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Victarion Chainbreaker

Dany, Dragonblood, and the Restoration of House Targaryen

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Introduction

The disappearance (and reappearance) of dragons is one of the series’ biggest mysteries. In-world, characters think of it as part of a general waning of magic from the world, but there is disagreement about which is the cause and which is the effect:

Quote

 

"Perhaps magic was once a mighty force in the world, but no longer. What little remains is no more than the wisp of smoke that lingers in the air after a great fire has burned out, and even that is fading. Valyria was the last ember, and Valyria is gone. The dragons are no more, the giants are dead, the children of the forest forgotten with all their lore.”

 

-ACoK Bran IV

Quote

 

“…he said it was because magic had begun to go out of the world the day the last dragon died."

 

-ACoK Tyrion XI

While this may be true, we’d like to explore a more concrete reason for the disappearance of dragons. Specifically, why Targaryens before Aegon III were able to hatch dragon eggs, and why Targaryens after him were not, at least until Dany came along.

For this theory, we are defining dragonblood as the ability to hatch dragons. There are other special traits that are associated with Targaryen blood, such as dragon dreams, madness, and an affinity for heat/fire, but for this case we are only interested in dragon-hatching. It seems to be connected to bearing stillborn babies with dragon features, but who knows.

This theory puts together many puzzle pieces, and they seem to fit quite well. However, it is still an unfinished puzzle, and George’s reticence about some topics (Summerhall, the last dragon, certain family trees, etc) means that this theory is still a work in progress. I hope you give it the benefit of the doubt, and even if I’ve come to some incorrect conclusions, you may find the evidence compelling enough to come to your own conclusions.

The Case Against Viserys II

Aegon III is known as the Dragonbane because he was king when the last dragon died, but that title would more accurately belong to his brother, Viserys II. Viserys II was never able to hatch a dragon:

Quote

Princess Rhaenyra took to the birthing bed once more, and gave her uncle Daemon a second son, named Viserys after his grandsire… though, somewhat ominously, the dragon’s egg placed in his cradle never hatched.

-TRP

It appears he passed this inability onto his descendents: Viserys II is the direct ancestor of all subsequent members of House Targaryen.

Why would Viserys II be unable to hatch dragons? Environmental factors don’t seem likely, as other dragons would be hatched later. Maybe the Targaryens hadn’t been assiduous in keeping their dragonblood pure, what with the influx of Velaryon and Arryn blood? It’s possible, but…

Quote

Those who doubted the paternity of Rhaenyra’s sons whispered that the eggs would never hatch, but the birth in turn of three young dragons gave the lie to their words.

-TRP

So impure dragonblood doesn’t seem to be the problem. There is another possibility that George hints at: Viserys II was an imposter with no dragonblood. Recall Viserys II’s history:

Quote

In the waning days of 129 AC, the young princes boarded the cog Gay Abandon—Aegon with Stormcloud, Viserys clutching his egg—to set sail for Essos.

-TPatQ

Quote

 

Ninety warships swept from the Stepstones under the banners of the Three Daughters, bending their oars for the Gullet … and as chance and the gods would have it, the Pentoshi cog Gay Abandon, carrying two Targaryen princes, sailed straight into their teeth. The escorts sent to protect the cog were sunk or taken, the Gay Abandon captured.

The tale reached Dragonstone only when Prince Aegon arrived desperately clinging to the neck of his dragon, Stormcloud... Aegon’s younger brother, Prince Viserys, had no way of escaping from the cog.

 

-TPatQ

Quote

The realm had thought Viserys slain at the Battle of the Gullet, and the king had never forgiven himself for abandoning his brother when he fled on the back of his dragon, Stormcloud. But Viserys was eventually recovered from Lys by Oakenfist, where he had been held in secret by merchant princes who thought to profit from his ransom or his death.

-TWoIaF The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III

Do we have any reason to doubt that the recovered Viserys II was real? There’s the proximity clue a few paragraphs later:

Quote

 

Yet together, Aegon and Viserys ably dealt with the remaining turmoil in the realm. One such incident was the troublesome appearance of several pretenders claiming to be Prince Daeron the Daring—the youngest brother of Aegon II who was killed at Second Tumbleton but whose body was never identified—leaving the door open for unscrupulous men to make their false claims. (But those feigned princes have since been conclusively shown to be imposters.)


 

-TWoIaF The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III

There’s also the problem of his age:

Quote

By all rights, the year 122 AC should have been a joyous one for House Targaryen. Princess Rhaenyra took to the birthing bed once more, and gave her uncle Daemon a second son, named Viserys after his grandsire.

-TRP

Quote

The eldest was Aegon, born in the Red Keep in 135 AC after Viserys's return from Lys.

-TWoIaF The Targaryen Kings: Viserys II

Viserys was born in 122 and his first child was born in 135. I suppose it’s possible for a 12 or 13 year old to father a child, but it’s suspicious. Perhaps it’s a hint that an older imposter was pretending to be Viserys’ age.

Some may question how an imposter could convincingly pass himself off as Prince Viserys, especially with regards to his brother. Keep in mind that Viserys II disappeared at age 7, and reappeared at 12 or 13.

Quote

The Prince of Dragonstone also had a care for the safety of his half brothers, Aegon the Younger and Viserys, aged nine and seven.

-TPatQ

His appearance was bound to be different, and most people who’d known him closely were dead at that point. It’s also likely that Aegon III really wanted him to be his long lost brother, whether from happiness, guilt, or potential embarrassment:

Quote

Aegon had only one true joy during these years: the return of his younger brother, Prince Viserys. … the king had never forgiven himself for abandoning his brother when he fled on the back of his dragon, Stormcloud… The price that Lord Velaryon agreed to for his release was enormous, and soon proved a matter of contention.

