The Dragons & Their Riders In ‘House Of The Dragon’ Season 1, Listed

As creatures of fantasy, dragons hold a unique position across world mythology and also in various genres of fiction —one that commands veneration and is symbolic of strength, mystery, power, and fury. In George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy saga A Song of Ice and Fire, the dragons represent sovereign might, military and political supremacy, as they essentially play the role of kingmaker throughout the history of Westeros. Brought over by the surviving Valyrian families, with whom they also share a mystical blood bond, the dragons are as foreign to Westeros as their prime riders, the Targaryens are. In this context, it’s quite ironic how both of them have shaped the past and future of the realm through the years.

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In House of the Dragon, which chronicles the Targaryen family civil war between the descendants of Viserys Targaryen, dragons play a key role, as showcased in the first season of the series. With the imminent war gearing up in the second season, let us take a look at all the dragons and riders—all who have appeared so far and those who unfortunately won’t.

Spoilers Ahead

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Balerion, the Black Dread

Even though the largest dragon of the Targaryen dynasty, Balerion the Black Dread, had passed away before the events of House of the Dragon took place, it is impossible to discuss the series without mentioning the original kingmaker. Like a number of other dragons, Balerion came from Valyria with the Targaryen family and is famously mentioned by Viserys as the last living creature to have seen the might of Valyria before its doom. The first great unifier of the seven kingdoms, Aegon Targaryen, rode this black behemoth to conquer Westeros, and a hundred years later, Viserys Targaryen was the last rider of the gigantic beast. Balerion was among the very few fortunate dragons who passed away due to old age (200 years old). Three centuries later, Daenerys’ main steed, Drogon, was considered to be a reincarnation of Balerion by many chroniclers. Blood drawn by the Targaryens and fire breathed by their dragons forged the Iron throne, which is truly exemplified by Balerion’s presence in Westeros.


Vhagar, the Queen of Dragons

In Balerion’s absence, Vhagar the shedragon is the largest and oldest dragon in all of Westeros during the events of House of the Dragon, and like Balerion, she too played an integral part in Aegon’s conquest as the steed of Aegon’s sister, Visenya Targaryen. During the series’ timeline, Vhagar had become Laena Velaryon’s steed. Fans will surely remember that after Laena’s childbirth complications, which risked both her life and her unborn baby’s, she decided to take her own life by commanding Vhagar to end her misery. After Laena’s death, Alicent’s second son, Aemond, practically ‘stole” Vhagar from Laena’s daughters by taming her first, which cost him an eye, just as previously predicted by his sister Helaena Targaryen. Vhagar’s role in the Targaryen civil war has already become the most significant, as seen in the first season finale, where Vhagar ended Lucerys Velaryon and his steed, Arrax, much to Aemond’s horror. Weary and wise from all the battles she had fought, Vhagar’s presence will be significant throughout the course of the infamous ‘Dance of the Dragons’. 

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Caraxes the Blood Wyrm

Dragons in the world of George R.R. Martin are occasionally said to reflect the temperament and demeanor of their riders, and this holds true for Caraxes the Blood Wyrm, steed of the Rogue Prince, Daemon Targaryen. The elongated body adorned with blood-red scales, threatening shrieks, and the mean, aggressive attitude of Caraxes match the unpredictable, violent prince himself. Fiercely protective of his rider, Caraxes is not someone to mess with; as seen in the first season, through sheer intimidation, Caraxes was able to send shivers down the spines of Daemon’s adversaries. Out of all the present dragons in control of the Blacks and Greens, Caraxes is possibly the most battle-hardened dragon after Vhagar. With Daemon out for blood after Lucerys’ death, Caraxes’ role will be significant in the upcoming second season of House of the Dragon.


Syrax, the Golden Beast

Rhaenyra’s mount, Syrax the golden dragon, is as fiercely independent as her rider and similarly commands a dominating presence. Syrax was the first dragon viewers came across in House of the Dragon, and it was further revealed that Rhaenyra had named the young dragon during her childhood after a Valyrian goddess. During her mother, Aemma Arryn’s funeral, Rhaenyra commands Syrax to breathe dragonfire to fulfill the cremation process in Valyrian custom, which shows the intricate relationship Targaryens shared with their steeds. In the upcoming season, Syrax will become the strength of a grieving Rhaenyra, and who knows, both of the fierce souls might have their first taste of battle as well. 

