Get to Know the Dragons of "House of the Dragon"
While a major "Game of Thrones" plot point is the shocking arrival of new dragons long after they've supposedly gone extinct, "House of the Dragon" takes place in an age of dragons and dragon riders. Based on George R.R. Martin's book "Fire & Blood," the prequel series centers on a terrible civil war fought by the ruling Targaryen dynasty called the Dance of the Dragons, which should convey how heavily dragons are involved in this brutal succession crisis.
During the show's first season, which wrapped up Oct. 24, viewers got to meet many of the dragons that the Targaryens and their allies will use in the fight, but there are even more to come. Showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik told TVLine on Aug. 16 that the series has a whopping 17 dragons. Here's everything you need to know about the most important dragons we might see or hear about in "House of the Dragon," plus where you've seen the dragons during the first season.
Why Are Dragons Different Sizes?
The season finale of "House of the Dragon" really drove home that not all dragons are created equal. Vhagar is substantially larger than Jacerys's Arrax, and Rhaenyra laments that many of the dragons on the blacks' side are too small and young to really impact the coming war. There are a couple of things contributing to this differential. First, older dragons are just a lot bigger than younger ones. And dragons have a massive lifespan; Balerion dies 94 years after Aegon's conquest, making him about 250 years old. It seems that they keep growing for most of that time.
But in the world of "Game of Thrones," the dragons also just got smaller over time, and there's never a clear explanation given. Dragons apparently need freedom to thrive, and the Targaryens eventually built the Dragonpit to house them. Many believe that the restrictions on them made them grow smaller. The last-ever dragon (before Danaerys's dragons) was about the size of a cat. There are also some who believe that magic was leaving the world, which impacted the dragons' size.
— Additional reporting by Victoria Edel
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Balerion the Black Dread in "House of the Dragon"
The dragon Balerion is known as the Black Dread — and for good reason. One of the most significant dragons in "Fire & Blood," he's ridden by Aegon I during the Targaryen conquest of Westeros. Other Targaryen descendants also ride him throughout his long life. But unlike many of the other dragons in the book, he lives out a long life, dying of old age during the reign of Jaehaerys I long before the civil war.
But Balerion still appears in "House of the Dragon"; it's his skull that resides in the Red Keep, and many of the character walks by it. Viserys also talks to Lady Laena Velaryon (Nova Mosé-Foueillis) about being Balerion's last rider.
Caraxes in "House of the Dragon"
Caraxes is the dragon of Prince Daemon Targaryen during the Dance of the Dragons, having previously been ridden by Prince Aemon, one of Jaehaerys's heirs (and Princess Rhaenys's father). Daemon is seen on Caraxes throughout the first season. Viewers see him fight for the first time in episode three, when Daemon flies him in the war in the Stepstones. Throughout season one, Daemon isn't afraid to use Caraxes to threaten, cajole, and intimidate. In the book, he's also nicknamed the Blood Wyrm because of his red color. Caraxes is an experienced rider, but still, he's about half the size of Vhagar.
Syrax in "House of the Dragon"
Unlike many of the other dragons in Targaryen history, Syrax is tied only to one rider: Rhaenyra Targaryen. At the beginning of episode one of "House of the Dragon," Rhaenyra flies Syrax over King's Landing before settling her down in the Dragonpit. Later, Syrax's fire is used to cremate Aemma and Baelon after their deaths. In the second episode, Rhaenyra rides Syrax to Dragonstone to get the stolen dragon egg back from Daemon. When Rhaenyra is named queen at the end of the season, Syrax is still by her side. But because Rhaenyra is her first rider, Syrax is not trained in battle.
Dreamfyre in "House of the Dragon"
In the second episode of "House of the Dragon," Prince Daemon steals a dragon's egg from the Dragonpit, claiming he wants it to lay in his son's crib. Princess Rhaenyra is particularly outraged, since she chose that egg for her baby brother who died in the first episode. We don't know yet which dragon will hatch from that egg, but we do know some major info about the dragon who laid it: Dreamfyre, who will almost certainly feature in the show.
Dreamfyre hatched sometime during the reign of Aegon the Conqueror. Her main rider is Aegon's granddaughter Princess Rhaena. In Martin's books, Dreamfyre lays many nests of dragon's eggs, some of which are stolen and never returned.
After Rhaena dies, Dreamfyre makes her home in the Dragonpit, where she remains until Princess Helaena Targaryen (daughter of Viserys and Alicent) bonds with her. We didn't see Dreamfyre in season one, but we'll presumably see Helaena ride her in season two.
Vhagar in "House of the Dragon"
Vhagar is first ridden during the Targaryen conquest when she is the dragon of Queen Visenya, the sister-wife of Aegon I. Many years later, after going riderless after Visenya's death, Vhagar is claimed by Laena Velaryon. Episodes one and two of "House of the Dragon" take place before Laena has claimed the dragon, but she discusses the dragon and its whereabouts with King Viserys. She revealed that most believe Vhagar is nesting somewhere in the Narrow Sea, possibly near Spice Town. It's clear she has a longstanding interest in the dragon. Viewers finally see Laena on her dragon in episode six. But when Laena's labor fails, she has Vhagar kill her.
