Dragons were just a distant memory at the start of . The Valyrian Freehold contained a huge number of the beasts, but the majority perished in the Doom of Valyria. Most of the survivors died in the years to come, leaving the species extinct until Daenerys revived them at the end of Season 1.
While it took time for magic to re-enter the world, Westeros' history was forged in dragonfire and dragons have had a major impact on the continent's events for over a century. While any dragon was a game-changer in battle, some were notably more powerful than their peers, a fact won't be able to ignore for much longer.
House of the Dragon
Morghul was a relatively young dragon who was bound to Princess Jaehaera Targaryen, though never ridden by her. Following the capture of King's Landing by Rhaenyra Targaryen and her force of Black loyalists, Jaehaera escaped the capital while her dragon remained in the Dragonpit. Rhaenyra's rule over the greatest city in Westeros was marred by conflict and rioting and it was during one of these turbulent events that Morghul met his end.
A prophet known only as the Shepherd began to drum up anti-dragon feelings, culminating in a huge mob storming the Dragonpit and attempting to slay the five beasts that remained there. It was said that, despite being chained down, Morghul put up a tremendous fight, slaying scores of attackers with its flaming breath. The dragon was eventually killed after a spear was thrust into its eye, making it the weakest dragon in Westeros.
Tessarion is one of the more unusual dragons in this list, with little known about the extent of its powers. Though of fighting size, the dragon was very young while playing a major role in some of the larger battles in Westeros' history. Tessarion contributed to victories at the Battle on the Honeywine and the First Battle of Tumbleton, swinging the war in the favor of the Greens.
Noted for being an extremely beautiful dragon whose blue scales were matched only by the cobalt color of its flames, Tessarion was eventually killed at the Second Battle of Tumbleton following a three-way fight with Seasmoke and Vermithor. Of the three dragons, Tessarion was the last to die when three arrows pierced its eye.
Silverwing, as the name may suggest, was a silver-colored dragon who was considered relatively peaceful and friendly when compared to her immediate counterparts. The dragon featured in many significant moments, including lighting the funeral pyre of King Aenys I Targaryen with Vermithor and Quicksilver.
After the death of Queen Alysanne, Silverwing refused to be handled by any other Dragonrider until a Dragonseed man-at-arms named Ulf the White was able to tame her. She was present at the Second Battle of Tumbleton and witnessed the deaths of her kin before the poisoning of Ulf left her without a rider. She would go on to become semi-wild and would die many years later, having been one of just three to survive the Dance of the Dragons.
One of the smallest dragons seen so far, Arrax was Lucerys Velaryon's personal dragon, his egg having been placed in Luke's cradle when he was a baby. The boy and the dragon were bonded for most of their life before tragedy struck at Storm's End. As seen in , Season 1, Episode 10, "The Black Queen," where he and Arrax would lose their lives.
The Battle above Storm's End highlights just how little control Targaryens actually have over their dragons. Both Arrax and Vhagar stop responding to their riders' commands. Arrax engages Vhagar head-on with a fireblast, so Vhagar Arrax and Luke alive. Aemond shouldn't have antagonized Luke so much, but he never intended to kill his nephew. Controlling the biggest dragon in
There were three notable untamed dragons during the Dance. Named for his habit of butchering the livestock of Dragonstone, Sheepstealer was eventually tamed by a young girl named Nettles, who won his trust by giving him food. That said, many had tried to mount him before Nettles and failed miserably, so it's possible that there was an emotional bond between them.
He was born during the early reign of King Jaeherys I. As such, Sheepstealer was at least eighty and larger than many dragons used for war in
The oldest and largest wild dragon on Dragonstone, The Cannibal was notorious for eating its own kind, with a preference for hatchlings and dragon eggs. Despite dragons being a valuable resource during the Dance of the Dragons, Cannibal's violent and untamed nature meant that no riders could control it.
There's no denying that Cannibal was a threat, it never proved its mettle against other dragons. As such, this dangerous dragon might not be as strong as it appears or behaves. This ended up being a blessing in a way, as Cannibal became one of the only dragons to survive the Dance of the Dragons. What happened to it after the war, however, is unclear.
