How Long Do Dragons in Game of Thrones Live? (& 5 Oldest)

got dragons

Throughout the 300-year dynasty of House Targaryen as the ruling family of Westeros in Game of Thrones, the weapons that allowed them to sit on the Iron Throne for as long as they did were the dragons. It was because of the dragons that the Targaryens were able to stay in power for a long time, and it also helped that the dragons of Westeros were able to live for a very long time so that they could help keep the Targaryens on the throne for as long as possible. So, how long do dragons live in Game of Thrones?

There is no definite lifespan for a dragon in Game of Thrones, but the fact is that they get to live for centuries. The only recorded instance of a dragon dying from old age was when Balerion lived to become 200 years old as he died of natural causes. But it is possible that they could live longer.

Even though Balerion did live for two centuries as the oldest dragon ever recorded in known history, it might be possible for these creatures to live longer lifespans, depending on the circumstances. But at this point, it does seem like 200 is the maximum lifespan of the dragons in Game of Thrones unless otherwise proven. So, let’s look at how long Game of Thrones dragons get to live.

How Old Do Dragons Live In Game Of Thrones?

When it comes to Game of Thrones, the one creature that has captivated us ever since the final parts of the first season was the dragon. Dragons were believed to have gone extinct for over a century because of the Dance of the Dragons, which will be chronicled during the events of House of the Dragon. However, in Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen was able to bring the very creatures that allowed her family to obtain power and hold onto it for nearly 300 years.

Of course, the story of the Targaryen dynasty began when Aegon the Conqueror and her sister’s wives invaded the Westerosi mainland from Dragonstone to conquer the entire continent so that he could unite it as one against a greater threat from the north. And the reason why Aegon was able to become king of the Seven Kingdoms and unite the entire continent under his rule was through his dragons Balerion, Meraxes, and Vhagar, as the lords of Westeros had no answer for these fire-breathing creatures with skin that even spears can’t pierce through.

Since then, the Targaryens have stayed in power, especially because of the fact that they were able to continue to breed dragons and raise them to bond with Dragonriders among the different members of the family. This is why, in House of the Dragon, there are different Targaryens that are bonded with their own dragons, as we’ve seen Rhaenyra with Syrax and Daemon with Caraxes.


How Can Lannisters Breed Dragons? (& Can Other Houses Do It)

Then again, the dragons of the Targaryens are also often passed down from one generation to another because dragons tend to live longer lifespans than humans. That is why a single dragon may have experienced multiple Dragonriders, depending on how long the dragon was able to live. So, how long do dragons in Game of Thrones live?

At this point, an exact number was never given in relation to how long dragons in Game of Thrones get to live. The only thing we know is that they have lifespans that are far longer than normal humans (Melisandre is said to be several centuries old because of her extraordinary abilities). Then again, there was an instance when a dragon was able to live quite long.

Balerion the Black Dread was the biggest and most ferocious dragon that Aegon the Conqueror brought to Westeros, as this dragon alone was more than enough to put the entire continent at its knees. It is widely believed that Balerion was not only the biggest but was also the greatest out of all of the dragons that set foot on Westeros as he was undefeated.

Unlike the other dragons that died in war (such as Meraxes, who was killed by a scorpion weapon in Dorne), Balerion was untouchable in the sense that no weapon or dragon could ever beat him. That was why he was able to live for a very long time until he died due to natural causes. He died on 94 AC, just nearly a century after Aegon conquered Westeros. And considering that Balerion was brought all the way from Old Valyria (where he was born) 100 years before Aegon conquered Westeros, he died at the age of around 200.

Balerion the Black Dread is the only Game of Thrones dragon in recorded history to have died due to old age, as all of the other dragons died due to war or because they were killed by other dragons. As such, we can’t say for certain if dragons could live for more than 200 years, considering that no other dragon in recorded history has lived longer than Balerion.

However, there is a good chance that dragons are capable of living for more than 200 years old, depending on the circumstances and the situation. In Balerion’s case, he might have lost a few years from his maximum lifespan because he was engaged in constant battles during his prime. So, as such, all dragons in Game of Thrones are capable of living for multiple centuries.