-TWoIaF The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III

Viserys’ wife was Larra Rogare:

Quote

 

The daughter of a wealthy and influential noble house. Tall and willowy, with the silver-gold hair and purple eyes of Valyria (for the blood still runs strong in Lys), she was seven years Viserys's elder.

 

-TWoIaF The Targaryen Kings: Viserys II

She may have had Valyrian features, but we have no reason to believe that she had dragonblood. The fact that the dragonlords of Old Valyria resorted to incest to keep their blood pure implies that there was no reliable external indicator of dragonblood.

Since neither Viserys II nor his wife could hatch dragons, it’s not surprising that their descendents couldn’t either. But what about the children of Aegon III? They couldn’t hatch dragons either. It turns out there are several indications that Viserys II may have fathered Aegon II’s children.

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He likewise came to dislike being touched—even by the hand of his beautiful queen. Even after she had flowered, he was long in calling her to his bed...but ultimately their marriage was blessed with two sons and three daughters.


 

-TWoIaF The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III

So Aegon III hated being touched by his wife, but he needed heirs. Was there somebody who could have helped him out with this situation? Someone he fully trusted?

Quote

and for the rest of his days he was the only person Aegon ever fully trusted.

-TWoIaF The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III

Could Aegon III have asked Viserys to impregnate his wife? A better question might be, do we have any evidence that Viserys was sleeping with his sister-in-law?

Quote

His brother, Prince Viserys—who in his last years served as his Hand—had the gift of charm, but he himself grew stern after his wife abandoned him and their children for her native Lys.

-TWoIaF The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III

Abandoning one’s children is not a move to be taken lightly, and doesn’t seem to fit with the official explanation:

Quote

She was also a woman who never felt a part of the court and was never truly happy there.

-TWoIaF The Targaryen Kings: Viserys II

It would be more convincing if Larra Rogare left her family after discovering her husband had been having a long-running affair.

Whether Viserys II was switched with an imposter or whether he was born impotent (as far as dragon-hatching goes,) it’s clear that he is responsible for House Targaryen no longer being able to hatch dragons. Neither he nor his wife had dragonblood, and all subsequent generations of Targaryen are descended from them.

Dragon Blood

The Targaryens had a traditional method to hatch dragon eggs:

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A dragon’s egg was placed in the cradle of each child...

-TRP

While this tradition continued after Viserys II, it appears to have lost its effect.

Quote

"Your dragon's egg." They put it in his cradle. Dunk was so used to Egg that sometimes he forgot Aegon was a prince. Of course they'd put a dragon egg inside his cradle.

-TMK

 

I’ve been arguing that it was a lack of dragonblood that caused this inability.

This family tree highlights all known dragon riders (there are many fewer instances of characters explicitly hatching eggs, and such a small sample size would be insignificant.) I traced a proposed path of dragonblood that flows down through these dragonriders. I found a few interesting points.

First, it’s easy to see the bottleneck where the Targaryen succession runs through Viserys II and Larra Rogare. This bottleneck coinciding with the inability to hatch dragons seems suspicious. The only non-overlap is with Aegon III’s children, but George has given us evidence to question their paternity.

Second, House Velaryon is very intertwined with House Targaryen, but we don’t have a single case of a Velaryon without Targaryen parentage hatching a dragon. Laenor and Laena are the only known Velaryon dragonriders, and their mother was Rhaenys Targaryen. The Rogue Prince says of Laenor:

Quote

with dragon blood on both sides of his lineage.

-TRP

But this could be referring to Corlys Velaryon’s Valyrian ethnicity, rather than the ability to hatch dragons. But we digress. The important point about House Velaryon is that Aegon III’s wife, Daenaera Velaryon, was a cousin and not a member of the main branch, and had no known dragon-hatching ancestors.

Quote

Lady Daenaera was a cousin to Alyn Oakenfist, fathered by his cousin Daeron, who died fighting for him in the Stepstones.

-TWoIaF The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III

We don’t have family trees going back that far, but it’s plausible that Daenaera had no dragonblood, as we don’t know when Daenaera’s family branched off compared to when the Targaryens intermarried with them. Notice how the term “cousin” applies equally to father and daughter, so we can’t assume it means first cousin.

Third, there are two instances of pre-Dragonbane Targaryens branching out from the main line, potentially carrying dragonblood to their descendents outside of House Targaryen: The twin girls of Daemon and Laena Velaryon. Baela Targaryen married Alyn “Oakenfist” Velaryon, and sired modern-day House Velaryon. Rhaena Targaryen married Garmund Hightower and they had six daughters. Both Baela and Rhaena hatched dragons:

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Baela’s dragon, the slender pale green Moondancer, would soon be large enough to bear the girl upon her back … and though her sister Rhaena’s egg had hatched a broken thing that died within hours of emerging from the egg, Syrax had recently produced another clutch. One of her eggs had been given to Rhaena, and it was said that the girl slept with it every night, and prayed for a dragon to match her sister’s.

-TPatQ

It appears that Rhaena’s prayers were answered, as her dragon Morning was one of only four to survive the Dance:

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MORNING (Lady Rhaena): Too young for war, survived the Dance.

-TWoIaF The Targaryen Kings: Aegon II

Fourth, Dany looks very isolated down there at the bottom of the tree. No Targaryens had hatched a dragon for several generations, and then suddenly Dany did. How is that possible?

 

Dany and the Restoration of House Targaryen

Dany has dragonblood, and it’s evident that post-Dragonbane Targaryens did not:

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At Viserys's suggestion, he sent away for nine mages from Essos, attempting to use their arts to kindle a clutch of eggs. This proved both a debacle and a failure.

-TWoIaF The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III

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In this, he was not unlike his predecessors, who brought septons to pray over the last eggs, mages to work spells over them, and maesters to pore over them…

The last years of Aegon's reign were consumed by a search for ancient lore about the dragon breeding of Valyria...

