What Happened to the Dragons in Game of Thrones? Every Dragon’s Fate Explained
Game of Thrones presented us with three young dragons, the children of Daenerys Targaryen. However, the new HBO series, House of the Dragon, shows us there were many more majestic dragons bred and raised by the Targaryens – before and during the course of the show.
In fact, in George R.R. Martin’s work, there are over thirty named dragons stemming from the Targaryens. Unfortunately, most of them didn’t survive the Dance of the Dragons. So, if you want to learn what happened to all the dragons in the Westeros universe – including those before and during the House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones, keep reading this article.
WARNING: The following article might contain spoilers for certain aspects of the show, House of the Dragon, depending on the direction the show will be heading in. If you want to avoid any potential spoilers about the fate of the Targaryen dragons, skip this article.
Archonei was one of the Pre-Doom Valyrian dragons, meaning he was born even before the First Generation of dragons, Balerion, Meraxes, and Vhagar. Not much is known about Archonei’s fate and demise, as he is only mentioned by Viserys in the Game of Thrones episode Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things.
We know that Archonei was one of the dragons who helped “forge” the Seven Kingdoms into one, but it is unknown whether he died in battle or of old age. His skull, however, is still kept in the Red Keep as decoration.
Arrax lived on Dragonstone, and his rider was Prince Lucerys Velarion. He was a beautiful but young dragon, which eventually perished during the Dance of the Dragons – the civil war we’ll witness in the House of the Dragon series.
Arrax and Lucerys were attacked by Vhagar and its rider, Aemond Targaryen. Vhagar was at least five times as big as Arrax and easily decapitated him by biting his head off in mid-air. Lucerys plummeted and drowned in the unsettled waters of Shipwreck Bay.
You’ll see Balerion’s colossal skull many times in Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon, decorating the Red Keep. Known as the Black Dread, Balerion was the biggest dragon ever bred by the Targaryens. His shadow could “swallow cities,” as Balerion was one of the three dragons of the First Generation, which included him, Meraxes, and Vhagar.
Unlike many dragons on this list, Balerion actually died of old age not long after Viserys I Targaryen ascended to the Iron Throne and bonded with the dragon. No other dragon ever came close to Balerion in size, except for Vhagar, who would likely even surpass Balerion in size, hadn’t she met her fate before her time. More on that later.
Caraxes was big, but not as big as Balerion or Vhagar. You will see a lot of him in the new series, as his rider is Daemon Targaryen, portrayed by Matt Smith. Caraxes probably saw more battles during his life than any other dragon, making him the toughest fighter out in the skies. That’s what gave him the nickname, the Blood Wyrm.
Unfortunately, Caraxes met his demise before his time, too. In 130 AC, during the Battle Above the Gods Eye. Daemon and Caraxes challenged Aemond and Vhagar.
Despite Vhagar being much larger and more powerful than Caraxes, Caraxes managed to survive longer than Vhagar. He eventually died from his injuries, too, and so did the two dragon riders.
Cannibal had no rider but was rather a wild dragon living on Dragonstone. He was the oldest and biggest of the three wild dragons on Dragonstone and was known for eating other dragons – newborns, eggs, or dead dragons.
Eventually, Cannibal was one of only four dragons to survive the Dance but fled, and his whereabouts were never uncovered later.
If you watched House of the Dragon Episode 2, you probably remember the name Dreamfyre being mentioned. He was still unhatched, in an egg (spoilers for HOTD Episode 2 ahead) stolen by Prince Daemon to, well, get on his brother’s nerves.
Eventually, Dreamfyre hatched into a beautiful, strong young dragon, who was ridden by Rhaena Targaryen and later Helaena Targaryen, the daughter of Viserys and Alicent Hightower and Princess Rhaenyra’s half-sister.
Eventually, Dreamfyre died, along with four other dragons, during the Storming of the Dragonpit. It was an event where dragon slayers infiltrated the pit and killed five Targaryen dragons. Dreamfyre was the last to survive, trying to escape. However, as she hit the ceiling, it broke down and crumbled, with the debris killing both her and the dragon slayers.
I was thinking about leaving Drogon for last, but since we’re going in alphabetical order, it’s now time to explain what (probably, potentially, most likely) happened to Drogon after the final episode of Game of Thrones.