Untamed and riderless during the Dance of the Dragons, Grey Ghost was notably fearful and shy, avoiding dragons and humans alike on Dragonstone. Despite his timid nature, a few Dragonseeds sought out Grey Ghost to bond with him, but none could find him.
Grey Ghost would eventually lose its life in a battle against Sunfyre while fighting over the Dragonmont. Even after a lifetime of hiding, Grey Ghost fought back fiercely when it found itself trapped. Although Sunfyre survived and killed Grey Ghost, the former dragon was badly injured in the struggle.
One of the first dragons born after Aegon and his sisters'
Aegon's crown was ultimately usurped by his uncle, Maegor, when the two faced each other in battle above the ruined castle of Harrenhal. Quicksilver stood no chance against Maegor's enormous steed, Balerion the Black Dread. Balerion tore off Quicksilver's wings and burned him from the sky, killing both dragon and rider.
The central conflict in , The Dance of the Dragons saw more dragon casualties than any event since the Doom of Valyria. Although Meleys was far from the first dragon to die, she was one of the first truly old and powerful dragons to be killed during the conflict. Her death marks a major turning point in both the war and Targaryen history.
At least rode Meleys before her demise. Meleys didn't go down without fighting, however. At the Battle of Rook's Rest, she gives Sunfyre the first of several grave injuries that'll eventually take his life. Meleys may have died, but she did irreparable damage to both Aegon II and Sunfyre that followed them both for the rest of their lives.
Only seen briefly in so far, Sunfyre was King Aegon II Targaryen's mount during the Dance of the Dragons. It is widely regarded as the most beautiful dragon to ever live. More than just a pretty face, however, Sunfyre often held his own in combat and was also one of the most dangerous dragons in the war.
Sunfyre fought in several battles throughout the Dance of the Dragons, slaughtering foe after foe and killing more dragons than anyone else in the war. However, the toll of these battles left the proud creature wounded and broken. While not a kind man, Aegon II reportedly wept when Sunfyre eventually died of his many wounds.
Shown during the War for the Stepstones in , Seasmoke was Laenor Velaryon's mount in the prelude to the Dance of the Dragons. Following his death, Seasmoke bonded with Addam of Hull (legitimized as Addam Velaryon), a supposed bastard son of Corlys Velaryon. Interstingly, Laenor's changed fate in
Season 1, Episode 7, "Driftmark," reveals that Rhaenyra and Daemon only staged Laenor's death. He's actually alive and well with Qarl, seemingly far away from Westeros. Since dragons can feel their riders' lifeforce to some extent, Seasmoke wouldn't be able to bond with Addam while Laenor is still alive. ultimately has three choices moving forward: replace Addam with Laenor altogether, ignore that dragons can only be bonded to one rider at a time, or simply kill Laenor anyway.
The Blood Wyrm Caraxes was ridden by the rogue during The Dance of the Dragons. The two are already experienced in combat by the time of , having been to war in Dorne and the Stepstones. The first three episodes even adapt the War for the Stepstones to immediately convey just how dangerous Daemon & Caraxes are together.
Despite how powerful Daemon and Caraxes are, they don't actually do too much during The Dance of the Dragons according to . Aside from their confrontation with Aemond above the Gods Eye, Daemon's exploits are relatively light. Considering how much focus keeps giving Daemon, it's likely the series will end up giving him and Caraxes more to do as the Dance unfolds.
One of three dragons used by the Targaryens to conquer Westeros, Meraxes was ridden by Queen Rhaenys, Aegon the Conquerer's sister and wife. Of the siblings, Rhaenys was said to have loved flying the most and was often found on her dragon's silver-scaled back.
Meraxes was undeniably lethal and helped subjugate most of Westeros. Most notably, she was an active contributor to the Field of Fire, where the three siblings used their dragons to destroy the Reach and Westerlands' armies. Unfortunately, Meraxes became one of the only dragons to be killed by humans when she was shot down during the First Dornish War.
After the Conquest, Aegon and his sister's dragons produced several eggs, creating a second generation of powerful dragons. One of the most notable hatchlings from this litter was Vermithor, who served as Jaeherys Targaryen's mount, as well as the infamous Dragonseed Hugh the Hammer during the Dance of the Dragons.
