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The Most Important Dragons In Game Of Thrones And House Of The Dragon

Spoilers ahead for "House of the Dragon."

There are many thrilling elements at play in "Game of Thrones" and "House of the Dragon," but the titular dragons are among the most important. They're especially central to the latter series, which is set nearly 200 years before the events of "Game of Thrones." "House of the Dragon" centers around the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons, which tears House Targaryen apart and leads to the apparent extinction of dragons as a whole. As diehard fans of "Game of Thrones" and author George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" books know, these scaled beasts vanish until Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) emerges from a funeral pyre with three hatchlings in tow.

Dragons are as marvelous to the denizens of Westeros as they are to real-world fans, whether there are only three of them on the far side of the world or nearly 20 at the height of the Targaryens' power. "Game of Thrones" introduces Daenerys' "children," Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion, while "House of the Dragon" focuses on the dragons who came before them. From the fiery steed Princess Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock, Emma D'Arcy) rides to Daemon Targaryen's (Matt Smith) legendary mount, they're all impressive — and we're here to celebrate them. These are the most important dragons in "Game of Thrones" and "House of the Dragon."

Drogon

The largest of Daenerys Targaryen's three dragons, Drogon hatches in the Dothraki Sea during "Fire and Blood," the Season 1 finale of "Game Of Thrones." He and his brothers, Rhaegal and Viserion, are a wonder. At the time of their birth, dragons have been extinct for nearly 200 years, and are little more than legends. But then, Daenerys strides out of her husband's funeral pyre with baby Drogon on her shoulder. "Game of Thrones" devotes much time to her experiences as the era's first dragonrider.

Drogon grows quickly. Born in 298 AC, the black and red dragon is the size of a horse when Daenerys takes Meereen in Season 4, circa 301 AC. One season later, he's large enough for the Mother of Dragons to ride after he rescues her from an attack by the Sons of the Harpy. By Season 7 — approximately 304 AC — Drogon is, as director Matt Shakman told Entertainment Weekly, as big as a Boeing 747.

Nobody does dramatic entrances quite like Drogon. Though Daenerys is mother to three dragons, Drogon is the mount she rides into battle. Named after Daenerys' late husband, Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), Drogon is the biggest, fiercest and most aggressive dragon of the Targaryen queen's trio. He's last seen flying east to Volantis with Daenerys' body after she is killed by Jon Snow.

Rhaegal

Rhaegal hatches in Drogo's funeral pyre alongside Drogon and Viserion, then accompanies Daenerys throughout her travels. For most of the series, Rhaegal is overshadowed by Drogon. The green dragon gets to shine in Season 8, however, when he is ridden by Jon Snow (Kit Harington), aka Aegon Targaryen, secret son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Sadly, Rhaegal's life comes to an unceremonious end when he's shot down over Dragonstone by Euron Greyjoy's (Pilou Asbaek) scorpions.

Rhaegal is green and bronze, with brilliant orange eyes. Like Viserion, Rhaegal's growth is stunted after Daenerys imprisons him beneath the Great Pyramid during Season 4. Although this leaves him smaller than Drogon, Rhaegal is still absolutely enormous when he arrives at Dragonstone in Season 7. Notably, that season also sees Rhaegal and his brothers accompany Daenerys beyond the Wall to rescue Jon Snow. It is here that Viserion is killed — and reanimated — by the Night King. Rhaegal faces off against his undead brother during Season 8's "The Long Night," where he is wounded in battle. Though he dies soon after, Rhaegal is still distinguished by the fact that Jon Snow rides him twice during the series. This is pretty fitting, considering Rhaegal is named after Jon's real father.

Viserion

Viserion hatches in Drogo's pyre and remains with Daenerys until the Night King (Vladamir Furdik) takes him out with an ice spear in Season 7. Known for his cream-and-gold coloring, Viserion is a more placid dragon than his bigger brother, Drogon. This might be partially due to his experiences: Season 4 sees Viserion imprisoned in Meereen's catacombs, alongside Rhaegal. In Season 5, Daenerys feeds them a few enemies after Ser Barristan Selmy (Ian McElhinney) is killed by the Sons of the Harpy. Tyrion removes the dragons' chains in Season 6. They proceed to break free from the catacombs to help Daenerys and Drogon put an end to the slavers' siege.

