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Balerion, known as Balerion the Black Dread, was the dragon ridden by Aegon the Conqueror during the War of Conquest. It was so large it was said his shadow could swallow an entire town when Balerion took flight.
In the booksEdit
Balerion was the last surviving original Valyrian dragon. When the Targaryens resettled on Dragonstone to escape the coming Doom of Valyria, they took five dragons with them, but four of these later died, leaving only Balerion. However, the other dragons did leave behind eggs, from which hatched Meraxes and Vhagar.
Aegon personally used Balerion to burn out Harrenhal. Balerion destroyed the castle all by himself, as the other two dragons were away fighting other campaigns. He then took part in the Field of Fire alongside Vhagar and Meraxes.
After Aegon I died, Balerion bonded with his second son Maegor, known as "Maegor the Cruel". His first son Aenys succeeded Aegon upon his death, but Aenys had already bonded to the dragon Quicksilver. Maegor refused to attempt to bond with any dragon in his youth, intentionally waiting until his father died and Balerion was available for a new rider - feeling that he was worthy of nothing less than riding Balerion himself. Maegor made extensive use of Balerion during the eleven year long Faith Militant uprising, burning hundreds of members of the Faith Militant at King's Landing. He also participated in the major battle at the big fork of the Blackwater, albeit the rebels intentionally attacked during a heavy rainstorm so Balerion would have difficulty flying.
Balerion lived to be a little over two centuries old. The Targaryens moved to Dragonstone with Balerion about a century before the Targaryen Conquest of Westeros, and Balerion is stated to have died almost a century after that, late in the reign of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen. The exact circumstances of Balerion's death have not been revealed, though there were no major wars at the time. It may have been in the same incident that killed Jaehaerys I's heir Baelon Targaryen in 92 AL. It is unknown if Balerion had another rider after Maegor died (possibly Baelon), but Jaehaerys I did not bond with him, possibly because by that point in time he had already bonded with his own dragon, Vermithor.
Balerion was the greatest Targaryen dragon who ever lived, the largest since the fall of Valyria. Dragons keep growing for as long as they live, meaning that Balerion was even larger during the Faith Militant uprising. Only Vhagar ever managed to approach Balerion in size, but only many years after his death. Vhagar was the youngest of the original three Targaryen dragons and therefore the smallest. By the time of the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons in 130 AL, however, Vhagar was approaching two hundred years in age, and had become nearly as large as Balerion during the War of Conquest. During the Dance, Vhagar's body core was said to be about five times larger than a war horse, meaning that Balerion was somewhat bigger than this.
Balerion apparently mated with both Vhagar and Meraxes, though the exact lineage of subsequent Targaryen dragons has not yet been directly stated.
Balerion was colored black (hence his sobriquet of "The Black Dread"), with red highlights. Generations later, Daenerys Targaryen thinks that her newly hatched dragon Drogon resembles descriptions of Balerion so closely that he is actually a reincarnation of Balerion's spirit, though she gives him a new name for his new life.
- Balerion at A Wiki of Ice and Fire (spoilers from the books)