In "House of the Dragon" episode seven, Prince Aemond (Leo Ashton) claims Vhagar as his own, though he loses an eye in the process. But that means that the greens have the largest and oldest dragon left on the board. Vhagar kills Prince Lucerys and his dragon Arrax in the season one finale.
Seasmoke in "House of the Dragon"
Seasmoke makes his first appearance in "House of the Dragon" in episode three. Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate) rides the dragon during the fight in the Stepstones, blasting enemy soldiers with fire. Laenor also flies Seasmoke to King's Landing ahead of his wedding to Rhaenyra. Seasmoke is a relatively young dragon who's never had another rider.
After Laenor fakes his death in episode seven, Seasmoke doesn't have a rider, which is rough for the blacks, who could use a more mature dragon on their side. In season two, they'll likely start searching for riders for Seasmoke and other riderless dragons they have in their custody.
Meleys, the Red Queen, in "House of the Dragon"
The red dragon Meleys, also known as the Red Queen, is the dragon primarily associated with Targaryen princesses Alyssa and Rhaenys (Eve Best). Princess Alyssa is the mother of two major figures in the civil war: Viserys I, the king whose death sets off the succession crisis, and Prince Daemon. According to "Fire & Blood," Alyssa took both of her sons on Meleys's back when they were just a few days old.
After Alyssa's death, Meleys is claimed by Rhaenys, daughter and heir of the late Prince Aemon, who was himself heir to the Iron Throne. Passed over in the line of succession, largely due to being a daughter instead of a son, Rhaenys is known as the "Queen Who Never Was." In episode five, "House of the Dragon" viewers got our best look at Meleys yet, when Rhaenys flies her to King's Landing ahead of her son's wedding. Meleys makes her biggest entrance in season nine, when Rhaenys uses her to threaten the greens and escape King's Landing. During the season finale, she pledges the beast to Rhaenyra's cause.
Vermax in "House of the Dragon"
When he was still a dragon egg, Vermax was given to the sons of Rhaenyra, the Targaryen heir and daughter of Viserys I. Vermax hatches and bonds with Jacaerys, one of the sons of Rhaenyra and her first husband, Laenor Velaryon. Vermax made his "House of the Dragon" debut in episode six, and Jacaerys flew him toward the North at the end of episode 10 to speak to the Arryns and Starks. Still, Vermax is a relatively young dragon with no battle experience, so it remains to be seen how he'll fair during the civil war with his young rider.
Sunfyre in "House of the Dragon"
Sunfyre's evocative name is aided by an additional moniker: "The Golden." With golden scales and a reputation as the most beautiful dragon ever seen, Sunfyre is another dragon tied to just one rider: Aegon II, the other claimant of the Iron Throne during the Dance of the Dragons. Sunfyre is mentioned as Aegon's mount in episode six of "House of the Dragon," though we have not seen him so far in the series.
Sunfyre, like many of the dragons in the war, is relatively young. Aegon claimed him as a child. His name comes from the fact that his scales are gleaming gold, like the sun.
Arrax in "House of the Dragon"
Arrax is the mount of Prince Lucerys. Luke bonded with the dragon when the beast was just a hatchling. In "Fire & Blood," he's described as five times smaller than Vhagar, which viewers got to see in the season one finale. Luke flies Arrax to carry a message to Storm's End, but runs into his uncle Aemond. Aemond challenges him and gives chase on Vhagar. The dragon kills Arrax and his rider, which is ultimately the first death in the Dance of Dragons.
Vermithor in "House of the Dragon"
During the season finale of "House of the Dragon," Daemon goes to check on a dragon we haven't seen or heard about during the series before: Vermithor. The dragon is sometimes called the Bronze Fury in "Fire and Blood" because of his color. His original rider was King Jaehaerys — Viserys's grandfather — who was accepted by the dragon when he decided to claim the Iron Throne. After Jaehaerys died, the dragon made his home in the caverns at Dragonstone.
Daemon, worried about the war, goes to check on the dragon because he wants to find it a rider. In the books, they ultimately do, and a bastard named Hugh Hammer uses him as his mount.
Moondancer in "House of the Dragon"
During the season one finale, Daemon mentions the dragon Moondancer, which belongs to his daughter Baela. But it's unclear if he's right about the dragon being ready to fight. In "Fire & Blood," Moondancer is quite small and young. It's unclear what an asset the dragon can be during the fighting. Expect to see the dragon during season two.
Tyraxes in "House of the Dragon"
Tyraxes is the dragon bound to Prince Joffrey, though viewers have yet to see him on screen. Like his brother's dragons, Tyraxes is very young when war begins. In "Fire and Blood," Joffrey begs to fight on his dragon, but Rhaenyra forbids it. It seems we will see the dragon in future seasons.