Dragons were once believed to be extinct in the world of Game of Thrones, but it’s possible that Daenerys Targaryen’s loyal dragon son, Drogon, is not the last of his kind. Like his siblings, Rhaegal and Viserion, Drogon was hatched from a clutch of three petrified dragon eggs given to Daenerys as a wedding gift. The Night King killed Viserion, and Rhaegal was (controversially) shot down by Euron Greyjoy, leaving Drogon as the last surviving dragon at the end of the series. The GOT prequel series, House of the Dragon, promises many more dragons to hit the screen, as the series closely follows the Targaryen line.
Game of Thrones‘ Drogon was last seen furiously melting the Iron Throne into molten steel before flying off with Daenerys’ dead body. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss later confirmed that Drogon went to Volantis, a southern coastal city in Essos that was founded by ancient Valyrians. Many wonder if the Mad Queen was actually dead, and whether or not Drogon could’ve saved Daenerys.
Dragons were once a key part of the balance of power in George R.R. Martin’s fantasy realm — tied not only to the strength of House Targaryen but also to the existence of magic. Because of their absence, magic has become so sparse by the time Game of Thrones begins, which is also why the warlock Pyat Pree attempted to imprison Dany and her dragons in the House of the Undying. With all but one of Daenerys’ children dead at the end of the series, it seems like dragons are effectively extinct in Game of Thrones, outside of Drogon. However, it’s possible that the mysterious and powerful creatures could return in greater numbers, especially with House of the Dragon showing even more dragons.
Game of Thrones never had the time to get into the intricacies of dragon reproduction, and if you’re close enough to a dragon to see what’s between its legs, you probably have much bigger problems to worry about. Game of Thrones‘ Viserion, Rhaegal, and Drogon use male pronouns in the series, but dialogue from the books reveals that dragons are actually gender fluid. In A Feast For Crows, Maester Aemon tells Samwell Tarly that he believes Daenerys is the prince that was promised, and that the reference to a “prince” in the original prophecy is actually a mistake in translation from Valyrian:
“What fools we were, who thought ourselves so wise! The error crept in from the translation. Dragons are neither male nor female, Barth saw the truth of that, but now one and now the other, as changeable as flame. The language misled us all for a thousand years.”Advertisement
This means that Daenerys’ dragons may have been both male and female at different points in the series, which brings us to whether they might have laid eggs. Rhaegal and Viserion were imprisoned beneath the Great Pyramid of Meereen for some time during Dany’s rule, and the two dragons may well have occupied themselves by mating. If that’s the case, then there could easily be a clutch of dragon eggs lurking somewhere in the darkness of the catacombs. Alternatively, dragons might reproduce asexually through parthenogenesis (like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park). Game of Thrones‘ Drogon could have produced his own eggs after flying off to Volantis with Daenerys’ body.
Aside from the possibility of Viserion, Rhaegal, and Drogon having offspring, it’s also by no means confirmed that theirs were the last dragon eggs in existence. Dragons have reached a point of near-extinction at least twice before in Game of Thrones‘ history. The Doom of Valyria almost wiped them out, but the Targaryens were later able to repopulate their numbers using just five dragons. Most of the Targaryen dragons then died in battle during a great civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons, which will be chronicled in House of the Dragon, and after that, dragons grew smaller and weaker in captivity. In A Feast For Crows, Archmaester Marwyn reveals that the maesters finally conspired to kill off the last of the dragons. However, thanks to Daenerys, they made another comeback.
Game of Thrones lore teaches two key details about dragons: that their eggs are notoriously difficult to hatch, and that it’s possible to cultivate a large population of dragons from a minimal starting number (like the Targaryens, dragons appear to have no qualms about incest). Even if Daenerys’ dragon eggs were the only ones to find their way into the hands of humans, there are likely more unhatched eggs hidden away elsewhere. For example, in the ruins of Valyria. Daenerys’ eggs were eons old, which means that dragon eggs that have laid dormant for thousands of years can still be hatched under the right circumstances.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the world of Game of Thrones has not been completely mapped. The southern continent of Sothoryos is largely unexplored, and, as Arya notes when she sets out on her journey in the season finale, no one has yet discovered what lies west of Westeros. Just because dragons are absent from the world we’ve seen so far, it doesn’t mean there aren’t more out there in the undiscovered lands.
A common trope in fantasy fiction, like Game of Thrones, is to have the age of magic and dragons die out and make way for a new and more modern age. Dragonheart assigned this significance to the death of the last dragon (before the sequels, anyway), and the How to Train Your Dragon film trilogy uses the refrain “There were dragons when I was a boy” to bookend a story of how dragons eventually disappeared from the world. This is frequently used in fantasy tales that are ostensibly set in our own universe — like adaptations of Arthurian legends — to explain why the magic depicted in these stories no longer exists in modern times.
While Game of Thrones doesn’t take place on Earth, the series finale signals that Westeros is moving towards a more modern age, with kings elected by lords rather than inheriting the throne through birthright. Sam even suggests a completely democratic society where everyone gets a vote. Though the other members of the council laugh off the idea, it sows the seeds for a future that might look similar to our own modern world. In addition to Daenerys dying and Drogon flying away, the show’s final season also sees the Red Priestess Melisandre shrivel up into an old woman and collapse into the snow after the Battle of Winterfell. This symbolizes the idea that magic is dying and a new era is being ushered in.
While there are plenty of ways in which dragons could return — whether by Rhaegal and Viserion having produced eggs, Drogon producing eggs of his own, older eggs lying dormant, or dragons surviving in unseen places of the world — thematically, Game of Thrones treats Drogon like he is the last of his kind. Dragons are intrinsically tied in the series to the Targaryen bloodline, and with Daenerys dying and Jon renouncing his Targaryen heritage and embracing life as a man of the north, it looks like we’ve seen the last of the Targaryens — and therefore, perhaps the last of the dragons as well.
The spinoff series House of the Dragon is set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones and Drogon’s reign, meaning that dragons will be everywhere. Covering the events of the Targaryen civil war, or the Dance of the Dragons, HOTD proves that the age of the dragon is far from over – for viewers, anyhow. Dragons are featured heavily in the latest footage from the prequel series, and though the show will see the mass extinction of many of the species, dragons like Game of Thrones‘ Drogon will be all over the screen. During this timeline, dragons were much more abundant, with the Targaryens largely being responsible for their continued sovereignty. The only question in need of answering is whether there will be a focal cluster of dragons in House of the Dragon that people grow to know and love, like Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion, or whether the series will be so jam-packed with the beasts that there will be no room to explore a central group.
Despite Daenerys appearing dead at the end of Game of Thrones, there is a possibility that Drogon saved her. People know that Drogon took Daenerys to Volantis when he flew off with her body, so it could be that he was able to carry her to safety. Daenerys survived more than just a sword to the belly when she was riding with the Dothraki, so it’s possible she could’ve lived. In addition, dragons have a dynamic connection with their riders, and there’s no telling whether or not Daenerys’ Drogon could’ve had a hand in healing his mother. Nonetheless, after Daenerys’ fiery conquest in Game of Thrones, the people of Westeros will probably be keeping one wary eye on the skies for many years to come.