllor.
Location and Construction
Dragonstone is in the Crownlands at the entrance of Blackwater Bay. To its South are King’s Landing, Rosby, and Duskendale, and to its West is Harrenhal and Maidenpool. The castle got constructed by the dragon lords of Valyria with dark arts, magic, and dragon flame, and a recurring theme is buildings and pathways shaped like the parts of dragons.
Throughout Dragonstone, there are many attractions featuring dragons and strange figures. The smithy and armory feature two dragon wings above, doors are at the mouth of stone dragons, gargoyles and comically distorted images adorn the walls with other creatures like demons, minotaurs, wyverns, hellhounds, manticores, griffins, basilisk, and cockatrices. The castle has many parts made from blackstone, and statues of dragons feature throughout.
There are many incredible places in Dragonstone, including the Stone Drum, which is a gigantic tower and the central keep of the castle; the Sea Dragon Tower, shaped like a dragon staring towards the sea; the Windwyrm Tower, shaped like a dragon screaming; the Chamber of the Painted Table, where Aegon planned his conquest; the Great Hall of the Stone Drum; Aegon’s Garden where there are wild roses, cranberries, and dark trees, and the Sept housing the Seven of the Faith.
Dragonstone became an outpost of the Valyrian empire two hundred years before the doom. It got built using dragonfire. Magic made the castles appear fearsome and dragon-like.
The Arrival of The Targaryens
Twelve years before the doom, Aenar Targaryen moved his family from Essos to dragonstone, believing his daughter’s prediction of the destruction of the Valyrian Freehold. Though enemies of House Targaryen took his relocation as an act of cowardice, Aenar pushed through with the relocation and took four dragons to the island. After the destruction of the Freehold, three of the four dragons died, leaving only one, Balerion. However, the dragon laid two eggs that hatched into Vhagar and Meraxes.
After Aenar’s rule, Gaemon the Glorious became the second Lord of Dragonstone. His children Aegon and Elaena ruled next. Their son Maegon and later his younger brother Aerys came next. After Aerys’s children’s rule, Aerion became ruler, and his only son, Aegon, took over.
While at Dragonstone, Aegon planned an invasion of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros from the Chamber of the Painted Table. He gathered his allies, including House Valaryon, and marched into Westeros, conquering anyone in his path. With the help of dragons, six kingdoms bowed to Aegon. However, Dorne remained undefeated.
After becoming the Lord of the Six Kingdoms, Aegon built a new castle, Aegon Fort, where he first landed when entering Westeros. Eventually, the fort became King’s Landing, the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms. As King, Aegon shared his time in King’s Landing and Dragonstone. He raised his heir Prince Aenys at King’s Landing, and his younger son Maegor stayed at the ancestral seat of the Targaryens, making people call him the Prince of Dragonstone.
After Aegon’s death, Maegor got exiled for marrying Alys Harroway. With his exile, his brother made his son Prince and the title official. When the Faith Militant started an uprising, Aenys fled to Dragonstone but died when he learned his children, Prince Aegon and Princess Rhaena, got besieged at Crakehall. After Aenys’s death, Maegor returned from the Free City of Pentos and claimed the throne, making Aeny’s wife flee with her younger children, Jaehaerys and Alysanne. Aegon later got killed during the battle beneath the God’s Eye. Maegor died on the Iron Throne and Jaehaerys became King.
After becoming King, Jaehaerys fled to Dragonstone with his sister Alysanne when he got advised to marry her to Orryn Baratheon. He married his sister on the island, and many knights trooped to protect him. Upon leaving, Jaehaerys handed its governance to his sister Rhaena who became known as the Queen in the East.
While on the island, Elissa Farman stole three dragon eggs, and Rhaena’s husband jumped to death after admitting to killing many people. When Rhaena’s daughter Aerea claimed Balerion, she and the dragon disappeared for a year. Upon her return and death, Rhaena left for Harrenhal.
In 80 AC, Princess Daella Targaryen married Lord Rodrik Arryn at the Sept of Dragonstone. When Queen Alysanne and her husband quarreled, she abandoned King’s Landing for Dragonstone, where she stayed in a self-imposed exile. In 101 AC, the Great Council held, and Jaehaerys named his grandson Viserys Prince of Dragonstone.
Dance of the Dragon
When King Viserys made his daughter Princess Rhaenyra Princess of Dragonstone, his brother Daemon Targaryen fled to the island after stealing an egg meant for his wife, Aemma Arryn’s unborn child. Later, Rhaenyra took the castle and secretly wed her uncle. While on the island, Aegon II Targaryen claimed the Iron Throne after his father’s death. However, Rhaenyra, the heir, got crowned from Dragonstone; this marked the beginning of the Dance of the Dragons.
After King’s Landing fell to the Blacks of Rhaenyra, Joffrey Velaryon got installed as Prince of Dragonstone. However, he died trying to stop the Storming of the Dragonpit. Rhaenyra fled King’s Landing to Dragonstone. After her death, Aegon II got poisoned, and Rhaenyra’s son Aegon became King. The Dance of the Dragons led to the last surviving dragons of the Targaryen family’s deaths.
When King Aerys II Targaryen killed Brandon Stark and his father Rickard, Robert Baratheon, and Lord Eddard Stark started a rebellion against the throne. To protect his family, Aerys sent his wife and son Viserys to Dragonstone. After Rhaegar Targaryen’s death and the Sack of King’s Landing, Rhaella crowned her son King. Nine months later, she died giving birth to a daughter, Daenerys Targaryen, who became the Princess of Dragonstone.