One of the strongest and largest dragons of its generation, he was only outmatched by dragons like Vhagar and Balerion. Vermithor had an impressive campaign during the Dance of the Dragons until Seasmoke managed to deal it lethal injuries during a two-on-one duel at the Second Battle of Tumbleton. Vermithor was seen in
Syrax was a huge and intimidating dragon who came second only to Caraxes among the Targaryen mounts in . Noted for her unusually yellow scales, Syrax was named after a goddess of Valyria. Rhaenyra flew on Syrax during the assault and capture of King's Landing and was likely to have been the mother of the dragons bound to Rhaenyra's children.
Syrax was also treated differently from her contemporaries, living within the walls of the Red Keep instead of in the Dragonpit with the other "tamed" dragons who were alive at the time. The dragon was eventually slain following the Storming of the Dragonpit.
Rhaegal is one of three dragons that Daenerys hatches at the end of Season 1/the first book. Although Dorgon is clearly the strongest and most prominent of the trio in both mediums, it's not exactly clear who's stronger between Viserion and Rhaegal. In , Barristan Selmy does mention that Rhaegal is more dangerous between the two, but the show makes no such distinction.
While it can be safely assumed that Viserion is the stronger of the two post-resurrection, Rhaegal is no slouch. Despite being ridden by Jon Snow, arguably the most inexperienced dragonrider in the series, the two are able to hold their own against
Ridden by Aegon the Conqueror's sister Queen Visenya, Vhagar has the most storied history as far as Targaryen dragons go. Not only did she play an instrumental role in conquering Westeros, Vhagar has fought in many subsequent wars, most notably the Dance of the Dragons where she was ridden by Prince Aemond Targaryen.
Vhagar posed such a ferocious threat during this time that the Blacks essentially had to plan around her in order to successfully combat the Greens. The Black Dread was also long dead by the time the Dance started, making Vhagar the largest & strongest living dragon at the time. Vhagar amassed a respectable kill count over the course of the war, taking out fellow dragons and dragonriders alike.
Viserion is the weakest of Dany's three dragons in the books, but the show gave him the special honor of spending the last season undead. In Season 7, Episode 6 "Beyond the Wall," The Night King kills Viserion with one of his spears and resurrects the dragon as a wight. No longer bound to Daenerys, the Night King rides Viserion up until Jon & Dany dismount him during the Battle of Winterfell.
It's unclear just how much more powerful this resurrection makes Viserion, but it clearly has a notable effect. Viserion was able to hold its own against Rhaegal Drogon in a straight fight. Most notably, however, his blue dragonfire was hot and strong enough to melt a hole through the Wall, one of Westeros' most magical structures. Viserion's undead properties even keep him alive after Drogon takes a chunk out of his neck.
, Drogon is an immense black dragon who some have described as the reincarnation of Balerion the Black Dread. He grew at a freakishly fast pace compared to Rhaegal and Viserion. Less than a decade old, Drogon razed King's Landing to the ground with relative ease in Season 8, Episode 5, "The Bells," and burned innumerable wights during the Battle of Winterfell in Season 8, Episode 3, "The Long Night."
While the same feats of strength have yet to be seen in the books, Dany has only just started riding him as of . There's plenty of time for Daenerys' dragons to grow even stronger in
Perhaps the most iconic dragon other than Drogon, Balerion the Black Dread was the personal mount of Aegon the Conqueror, ridden in his conquest of Westeros. Balerion was the biggest dragon in history and undeniably the most powerful — easily the strongest of any other dragon between and . Balerion's exploits against other dragons are relatively understated, however.
He only killed Quicksilver when King Maegor I Targaryen mounted him in battle, and could barely fly for long when King Viserys I bonded with him in 's backstory. That said, Balerion's power was enough to make every kingdom in Westeros (save for Dorne) bend the knee to Aegon. No other dragon would be able to face Balerion if he were alive and in his prime during
Nine noble families fight for control over the lands of Westeros, while an ancient enemy returns after being dormant for a millennia.
Release Date April 17, 2011
Cast Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Kit Harington, Lena Headey
Genres Fantasy, Drama, Action, Adventure
Number of Episodes 73
Streaming Service(s) HBO Max