What became of the dream of dragons was a grievous tragedy born in a moment of joy. In the fateful year 259 AC, the king summoned many of those closest to him to Summerhall,

 

-TWoIaF The Targaryen Kings: Aegon V

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He was no dragon, Dany thought, curiously calm. Fire cannot kill a dragon.

-AGoT Dany V

Where did Dany get her dragonblood from? I hypothesize that she’s descended from one of Daemon and Laena’s twin girls, the dragon-hatchers who married off into other Houses. However, this presents its own set of problems.

Baela married into House Velaryon, but the Targaryens haven’t intermarried with the Velaryons since the Dance. Rhaena married into House Hightower, but she bore six daughters, so we don’t know what Houses they may have eventually married into. It’s possible one of these daughters married into House Martell, House Dayne, or even House Blackwood, which are the three houses that eventually intermarried with House Targaryen’s main line. However, Aegon V’s failure to hatch dragons at Summerhall indicates that dragonblood was not present in his veins, or in his half-Blackwood son’s veins either. And what new blood entered the Targaryen line after Summerhall?

Officially, none.

Jaeharys II married his sister, as did Aerys II. For Dany to have dragonblood, it appears that we must question her ancestry.

“Wait,” you say. “Is there any corroborating evidence that Dany descended from Baela or Rhaena?” Funny thing about that:

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"What did she look like, your Lady Lynesse?"

Ser Jorah smiled sadly. "Why, she looked a bit like you, Daenerys." He bowed low. "Sleep well, my queen."

Dany shivered, and pulled the lionskin tight about her. She looked like me. It explained much that she had not truly understood.

 

-ACoK Dany I

Dany is understanding that Jorah has a crush on her, but astute readers will understand that Dany has Hightower features. If you check the family tree, you’ll see that Hightowers and Targaryens intermarried three times. Maegor and Ceryse Hightower had no children. Viserys I and Alicent Hightower’s descendents all died during the Dance or soon after. Only the descendents of Rhaena and Garmund Hightower survived, but as they were all daughters, they likely didn’t contribute to the main line of either House Targaryen or House Hightower.

If Dany has both Targaryen and Hightower features, then the logical conclusion is that she is descended from this line. If true, then we must wonder who Dany’s parents really were. Perhaps Barristan can give us a clue:

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Even after all these years, Ser Barristan could still recall Ashara's smile, the sound of her laughter. He had only to close his eyes to see her, with her long dark hair tumbling about her shoulders and those haunting purple eyes. Daenerys has the same eyes. Sometimes when the queen looked at him, he felt as if he were looking at Ashara's daughter

-ADwD The Kingbreaker

And now we have some timing as well. The Daynes must not have had dragon blood when Maekar married Dyanna Dayne, but sometime between then and Ashara, House Dayne must have intermarried with a descendent of Rhaena, perhaps Ashara’s mother or grandmother.

So there we have it. Dany’s is not just on a quest to restore House Targaryen to the Iron Throne. She is also restoring the dragonblood of the Conqueror to House Targaryen.


Food For Trolls:

Spoiler

 

“Oh no,” say the intransigent, willfully-misunderstanding cave trolls. “There goes Vic again with his tinfoil crackpots, trying to give Dany secret parents even though there’s no reason to question Aerys II + Rhaella = Dany. How dare he question a character’s parentage in story chock full of secret parentages!” Funny thing about that...

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"Daenerys. Remember the Undying. Remember who you are."

-ADwD Dany II

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"Remember who you are, Daenerys," the stars whispered in a woman's voice. "The dragons know. Do you?"

-ADwD Dany X

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And perhaps the dragon did remember, but Dany could not...Yet sometimes Dany would picture the way it had been, so often had her brother told her the stories.

-AGoT Dany I

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It seemed as though all the things she had always believed were suddenly called into question.

-AGoT Dany III

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Once on a voyage to Braavos, as she'd watched the crew wrestle down a great green sail in a rising gale, she had even thought how fine it would be to be a sailor. But when she told her brother, Viserys had twisted her hair until she cried. "You are blood of the dragon," he had screamed at her. "A dragon, not some smelly fish."

-ASoS Dany I

It’s almost like George doesn’t want us to blindly accept the origin story Viserys told her after beating her Targaryen identity into her. Almost.

 

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Jaime had only seen Rhaella once after that, the morning of the day she left for Dragonstone. The queen had been cloaked and hooded as she climbed inside the royal wheelhouse that would take her down Aegon's High Hill to the waiting ship...

-AFfC Jaime II

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The midnight flight to Dragonstone, moonlight shimmering on the ship's black sails.

-AGoT Dany I

Nope, nope, nothing suspicious at all about Rhaella’s pregnant trip to Dragonstone.

 

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Even the big house with the red door had not been home for him.

-AGoT Dany I

Or that Viserys didn’t live in the house with the red door.

 

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Dany unrolled the parchment and examined it again. Braavos. This was done in Braavos, while we were living in the house with the red door. Why did that make her feel so strange?

-ADwD Dany VII

Me too, Dany. Me too.

 

 

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tl/dr: The Targaryens lost their ability to hatch dragons because Viserys II lacked dragonblood and was a genetic bottleneck for House Targaryen. Evidence suggests that Dany is descended from an earlier Targaryen who married out of the main branch and kept dragonblood alive.

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According to your theory they would not be Targaryens at all and neither would be Dany.

One, Viserys' egg failed to hatch before he went missing. And two the dead giveaway for Targaryens, the prophetic dreams occur in numerous of his descendants.

Doesn't work.

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 I think this is pretty great. I do worry that it might be a bit convoluted in terms of finding Dany's dragonblood, but I am on board with the upshot - Dany is not part of the main Targaryen line.

 

 Also, is Gay Abandon maybe GRRM trying to tell us something about one or the other of Aegon or Viserys? 

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2 hours ago, The Sleeper said:

According to your theory they would not be Targaryens at all and neither would be Dany.

