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The Glad King

How do dragons breed?

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I haven't read the World of Ice and Fire, but I would like insight from all you who have. From reading ASOIAF, I understand that dragons don't have a gender, but I don't believe it was ever stated how they thus manage to have sex and lay eggs, both processes requiring specific genders. Is it mentioned at all in World? I was always quite puzzled by this, and I hope you can finally help me solve the enigma. 

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There is nothing on the topic of dragonbreeding in the book, but it is nowhere stated that dragons don't have a gender. It is stated that dragons can change their sexes, and are thus, in a sense, neither male nor female but both. Tradition apparently states that certain dragons like Vhagar, Syrax, Meleys, Tessarion, Silverwing, and Moondancer are female, but there is no proof that they kept that gender throughout their whole lifespans.

The author of TWoIaF, Yandel, is no expert on dragonlore, however, and only once discusses the idea of dragons changing sexes - dismissing it in the process - when he tells us that Jacaerys Velaryon's dragon Vermax supposedly laid a clutch of dragon eggs at Winterfell during the prince's visit there. Yandel claims Vermax was most likely not female because the dragon never laid any eggs elsewhere, but that is hardly any proof in light of Maester Aemon's conviction that dragons can change their sexes if they want to.

It also seems that a male dragon has to fertilize the eggs of the female, but we don't get any clear impression as to how that works. But we have reason to believe that the early Targaryen dragons after the Conquest were 'the get' of Balerion and Vhagar, and later on Rhaenyra's she-dragon Syrax repeatedly produces clutches of new eggs from which many of the younger dragons hatch.

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There is nothing on the topic of dragonbreeding in the book, but it is nowhere stated that dragons don't have a gender. It is stated that dragons can change their sexes, and are thus, in a sense, neither male nor female but both. Tradition apparently states that certain dragons like Vhagar, Syrax, Meleys, Tessarion, Silverwing, and Moondancer are female, but there is no proof that they kept that gender throughout her whole life.

The author of TWoIaF, Yandel, is no expert on dragonlore, however, and only once discusses the idea of dragons changing sexes - and dismissing it in the process - when he tells us that Jacaerys Velaryon's dragon Vermax supposedly laid a clutch of dragon eggs at Winterfell during the prince's visit there. Yandel claims Vermax was most likely not female because the dragon never laid any eggs elsewhere, but that is hardly any proof in light of Maester Aemon's conviction that dragons can change their sexes if they want to.

It also seems that a male dragon has to fertilize the eggs of the female, but we don't get any clear impression as to how that works. But we have reason to believe that the early Targaryen dragons after the Conquest were 'the get' of Balerion and Vhagar, and later on Rhaenyra's she-dragon Syrax repeatedly produces clutches of new eggs from which many of the younger dragons hatch.

Thanks a lot for the answer. That clarified a lot.

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I kinda hope they breed like Eagles, joining in the air and falling to earth until separating at the last minute.

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On 2016-01-18 at 7:19 PM, GrapefruitPerrier said:

I kinda hope they breed like Eagles, joining in the air and falling to earth until separating at the last minute.

That's how it's done in Mercedes Lackey's Joust!  It's a series about dragon-riders in a sort-of Ancient Egypt.  In the first book the main character actually watches two dragons mate and they did exactly as you describe!  It's a great image!  I think I'd be disappointed to find out that GRRM's dragons don't mate that way...

 

I highly recommend checking them out, but this isn't the place for that...

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On 26/01/2016 at 8:51 PM, John Suburbs said:

When a mommy dragon and a daddy dragon love each other very much...

^_^

A stork fly on a dragon nest and it ends up eaten

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On 2/12/2016 at 1:02 PM, The Mountain That Flies said:

This may be a bit outlandish, but if dragons can change sexes (and I feel like we should take Aemon's word that they can), then couldn't one as a female lay eggs, turn into a male, then fertilize said eggs? 

Not if they're like reptiles or birds.  The eggshells aren't permeable enough for that.

Even if they were, there's no evidence that dragons can change sex *instantly.*

Parthenogenesis, OTOH...

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There is plenty of recorded information on animals changing sexes as needed. Clownfish, for instance, live in a matriarchal hierarchy with the woman at the top. If the female clownfish in charge dies, a male fish changes genders. Not to say that dragons are all stuck in a matriarchal hierarchy, but hell, if this kind of weird shit happens in real life, why can't beasties who were created with a little blood magic not change sexes?

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On 1/18/2016 at 11:19 AM, Jak Scaletongue said:

That's how it's done in Mercedes Lackey's Joust!  It's a series about dragon-riders in a sort-of Ancient Egypt.  In the first book the main character actually watches two dragons mate and they did exactly as you describe!  It's a great image!  I think I'd be disappointed to find out that GRRM's dragons don't mate that way...

 

I highly recommend checking them out, but this isn't the place for that...

That's how it worked in the Pern series IIRC.

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