Five Oldest Dragons In Game Of Thrones

Now that we have established that Game of Thrones dragons can live for centuries, let’s look at some of the dragons that are widely believed to be the oldest in the recorded history of Game of Thrones.

5. Silverwing

Silverwing, ridden by Queen Alysanne. By Emile Denis © Green Ronin Publishing

Even though Vermithor was the second-oldest tamed dragon during the time of the Dance of the Dragons, Silverwing was able to outlive it. That’s because the bigger Vermitor, which was ridden by Hugh Hammer, died due to an ambush. As such, Silverwing, who was born a few years after Vermithor, outlived the dragon that was widely believed to be its mate.

Silverwing was said to have been born sometime between 36 to 41 AC. It was ridden by Queen Alysanne and was one of the friendliest dragons to have ever lived. Silverwing took part in the Dance of the Dragons but was able to survive the war as one of the four dragons that ended up flying out of the Targaryen civil war unscathed. However, Silverwing became wild after the Dance of the Dragons and was said to have died at an age close to 110.

4. Sheepstealer


Sheepstealer was one of the three wild dragons that lived on Dragonstone, as it was aptly named due to the fact that it had a taste for mutton. It loved stealing sheep from different fields all over the country and was known for being very difficult to tame, as most of the dragonriders that tried to tame it were either killed or gravely injured. Sheepstealer was born sometime during the early life of Jaehaerys, and that could mean that he was hatched somewhere between 30 to 40 AC. 

The dragon was tamed by a dragonseed named Nettles, who was able to become the dragonrider of Sheepstealer when it “offered” sheep to the dragon regularly until the dragon got used to her presence. There is no definite answer as to how long Sheepstealer lived because it was able to survive the Dance of the Dragons and ran off somewhere in the country with Nettles. As such, it is believed to have lived for a very long time and quite possibly longer than Silverwing.

3. Vhagar

Vhagar as illustrated by John McCambridge.

By the time of the Dance of the Dragons, Vhagar was the oldest dragon in Westeros as it was the only dragon that remained from the first three dragons that Aegon the Conqueror brought to Westeros during his conquest of the continent. As such, it was able to outgrow Meraxes, who was bigger than it during the conquest.

Due to its age, Vhagar was able to grow to a size close to Balerion as it is widely believed to be the second-biggest dragon in the history of Game of Thrones. However, Vhagar died during the Dance of the Dragons when it was killed by Caraxes in a battle that took the lives of the two dragons and their respective Dragonriders.

2. The Cannibal

the cannibal
The Cannibal as depicted by Douglas Wheatley in Fire & Blood.

The Cannibal was the fiercest and biggest of all of the wild dragons as this dragon was the only dragon that never got ridden by any Targaryen due to its ferocity. Of course, it got its name from the fact that it ate its own kind, as it loved feasting on dragon eggs, dragon hatchlings, and even smaller dragons. 


What’s West of Westeros in Game of Thrones?

There were rumors that the Cannibal was born on Dragonstone long before the Targaryens settled on it, but the rumors are unfounded. Nevertheless, due to the fact that the Cannibal is bigger than Sheepstealer, it should be quite old already and must have been born before Aegon’s conquest of Westeros. Moreover, the Cannibal lived through the Dance of the Dragons because it was wild, as it is possible that it lived to be close to 200 or probably even more than that because no one ever knew what happened to it.

1. Balerion

Balerion, as depicted by Jordi Gonzalez Escamilla in The World of Ice & Fire.

Of course, the oldest dragon in recorded history is Balerion the Black Dread, even though there is a small chance that the Cannibal might have been older. Nevertheless, because Balerion was the only dragon whose age was ever recorded, then he is the oldest dragon in Game of Thrones history.

Balerion was born in Old Valyria, as King Viserys himself said that he was the only living creature to have seen Valyria with its eyes. However, the Targaryens brought Balerion to Dragonstone to avoid the Doom of Valyria. Meanwhile, a hundred years after he was brought to Dragonstone, Balerion was the key figure that caused Westeros to tremble. Then, nearly a century after the conquest of Westeros, Balerion died, with King Viserys as the last one to ever ride him.

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