Yes, according to my theory, the descendents of Viserys II wouldn't be descended from Aegon the Conqueror. However, Dany would be. If you want to argue that true Targaryens must descend through the male line, then I see your point. Otherwise, I don't get what you mean.

3 hours ago, The Sleeper said:

One, Viserys' egg failed to hatch before he went missing.

George does like to make things ambiguous. However, providing two possible explanations doesn't mean that neither are true. Maybe he was born impotent due to impure blood. Maybe he was switched. Maybe there's another explanation for why he was the first Targaryen in known history (iirc) to be unable to hatch a dragon egg.

3 hours ago, The Sleeper said:

And two the dead giveaway for Targaryens, the prophetic dreams occur in numerous of his descendants.

If you scroll back to the top of OP, you'll find I defined dragonblood:

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For this theory, we are defining dragonblood as the ability to hatch dragons. There are other special traits that are associated with Targaryen blood, such as dragon dreams, madness, and an affinity for heat/fire, but for this case we are only interested in dragon-hatching. It seems to be connected to bearing stillborn babies with dragon features, but who knows.

I would argue that prophetic dreams are a dead giveaway for Valyrians, instead of specifically Targaryens. I was trying to draw a line between common Valyrians and dragonlords, and was arguing that while dragon dreams (amongst other traits) are common to both, only dragonlords had the ability to hatch dragons. Why else would the dragonlords resort to incest?

 

1 hour ago, Regular John Umber said:

 I think this is pretty great. I do worry that it might be a bit convoluted in terms of finding Dany's dragonblood, but I am on board with the upshot - Dany is not part of the main Targaryen line.

 

 Also, is Gay Abandon maybe GRRM trying to tell us something about one or the other of Aegon or Viserys? 

Thank you. It is convoluted, but I've been convinced ever since the worldbook came out that this is a mystery that could be solved with the Targaryen family tree.

That's a good pick up of Gay Abandon. The abandon part fits nicely, and now I'm wondering if there's another reason Aegon III didn't like his beautiful wife touching him.

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The theory is pretty bad. Aegon III had no reason not to recognize his brother, nor had he any reason to accept some impostor as his brother. And he would most certainly have had no reason to trust such a brother as much as he did, eventually making him his Hand.

Viserys was lost late in 129 AC, and recovered about four years later. Aegon III was nine years old when he left his brother and 12-13 when he saw him again.

Do you really think a 12-13-year-old cannot remember how the brother looked like he spent most of his life up until the Battle of the Gullet? That is a ridiculous idea.

In addition, the idea that Viserys' blood was somehow problematic makes little sense. It was Viserys who tried to bring the dragons back and while his dragon egg apparently never hatched he could still have been the last Targaryen dragonrider by claiming Morning after Rhaena's death (in childbirth, perhaps) or by claiming one of the sickly dragons that hatched during the reign of Aegon III up until the last one died in 153 AC.

And the speculations that Dany has ancestors outside the marriages of Jaehaerys II and Aerys II also makes no sense. There is nothing pointing in that direction.

The Hightowers of today might still be descended from Garmund and Rhaena, by the way. If Garmund was the Lord of Oldtown - which is not unlikely - his eldest daughter by Rhaena may have ruled as Lady of Oldtown after his death. Just as Arwyn Oakheart and Anya Waynwood rule in their own right and pass on their house name to their children.

I also find it plausible that Jena Dondarrion, Aelinor and Ronnel Penrose, and Dyanna Dayne are descendants of Rhaena and Garmund. But there is no reason to believe that their blood contributed all that much to the Targaryen blood that was passed down through the main line.

Also, the idea that Larra Rogare had no dragonlord blood is very unlikely. Many Lyseni - slaves and nobles alike - might have purer dragonlord blood than the Targaryens of Westeros. The House Rogare of Lys could very well be a dragonless cadet branch of a dragonlord houses Rogare of Valyria, just as many of the noble families of Volantis seem to be founded by dragonless cadet branches of the dragonlords of Valyria. 

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Note: I'm actually a nice guy, and I'd love to hear constructive criticism and respond nicely. However, if your criticism is rude, condescending, or insulting, then you can expect me to reply in turn.

15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The theory is pretty bad.

Not as bad as your math skills:

15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Viserys was lost late in 129 AC, and recovered about four years later.

 

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The Prince of Dragonstone also had a care for the safety of his half brothers, Aegon the Younger and Viserys, aged nine and seven... In the waning days of 129 AC, the young princes boarded the cog Gay Abandon—Aegon with Stormcloud, Viserys clutching his egg—to set sail for Essos.

-TPatQ

Quote

The eldest was Aegon, born in the Red Keep in 135 AC after Viserys's return from Lys.

-TWoIaF The Targaryen Kings: Viserys II

Now watch carefully, because you seemed to have difficulty with this part.

135-129=6

Yes, I know triple-digit subtraction can be a little difficult, but if you use a calculator, you'll see that's the right answer.

Aegon was 9 when Viserys disappeared, so 6 years later he would be 15 years old (trust me on the math, I'm a teacher.)

So no, your assertion that:

15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Aegon III was nine years old when he left his brother and 12-13 when he saw him again.

is, well, how should I put it:

15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

That is a ridiculous idea.

Well said.

I noticed you put a condition on this phrase to make it seem like you had a point:

15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Do you really think a 12-13-year-old cannot remember how the brother looked like he spent most of his life up until the Battle of the Gullet?

If you take the 6 years Viserys was missing and add the 2 years before Viserys was born you get 8. The 7 years they grew up together is a shorter time than the 8 years Aegon was without his brother. Here, this might help:

7<8

You see, without your misleading condition, it turns out that when Aegon met the recovered Viserys, he had spent most of his life without his brother. Well, you tried.

 

15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

In addition, the idea that Viserys' blood was somehow problematic makes little sense. It was Viserys who tried to bring the dragons back...

