From their first scenes, The dragon housewhich you can watch on HBO Max has been clear. The series will tell a story in which the presence of dragons will be central. On Game Of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen’s magnificent mythical beasts were elements on the periphery. But in its prequel, they are key to understanding the ruling house’s sense of power and dominance over the rest of the continent.
In the mythology created by George RR Martin, dragons have a long and storied history which, in a way, punctuates political changes in Westeros. They are also part of the perception of magic, the strange and the dark. Crucial elements to deepen the way in which power is contested. In particular, the accession to the iron throne of one candidate or another. After all, the supernatural is a staple of the A Song of Ice and Fire saga.
The dragon house will feature the great creatures that have plagued the continent for centuries. The Targaryen dynasty used the power of fire to subdue the Seven Kingdoms. However, after the civil war ravaged the family and shattered their legacy, the dragons eventually died out. And this, until the last member of the long line of kings and queens manages to bring magic back to the continent. Until then, the idea of dragons had become a myth, or at least a dark legend in Westeros.
The prequel to Game Of Thrones shows the fullness of the reign of the dragons. Likewise, the considerable importance for the Targaryens of the bond which unites them to the creatures. We tell you everything you need to know about these super-presences, transformed into savage demigods on a stage of palace intrigue.
The House of the Dragon is the new series in the universe of Game of Thrones.
Dragons as a family heirloom
According to Martin’s work, and similar to many works of fantasy, dragons are magical creatures. That is to say, their presence accentuates the presaging forces or powers. This may explain why most members of House Targaryen can predict the future through prophetic dreams. Likewise, their strong belief in myths, symbols, and magical happenings of all kinds.
In the fictional Westeros, dragons seem to be directly linked to the seasons. At different points in the literary saga, the geographical and atmospheric changes of the continent are linked to their extinction.
Which might explain – at least speculatively – why the presence of Daenerys’ three “children” has caused the resurgence of magic. So too, of course, is the arrival of the much heralded and dreaded winter, which has lasted for decades.
Of course, this is a strategic force. So much so that the balance of power in Westeros depends on his presence. Dragons are one of the highlights of Daenerys’ journey — incomplete in the books, bumpy in the adaptation — to regain power. At different points in the history surrounding him, his family’s fiery legacy has allowed him to advance, conquer and triumph. A circumstance that refers to the events surrounding the arrival of the first Targaryens on the continent.
A story written in stone and flame
Martin wrote a detailed biography for his dragons at various points in his work, and it is possible to link the data together to create a complete story. According to the Song of Ice and Fire saga, dragons originate from the continent of Essos. They inhabited the Fourteen Flames mountain range, which surrounded the Valyrian Peninsula. The legend does not specify their specific origin, but according to Daenerys in the book Game Of ThronesChapter 23, could be creations of pure magic.
The Valyrians were the first to understand the behavior of dragons and, in a way, to tame them. This eventuality allowed the people to use fire as a sophisticated weapon of war. However, after the Peninsula was destroyed, the only surviving creatures were those belonging to the Targaryens. At this time, the powerful family lives on the island of Dragonstone, which borders the coasts of Westeros.
After a century of occupying their own geography, only one of the five dragons that had crossed the sea with the Targaryens survived. Two other animals were born and raised under the care of the family. It was these three creatures that made it possible to conquer six of the seven kingdoms. Great magical beasts – as both mount and weapon – were of paramount importance to complete control of territory.
Dragons and the power of legend.
The Targaryen dynasty is firmly tied to the beasts of legend, with which they were linked in mysterious ways. In fact, Aegon I was also called “the dragon”. On the back of Balerion, the greatest and most powerful dragon in the history of Westeros, he not only conquered a vast and exhilarating continent. At the same time, he made it a royal custom to ride on the backs of large creatures as symbols of “power and dominion”.
During the reign of Maegor I and Jaehaerys I, the Targaryens built the Dragonwell amphitheater in King’s Landing. The intent was for the dragons to be able to breed and grow safely. According to Martin’s account, at this time the maesters had been unable to establish the sex of the dragons. Something he corroborated in the book Game Of Thrones Aemon, last descendant of the dynasty retired to the Wall. As the old Targaryen scion asserted, the genders of legendary creatures were “sometimes one, sometimes the other, as changeable as flame.”
Indeed, throughout the Song of Ice and Fire saga, the reproduction of dragons is a mystery. Perhaps this is why the Dragonwell experiment, although initially successful, ended up reducing the number of creatures in the realm. Of their greatest number – nineteen in total – was eventually born a deformed female, who died a few months after birth. During the reign of Aegon III Targaryen, and after the civil war that decimated the family, only five eggs remained, which never hatched.
The disappearance of dragons in Westeros
After the death of the last dragon, successfully birthing a new creature became an insoluble challenge for the surviving Targaryens. Aegon III tried magic without success. This process turned out to be unpredictable, if not totally inexplicable.
On the other hand, Baelor I, “the Blessed”, tried to bring about the prodigy by pious prayers, without obtaining the slightest change in the eggs of the cryptic dragon. The great fire at the Targaryens’ summer residence, called the Summer Haven Tragedy, is the result of yet another failed attempt. The conflagration killed King Aegon V and his son Duncan the Younger.
In the end, only Daenerys Targaryen managed to get three of the eggs she inherited to spawn new dragons. The event occurred by the sacrifice of the maegi Mirri Maz Duur and throwing herself on the funeral pyre of Khal Drogo. From the impromptu and spontaneous magical sacrifice, the mysterious omen of the birth of the mythical beasts finally occurred.