In the TV Series Game of Thrones and the books Song of Ice and Fire, Dragons are shown to possess awesome and devastating power, capable of laying waste to armies and burning entire cities to ashes. Men who were able to tame and ride dragons as beasts of war used them to burn their enemies and forge vast empires across the continents of Essos and Westeros. The last surviving dragons in the world are possessed by House Targaryen. Aegon the Conqueror used them to conquer and unify the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros three hundred years before the War of the Five Kings. Most of the Targaryen dragons died in the Dance of the Dragons about a century and a half later, and after that, the only dragons the Targaryens were the size of cats. Soon after the civil war ended, the last Targaryen dragons died, and the species was considered to be extinct throughout the world. When the War of the Five Kings began in Westeros, Daenerys Targaryen was in possession of three petrified dragons eggs. They were given to her as a wedding gift, beautiful to look upon and valuable beyond comprehension, but otherwise useless. However, in a shocking display of old magic, Daenerys miraculously made the eggs hatch, and for the first time in generations, filling the skies of the world with the music of dragons once more.
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Balerion, known as Balerion the Black Dread, was the dragon ridden by Aegon the Conqueror during the War of Conquest. He was so large it was said his shadow could swallow an entire town when Balerion took flight. Balerion was employed by Aegon the Conqueror to burn and half-ruin Harrenhal. Balerion later participated, along with the other two Targaryen dragons, in the climactic battle of the War of Conquest: the Field of Fire. In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Balerion was the last surviving dragon from Valyria. 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 just 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. George R.R. Martin stated that Balerion died of old age, not from combat. Balerion's last rider was Jaehaerys I's grandson (and later successor), Viserys I, who did not bond with a new dragon after Balerion died. Jaehaerys I himself didn't ride Balerion, because he was bonded to Vermithor, who during the Dance of the Dragons was the oldest and largest dragon after Vhagar. It is unknown if Balerion had another rider in the number of years after Maegor died but before Viserys I rode him. Balerion was the greatest Targaryen dragon who ever lived, the largest since the fall of Valyria. Dragons keep growing for their entire lives, 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 was not as large as the others. 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's skull was the largest in the collection of 19 dragon skulls that the Targaryens displayed in the Red Keep. 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.
Drogon is one of the three dragons born in the Dothraki Sea, along with Rhaegal and Viserion. He is named after Daenerys's late husband Khal Drogo. He can be distinguished by his black and red colored scales, and red-black wings. He is also Daenerys's personal mount. Drogon is noticeably larger than Rhaegal and Viserion. Initially the luck of the draw in terms of biology, Drogon became even larger than them, as they spend over a year chained beneath Meereen while Drogon remained free to hunt and fly at his leisure. Most of his scales are black, shadowing red ones that run down his back and neck. His wings and frills are black-red mix, down to the wing-bones which are black. His eyes are orange-red. Over the course of the series he has grown considerably, from the size of a kitten in Season 1 to the size of a large whale in Season 7. Drogon is the least shy of the three dragons when it comes to interacting with humans, albeit for the worst. He is by far the most aggressive of the three, easily agitated and quick to anger, as seen when he is a juvenile and he snarled at a Yunkai Wise Master when he approached his mother. He is also the first to react to orders and takes the initiative in confrontations, as seen when Daenerys ordered her dragons to burn Pyat Pree or when the Wise Master threatened her, he was the first to jump to his mother's defense. He often seeks his mother's affection, and is often seen being caressed by her. However, even she isn't safe from his anger, as seen when he snarled at her without warning when she tried to defuse a conflict between the three. That said, he is fiercely protective of his mother, and will fight viciously in order to defend her, ignoring wounds if needed, as seen when he attacked the Sons of the Harpy in the Pit. It appears that he can sense when Daenerys is in danger, and if he does, he will rush to her aid. His larger size also makes him take a dominant role among his siblings, shown in how easily he stole a lamb from Rhaegal and Viserion; they cease their squabble and instead squeal for him to share the lamb with them. Despite his flaws, Drogon is shown to care greatly for Rhaegal and Viserion, as he roars in anguish when Viserion is killed by the Night King.