By the time Season 7 rolls around, Viserion appears to be roughly the same size as Rhaegal. Sadly, his might cannot save him from the Night King, who kills, reanimates, and rides him. The icy fiend uses the undead dragon's flame to destroy the Wall and unleash his army on Westeros. Viserion dies again when Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) kills the Night King. Whether this will be Viserion's fate in the books remains unknown, as the Night King (currently) does not exist in "A Song Of Ice And Fire." It's possible that Viserion might be ridden by Euron Greyjoy, who possesses an ancient Valyrian horn said to control dragons.

Balerion

The most legendary dragon to grace Westeros' skies, Balerion the Black Dread was brought from Valyria to Dragonstone by the fleeing Targaryens. By the time Aegon I set out to conquer Westeros, Balerion was so large that his shadow engulfed entire villages.

Balerion was Aegon's most valuable weapon. The Black Dread's fierce flame devastated Harrenhal and House Hoare. Later, Aegon flew Balerion to the battle that would become known as the Field Of Fire, which saw all three Targaryen dragons -– Balerion, Vhagar and Meraxes — unleashed upon some truly unfortunate soldiers. Needless to say, it didn't go well for the Targaryens' enemies. No wonder the King in the North, Torrhen Stark, opted to bend the knee, rather than provoke Balerion's wrath.

Aegon's son, Maegor the Cruel, claimed Balerion after his father's death. In the year 54 AC, Princess Aerea Targaryen absconded from King's Landing atop the Black Dread. But she struggled to control Balerion, who instinctively flew home to the ruins of Valyria. When they returned to King's Landing two years later, Balerion was wounded, and Aerea was infected with fiery parasites, which killed her in truly gruesome fashion.

King Viserys (Paddy Considine) rode Balerion once, in 93 AC. By then, the dragon was too old to fly properly. A year later, the Black Dread died. His immense skull can be seen in "House of the Dragon" and "Game of Thrones," surrounded by reverent candles.

Caraxes

Caraxes is Daemon Targaryen's dragon. An unusual creature, he's often referred to as the Blood Wyrm, and it's not hard to see why. Caraxes has an elongated and sinuous neck, crimson scales, and a thinner build than most of his brethren. Caraxes also has a long history: Before Daemon, the Blood Wyrm was ridden by Prince Aemon, son and heir to King Jaehaerys (Michael Carter). Daemon claimed Caraxes in 105 AC. "House of the Dragon" features many scenes of the Blood Wyrm in battle: He is especially impressive when deployed against the Crabfeeder (Daniel Scott-Smith) and the Triarchy's forces during the War for the Stepstones. Alongside his Valyrian steel sword Dark Sister, Caraxes is Daemon Targaryen's biggest weapon.

Caraxes isn't an all-work-and-no-play dragon, however. In the books, Daemon and Laena Velaryon enjoy a honeymoon tour of the Free Cities on Caraxes and Vhagar after they marry. Sadly, this harmony ends with Laena's death. Vhagar is claimed by Aemond One-Eye and becomes a vital asset for Aegon II's faction, dubbed "the greens." Aemond and Vhagar wreak havoc until Caraxes and Daemon meet them above the God's Eye. Despite being a third of Vhagar's size, Caraxes kills the older dragon, dying in the process.

Syrax

"House of the Dragon" introduces fans to Syrax in Episode 1, "The Heirs of the Dragon." Ridden by Rhaenyra Targaryen, the golden dragon takes the princess for a flight above King's Landing nearly 200 years before Daenerys and Drogon destroy it. Syrax continues to play an important role throughout the series' early episodes. She lights the funeral pyre for Rhaenyra's mother, Aemma Arryn (Sian Brooke), after the queen dies in childbirth. In Episode 2, "The Rogue Prince," Rhaenyra takes Syrax to Dragonstone, where she confronts Daemon and demands he return the dragon egg he stole. Compared to Caraxes, Syrax is relatively small, and significantly less experienced in battle. But her sleekness and agility are also clear assets, and her distinctive color makes her an impressive sight to behold.

