This article is dark and full of spoilers for season 7 episode 1! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
A gift fit for a queen. If you were talking about anyone else, you’d expect that to consist of a jewelled crown or a fleet of ships. But despite Euron Greyjoy bringing Cersei the latter in his bid to wed the commanding Lannister, she remains unimpressed. Sparkly things don’t matter to her: she wants to crush her enemies. So he promises to bring something bigger and better, a gift to prove he’s trustworthy after burning the Lannister fleet at Lannisport years ago. I think I might know what it could be. The fabled horn Dragonbinder, mentioned in books. A relic from Old Valyria, it’s a horn that is supposed to control dragons - what more could Cersei want? Granted, it could be too late in the day to introduce such a massive plot point, but we’re allowed to dream.
What is it?
Dragonbinder is an ominous object to say the least. Described in A Feast for Crows, it’s six feet long and the glyphs carved into it glow red-hot and then turn white-hot as it’s blown. Anyone owning it should seriously consider the consequences before it’s used.
“Bight and baneful was its voice, a shivering hot scream that made a man's bones seem to thrum within him ... It is the horn of hell.”
– thoughts of Aeron Greyjoy, A Feast for Crows, Chapter 19, The Drowned Man.
“That horn you heard I found amongst the smoking ruins that were Valyria, where no man has dared to walk but me. You heard its call, and felt its power. It is a dragon horn, bound with bands of red gold and Valyrian steel graven with enchantments. The dragonlords of old sounded such horns, before the Doom devoured them. With this horn, ironmen, I can bind dragons to my will.”
– Euron at the Kingsmoot, A Feast for Crows, Chapter 19, The Drowned Man.
So yes, according to Euron it will allow the user to control dragons. But - and this is a big but - in the books he doesn’t really explain how it works. At his bidding one of his minions called Cragorn blows it, collapsing afterwards with blistered lips and a bleeding chest. He dies in due course, and when he’s cut open by a maester it turns out the inside of his lungs are charred as black as soot. In short: it’s deadly. Very deadly. Plus it looks like whoever blows it is in for a nasty surprise, and that’s not the whole oh-my-god-I-can-control-dragons surprise. Inscribed on the horn is a Valyrian inscription, which Moquorro the red priest translates: to "I am Dragonbinder. No mortal man should sound me and live. Blood for fire, fire for blood”.
“No mortal man”. That bit is important. Jon Snow, the Night King, Beric Dondarrion, the Mountain (or the zombified Ser Robert Strong), Euron Greyjoy and Davos Seaworth have all had a close brush with death. They could be classed as semi-immortal as they’ve cheated the cold embrace of the void. This is highly unlikely, but it’s worth mentioning that perhaps women who blow the horn will escape its fiery price. Oh, and doesn’t the last bit of the translation remind you of something? Like the Targaryen house words, Fire and Blood? Perhaps the horn would have some affect on Daenerys when it’s blown. Valyrians have a strong bond with dragons, so although it initially sounds insane it might have some deranged effect on her sanity - and that’s not just because she could witness her beloved dragons turn against her.
What does Dragonbinder mean for the Battle for the Iron Throne and Daenerys?
If this were to happen, it’s a damn big deal obviously. For a start, in the books Euron gets the horn from the ruins of Old Valyria. Maybe a brief scene with the remnants of the mysterious and ancient civilisation will flash up on screen, a treat most people have been aching for. It’d be a chance to quickly explore a small segment of Daenerys’ history, but that might just be wishful thinking.
Regardless of how Euron could get his hands on Dragonbinder, it does deal with Cersei’s main rival very nicely. Daenerys is incredibly overpowered at the moment, with three dragons, a fleet of Greyjoy ships, the Unsullied, Dothraki screamers, and Tyrion on her side. Taking away her dragons, however, would still be a massive blow to her forces. Considering her ancestors conquered Westeros with just three dragons to begin with, it would seem she’s unstoppable with them at her beck and call. Which could make for some rather dull viewing if she’s easily mowing down anyone in her path. Removing the airborne reptiles from the picture would make the outcome of the battles less certain, which means more drama, less predictable wars, and less certainty about who will sit on the Iron Throne.
With Cersei controlling a dragon, a Drogon (as the most powerful of the dragons, it’s unlikely Drogon will pair up) vs. Viserion or Rheagal scene could be on the cards. It would make for some magnificent TV, with the added heartbreak of Daenerys’ children (let’s face it, that’s what the dragons are) killing each other. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see what Euron has in store with his ‘gift’, though we’re sure of one thing: he definitely won’t be using any wrapping paper or ribbon.