Game of Thrones dragons: Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion explained

Game of Thrones dragons
Image credit: HBO (Image credit: HBO)

The Game of Thrones dragons were, arguably, the real stars of the show – and some of the most memorable, at least. You'd be forgiven for missing parts of their story, though, as they weren't always the easiest of characters to tell apart (they didn't get many lines, after all…). And now, with House of the Dragon taking the small screen by storm, there are even more dragons to contend with.

The original trio is where it all started, though, with Drogon, Rhaegal, and Visierion accompanying Daenerys from their fiery births through to the bitter end. So, whether you're watching the show for the first time or just need a memory refresh, we've put together everything you need to know about the Game of Thrones dragons.

Who are the Game of Thrones dragons?

Image credit: HBO

Image credit: HBO

The Game of Thrones dragons are Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion. 

Drogon is the dragon that Daenerys herself rides. He’s black and red and named after her late husband Khal Drogo.

Rhaegal, the green and bronze dragon, is named Rhaegar, Daenerys' oldest brother. He died before she was born, but we were finally introduced to him in a season 7 flashback that confirmed Jon Snow is his son (and therefore Daenerys' nephew). 

Viserion, who is cream and gold, is named after Viserys, Danaerys' other older brother. He met his end at the hands of Drogo halfway through season 1.

When do the Game of Thrones dragons first appear in the show?

Image credit: HBO

Image credit: HBO

The Game of Thrones dragons first appeared during the season 1 finale, following the death of Daenerys' husband Khal Drogo. Earlier in the season, Daenerys was given three eggs by Illyrio Mopatis, a merchant prince in the city of Pentos in Essos, to commemorate her marriage to Drogo. She keeps these eggs close by at all times, eventually placing them on Drogo’s funeral pyre following his death. Ignoring the pleas of Ser Jorah Mormont, she walks into the blaze herself, leaving Jorah to presume her dead. Instead, the next morning, she emerges unscathed from the embers of the fire with three baby dragons clinging to her. 

What happened to the other dragons in Westeros?

Image credit: HBO

Image credit: HBO

Around 5,000 years before the events of Game of Thrones, Daenerys' ancestors in the Valyrian Freehold used dragons to wage war across Essos, Westeros' neighbouring continent. Yet they were almost entirely wiped out in a volcanic event known as the Doom of Valyria, which just one noble family – the Targaryens – survived. 

They took their dragons with them to Westeros, where Aegon the Conqueror united the Seven Kingdoms and ruled on the Iron Throne. Around 130 years after the conquest, the dragons of House Targaryen were wiped out in the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. We've seen the build-up to this war in House of the Dragon season 1, and later seasons will show the conflict itself. You can get the lowdown on all the dragons in House of the Dragon with our handy guide.

Game of Thrones season 1 begins around 150 years after the Dance of the Dragons.  The creatures are long extinct and petrified dragon eggs the only thing left of the species. These are assumed to be decorative, but Dany senses that may not be that case upon receiving Illyrio’s gifts. Sure enough, the season 1 finale sees dragons resurrected in spectacular fashion.

What happens to the Game of Thrones dragons? 

Image credit: HBO

Image credit: HBO

At the end of season 8, only one of Daenarys' dragons is still alive: Drogon. According to Samwell Tarly, Drogon was last seen heading east towards Volantis, a city in Essos.

Visierion is the first of the dragons to die during a battle beyond the Wall in season 7 when Daenerys and her dragons fly north to aid Jon Snow in his fight against the Night King. The Night King fatally wounds Visierion with an ice spear, stabbing him through the neck, and he crashes from the sky into a frozen lake. Later, his corpse is dragged out of the water by wights and he is resurrected by the Night King, becoming an ice dragon. This version of Visierion dies in season 8, when Arya kills the Night King and the magic used to reanimate him is severed.

Rhaegal, meanwhile, dies in season 8. He is killed by Euron Greyjoy during a battle at Dragonstone, when Greyjoy pierces both Rhaegal's chest and wing with scorpion bolts. Bleeding fatally, Rhaegal falls from the sky into the ocean below.

The grief of losing two of her dragons, along with her most trusted companions, Jorah and Missandei, is ultimately what causes Daenerys to burn Kings Landing to the ground in season 8.

For more from Westeros, check out our guide to everything we know so far about House of the Dragon season 2.

Ben Wilson

I'm GamesRadar's sports editor, and obsessed with NFL, WWE, MLB, AEW, and occasionally things that don't have a three-letter acronym – such as Chvrches, Bill Bryson, and Streets Of Rage 4. (All the Streets Of Rage games, actually.) Even after three decades I still have a soft spot for Euro Boss on the Amstrad CPC 464+.

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