Gee, I wonder why he had to do that?

15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

...while his dragon egg apparently never hatched he could still have been the last Targaryen dragonrider by claiming Morning after Rhaena's death (in childbirth, perhaps) or by claiming one of the sickly dragons that hatched during the reign of Aegon III up until the last one died in 153 AC.

Riding is not hatching. The point of Nettles was to show us you don't need dragonblood to ride a dragon.

 

15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

And the speculations that Dany has ancestors outside the marriages of Jaehaerys II and Aerys II also makes no sense. There is nothing pointing in that direction.

Aside from the fact that she hatched dragons, which no Targaryen had done in a century and a half. Maybe you missed the Food For Trolls part I put in spoiler tabs. Here it is once again. It addresses the concerns of a certain subsection of the board that believes DANY'S PARENTAGE CAN NEVER BE QUESTIONED NO MATTER HOW MUCH EVIDENCE.

Spoiler

 

“Oh no,” say the intransigent, willfully-misunderstanding cave trolls. “There goes Vic again with his tinfoil crackpots, trying to give Dany secret parents even though there’s no reason to question Aerys II + Rhaella = Dany. How dare he question a character’s parentage in story chock full of secret parentages!” Funny thing about that...

Quote

"Daenerys. Remember the Undying. Remember who you are."

-ADwD Dany II

Quote

"Remember who you are, Daenerys," the stars whispered in a woman's voice. "The dragons know. Do you?"

-ADwD Dany X

Quote

And perhaps the dragon did remember, but Dany could not...Yet sometimes Dany would picture the way it had been, so often had her brother told her the stories.

-AGoT Dany I

Quote

It seemed as though all the things she had always believed were suddenly called into question.

-AGoT Dany III

Quote

Once on a voyage to Braavos, as she'd watched the crew wrestle down a great green sail in a rising gale, she had even thought how fine it would be to be a sailor. But when she told her brother, Viserys had twisted her hair until she cried. "You are blood of the dragon," he had screamed at her. "A dragon, not some smelly fish."

-ASoS Dany I

 

It’s almost like George doesn’t want us to blindly accept the origin story Viserys told her after beating her Targaryen identity into her. Almost.

 

Quote

Jaime had only seen Rhaella once after that, the morning of the day she left for Dragonstone. The queen had been cloaked and hooded as she climbed inside the royal wheelhouse that would take her down Aegon's High Hill to the waiting ship...

-AFfC Jaime II

Quote

The midnight flight to Dragonstone, moonlight shimmering on the ship's black sails.

-AGoT Dany I

Nope, nope, nothing suspicious at all about Rhaella’s pregnant trip to Dragonstone.

Quote

Even the big house with the red door had not been home for him.

-AGoT Dany I

Or that Viserys didn’t live in the house with the red door.

Quote

Dany unrolled the parchment and examined it again. Braavos. This was done in Braavos, while we were living in the house with the red door. Why did that make her feel so strange?

-ADwD Dany VII

Me too, Dany. Me too.

 

 

15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

The Hightowers of today might still be descended from Garmund and Rhaena, by the way. If Garmund was the Lord of Oldtown - which is not unlikely - his eldest daughter by Rhaena may have ruled as Lady of Oldtown after his death. Just as Arwyn Oakheart and Anya Waynwood rule in their own right and pass on their house name to their children.

It's possible, but there's zero evidence to support it.

15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

 

I also find it plausible that Jena Dondarrion, Aelinor and Ronnel Penrose, and Dyanna Dayne are descendants of Rhaena and Garmund. But there is no reason to believe that their blood contributed all that much to the Targaryen blood that was passed down through the main line.

Um, there is specific evidence to believe Dondarrion and Penrose blood was never a part of the main Targaryen branch.

As far as how much pure blood is in the main Targaryen branch, half of Rhaegar, Viserys, and (supposedly) Dany's blood is from the Blackwoods, a quarter is from the Daynes, an eighth is from the Martells, and one sixteenth is from each the Targaryens and the Rogares (going back further would dilute it even more!) A newer influx of blood would dwarf the Targaryen portion they received from Viserys II.

15 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Also, the idea that Larra Rogare had no dragonlord blood is very unlikely. Many Lyseni - slaves and nobles alike - might have purer dragonlord blood than the Targaryens of Westeros. The House Rogare of Lys could very well be a dragonless cadet branch of a dragonlord houses Rogare of Valyria, just as many of the noble families of Volantis seem to be founded by dragonless cadet branches of the dragonlords of Valyria. 

She had Valyrian blood, sure, but if dragonblood was so rare that the Dragonlords resorted to incest, then I doubt some random Lyseni merchant's daughter had the power to hatch dragons.

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Your theory is very interesting. However, I remember Marwyn's comment about how it was the maesters who got rid of the dragons and how Dany is the first Targaryen in a long while who hasn't known the "tender help" of a maester, except for the one who helped birth her (who was also the maester who birthed Aegon and Rhaenys). I think it is more likely the maesters had discovered a way to interrupt the bond between Targaryens and their dragons. Also, most of your evidence comes from ancillary material while the suggested solution above comes from the main source material.

This is one of those theories that I don't believe, but at the same time wouldn't be too surprised if it is revealed as true.

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5 hours ago, Victarion Chainbreaker said:

 

 

-TPatQ

-TWoIaF The Targaryen Kings: Viserys II

Now watch carefully, because you seemed to have difficulty with this part.

135-129=6

Yes, I know triple-digit subtraction can be a little difficult, but if you use a calculator, you'll see that's the right answer.

Aegon was 9 when Viserys disappeared, so 6 years later he would be 15 years old (trust me on the math, I'm a teacher.)

So no, your assertion that:

is, well, how should I put it:

Well said.