In George R. R. Martin's Targaryen history book "Fire & Blood," Syrax flies Rhaenyra to King's Landing when she takes the city from her half-brother, Aegon II. This doesn't end well for the golden dragon. The people of King's Landing riot when their new queen hikes taxes to fund her war. Rhaenyra's son, Joffrey Velaryon, frees Syrax from her chains in the Red Keep, and attempts to fly her to the Dragonpit, where he hopes to meet his own dragon, Tyraxes. But Syrax eventually rejects her rider and throws the prince to his death. The dragon then descends on the Dragonpit, where she is eventually overrun and killed by the mob.

Seasmoke

Seasmoke makes his debut in Episode 3 of "House of the Dragon," "Second of His Name." He is ridden into the Battle of the Stepstones by Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate), son of Corlys Velaryon (Steven Toussaint) and Rhaenys Targaryen (Eve Best). In the books, the striking gray dragon is small, nimble, and bonds with Laenor soon after hatching, around 101 AC. After Laenor dies in 120 AC, Seasmoke retreats to his lair on Dragonstone and refuses to accept another rider for nearly 10 years.

That's when Addam of Hull — later known as Addam Velaryon — comes along. Addam is Corlys' bastard son. Like Jon Snow before (or, more accurately, after) him, Addam is determined to prove his worth. Addam and Seasmoke help Rhaenyra take King's Landing, fighting for her faction — dubbed "the blacks" — throughout the Targaryen civil war. But when Rhaenyra accuses Addam of treason, the legitimized heir of House Velaryon escapes King's Landing on Seasmoke. 

Despite Rhaenyra's betrayal, Addam remains loyal to her cause. He and Seasmoke ambush Rhaenyra's enemies at Tumbleton. A rider-less Tessarion, former mount of Prince Daeron, clashes with Seasmoke in the air. When Vermithor, former mount of King Jaehaerys, joins the carnage, all three dragons fight and die.

Vhagar

The most dominant dragon on "House of the Dragon" is, without a doubt, Vhagar. Born in 52 BC, Vhagar is the only surviving member of Aegon I's original trio. By the time the events of the series begin, she's almost as large as Balerion, a seasoned veteran of many battles, and famed for her hot temper. Young Laena Velaryon (Nova Foueillis-Mose) mentions Vhagar in Episode 4, "King of the Narrow Sea," during her conversation with Viserys. This is fitting, as Laena later rides Vhagar herself.

Originally ridden by Visenya Targaryen during Aegon's Conquest, Vhagar is subsequently claimed by Baelon Targaryen, Laena, and, after Laena dies giving birth to twin daughters, Aemond One-Eye, younger brother of Aegon II. Vhagar changes the tide for the greens. The giant dragon ambushes Rhaenyra's son, Lucerys Velaryon, and his dragon Arrax, killing them both. Vhagar then defeats the fearsome Meleys in combat, with the help of Aegon's mount, Sunfyre. Aemond proceeds to unleash Vhagar's fire on the riverlands.

Vhagar's long life comes to a brutal end when the she-dragon faces Caraxes in 130 AC. Despite being a third Vhagar's size, Caraxes manages to lock his jaws around Vhagar's neck, and the dragons plummet to their death.

Meleys

Meleys, known as the Red Queen, is ridden by Rhaenys Targaryen throughout the Dance of the Dragons. With her vivid crimson coloring, it's easy to see where Meleys gets her nickname from. Before Rhaenys claims her in 87 AC, Meleys is flown by Alyssa Targaryen, daughter of King Jaehaerys and Queen Alysanne. The impressive Red Queen is said to be faster than all other dragons, easily outflying Caraxes and Vhagar in her prime.

Princess Alyssa takes her son, the future King Viserys, flying on Meleys at just nine days old. After Alyssa's death, Meleys accepts Rhaenys as her new rider. She's every bit as daring as Alyssa: In 90 AC, Rhaenys arrives to her wedding to Corlys Velaryon on dragonback. By the time war is declared within House Targaryen, the Red Queen is a lazier creature. But she's still a force to be reckoned with, as she proves during the battle above Rook's Rest.