Vhagar was the dragon ridden by Visenya Targaryen during the War of Conquest. Though smallest of the dragons, Vhagar was still large enough to swallow a horse whole, and her flames could melt armor. Vhagar was flown by Aegon's sister-wife Visenya during the War of Conquest. She was one of the three dragons present at the Field of Fire, the decisive battle of the conquest that ensured Targaryen mastery of the Seven Kingdoms. Nonetheless, House Arryn thought that the Vale could still resist Targaryen domination by hiding behind the impregnable Mountains of the Moon along their borders, and fortifying the mountain passes beyond any hope of attack. Similar to how Aegon had dealt with Harrenhal, Visenya simply flew Vhagar directly over the mountains, and came to rest in the courtyard of the Arryn's own castle, the Eyrie. At the time, the King of Mountain and Vale was only a small boy, Ronnel Arryn, whose mother Sharra was acting as his regent. Visenya did not need to burn the Eyrie as Aegon had burned Harrenhal: her display of force with Vhagar was enough to compel the Arryns to surrender. Young Ronnel did ask one condition for his surrender: in return, Visenya would give him a ride around the Eyrie atop her dragon. The Vale surrendered, and true to her word, Visenya gave Ronnel a ride atop Vhagar. Vhagar and Caraxes killed each other during the Dance of the Dragons. Vhagar lived for another 130 years after the Conquest, until the great Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. In The Dance of the Dragons, A True Telling, Grand Maester Munkun wrote that Ser Byron Swann wanted to kill the dragon Vhagar so he polished his shield for a week so that it was like a mirror and he crouched behind it and crept forward, hoping the dragon would only see its own reflection, but the dragon only saw a dumb man holding a mirrored shield and burnt him to a crisp. Ultimately, Vhagar died in the Battle Above the Gods Eye, in which she killed and was killed by the dragon Caraxes.
Viserion is a dragon that the Night King slayed and reanimated as a wight. He is one of the three dragons born in the Dothraki Sea, along with Drogon and Rhaegal, and is named after Daenerys Targaryen's elder brother, Viserys. Before becoming a wight, he can be distinguished by his cream and gold colored scales, and red-orange wings. Viserion (as a wight) is called an ice dragon but he is different from the ones of legend. He still breathes fire that is capable of melting the Wall, although it is blue in color. When Viserion was alive, the majority of his scales were golden, with cream colored markings under his neck and tail, and white horns and spines. His wings were red orange, with black tints along the bones. He had green eyes. After becoming a wight, his eyes turn blue. Though only recently resurrected, Viserion's body has already begun to experience minor decay in spite of the cold temperatures. His wings are torn and tattered in several patches, and small parts of flesh have begun to peel off around his head and body. He has seemingly lost his golden color, now appearing more deathly blue and his horns have lost their bony color and resemble the white icicles crowning his master. Given the supernatural nature of dragons, this may be his body reacting to the Night King's magic
Meraxes was the dragon ridden by Rhaenys Targaryen during the War of Conquest. Meraxes was said to be capable of swallowing an entire horse. It participated in the Field of Fire, but was downed by a Dornish arrow in the First Dornish War, crashing to its death with Rhaenys on its back. Meraxes is described as having "silver scales", though it isn't clear if it was one solid color throughout, or if its primary color was silver and it had a different secondary color. Both Balerion and Drogon have had black as their primary color, with red as a secondary color along their horns, spinal plates, and wing membranes. Meraxes is also noted as having golden eyes. Drogon is described as having red eyes as well - which might imply that a dragon's secondary color on its horns also matches its eye color, which if true would indicate that Meraxes had gold as its secondary color. This is not necessarily true, however, as some dragons were noted as being one solid color throughout, with no secondary colors. Four years after Aegon I was crowned, the Targaryens had consolidated their position over the other kingdoms enough to launch another determined invasion of Dorne, known as the First Dornish War. Once again, the Dornishmen resorted to guerilla tactics instead of open battle, harassing the Targaryen armies then retreating - and massacring the large land army they attempted to lead through the Red Mountains. Rhaenys and Meraxes were both killed during the war in 10AL. At Hellholt, in the middle of Dorne's central desert, Meraxes died when a lucky shot with a scorpion-bolt pierced her eye and drove into her brain, instantly killing her in mid-air. Rhaenys presumably died when the dragon plummeted hundreds of feet to the ground - though unsubstantiated rumors (or myths) allege that Rhaenys survived the fall, badly injured, but the Dornish slowly tortured and mutilated her to death in revenge. At the end of the war in 13 AL, the Dornish returned Meraxes's skull to King's Landing as a peace offering. George R.R. Martin only figured out the details of Meraxes's death some time after he wrote the first novel, which introduces a conundrum: when Tyrion saw the three largest dragon skulls kept under the Red Keep, he thought the smallest one belonged to Vhagar, who was indeed the smallest at the time of the War of Conquest. The revelation that Vhagar outlived Meraxes complicates this, however, and indeed the The Princess and the Queen novella states that when Vhagar died 130 years after the War of Conquest, she had grown almost as large as Balerion. The simple answer is probably that as with all POV narrations, Tyrion's POV is not objectively true, and he simply assumed that the smallest skull belonged to Vhagar - even though logically, it should have belonged to Meraxes.
Rhaegal is one of the three dragons born on the Dothraki Sea, along with Drogon and Viserion. He is named after Daenerys Targaryen's eldest brother, Rhaegar. He can be distinguished by his green and bronze colored scales, and his yellow-orange colored wings. Most of Rhaegal's scales are emerald green, with a few bronze scales on the underside of his neck and tail. His frills and wings are yellow-orange colored, becoming a darker green near the wing-bones. By the time he and his mother reached Westeros, many of the scales on Rhaegal's dorsal side, and most of those along his frills, had turned almost black, while his neck was striped with bright green and black.
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