King Robert Baratheon ordered his brother to build a fleet and attack Dragonstone. However, before Stannis assaulted the castle, Targaryen Loyalists led by Ser Willem Darry escaped with Dany and her brother. King Robert made Stannis lord of the island; this angered Stannis, who wanted Storm’s End.
Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire
A Game of Thrones
After King Robert I Baratheon travels North to Winterfell, Stannis Baratheon returns to Dragonstone. Robert asks Ned to become the new Hand of the King, and he agrees. Meanwhile, Stannis shuts off communications between Dragonstone and King’s Landing. When Ned learns of Cersei’s infidelity, he sends Tomard a letter to Stannis. However, Tomard gets killed in the throne room of the Red Keep. After Ned gets imprisoned, Varys tells Lord Tywin Lannister that Stannis is building ships, gathering weapons, and hiring sellswords.
A Clash of Kings
While at Dragonstone, Maester Cressen gets angry at Melisandre of Asshai, a priestess of R’hllor who made Stannis turn to the Lord of Light. Determined to save Stannis, Cressen poisons his drink and gives the witch. However, she does not die and hand the cup to the maester. When he drinks from the cup, he dies. Stannis’s wife tasks her men with sacking Dragonstone’s Sept leading to the destruction of the states of the Seven.
The War of the Five Kings intensifies as the Lannisters continue raiding the Riverlands. Robb Stark, the King in the North, decides to enter the Westerlands and raid. In King’s Landing, Tyrion Lannister, the acting Hand of the King, tries rescuing his brother Jaime Lannister from Riverrun but fails. He then learns that Stannis is sailing from Dragonstone to attack the capital. The Battle of the Blackwater begins, and in a twist of events, Lord Tywin and the Tyrells come to King’s Landing rescue.
A Storm of Swords
After Stannis’s defeat, he retreats to Dragonstone. He gets depressed about losing and refuses to see anyone but Melisandre. Ser Davos, who got lost during the fight, gets found and arrives on the island. He gets arrested but becomes the Hand of the King when Alester Florent tries to surrender to the Iron Throne. Melisandre tries to kill Edric Storm, Robert’s bastard but Dabvos smuggles him out of Dragonstone. Before Stannis can deliver judgment to Davos, he reads a letter from Maester Aemon asking for help. He then convinces Stannis to sail to the North.
Stannis travels to Castle Black, where he defeats Mance Rayder. He offers to legitimize Jon Snow, but he refuses. After becoming the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Jon sends Samwell Tarly, Gilly, and Maester Aemon to the Citadel to prevent Melisandre from sacrificing Mance’s child or Aemon. Sam sails across the Narrow Sea and stops Braavos, one of the Free Cities of Essos. Before reaching the Citadel, Aemon dies.
A Feast for Crows
When Cersei learns Stannis left Dragonstone with his troops, she sends the Redwyne fleet to besiege the island. After Euron Greyjoy takes the Shields, Loras Tyrell begs Cersei to let him take Dragonstone while the Redwyne Fleet handles Euron. Cersei agrees to his plan, and on reaching the island, Loras leads an attack, taking Dragonstone. However, he gets severely wounded in battle.
Relevance in Adaptation
In HBO’s Game of Thrones, Dragonstone was crucial to Daenerys’s ascension. Before becoming the seat of the Targaryens, it was an outpost for the greatest empire in the known world, Valyria. After Daenerys returns to Westeros, she takes her home. Tyrion advises her to side with Jon Snow, the King in the North, and she agrees. She also agrees to send Grey Worm to seize Casterly Rock.
After learning of the threat of the White Walkers, Dany agrees to help and allows dragonglass to get taken from Dragonstone. She marches to the North, where she faces the Night King. After the war, Daenerys’s troops head back to Dragonstone. However, they get attacked by the Iron Fleet, and Rhaegal gets killed. Missandei gets captured, and when she gets killed, Daenerys goes crazy and destroys King’s Landing.
Dragonstone: The Dreaded Island
Dragonstone was a relic of a past empire, a freehold that delved into blood rituals and brutal magic. Though its walls, towers, and gardens are beautiful, a shadow still haunted it, one of dread and death, fire and blood. Even with a mysterious past, it was the center of many conflicts, from the Dance of the Dragons to the conflict between the Iron Throne and Stannis Baratheon.
Why did Robert give Stannis Dragonstone?
Many people, including Cersei Lannister, believe Robert gave his younger brother Stannis Dragonstone because of spite. According to the King, his brother failed at capturing Daenerys Targaryen and her brother Viserys before they escaped to Essos.
Is Dragonstone special?
Yes. Dragonstone is a unique castle in existence. Its construction involved magic, dragons, and dark arts lost to humankind. Because of the use of dragons, no island can ever be as incredible as Dragonstone.
Who created Dragonstone?
Dragonlords. When Valyria wanted to expand West, it employed its master architects and dragonlords, who created an exquisite castle by using dragonfire to bend stone into forms impossible with other architecture.
What happened to House Targaryen on Dragonstone?
After Aerys sent his wife and children to Dragonstone, King’s Landing fell to the Lannisters. Robert got crowned King and ordered his brother Stannis to build a fleet and take Dragonstone. However, before Stannis reaches the island, a storm destroys most of the Targaryen fleet, and Ser Willem Darry sneaks out of Westeros with Daenerys and Viserys.