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Meleys the Red Queen

The mount of Rhaenys Targaryen, the queen who never was, Meleys, is a red-scaled, veteran dragon who stole the scene in the first season in the penultimate episode. After getting freed from the captivity of the Greens at Kings Landing, Rhaenys broke out of the Red Keep while riding on Meleys to threaten Alicent Hightower, her son, the usurper king Aegon II Targaryen, and their entire retinue. It is often mentioned by the fans that Meleys could have ended the Targaryen civil war by torching the Red Keep then and there, but fortunately, having a shorter and uninteresting conclusion wasn’t how George R.R. Martin wanted things to end. 


Vermax and Arrax: Young Steeds of the Prince Duo

Rhaenyra’s two sons, Jacaerys and Lucerys, had bonded with their respective steeds, Vermax and Arrax, since childhood. Following the Targaryen dragon-bonding tradition, Viserys placed dragon eggs inside the cribs of his grandsons, and as Arrax and Vermax hatched, they bonded with their young riders for life. Both of them belong to the youngest generation of dragons in the present timeline, and it is presumed that Rhaenyra’s steed, Syrax, is their mother. Unfortunately, Arrax met his end in the finale of the first season, as he paid the price of messing with Vhagar with his and his rider’s lives. 


Dreamfyre and Seasmoke

Seasmoke is Laenor Velaryon’s mount, whom we saw on only one occasion during the first season, as he helped Laenor assist his father, Corlys Velaryon, and Daemon Targaryen in their battle against the Triarchy. After Laenor disappeared by faking his own death, Seasmoke is stated to have resided in Driftmark, riderless at present. Similarly, Dreamfyre, an old shedragon residing in the dragon pit of King’s Landing who used to be the mount of Aegon’s granddaughter, is shown to be riderless at the moment. Both of them will play an important role in the second season, as claiming two mature battle-ready dragons could change the course of the upcoming civil war for either side. 


Vermithor, the Bronze Fury

Among all the living dragons during the present timeline, Vermithor, the Bronze Fury, is the largest and oldest one after Vhagar, and he used to be the mount of late King Jaehaerys Targaryen. In the final moments of the first season finale, Daemon makes a bold, crucial move by luring the bronze behemoth out of his den by singing a familiar old Valyrian tune. Having such a powerhouse could turn the upcoming battle in the Black’s favour, and therefore, Vermithor’s role will be crucial in the second season if Rhaenyra is able to find a suitable rider for this magnificent beast.

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Yet-to-Appear Ones and Wild Unclaimed Ones

Aside from all the aforementioned dragons who made their appearance in the first season, there are a number of others who are yet to be revealed and have only been namedropped so far. Among them, Baela’s steed Moondancer and Aegon II’s steed Sunfyre are significant, whom we have briefly met in the trailer for the upcoming second season. Tessarion, Silverwing, and Tyraxes are yet to appear in the series as well. Daemon had mentioned in the first season finale that taming the wild dragons—Sheepstealer, Cannibal, and Grey Ghost—could turn the tides of the battle in the favor of Blacks, and it will be interesting to see whether the showrunners take a different approach from the source material in this context. 


Final Words

Dragons in George R.R. Martin’s world are not mere vessels for the human riders to fulfil their all-conquering zeal, as they are wilful, emotional and intelligent creatures – who ‘allow’ the select chosen ones the privilege to bond with them. As King Viserys had stated in the very beginning of the first season of House of the Dragon, that popular belief of humans being able to tame dragons is a mere illusion, which was showcased well during the climactic sequence of the season as Aemond’s failure to take control of Vhagar draws the first blood of the Targaryen civil war. Unfortunately enough, the beautiful, mystical creatures will perish in a significant number during the infamous “Dance of Dragons” by getting entangled in the hubris of humans, eventually they reach a seemingly extinct status in later days, until Daenerys’ brought her children – Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion into the world, making a return of the age of the dragons.

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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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