For those who forgot, Drogon was the last of the three dragons of Daenerys Targaryen. When she died at the hands of Jon Snow, Drogon melted down the Iron Thron, took Daenerys’ body, and flew off somewhere with her.
Now, we never see or hear what happens to Drogon after that, but a theory emerged after Episode 1 of House of the Dragon. In the episode, we learn that the Targaryen custom after death was not a burial but rather cremation.
So, perhaps Drogon left with Daenerys’ body to Volantis – the land where she grew up, as Samwell Tarly theorized in the final episode of Game of Thrones – to cremate her body in line with the customs and tradition of the Targaryens. It’s a reach, but apart from theories, we don’t really know where they went.
Like Archonei, Essovius was only mentioned in the Game of Thrones TV series, not in GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels. He was one of the Pre-Doom Valyrian dragons, born even before Balerion, Meraxes, and Vhagar, although they shared the skies at some point.
It is unclear whether Essovius died of old age or in battle, but it’s more likely the dragon perished before.
Ghiscar’s fate was similar to Archonei’s and Essovius’s. After his death, his skull decorated the halls of the Red Keep, although it was never stated how or when the dragon perished. We do know that Ghiscar was born before the three First Generation dragons.
Another wild dragon residing on Dragonstone was named Grey Ghost. He never had a rider and got his name because of his appearance and the fact one could never find him, as Gery Ghost avoided people as much as possible and lived in a smoky vent of a volcano named Dragonmont.
In the end, Grey Ghost perished a horrible death, being killed and devoured by a majestic Targaryen dragon, Sunfyre, who was often referred to as the most beautiful dragon they ever had.
Meleys was a Second Generation dragon, also known as the Red Queen, due to her magnificent, majestic appearance. She was one of the oldest dragons remaining during the Dance, except Vhagar, meaning she was one of the biggest and absolutely most powerful dragons, too. Not even the bigger, older Vhagar dared to challenge Meleys one-on-one.
Eventually, Meleys was double-teamed by Vhagar and Sunfyre during the Dance, which led to her final defeat and death. However, even against two powerful dragons, Meleys managed to severely injure and cripple the mighty Sunfyre. She was truly a Queen among dragons.
Meraxes was one of the three dragons of the First Generation, along with Vhagar and Balerion. Unlike the others, Meraxes was as white as snow and was big enough to swallow a horse in one piece. He was smaller than Balerion but bigger than Vhagar at the time of his demise. Vhagar outgrew him later, as she lived much longer.
Meraxes died during the War of Conquest when a big scorpion-head arrow pierced his brain right through the eye. Both Meraxes and his rider, Rhaenys Targaryen, fell to their deaths. His skull was returned to the Red Keep after the War, where it still decorates the halls.
Moondancer had a lot of potentials and was a really beautiful light-green dragon. However, she was incredibly young and small when she died. Her rider was Baela Targaryen, and Moondancer was so small she could barely hold her weight. However, despite the lack of size and power, Moondancer was incredibly quick.
Still, it wasn’t enough when she found herself head-to-head with Sunfyre, a much larger, stronger, and more experienced dragon. He dismantled Moondancer and eventually devoured her but was also mortally injured. Her rider, Baela, survived, but barely.
Morghul was quite a young dragon, bound to princess Jaehaera Targaryen, but she never got to ride the beautiful, mighty dragon. However, he was one of the five dragons slain during the Storming of the Dragonpit, just like Dreamfyre we mentioned before. Still, he went out on a bang, killing many, many dragon slayers before eventually succumbing to their attacks.
Morning’s life was short (as far as we know), but she made an impact. Her rider was Rhaena Targaryen, but Morning hatched during the Dance, meaning she was born into war. We never conclusively learn what happened to Morning, but she couldn’t be older than 25 when she died or vanished, as we never hear about her again later in Martin’s texts. I’m an optimist, so I say Morning just flew away after the Dance.
No, not the super-fast Marvel mutant – Quicksilver was one of the Targaryen dragons. He got his name due to his majestic white scales and even whiter fireballs. He was the reason why an ill prince who was thought to be a lost cause came back to health as soon as the two bonded.