LOL, you are aware that sentence giving us the birth year of Aegon the Unworthy doesn't also give us the precise date of the return of Prince Viserys, right? What we do know is that Aegon was born in 135 AC after the return of his father to Westeros. It doesn't mean the man also returned in the same year. He could have returned in 133 AC, 134 AC, or 135 AC. We don't know exactly when.

5 hours ago, Victarion Chainbreaker said:

I noticed you put a condition on this phrase to make it seem like you had a point:

If you take the 6 years Viserys was missing and add the 2 years before Viserys was born you get 8. The 7 years they grew up together is a shorter time than the 8 years Aegon was without his brother. Here, this might help:

7<8

You see, without your misleading condition, it turns out that when Aegon met the recovered Viserys, he had spent most of his life without his brother. Well, you tried.

That is irrelevant, too. Aegon III would still remember countless things he had done with his brother. He would remember their nameday feasts, what they did together after Stormcloud hatched, the jokes they told each other when they went to KL for the last grand feast they had all to attend, how much they were afraid while they were on that ship, how often Daemon or Rhaenyra took them for a ride on Caraxes or Syrax, how well they got along with Jace, Luke, and Joff, what their favorite toys were, etc.

The idea that Aegon III wouldn't just ask his alleged brother any of those questions to test whether he is the real deal or not is just silly and entirely uncalled for. Not to mention, you know, that there is no reason to believe that silver-gold hair and purple eyes are enough to fool the brother, half-sisters, and other kin or such a person. Chances are that some Lysene child did not exactly have the same nose, hair-color, eye-color, hands, mouth, eye-shape, etc. as the actual Viserys. It is not just Aegon III who would have been fooled - Baela, Rhaena, and Alyn Velaryon would have been fooled, too. Not to mention all the surviving servants, men-at-arms, retainers, household knights, etc. who had known Prince Viserys from his birth.

This is simply a ridiculous scenario. I'm sorry that I'm not more constructive but there is simply no evidence supporting this idea nor is there any reason that George actually going along with such a plot would be turn out to be believable in the eyes of the readers. It would be more or less the same - aside from there have being more time passed - as us believing that Jon, Bran, Sansa, etc. would actually believe a fake Arya was the real one because she had the same hair and face as their long-lost sister. That is not enough.

And, no, the idea that the real Viserys told some impostor everything he needed to know to impersonate him before his untimely death also makes little sense because there is no way the real Viserys could have foreseen what exactly Aegon III, Rhaena, Baela, Alyn, or pretty much anybody else in KL would ask him.

In addition one could also point out that from what we have heard from Ran/Linda about the Regency account Prince Viserys most definitely is the real deal and a very interesting and sympathetic character in his own right, at least back in those days while Larra is still around.

5 hours ago, Victarion Chainbreaker said:

Riding is not hatching. The point of Nettles was to show us you don't need dragonblood to ride a dragon.

Nope, there is no reason to believe that Nettles doesn't have dragonlord blood. She seems to be a Dragonstonian by birth and that makes it actually pretty likely that she may have some dragonlord ancestors.

5 hours ago, Victarion Chainbreaker said:

Aside from the fact that she hatched dragons, which no Targaryen had done in a century and a half. Maybe you missed the Food For Trolls part I put in spoiler tabs. Here it is once again. It addresses the concerns of a certain subsection of the board that believes DANY'S PARENTAGE CAN NEVER BE QUESTIONED NO MATTER HOW MUCH EVIDENCE.

  Reveal hidden contents

 

  Reveal hidden contents

“Oh no,” say the intransigent, willfully-misunderstanding cave trolls. “There goes Vic again with his tinfoil crackpots, trying to give Dany secret parents even though there’s no reason to question Aerys II + Rhaella = Dany. How dare he question a character’s parentage in story chock full of secret parentages!” Funny thing about that...

-ADwD Dany II

-ADwD Dany X

-AGoT Dany I

-AGoT Dany III

-ASoS Dany I

 

It’s almost like George doesn’t want us to blindly accept the origin story Viserys told her after beating her Targaryen identity into her. Almost.

 

-AFfC Jaime II

-AGoT Dany I

Nope, nope, nothing suspicious at all about Rhaella’s pregnant trip to Dragonstone.

-AGoT Dany I

Or that Viserys didn’t live in the house with the red door.

-ADwD Dany VII

Me too, Dany. Me too.

 

I see no reason to invest any time in questioning the parentage of various people. Why should I?

No Targaryen had ever tried hatching dragon eggs the way Daenerys Targaryen tried. If only the Daenerys way can hatch dormant or nearly dormant dragon eggs then this in itself explains why all the other attempts failed. There is no reason to believe that special blood allows you to do grand magical things if you have no idea how to work those spells.

In addition to, you know, the chance that Dany is an even more special person by the virtue of her birth, fulfilling some ancient prophecy.

Prior to the death of the dragons those dragon eggs the Targaryens had simply all hatched. There is no hint whatsoever that putting an egg into the cradle of a Targaryen child or allowing a Targaryen child to handle a dragon egg magically hatches it. It hatches or it doesn't hatch. And if it doesn't hatch you get no dragon.

The Targaryens only tried to use magic to hatch themselves some dragon eggs when they no longer hatched all by themselves.

5 hours ago, Victarion Chainbreaker said:

It's possible, but there's zero evidence to support it.

Well, there is actually more to back that idea up than your entire theory, namely the fact that eldest daughters can inherit a lordship in absence of a trueborn son and the possibility that Garmund Hightower may have been the oldest son and heir of Lord Ormund. The names are similar, and we know Ormund's sons were too young to accompany their father to war, indicating that Garmund could very well be about as old as Rhaena or slightly younger. And one wonders to whom the last known Targaryen dragonrider and half-sister of King Aegon III would be married - the Lord of Oldtown or his younger brother or some Hightower cousin?

