This article contains spoilers for House of the Dragon and George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood.
Three dragons in the hands of an orphan girl was enough to change the course of Westeros forever on Game of Thrones. Daenerys Targaryen was the last of her royal line, with the blood of old Valyria running through her veins and, as she often told people, that made her the mother of dragons. With Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion at her beck and call, Daenerys went from a pauper princess to a power broker, conquering the powerful Free Cities of Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen prior to flying to the next continent over and taking King’s Landing by force. Sure, she had Unsullied pikes and Dothraki horses, but the truly effective weapons were the dragons, a force nothing in Westeros could stand against.
Now imagine if she had access to 18 dragons.
Truly, the power of House Targaryen is in the blood, and that blood carries the magic that allows them to claim and ride dragons into battle. Aegon conquered six of the Seven Kingdoms with the aid of his great dragons Balerion, Vhaegar, and Meraxes. Now, a conflict is shaping up in House of the Dragon where all sides might have access to varying numbers of these dragons, so let’s take a look at them, Odds are, they’ll be very important.
Before you read on, do note that House of the Dragon is introducing its dragons at a deliberate pace and descriptions of dragons not yet seen on the series will contain some spoilers from Fire & Blood, the source material on which the show is based.
The first dragon met in House of the Dragon‘s first episode, “The Heirs of the Dragon,” Syrax is the mount of the dragonrider Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. Syrax is named after a Valyrian goddess and has yellow scales. She is described as fiercely protective of her rider, Rhaenyra, and while she has not been blooded in combat, she is fearsome enough to ensure that the conflicts between Otto Hightower and Daemon Targaryen end bloodlessly. Syrax is believed to be the mother of Vermax, Arrax, and Tyraxes, and is confirmed to be the mother of Morning, all of whom will be discussed later.
The second dragon we meet, in House of the Dragon‘s second episode, “The Rogue Prince,” Caraxes is known as the Blood Wyrm for his blood red scales. He is the dragon mount of Prince Daemon Targaryen, but he has been claimed by other riders before. He is one of the older dragons, and is a veteran of many conflicts, being ridden into battle by Aemon Targaryen during the Fourth Dornish War alongside King Jaehaerys and Prince Baelon, who rode Vermithor and Vhagar. His rider Aemon was killed during an excursion to Tarth, but Caraxes found a new rider in kindred spirit Daemon, who shares his appetite for war.
One of the youngest dragons able to bear a rider, Seasmoke plays a crucial role in “Second of His Name” as Daemon Targaryen, wounded and surrounded by enemy soldiers, is saved at the last possible moment by the arrival of Seasmoke and his rider, Laenor Velaryon. Don’t be confused by a non-Targaryen riding a dragon; Laenor is the son of Rhaenys Targaryen, from whom he gets the blood magic necessary to claim a dragon of his very own. Like most dragons, Seasmoke is named after his pale silver-gray scales with a nod to House Velaryon’s powerful fleet of ships.
Speaking of Rhaenys Targaryen, she herself is also a dragonrider. Fittingly, the Queen Who Never Was rides a dragon known as the Red Queen for her bright red scales and her crown of horns on her head. Meleys is one of the oldest and largest dragons present in Westeros, and it is believed that she may be the mother to several of the younger dragons mentioned or shown in House of the Dragon.
If there’s a Red Queen, there must also be a Blue Queen. The Blue Queen is the nickname of Tessarion, a cobalt blue dragon with copper belly scales, claws, and crest. Unlike Meleys, Tessarion has cobalt blue flames to match her coloring. Tessarion is the dragon bonded to Daeron Targaryen, the Daring, the youngest son of Viserys I and Alicent Hightower.
If the legends are to be believed, Dreamfyre is the mother to Daenerys Targaryen’s three dragons. The light blue and silver she-dragon was originally bonded to Rhaena Targaryen, the first grandchild of Aegon the Conqueror. She remained in the Dragonpit after Rhaena’s death, only to bond with Viserys Targaryen’s only daughter by Alicent Hightower, Helaena.
Of the three dragons that participated in Aegon’s War of Conquest, the only one still alive at the time of House of the Dragon is Vhagar. The largest of the dragons, big enough to rival even Balerion the Dread, Vhagar grew too large for the dragon pits at King’s Landing and left to make a nest for herself along the Narrow Sea. Laena Velareon mentions that the spice-traders in Driftmark hear her song at times, and that she sounds lonely in her size-imposed isolation. Vhagar was ridden by Visenya Targaryen during the Conquest, most notably participating in the Field of Fire and conquering the Vale, and Rhaenyra picks an egg that reminds her of Vhagar for her ill-fated baby brother Baelon’s crib. In the conflicts to come, Vhagar will be ridden by Aemond Targaryen, younger son of Viserys I and Alicent Hightower and brother of Aegon II.
