In this article:
- The Targaryen dragons are mysterious creatures in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire that are mostly known for being weapons for war for House Targaryen.
- In HBO’s upcoming House of the Dragon series, we can expect Targaryen dragons to take center stage as vital pieces of the Dance of the Dragons, a civil war between factions of House Targaryen.
- Unlike Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon is going to feature a ton of dragons which will get confusing if you don’t know who’s who. So, in this list of Targaryen dragons, you’ll know who rides which dragon and how important they are to the war.
Fans may have been unhappy with the ending of the original Game of Thrones series, but it made us interested enough in the Targaryen family to give House of the Dragon a chance.
House of the Dragon isn’t just about the Targaryens though, it’s also about the dragons that they’ve relied on to maintain power.
In A Song of Ice and Fire, Targaryen dragons are engines of war and companions to their riders. They shape the course of Westeros’ history but are also intimately tied to the fate of the Targaryen they bond with.
Meet 10 Important Targaryen Dragons Ahead of House of the Dragon
Aegon the Conqueror’s Balerion and his sister Visenya’s Vhagar are remembered as the largest Targaryen dragons in Westerosi history, but Jaehaerys I’s Vermithor easily takes the third spot.
Vermithor was known as “The Bronze Fury” because of his bronze-like scales and tan wings, making him a desirable dragon for anyone who wanted a leg up in the Dance of the Dragons. However, Vermithor was a difficult dragon to tame.
Unlike other Targaryen dragons who were easier to ride after having a previous rider, Vermithor was hostile to anyone who tried to ride him. But when he was needed during the Dance, Vermithor allowed a bastard Targaryen, who worked as a blacksmith, to ride him.
This seems to be a parallel to how Jaehaerys I chose a blacksmith’s son, Septon Barth, to be his Hand of the King because of his merits. This had never been done before as previous Targaryen kings chose their own relatives to be their Hand.
Caraxes was a red dragon said to be half the size of Vhagar, Queen Visenya’s dragon, making him one of the smaller adult Targaryen dragons to fight in the Dance. However, he was still thrice the size of younger dragons and was known as “The Blood Wyrm,” implying that he had a fearsome reputation.
Caraxes’ first rider was Aemon Targaryen, the son of Jaeharys I and Queen Alysanne.
Aemon took after his parents and was said to have a mild personality and a penchant for reading, both of which gave him the tempered wisdom of his parents. It was Aemon who chose Princess Rhaenys Targaryen, his only child, as his heir.
Aemon and Rhaenys’ dragons parallel each other. While Caraxes was known as “The Blood Wrym,” Rhaenys’ dragon, Meleys, was known as “The Red Queen.”
After Aemon’s death, Caraxes became the dragon of Prince Daemon Targaryen. Daemon was the son of Prince Baelon, Aemon’s brother. Caraxes continued to fight in the Dance alongside Daemon who supported Rhaenyra Targaryen’s claim to the Iron Throne.
Silverwing was originally the dragon of Queen Alysanne Targaryen who is sometimes referred to as Good Queen Alysanne. The two had a close bond since childhood and practically grew up together. Some accounts say that Silverwing hatched in Alysanne’s cradle.
True to her name, Silverwing had silver scales and shared her rider’s temperament. Many of the Targaryen dragons share personality traits with their original rider and in Silverwing’s case, it made her friendly like Queen Alysanne.
For most of her early life, Silverwing accompanied Queen Alysanne on visits to other Targaryen family members and on trips with King Jaehaerys and his dragon, Vermithor. Like their riders, the two Targaryen dragons were said to be close.
Queen Alysanne once tried to ride Silverwing past the Wall, but the dragon refused and would always turn back south. Considering what happened to one of Daenaerys’ dragons in Game of Thrones, it seems Silverwing’s intuition was right.
After Queen Alysanne’s death, Silverwing returned to Dragonstone where she chose a new rider, Ulf White. Like Vermithor, Silverwing chose a bastard Targaryen serving under Prince Jacaerys Velaryon, Princess Rhaenyra’s son.
Sunfyre was famous for his golden scales and was said to be the most beautiful dragon to ever be seen in Westeros. Though nowhere near as large as Vermithor, it’s implied that Sunfyre was larger than many of his contemporaries.
Sunfyre was the dragon of Aegon II Targaryen, the son of King Viserys I, who fought his sister Rhaenyra Targaryen for the Iron Throne.
Aegon and Sunfyre would be left permanently injured by one of the battles during the Dance. In fact, many of the battle injuries they suffer are similar to each other.
Sunfyre only had one rider.
Tessarion was the dragon of Prince Daeron Targaryen, a younger brother of Aegon II Targaryen. Prince Daeron’s disappearance during the Dance leads to several conspiracy theories and claims later during the Dance and even after it.
Tessarion was called “The Blue Queen” because of her dark blue wings and blue flames. Like Sunfyre, Tessarion was a beautiful dragon that had copper claws and belly scales.