It’s sad that such a majestic creature perished so quickly (pun intended). During the Battle Beneath the God’s Eye, Quicksilver found himself in a battle against the Black Dread. Of course, it was not even a contest, as Balerion easily ripped out one of Quicksilver’s wings in the air, sending both the dragon and its rider, Aenys I Targaryen, to their deaths.
The second of the three dragon brothers in Game of Thrones, born to Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons. He was incredibly beautiful with green and bronze scales and more tender than his brother, Drogon.
Rhaegal had the most tragic ending of all three brothers. After Viserion was killed first and turned into a wraith dragon, Rhaegal tried to save him. He couldn’t, of course, and eventually, the wraith Viserion injured Rhaegal in battle severely, leading to him getting hit by more than one scorpion-head bolt and plummeting into the waters surrounding Dragonstone.
Seasmoke was one of the wild dragons on Dragonstone, who was tamed after the Targaryens gave the opportunity to their bastard children to try and tame one of them. Seasmoke was ridden by Laenor Targaryen and Addam of Hull – the bastard who tamed him. The two died during the Dance of the Dragons in the Second Battle of Tumbleton.
Sheepstealer was also a wild dragon who got her name from, well, stealing sheep. A girl named Nettles managed to tame Sheepstealer as she was a Targaryen bastard, so she got her title and name. Eventually, she fought by Princess Rhaenyra and Prince Daemon’s side. And her ending was not fatal but arguably more tragic. WARNING: Potential major spoilers for HOTD.
Nettles on Sheepstealer, and Daemon on Caraxes, hunted down Aemond Targaryen riding the majestic Vhagar. However, in the meantime, Rhaenyra was betrayed by two other bastards, so she thought she couldn’t believe Nettles either and demanded them dead. Instead, Daemon sent Sheepstealer and Nettles far away, attacking Vhagar and Aemond alone.
It led to the deaths of all four parties involved in the head-to-head conflict. Daemon probably knew he was going down in the conflict, as Vhagar was among the largest dragons ever, but his faithful Caraxes delivered and managed to kill the beast before succumbing to the injuries himself.
Another young dragon that died before ever being ridden was Shrykos. She was one of the first dragons to die during the Storming of the Dragonpit, as an assassin named Hobb the Hewer spiked a huge ax in the back of Shrykos’ head. Had she lived longer, Shrykos would be ridden by the young Jaehaery Targaryen.
Silverwing was a very important, powerful Targaryen dragon. She was first the dragon of Queen Alysanne Targaryen. After the Queen died, Silwerving didn’t accept a new rider and became a wild dragon until a bastard, Ulf the White, tamed her, just like Nettles tamed Sheepstealer.
Then Ulf died, too, and it completely broke Silverwing. She went berserk from grief and depression, and any man who tried approaching her again god eaten in a bite. Silverwing survived the Dance as a wild dragon, never to be seen or heard again. She was one of only four dragons to survive.
Stormcloud was a brave, young dragon who died a hero despite his short life. He was so small that he could barely carry the little prince Aemond III on his back. That’s why Stormcloud, Aemond, and Viserys II were supposed to board a ship and escape King’s Landing.
However, the ship was intercepted, and the tiny dragon gathered the strength to carry the little prince back to King’s Landing, despite being shot through the neck. The prince survived, but Stormcloud died heroically from his injuries and sheer exhaustion.
He was a hero, not just because he saved the boy, but because Rhaenyra now knew an army was on its way to attack them.
This is already a familiar name in the House of the Dragon, as Sunfyre is deemed the most beautiful dragon of the entire Dance. He was completely golden and had tons of battle experience despite not being as colossal as the mighty Vhagar or even Caraxes.
He killed two dragons alone and one with Vhagar’s assistance. However, after a fight with a much smaller but quicker Moondancer, Sunfyre won, but Moondancer used her quickness to deliver lethal injuries before being devoured. The beautiful golden dragon eventually died due to those injuries.
Syrax – the dragon of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, was incredibly big, strong, and protective over her rider. However, due to the princess not being allowed into battle often, Syrax wasn’t as experienced as Caraxes or Vhagar, despite rivaling the Blood Wyrm in size.
Interestingly, there are no clear indications on how exactly Syrax died, other than the fact that she died while trying to help during the Storming of the Dragonpits. That gives the writers of the House of the Dragon a lot of wiggle room, so I’m interested to see what they come up with for Rhaenyra’s majestic dragon.
