At the time of King Viserys I Targaryen’s reign, there was no other dragon that was as big or as strong as Vhagar because this legendary dragon had been around longer than the Targaryen dynasty at that time. Of course, we saw in episode 6 of House of the Dragon that Laena Velaryon was now the dragon’s rider and is proud of the fact that she rides Vhagar. So, how did Laena claim Vhagar?
Laena was able to claim Vhagar because Vhagar allowed her to claim her. The reason why a dragon allows a dragonrider to claim it is only known to the dragon, but the fact of the matter is that Laena was worthy and brave enough for Vhagar to allow her to claim her as her new dragonrider.
One of the things that we don’t truly have an explanation for is the reason why a certain dragon allows a dragonrider to claim or mount it. All we know is that the bond between a dragon and its dragonrider is sacred and that certain people are able to bond with certain dragons for reasons that can be unknown. Now, that said, let’s look at how Laena claimed Vhagar.
Who Is Vhagar?
Back in the events of Aegon’s Conquest of Westeros, House Targaryen was able to easily make a lot of the kings of Westeros bow down to their might due to the strength of their three dragons. Of course, the most legendary of those dragons was Balerion the Black Dread, who is the biggest dragon of all time as far as the history of Westeros is concerned. But the other two dragons were just as mighty and huge as well. One of those dragons was Vhagar.
As a she-dragon, Vhagar is known as the Queen of All Dragons because of its legendary status. After all, during Aegon’s Conquest, she was able to make kings and lords bow down to her might because of how big, strong, and powerful she was. And, of course, her rider, Visenya Targaryen, was also a legendary figure in her own right as she wielded Dark Sister and was a force to be reckoned with during the height of her prowess.
At the time of Aegon’s Conquest, Vhagar was the smallest of the three dragons but was still quite huge. However, because Meraxes died quite early, Vhagar became the second-biggest dragon as dragons continue to grow as they age. As such, at the time of King Viserys I Targaryen’s reign, she was the biggest dragon in the world and was the only dragon that came close to the unimaginable size of Balerion the Black Dread.
Born during the Century of Blood and several years before Aegon’s Conquest, Vhagar was already close to 200 years old by the time of the events of House of the Dragon. That is why she was able to reach a size so massive that she easily dwarfed Caraxes, who itself is also quite large as well. Vhagar is actually described to be so big that its throat could swallow a horse whole.
Vhagar herself also had a pretty bloody history as she and Visenya were able to claim the Iron Throne for Maegor the Cruel, who claimed Balerion after Aenys I’s death. That is why, on the strength of the two largest dragons in the world at that time, Maegor’s reign was legitimized but was marked with cruelty.
For nearly 30 years after Visenya’s death, no one claimed Vhagar, as most of the other dragonriders had dragons born to them. It could also be possible that Vhagar spent a good part of her life mourning her dragonrider’s death, especially considering that she had spent a good amount of time with Visenya.
Then, before the turn of the end of the first century of the Targaryen dynasty, Balerion died due to natural causes. As such, Vhagar became the only living relic of Aegon’s Conquest and was now the largest and oldest dragon known to everyone at that time. Baelon the Brave, Viserys I’s father, did ride Vhagar but eventually died quite early in his life. After that, Vhagar was without a rider for a long time.
How Did Laena Claim Vhagar?
Back in the events of episode 2 of House of the Dragon, it was clear that Laena Velaryon was quite interested in dragons. She was introduced at the age of 12 to King Viserys, as the Velaryons wanted to marry their daughter to the king. Laena was curious about what it felt for Viserys to be the last one to ride Balerion. She also asked the king where Vhagar was.
To that end, Viserys told Laena that the Dragonkeepers had not seen Vhagar for a while, but there was a good chance that the dragon made her nest along the coast of the Narrow Sea. That was because, at that time, Vhagar was already too large to be kept in the dragonpit of Dragonstone. As such, she was allowed to roam the world free.
Laena, after that, told Viserys that the traders in Spicetown in Driftmark claim to hear Vhagar singing. That was when Viserys told her that even dragons could get lonely at times, and that was probably one of the reasons why Laena decided to claim Vhagar for her own, as she felt sad about the fact that the dragon must have felt lonely.
It is possible that Laena was able to find Vhagar’s nest due to the wide network of ships that the Velaryons controlled. The fact that the dragon was somewhere along the coastlines of the narrow sea made it easier for the Velaryon sailors to search for the dragon. And after they found her, that was when Laena must’ve attempted to claim her.
The bond between a dragon and its dragonrider is a sacred one that cannot be described with words. As such, when Laena tried to claim Vhagar, no one knew exactly why the dragon allowed her to claim her. But there is a possibility that Vhagar allowed Laena to claim her because of the fact that the young girl probably felt that the dragon was quite lonely.
In that regard, considering that Viserys told Laena that Vhagar must’ve felt lonely on her own, Laena could have approached her with the intention of keeping her company. Vhagar must have felt the sincerity within Laena, and that was probably the reason why she allowed her to be her dragonrider.
After all, as seen in the events of episode 6 when Laena told Vhagar to burn her, the sadness and confusion were clear in the eyes of the massive dragon because their bond must’ve been quite strong.