Because she was a young dragon, Tessarion wasn’t known for her size, but for her speed. She wasn’t the fastest, but she was far more nimble than the older Targaryen dragons in the Dance.
Tessarion played a vital role in the Battle of Honeywine, singlehandedly winning the fight together with Prince Daeron.
If there’s one thing to look out for in House of the Dragon, it’s the chase scene between Tessarion and Seasmoke. Though, that’s assuming HBO doesn’t cut corners like they did in Game of Thrones.
Moondancer was one of the youngest Targaryen dragons during the Dance of the Dragons and didn’t play a major part in the fight. Instead, she and her rider, Baela Targaryen, are tragic figures in the Dance of the Dragons.
At the time of the Dance, Moondancer was only about the size of a horse and weighed less than one so sat out the fight at Dragonstone with Baela Targaryen.
However, Aegon II eventually managed to takeover Dragonstone, forcing the pair to flee. Aegon II chased them down with Sunfyre, resulting in fierce fight over Dragonstone.
Meleys was the dragon of none other than Rhaenys Targaryen, the daughter of Prince Aemon Targaryen. But before that, she belonged to Princess Alyssa Targaryen, Rhaenys’ aunt.
Like her original rider, Meleys was a sharp-tempered dragon known for her red scales and copper claws, earning her the name “The Red Queen.”
Before her death, Alyssa Targaryen often compared herself to Meleys, implying that they share a ton of similarities. Alyssa was fond of flying which led Meleys to become one of the fastest Targaryen dragons in Westeros, even faster than Caraxes and Vhagar.
However, Alyssa’s death left Meleys without a rider and because she wasn’t getting practice, Meleys became less agile with age. It was only when Rhaenys claimed her that she flew again, fighting alongside the queen-to-be in the Dance of the Dragons.
Meleys goes toe-to-toe with Vhagar and Sunfyre in the Dance.
Sheepstealer and Nettles are a mystery in A Song of Ice and Fire. Unlike the other Targaryen dragons on this list, Sheepstealer was never ridden by a proper Targaryen but was a wild dragon known for abducting sheep along Driftmark and Wendwater.
That said, he was one of the eggs kept on Dragonstone in the time of Jaeherys I.
Sheepstealer’s lack of access to reliable food made him skinny compared to the Targaryen dragons, however, his hunger didn’t make him vicious. Tales within A Song of Ice and Fire say that Sheepstealer didn’t have a taste for human flesh and would leave shepherds alone, as long as they didn’t try to fight him.
Sheepstealer and his rider, Nettles, would play a limited role in the Dance and are mostly known for disappearing.
But the true mystery around the two is the way they cast doubt on the legitimacy of House Targaryen’s claims of having “the blood of the dragon” and being the only ones able to tame dragons.
Consider these three facts:
- It’s never really made clear how Nettles is a Targaryen
- The last two people who tried to ride Sheepstealer were said to be of Targaryen blood, but Sheepstealer killed them both.
- Nettles trains Sheepstealer by offering it sheep, thereby slowly gaining his trust.
While many of the prominent dragon riders in Game of Thrones have Targaryen blood, there are more than a handful of instances in the books where it’s implied that the Targaryen “dragon blood” is just a myth to make the Targaryens seem more powerful and to scare other people away from trying to tame their dragons.
Dreamfyre was one of the few Targaryen dragons to never fight in the Dance of the Dragons. This wasn’t because Dreamfyre was riderless, but because its rider at the time, Helaena Targaryen, wasn’t a combatant.
Regardless, it’s implied that Dreamfyre was a massive dragon who was said to have beautiful blue and silver markings and pale blue wings.
She became the dragon of Princess Rhaena Targaryen, Aegon the Conqueror’s grandchild. Together, the two escaped Maegor the Cruel, who you might remember for being compared with Jeoffrey Baratheon.
After the death of Rhaenera at Harrenhal, Dreamfyre returned to Dragonstone where she and Princess Helaena grew close.
Despite her non-involvement in the Dance, Dreamfyre becomes a victim of the attack led by angry peasants, who were sick of the civil war and thought Targaryen dragons were to blame, on the Dragonpit.
10. The Last Dragon
The last dragon was, well, the last dragon of House Targaryen before Daenerys Stormborn returned to Westeros with her three dragons. As mentioned before, the Targaryen dragons often serve as mirrors of the history of House Targaryen who themselves parallel the present-day events of Game of Thrones.
In the world of ice and fire, history doesn’t just repeat itself but is also symbolic.
The last dragon was said to have died because she was sickly and deformed which is a reference to how centuries of inbreeding have made the Targaryens prone to mental instability.
The death of the last dragon marked the wane of House Targaryen’s power over Westeros.
In the parts of A Song of Ice and Fire where characters describe the Red Keep’s throne room during the time of the Targaryen kings, it’s implied that the last dragon’s skull was displayed there and was no larger than a dog’s skull.