Now, the second part isn't evidence since it is not confirmed yet, nor is it by any means that Garmund - assuming he succeeded Ormund as Lord of Oldtown - was only married to Rhaena and had only trueborn daughter. But if he did not and if he was Lord of Oldtown then his heiress and successor would have been his eldest daughter by Rhaena. And we can be reasonably certainly that both King Aegon III and Prince Viserys would have supported the claim of their own niece against the claims of some male Hightower cousins.

5 hours ago, Victarion Chainbreaker said:

Um, there is specific evidence to believe Dondarrion and Penrose blood was never a part of the main Targaryen branch.

I never said anything else. Aerys I and Aelinor had no children (although Ronnel and Elaena did have one son and three daughters), and Baelor and Jena's sons had no living offspring.

5 hours ago, Victarion Chainbreaker said:

As far as how much pure blood is in the main Targaryen branch, half of Rhaegar, Viserys, and (supposedly) Dany's blood is from the Blackwoods, a quarter is from the Daynes, an eighth is from the Martells, and one sixteenth is from each the Targaryens and the Rogares (going back further would dilute it even more!) A newer influx of blood would dwarf the Targaryen portion they received from Viserys II.

No, because the blood of Rhaena-Garmund's descendants would even be more diluted than the blood of the descendants of Viserys II and Larra Rogare (who I see no reason not to consider a dragonlord descendant). In the main branch we have a Valyrian marriage with Viserys-Larra, an incestuous union with Aegon-Naerys, the influx of non-Valyrian blood with Mariah Martell, a possible cousin marriage with Maekar-Dyanna (assuming a daughter of Rhaena is Dyanna's mother or grandmother - such a marriage could have been arranged during or in the wake of the Conquest of Dorne), another influx of non-Valyrian blood with Betha Blackwood, and then two incestuous unions.

Now, any secret/underhanded influx of Targaryen blood back into 'the main branch' (which, according to your idea, had no Targaryen blood at all since the fake Viserys II) would have taken place only after Aegon V-Betha. In light of the fact that Garmund-Rhaena's descendants would never have practiced any incest nor cousin marriages this blood would have been very diluted by that time. Roughly 150 years passed between the Dance and Dany's birth, after all.

By the way - what the hell do you with the dragon dreams of people like Daeron the Drunken, Aerion Brightflame, Maester Aemon, and Aegon V? It is consensus that they have such dreams because of their Targaryen ancestry and heritage. That's what's said both in THK and TMK.

5 hours ago, Victarion Chainbreaker said:

She had Valyrian blood, sure, but if dragonblood was so rare that the Dragonlords resorted to incest, then I doubt some random Lyseni merchant's daughter had the power to hatch dragons.

No, incest was pretty common in Old Valyria, especially (but no restricted to) the 'families who bred and rode dragons' (as Gyldayn puts it). If you honestly think some descendant of Rhaena-Garmund gave Dany her dragonlord blood then the chances are much higher that the Rogares (who seem to have been among the most powerful houses of Lys) have also quite a few dragonlord ancestors.

We don't know whether incest is still practiced in Lys and Volantis (although we do know the Old Blood of Volantis only marry among each other which certainly could also include sibling marriages) but even if the weren't then the chances that the entire elite of Lys and Volantis have dragonlord ancestors (some more, some less, some in the more distant past, some as early as shortly before the Doom, etc.) are much higher than in comparison to any bloodline in Westeros. Those Lyseni and Volantene noble families marry either their own family members or amongst their closely related peers. And thus they would continuously strengthen and pass on the dragonlord blood they have inherited from their ancestors. There simply would be many more dragonlords from various houses among the ancestors of the elites of Lys and Volantis. Chances are that many of the families there have purer dragonlord blood than the Targaryens of today. And in Lys that's even more likely for the slaves who are bred for their looks. They might all go back to various bastards the dragonlords of old fathered on Lysene bed slaves who themselves were fathered by other dragonlords on other slaves.

The very looks of the Lyseni and Volantenes prove that they do not intermarry with non-Valyrian people - and when they do the people they choose certainly would have more Valyrian blood than, say, some of the Targaryen spouses had (Arryns, Hightowers, Martells, Blackwoods, etc.).

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Wasn't Nettles a "dragonseed", a Targaryen bastard and thus of

6 hours ago, Victarion Chainbreaker said:

Riding is not hatching. The point of Nettles was to show us you don't need dragonblood to ride a dragon.

  Reveal hidden contents

 

 

 

 

But isn't Nettles a "dragonseed" and thus of dragonblood by default?

PS. -I could not get rid of the "hidden cotents box.

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On 27.7.2017 at 3:22 PM, Victarion Chainbreaker said:

Maybe there's another explanation for why he was the first Targaryen in known history (iirc) to be unable to hatch a dragon egg.

But was he, really? I mean, looking at what we know of Targaryen dragon-riders, some of them claimed older, "pre-owned" dragons and some hatched their own, but there isn't any clear logic as to who gets which. Except that maybe some of them hadn't been able to hatch eggs.

For instance:

Children of Aenys I - his daughter Rhaena and his younger children have all hatched their dragons, but his older sons, Aegon 1.5 and Viserys apparently were dragonless until the former claimed his father's Quicksilver. Which doesn't make a whole lot of sense even if Aenys had been purposefully waiting for Visenya to die so that one of his kids could claim Vhagar.

Among Jaehaerys's kids Aemon and Baelon certainly had dragons, as their brother Vaegon has a specific moniker "the Dragonless", and it is fairly likely that their sister Alyssa also had one. But were they legacy dragons or hatched by them? Was Vaegon "the  Dragonless" because he was denied a dragon or did he fail to hatch/claim one? Etc.

In the next generation Daemon and Rhaenys hatched their own dragons, but Viserys claimed Balerion. Was it on purpose, to cement Viserys's right to the throne? Or did he fail to hatch his egg?

