Though the size of cats when hatching from their eggs, dragons are fast-growing and can become large enough to swallow mammoths whole. They have razor-sharp teeth and claws, leathery, bat-like wings and long necks and tails, with spiny crests running down their backs. Their skeletons and skulls are black and glitter like polished onyx, and their scales are nearly impervious to flame, growing stronger and thicker as the dragons age. Their flames can run hot enough to melt stone and the heat they exude is great enough that on cold nights, steam rises off of them. The fire of dragons grows hotter as the creatures mature, and due to these attributes they are said to be fire made flesh. Dragons likely can live at least 200 years or more and they never stop growing.
Dragons are highly intelligent animals, and can make strong bonds and attachments to those who raise them and care for them. Their intellect is such they can obey commands and can be trained, but due to their capricious nature, listen best with feeding and full stomachs.
Dragons only choose one rider at a time, but may choose another if and when their riders die. They can also sense when their rider has died or is in distress and will rush to protect them if they can.
The dragons are believed to be linked strongly with magic, and it has been noticed by many Westerosi that when dragons died out, the summers grew shorter and the winters longer and harsher.
Dragons also lay eggs. Dragons also are supposedly hermaphrodites, male and female alike, but maesters are not certain of this. Whatever the case, any dragon that has laid eggs is generally referred to as a she-dragon.
Dragons originally were native to Essos and were said to have originated from beyond Asshai and the islands of the Jade Sea. They were also tamed by the Valyrian dragon lords, who utilized strong blood magic to control them. For many thousands of years, they Varyrians ruled Essos and Valyria from the backs of their dragons, but all this changed when an event known as the Doom swept over Valyria and caused its fourteen volcanoes to erupt, destroying the continent. All but the Targaryen family and their dragons were destroyed.
Eventually settling in Westeros, the Targaryens led by Aegon the Conquerer attacked and subjugated Westeros' lords using their three dragons, uniting the land under one banner, and for many centuries, the Targaryens ruled, their dragons growing and multiplying.
However, their downfall came with the civil war known as the Dance of Dragons, a bloody conflict between Targaryen monarchs in which almost all the dragons on both sides were killed; some to battle, and others to rioters led by a man known as the Shepherd who preached the idea that dragons were demons and that they should be exterminated from Westeros. Only four survived, and of them, only one remained living in years afterwards; a small, stunted, sickly dragon no larger than a dog that laid several eggs and eventually died. With this last dragon dead the species was thought extinct until Daenerys Targaryen, the last known Targaryen, was given three eggs as a wedding gift by her husband, Khal Drogo, the leader of a Khalasar of Dothraki. When Khal Drogo died and Daenerys tried to immolate herself with him on his funeral pyre, her sacrifice of life for life caused the dragon eggs to hatch. She would name these dragons for members of her family; Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion, and use them to try and reclaim Westeros from her enemies that had vanquished her and her family so long ago.
This is a list of all known dragons from Westeros:
- Balerion the Black Dread- The largest of the dragons, Balerion was large enough to swallow a mammoth whole. Steed of Aegon the conquerer, Maegor the Cruel and Viserys I Targaryen. Male. Lived over 200 years and died of old age. Black and red in color. Participated in Aegon's Conquest.
- Vhagar- Second largest dragon. Steed of Visenya Targaryen and Aemond Targaryen. Female. Participated in Aegon's Conquest. Killed in Dance of the Dragons by Daemon Targaryen and his dragon Caraxes.
- Meraxes- Steed of Rhaenys Targaryen. Participated in Aegon's Conquest. Killed by a bolt from a ballista.
- Quicksilver- Steed of Aegon Targaryen, son of Aenys. Killed by Balerion in the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye. Male.
- Vermithor- Third largest dragon. Mate to Silverwing. Male. Steed of Jaehaerys I Targaryen, and Hugh Hammer. Died in the Dance of the Dragons. Bronze in Color.
- Caraxes- Steed of Daemon Targaryen. Roughly half the size of Vhagar. Male. Killed Vhagar in Dance of the Dragons but was killed himself in the battle. Red in color.
- Morghul- Steed of Jaehaera Targaryen, but never ridden. Killed during the riots in King's Landing during the Dance of the Dragons.
- Silverwing- Steed of Alysanne Targaryen and Ulf the White. Mate of Vermithor. Survived the Dance of the Dragons and fled to the Reach, where she remained wild until her death at an unknown point.
- Sunfyre- Steed of Aegon II Targaryen. Died during the Dance of the Dragons due to his wounds. Golden in color.
- Tessarion- Steed of Daeron Targaryen. Female. Died during the Dance of the Dragons in battle with Vermithor and Seasmoke. Cobalt blue in color.
- Shrykos- Steed of Jaehaerys Targaryen, son of Aegon II. Never ridden. Killed in the riots at King's Landing during the Dance of the Dragons.
- Vermax- Steed of Jacaerys Valeryon. Killed during the Dance of the Dragons.
- Syrax- Steed of Rhaenyra Targaryen. Killed in riots at King's Landing during the Dance of the Dragons. Female. Yellow in color.
- The Cannibal- A wild dragon that was known to eat his own kind. Never tamed or ridden and disappeared after the Dance of the Dragons.
- Tyraxes- Steed of Prince Joffrey Valaryon. Killed in the riots at King's Landing during the Dance of the Dragons.
- Sheepstealer- Steed of a girl named Nettles, who tamed him by offering him sheep. Survived the Dance of the Dragons and disappeared with his rider. Fate ultimately unknown.
- Grey Ghost- A wild dragon, never ridden. Killed and eaten by Sunfyre during the Dance of the Dragons.
- Morning- Steed to Rhaena Targaryen, and offspring of Syrax. Survived the Dance of the Dragons, but died soon afterwards.
- Stormcloud- Steed of Aegon the Younger. Ridden only once, and died hours later due to wounds received during the Dance of the Dragons.
- Meleys- Steed of Rhaenys Targaryen, daughter of Aemon. Female. Died during the Dance of the Dragons, when she was killed by Vhagar and Sunfyre. Red in color
- Moondancer- Steed of Baela Targaryen. Died during the Dance of the Dragons, when she was killed by Sunfyre.
- Arrax- Steed of Lucerys Velaryon. Killed by Vhagar during the Dance of the Dragons.
- Dreamfyre- Steed of Rhaena and Helaena Targaryen. Killed in the riots at King's Landing during the Dance of the Dragons.
- Terrax- Steed of Jaenara Belaerys.
- The Last Dragon- The last dragon to survive the Dance of the Dragons. It was small, deformed and sickly. Died after laying five eggs, none of which hatched.
- Drogon- One of Daenerys Targaryen's three dragons. Steed of Daenerys. Brother of Rhaegal and Viserion. Black and red in color. Named for Daenerys' late husband, Khal Drogo. Largest of the three dragons.
- Rhaegal- One of Daenerys Targaryen's three dragons. Green and Bronze in color. Brother of Drogon and Viserion. Named for Daenerys' elder brother Rhaegar Targaryen.
- Viserion- One of Daenerys Targaryen's three dragons. White and Yellow in color. Brother of Drogon and Rhaegal. Named for Daenerys' brother, Viserys Targaryen.