Rhaenys uses Meleys to attack the greens, led by Rhaenyra's ex-lover, Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel). This is a trap, and Vhagar and Sunfyre quickly ambush Meleys. The Red Queen doesn't go down without a fight, however: Though Vhagar ultimately overpowers Meleys, she badly wounds Sunfyre and burns Aegon before she perishes. Aegon brings Meleys' head back to King's Landing as a bloody example to the rest of Westeros.

Sunfyre

Ridden by Aegon II, Sunfyre plays a crucial role in the Dance of the Dragons. Sunfyre is young, but battle-hardened: The dragon turns the tide for Vhagar at Rook's Rest by helping the she-dragon overcome Meleys. This victory comes at great cost, however. Sunfyre's wing is torn from his body, forcing him to remain at Rook's Rest while a wounded Aegon retreats. "Fire & Blood" details Sunfyre's recovery, as Criston Cole keeps the dragon well-fed with sheep. Eventually, Sunfyre's wing heals enough for him to fly, but at an awkward angle that hinders him in battle.

In the books, Sunfyre kills Walys Mooton, Lord of Maidenpool, when he retakes Rook's Rest, before flying back to Dragonstone. Aegon's forces discover Sunfyre there, having killed a wild dragon, Grey Ghost, for the territory. Aegon reunites with the dragon after taking the Targaryens' ancestral seat from Rhaenyra. Princess Baela — daughter of Daemon Targaryen and Laena Velaryon — escapes the castle on her dragon, Moondancer, and meets Sunfyre and Aegon in the air. Small-but-fierce Moondancer manages to badly wound Sunfyre before she perishes. In time, these wounds fester, and prove to be his undoing.

Sunfyre gains renown as the symbol of Aegon's faction: His golden visage is a striking contrast to the traditional red dragon emblazoned across Rhaenyra's banners. Sunfyre and Syrax never fight directly during the Dance, but when Rhaenyra flees to Dragonstone, Aegon has his legendary mount devour the fallen queen.

Dreamfyre

Dreamfyre is one of the older dragons featured on "House of the Dragon." The blue-and-silver creature hatches during Aegon the Conqueror's reign, around 32 AC, and initially bonds with Rhaena, Aegon's granddaughter, who rides the she-dragon for the first time at the age of 12. Dreamfyre accompanies Rhaena throughout her turbulent life, from King's Landing to Casterly Rock to Fair Isle.

After Rhaena, Dreamfyre is claimed by Helaena Targaryen, daughter of Viserys and Alicent and sister-wife of Aegon II. Helaena adores her dragon. Dreamfyre is never used in combat throughout the Dance of the Dragons, despite her age and size, but her historical legacy is enormous: "Fire & Blood" suggests that Dreamfyre may be Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion's mother. Rhaena's lover, Elissa Farman, absconds from Fair Isle with three of Dreamfyre's eggs, which are strongly implied to be the ones eventually given to Daenerys by Magister Illyrio Mopatis.

In the books, Dreamfyre is said to break her chains in the Dragonpit after Helaena kills herself in 130 AC. Although the people of King's Landing riot when they hear of Helaena's death, the mob kills Dreamfyre when they swarm the captive dragons in protest of Queen Rhaenyra.

Tessarion

Tessarion is ridden by Prince Daeron Targaryen, youngest son of Viserys and Alicent. A baby compared to the other scaled steeds of "House of the Dragon," Tessarion hatches around 120 AC. Dubbed the Blue Queen for her vibrant cobalt scales, Daeron's dragon is a smaller beast, especially when compared to Jaehaerys' mount, Vermithor. She and Seasmoke face that dragon, known as the Bronze Fury, at Tumbleton.

Prince Daeron rides Tessarion into the Battle of the Honeywine in the books, to save Lord Ormund Hightower. The Blue Queen scouts ahead to scare the opposition as Daeron's forces travel across Westeros. She burns Bitterbridge after Daeron learns of his nephew Maelor's death. Eventually, Daeron dies during the Second Battle of Tumbleton. A riderless Tessarion attacks Seasmoke, before the two dragons are forced to take on Vermithor. All three of them die, but Tessarion holds on the longest. The wounded and struggling dragon is ultimately killed out of mercy, on Benjicot Blackwood's orders.