- "Dragons are fire made flesh. And fire is power."
- "Zaldrīzes buzdari iksos daor."
- ―(A dragon is not a slave.)
Daenerys Targaryen to Kraznys mo Nakloz, much to the shock of the latter.
Dragons have long serpentine bodies, with two short legs and large bat-like wings. They have long necks and tails. Horns run down their backs from head to tail. As they mature, they also sprout two sets of frills, one that runs on the side of their neck, and another pair that run next through their neck bones, when agitated, these frills puff up. They are born with teeth. Their heads have long horns on the top and there are additional horns along the side of their jaws. A dragon's skin and wing colors vary, thus far, three different color patterns have been seen:
- Black with red markings
- Green with bronze markings
- Cream with gold markings
Dragons cannot be tamed but they can be trained or mastered; Aegon the Conqueror commanded three dragons in battle. He and his sister-wives were able to ride the dragons. The extent of mastery depends upon the bond that is formed between the owner and the dragon. Dragons are very over-protective of their owner, all three of Daenery's Dragons became very agitated during a negotiation with a Wise master of Yunkai, in which the latter threatened Daenerys. Dragons can be taught vocal commands as well, even at a young age Daenerys taught her dragons to spit fire when she said "Dracarys" (meaning dragonfire in High Valyrian).
Known historical dragons
- Balerion, the Black Dread, the largest dragon known, was more than 200 years old when he died. Aegon the Conqueror's steed during the War of Conquest. Allegedly the Iron Throne was forged in his breath. His skull is stored in the Red Keep.
- Meraxes, the dragon of Aegon I's sister-wife Rhaenys. His skull is stored in the Red Keep.
- Vhagar, the dragon of Aegon I's sister-wife Visenya. His skull is stored in the Red Keep.
- Silverwing, the dragon of Queen Alysanne Targaryen, the sister-wife of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen. Alysanne rode Silverwing to Winterfell on a royal visit and, on a whim, then flew him all the way to the Wall to visit the Night's Watch.
- Vermithrax, mentioned by Viserys Targaryen as the name of one of the dragons whose skull is stored in the Red Keep.
- Ghiscar, mentioned by Viserys Targaryen as the name of one of the dragons whose skull is stored in the Red Keep. Apparently named after the Ghiscar region.
- Valrion- mentioned by Viserys Targaryen as the name of one of the dragons whose skull is stored in the Red Keep.
- Esovius- mentioned by Viserys Targaryen as the name of one of the dragons whose skull is stored in the Red Keep.
- Archonae- mentioned by Viserys Targaryen as the name of one of the dragons whose skull is stored in the Red Keep.
Daenerys Targaryen's dragons
- Drogon - Black with red markings. Larger than its brothers.
- Rhaegal - Green with bronze markings.
- Viserion - Creamy white, with gold markings.
In the series the dragon species is established as having been extinct for many years. The only thing left of the race are petrified dragon eggs, which are used as decoration, and the bones which are used for weapon crafting. According to one legend, dragons originated from a second moon that hatched when it drifted too close to the sun. This is mostly dismissed as a simple myth.
They remain the sigil of House Targaryen, who were known to have a special affinity with the creatures. Even a Targaryen like Daenerys who knows nothing of her true heritage feels a connection with the relics of the ancient animals. She appears to feel a connection with the eggs; causing her to develop a curiosity about the race and the possibility that there may still be living dragons.
Daenerys Targaryen is given three petrified dragon eggs as a gift for her wedding to Khal Drogo. The three eggs are black, green and yellow and are initially in poor condition; covered in grime and looking more like stones than egg-like.
Daenerys has started caring for the eggs and they have become more rich in color. She also keeps them in a chest surrounded with lit candles, day and night and is drawn to them.
Arya stumbles upon the massive skull of one of the Targaryen dragons while chasing a cat in the vaults. She hides in the mouth of the skull and overhears the plotting of Ilyrio and Varys.
Daenerys continues to experiment with her eggs. She briefly places one of the eggs into a fire pit in an attempt to hatch it, but the egg remains unhatched. She removes the egg from the fire with her bare hands, but remains unhurt.
Daenerys Targaryen places the eggs on the funeral pyre of her husband after smothering him with a pillow. She also straps the witch Mirri Maz Duur to the pyre. She then lights the pyre, and walks into it, with all her followers believing her to be dead. In the morning however, she is found with three dragons, a white-peach colored dragon by her feet, a green one in her arms, and a black dragon clinging on her shoulder that later screeches and flaps its wings.
Daenerys tries unsuccessfully to feed her dragons raw meat. She is unclear what she is doing wrong. Later, in Qarth, she realizes that they will only eat cooked meat. She coaxes them into recognising the Valyrian command, "Dracarys," to breathe fire, so they can cook their own food.
The dragons are later stolen by the warlocks of Qarth and hidden in the House of the Undying. The warlocks and Xaro Xhoan Daxos carry out a coup to seize control of the city in the wake of the theft. Pyat Pree invites Daenerys to come to the House of the Undying and be reunited with her 'babies'.Once Daenerys is inside the citadel she is enthralled by two specific illusions; the iron throne room with a destroyed roof and snow falling in and the illusion of her dead husband and child. The sound of the crying dragons pulls Daenerys out of the temptation to stay in either illusion. Continuing her search for her dragons she finds them all chained beside each other, and they scream with excitement when she nears them. Daenerys goes to them, only to find herself chained as well. With her arms stretched to either side of her she becomes a captive. However with a bit of a twisted smile, Daenerys speaks the High Valyrian word for fire, and Drogon first answers her call, but isn't very effective by himself. However then, both Rhaegal and Viserion join in, setting Pyat Pree ablaze.