Speaking of Aegon II, the eldest son of Viserys I and arguably the main antagonist of the Dance of the Dragons, he’s the rider of the dragon Sunfyre. Sunfyre was called the most beautiful dragon ever seen in the known world by Archmaester Gyldayn, hence Sunfyre’s nickname “the Golden.” Sunfyre is a young dragon by rider standards, with golden glimmering scales and pink wings. Interestingly, Sunfyre’s flames are also of a golden hue, which cuts such an impressive figure Aegon makes the three-headed Targaryen dragon in his coat of arms golden in Sunfyre’s honor. While beautiful, Sunfyre is also very hard to kill, surviving multiple battles with his fellow dragons and recovering from several debilitating injuries during his lifespan. No doubt a Targaryen appreciates something both tough and beautiful.
Vermax, Arrax, and Tyraxes
The three sons of Laenor and Rhaenyra are something of a controversial topic in Westeros. The rumor mill stated that Laenor preferred the company of male squires his own age, not women, and he had no known love affairs or bastard children. To certify that his children were his own, each of the three sons Rhaenyra had were given dragon eggs for their cribs in the Targaryen custom. The theory was that the eggs wouldn’t hatch if the children had the blood of Rhaenyra’s alleged lover. Unfortunately for Rhaenyra’s enemies, each of the three children ended up bonded with a dragon. Vermax, an ill-tempered dragon who could not withstand cold and ice, is bonded with oldest son Jacaerys, who uses the dragon on courier runs for his mother as well as in battle. Arrax, a pearlescent white dragon with golden eyes, a golden chest, and yellow flame, is bonded to Lucerys Velaryon, the middle son. Joffrey, the youngest son, is bonded with the dragon Tyraxes. Much like his rider, he will be too small to go to war during the Dance, but will no doubt play a part going forward in the series regardless.
The youngest dragon on the list, hatched during the Dance of the Dragons itself, Morning is the companion of Rhaena Targaryen, daughter of Daemon and his eventual wife Laena Velaryon. Fittingly, Morning is the pale pink of the dawn, with black horns and a black crest.
Rhaena Targaryen’s twin sister, Baela, will also be a dragonrider. While her dragon was not large enough to be ridden during the war, she fought with her dragon alongside her betrothed, Rhaenyra’s oldest son Jacaerys. Moondancer is a pale green dragon, with pearl horns, crest, and wing bones. Moondancer is one of the quickest of the dragons, despite being one of the smallest and slimmest.
Almost 100 years old at the outbreak of the Dance of the Dragons, Vermithor is a bronze dragon with tan wings. The third-largest dragon in the realms, just shy of Balerion and Vhagar, Vermithor was originally the mount of King Jaehaerys Targaryen. After his death, Vermithor remained riderless, killing many attempted riders, until Hugh Hammer claimed the dragon at the behest of Jacaerys Velaryon, immediately elevating the blacksmith’s bastard to noble status. Vermithor is often seen in the company of Silverwing, forming something of a pair bond.
The dragon mount of Jaehaerys’s queen, Alysanne Targaryen, Silverwing is (unsurprisingly) a silver dragon who is docile and friendly by dragon standards. Silverwing flew all around Westeros, including going over The Wall into the frozen wastes, prior to Alysanne’s death. After that, Silverwing remained riderless until being claimed by Ulf the White, another dragonseed who took part in the Dance of the Dragons. Unlike Vermithor, Silverwing did not kill any of her attempted riders. She is one of the few dragons to survive the Dance of the Dragons, having gone mad and escaped to Red Lake at the end of the war.
The dragon of the youngest player in the Dance of the Dragons, Stormcloud has not been described in any of the source material. He is bonded to Aegon III, son of Rhaenyra Targaryen. Stormcloud is the dragon the flies Aegon III to safety after an attack on the ship carrying him and Viserys to the relative safety of Essos during the conflict.
Sheepstealer, Cannibal, and Grey Ghost
One of three wild dragons, Sheepstealer is a muddy brown dragon ridden by a girl known only as Nettles. Of obscure parentage, Nettles is one of the three dragonseed brought into battle on the side of Rhaenyra Targaryen, and the only one of the three not to betray both sides of the conflict. Instead, Nettles and Sheepstealer ran away together and were last seen disappearing into the Mountains of the Moon in the Vale. Legends believe that the Burned Men originated from the Painted Dog clan, who brought offerings to a fire witch and her dragon and bore the scars of flames as a result.
While Sheepstealer is eventually tamed, Grey Ghost and Cannibal are not. Little is known about Grey Ghost. Grey Ghost is the most reclusive of the dragons, avoiding men for year at a time and preferring to hunt in the Narrow Sea unlike the mutton-hungry Sheepstealer. He dies in a fight with a dragon during the events of Dance of the Dragons. The notorious Cannibal is blamed for Grey Ghost’s death; in reality, Grey Ghost is killed by Sunfyre.
Why did everyone blame Cannibal? The pitch-black, green-eyed Cannibal earns his name by feasting on dead dragons, dragon eggs, and young dragons indiscriminately. Cannibal is the most antagonistic dragon, both to human riders and to his fellow dragons, frequently killing and attacking for little provocation. Cannibal is the oldest of the wild dragons, and is believed by the small folk to actually predate the arrival of the Targaryens to Dragonstone; that might explain his antagonistic relationship with his fellow dragons. Like Sheepstealer, he disappears after the war.