Tessarion, aka the Blue Queen, was a majestic creature with royal blue scales, ridden by Prince Daeron Targaryen during the Dance. She did great in battle, but in a frontal collision of three dragons fighting one another between Tessarion, Seasmoke, and Vermithor, she was the last one to die.
The dragons injured her severely, and as she tried to rise back into the sky, her injuries prevented her, and eventually, Tessarion was killed with three scorpion-head arrows – one of which went through the eye.
Nobody can say for sure what happened to Terrax – because nobody can say for sure if he even existed. Terrax is a mythical Valyrian dragon, said to have flown further south than anyone had ever flown with his rider, Jaenara Belaerys. They apparently reached Sothoryos, but not much is known about what happened next – most of it is just a folktale.
Rhaenyra Targaryen, as you’ll see in the series, had three children with her first husband, Laenor Velaryon. One of her boys, Prince Joffrey Velaryon, was bound to Tyraxes, a beautiful young dragon who had yet to grow enough to be mounted. Before that happened, Tyraxes perished in the Storming of the Dragonpits, along with four other dragons.
Another mythological dragon, allegedly living in Westeros during the time of the First Men. Serwyn of the Mirror Shield – as he was later known – was said to have taken a mirror and used it as a shield to approach Urrax, so the dragon would see nothing but his own reflection.
After getting close enough, Serwyn spiked the dragon through the eye with a spear, killing Urrax on the spot. Honestly, it sounds like a super unrealistic tale, as I’m sure the dragon would notice his reflection is getting closer, or at least that it’s moving. That’s why it’s a legend, not a fact, though.
Valyron is one of the Pre-Doom Valyrian dragons, only mentioned in the Game of Thrones series, not in the books by George R.R. Martin. He died around the time or before the First Generation hatched, and his skull, apparently, can still be found in the halls of the Red Keep.
Vermax was another dragon in the Dance, ridden by Rhaenyra’s oldest son, Jacaerys Velaryon. The two were tasked to go north and ask for allegiance, a task they successfully completed. However, upon finding out his younger brother, Viserys, was captured by the enemy, he vowed to save him.
Unfortunately, that task was not as successful, as the two got killed in the Battle of the Gullet after being shot down from the sky with scorpions.
Vermithor was a majestic bronze creature that became wild after his initial rider, King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, died. Later, Vermithor was tamed by a bastard named Hugh Hammer and fought on Rhaenyra’s side, only to betray her and switch sides in the middle of the civil war.
Vermithor eventually died in the three-way battle with Seasmoke and Tessarion, where he was the biggest dragon but the first one to perish. However, all three dragons eventually died from the injuries of the battle.
Nope, not the same dragon. In fact, Vermithrax didn’t exist in Martin’s books, but was mentioned by Viserys in Game of Thrones, much like many other Pre-Doom Valyrian dragons, which lived during the same time as the First Generation of dragons, but died before the three, either from old age or in battle.
The name was probably a homage to Martin, who once stated that Vermithor got his name after Vermithrax, which was another dragon from a movie called Dragonslayer. The movie came out in the 80s and served as a great inspiration to Martin’s dragons.
So far, we’ve only heard Vhagar’s name mentioned in the series – but I can’t wait to see her on screen. Balerion was bigger when he died, but Vhagar lived longer and grew to rival him in size during the Dance. She was the mightiest, largest dragon alive, and had Vhagar lived to die from old age like Balerion, she’d even outgrow him.
Unfortunately, that never happened because, as we now know, she died fighting the Blood Wyrm. Despite being larger, Caraxes was more experienced in battle, and he killed Vhagar while plummeting into the sea himself. However, he managed to get out of the water and die from his injuries, while Vhagar was already dead.
Finally, the third child of Daenerys Targaryen, Viserion, was a beautiful dragon hatched with two brothers, Rhaegal and Drogon. Viserion was more affectionate and calm like Rhaegal, while Drogon was the most aggressive of the three.
Viserion was also the first one of them to die, as he was killed by the Night King and the White Walkers, only to be resurrected as a wraith and used to tear down the Wall. Eventually, the wraith Viserion was defeated, just like the Night King and the rest of his undead army.