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, dragons are described as winged, four-limbed creatures (two legs and two foreclaws). This form is more often described as a wyvern in medieval mythology, where dragons are typically four legged.
They are native to the continent of Essos, and were found in significant numbers some five thousand years ago on the Valyrian Peninsula. The people of Valyria tamed the dragons and used them as steeds and weapons of war. Using dragons they forged a vast empire spanning most of the continent until the event known as the Doom destroyed the empire and eliminated most of the dragons. The only dragons known to have survived were the three dragons belonging to House Targaryen, which used them to conquer the Seven Kingdoms.
The Targaryens kept their dragons in Westeros for approximately 130 years. The most Targaryen dragons that ever lived seems to have been nineteen, given that this is the number of dragon skulls stored by the Targaryens in the Red Keep (barring the possibility that one's skeleton was never recovered). They probably weren't all alive at the same time. Most of them were killed in the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of Dragons, which occurred 130 years after the Targaryen Conquest and 150 years before Robert's Rebellion. Of Aegon's original three dragons, Balerion died in the peaceful reign of King Jaehaerys I almost a hundred years later, while Vhagar was killed in the Dance of Dragons (Meraxes' fate has not been mentioned). The few surviving dragons were weak and sickly, with the last dragon (a stunted creature not much bigger than a large dog) dying during the reign of Aegon III Targaryen, the Dragonbane. The last dragons left behind several eggs, which never hatched. These eggs were later destroyed or lost to the vagaries of history. As a result, dragons are now considered to be extinct.
While there are nineteen dragon skulls in the Red Keep, it isn't clear if this reflects the number of battle-ready dragons the Targaryens ever possessed (even this is assuming that a dragon's skull was recovered every time one died). The Targaryens originally possessed five dragons which they saved from the Doom of Valyria, yet in the century between the Doom and the Targaryen Conquest of Westeros, four of them died, leaving Balerian the Black Dread as the only surviving pre-Doom dragon. However, the other dragons did leave behind eggs, from which Vhagar and Meraxes hatched. It may be reasonable to assume that the skulls of these four dragons were preserved by the Targaryens. Meanwhile, the books state that the last dragons were stunted and sickly creatures who died young; Tyrion notes that the skulls of the last two dragons were no bigger than those of a mastiff (not just the final one emphasized in the TV series). This being the case, there may have been at most thirteen battle-ready Targaryen dragons in history, and probably not all at the same time. The most dragons that can confirmed to be alive at any one time are the six that were alive during the rule of King Jaehaerys I, which included Aegon I's original three and three of their progeny. One of these was Silverwing, which belonged to Jaehaery's sister-wife Queen Alysanne. Later, Rhaenyra Targaryen rode Syrax during the Dance of Dragons, though Syrax may or may not have been one of Jaehaerys I's six.
According to Valyrian records, dragons hatch small, about the size of an average cat, but grow larger and larger as their appetites expand. A dragon never stops growing as long as it remains fed. Dragons could live to be over 200 years old, and it is said that Balerion the Black Dread, one of Aegon I's dragons, was so huge by the time he died he could swallow an aurochs whole. Barristan explicitly states that it isn't very clear how long dragons can live before they die of natural causes, because they were bred and used as weapons of war and thus usually died of violent unnatural causes. The few healthy dragons that didn't die in combat still lived at least several centuries.
Dragons could breathe fire and were ferociously strong. However, they were also vulnerable to sustained arrow fire from the ground, to poison and to attacks from other dragons. While extremely powerful, they were not outright invincible, and given their rarity and the large expense in rearing them Aegon was reluctant to commit all of his dragons to a single battle, for fear that they might be overwhelmed through greater numbers and killed. Thus, Aegon took a calculated risk when he fielded all three of his dragons for the first and only time at the climactic Field of Fire, the battle which secured his conquest. The art of taming and commanding dragons enough to ride is almost unknown aside from a few exceedingly rare books.
Dragons, like certain species of lizards, can shift gender and have no fixed sex: they can shift back and forth as the needs of the species require for reproduction. However, they are usually referred to as male.
In the books, Daenerys receives three exceptionally rare dragon eggs as a wedding gift from her longtime host, Illyrio. Despite being told that the eggs are petrified, Daenerys claims to be able to feel heat coming from the eggs. After bringing them with her into the funeral pyre which burns the dead body of her husband Drogo, three baby dragons are hatched (and Daenerys is unharmed): one green, one white, and one black. She names the green one Rhaegal, after her brother Rhaegar, heir to the throne of Westeros after his father Aegon, but killed in Robert's rebellion. The white dragon is named Viserion, after her brother Viserys--her childhood companion and keeper, and rightful heir of the Seven Kingdoms after the death of Rhaegar. The largest dragon, black in color, is named Drogon, in memory of her late husband.
In the books, the bones of dragons are black. In the series, however, the skulls in King's Landing are shown to be white.
Weapons are described as being made of this black dragon bone and the material being very valuable especially for the making of bows as it is stronger and more flexible, making the arrows fly much further. Dragon bone is also fireproof.
In the red waste one of Daenerys Targaryen's scouts returns to report finding the long dead bones of a dragon.
- Dragons at A Wiki of Ice and Fire (spoilers from the books)
- ↑ "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things" - This name does not appear in the books and appears to be an inside joke referring to the dragon in the film Dragonslayer.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things"
- ↑ Winter is Coming
- ↑ The Kingsroad
- ↑ "The Wolf and the Lion"
- ↑ A Golden Crown
- ↑ "Fire and Blood"
- ↑ "The North Remembers"
- ↑ "The Ghost of Harrenhal"
- ↑ "The Old Gods and the New"
- ↑ "A Man Without Honor"
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