Did Laena claim Vhagar because she was denied an egg of her own, or did hers simply fail to hatch, unlike her brother's?

In the next generation, the oldest and the youngest of Alicent's children hatched eggs, but the middle ones claimed legacy dragons - was it on purpose (which, given Helaena's wet-blanket persona and waste of Dreamfyre's capabilities  seems odd), or did their eggs fail to hatch? Etc.

Re: Nettle, the point of her is very debatable. In any case, if it had been quicker and easier to tame an adult dragon than an adult wolf - which her "method" amounts to, then the 40 families of  Valyrian dragonlords wouldn't have been the only people to tame dragons, it would have been commonplace. GRRM did say that dragons once lived all over the ASOIAF world, after all.

If Nettle didn't have Targaryen blood - which, as a Dragonstone native she  likely possessed, then she must have had some other magical means. But if so, it can only be revealed in some future material. 

 

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55 minutes ago, Maia said:

But was he, really? I mean, looking at what we know of Targaryen dragon-riders, some of them claimed older, "pre-owned" dragons and some hatched their own, but there isn't any clear logic as to who gets which. Except that maybe some of them hadn't been able to hatch eggs.

For instance:

Children of Aenys I - his daughter Rhaena and his younger children have all hatched their dragons, but his older sons, Aegon 1.5 and Viserys apparently were dragonless until the former claimed his father's Quicksilver. Which doesn't make a whole lot of sense even if Aenys had been purposefully waiting for Visenya to die so that one of his kids could claim Vhagar.

Among Jaehaerys's kids Aemon and Baelon certainly had dragons, as their brother Vaegon has a specific moniker "the Dragonless", and it is fairly likely that their sister Alyssa also had one. But were they legacy dragons or hatched by them? Was Vaegon "the  Dragonless" because he was denied a dragon or did he fail to hatch/claim one? Etc.

In the next generation Daemon and Rhaenys hatched their own dragons, but Viserys claimed Balerion. Was it on purpose, to cement Viserys's right to the throne? Or did he fail to hatch his egg?

Did Laena claim Vhagar because she was denied an egg of her own, or did hers simply fail to hatch, unlike her brother's?

In the next generation, the oldest and the youngest of Alicent's children hatched eggs, but the middle ones claimed legacy dragons - was it on purpose (which, given Helaena's wet-blanket persona and waste of Dreamfyre's capabilities  seems odd), or did their eggs fail to hatch? Etc.

Re: Nettle, the point of her is very debatable. In any case, if it had been quicker and easier to tame an adult dragon than an adult wolf - which her "method" amounts to, then the 40 families of  Valyrian dragonlords wouldn't have been the only people to tame dragons, it would have been common-place. GRRM did say that dragons once lived all over the ASOIAF world, after all.

If Nettle didn't have Targaryen blood - which, as a Dragonstone native she very well likely possessed, then she must have had some other magical means. But if so, it can only be revealed in some future material. 

 

We don't really know enough about Targaryen culture to know which is more prestigious; newly hatched dragons to bond with or "legacy" dragons as you put it.  Dragons live much longer than humans so they would logically bond with more than one human in their lifetime.  And the history of the legacy dragons probably influences their prestige points as well.  Balerion and Quicksilver would hardly be considered runner-up material I would think. 

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39 minutes ago, Maia said:

Children of Aenys I - his daughter Rhaena and his younger children have all hatched their dragons, but his older sons, Aegon 1.5 and Viserys apparently were dragonless until the former claimed his father's Quicksilver. Which doesn't make a whole lot of sense even if Aenys had been purposefully waiting for Visenya to die so that one of his kids could claim Vhagar.

This is a completely convoluted mess. We do know from TSotD that half a dozen dragons hatched on Dragonstone during the later years of Aegon's reign. And we also know from the same text that two additional dragons hatched shortly after Aenys I made Maegor his Hand in 37 AC. That gives Rhaena, Aegon, and Viserys a minimum of eight dragons to pick from.

The chances that Aegon and Viserys did not have their own dragons from shortly after birth are very unlikely. Aenys also was given Quicksilver at a very early age. In Maegor's case Visenya most likely prevented such a bonding, ensuring that Maegor would remain free to eventually claim Balerion.

Another discrepancy is that Vermithor is repeatedly referred to as the oldest living (Targaryen) dragon after Vhagar. Something that doesn't make a lot of sense in light of the fact that Rhaena is so much older than Jaehaerys and thus likely to have claimed her dragon Dreamfyre much earlier than Jaehaerys claimed his Vermithor.

In light of that I find the idea not unlikely at all that Aegon and Rhaena's original dragons were slain by the Faith Militant or other rebels during that doomed royal progress they began after their wedding. They wouldn't have been that large dragons at this time and a nightly sneak attack while the dragons were chained outside an inn or castle sounds not unlikely at all, even more so if those dragon slayers had help from the inside. Aegon and Rhaena were eventually forced to seek refuge at Crakehall Castle and were besieged at that place. If Rhaena's Dreamfyre had been with them they could have escaped on dragonback together, just as Rhaena and Dreamfyre could later have supported Aegon and Quicksilver against Maegor at the Gods Eye. Not to mention that Rhaena most likely wouldn't have been forced to flee from Casterly Rock to Fair Isle if she had still had access to a dragon. She could have gone out into the wild (like Aemond later did) or she could have searched out some houses loyal to her brother and mother.

The idea that King Aenys I's chosen heirs did go on their first royal progress without taking any dragons with them simply makes no sense whatsoever. Showing of the splendor of the royal family as well as the power and glory of the dragons was a huge part of those progresses.

In that sense my way to make sense of this is to suggest that Aegon and Rhaena had dragons of their own who were slain, allowing Aegon to claim his father's dragon Quicksilver later on. Rhaena would have been given Dreamfyre after her marriage to Maegor as a wedding gift or something of that sort. With Visenya gone Maegor presumably needed new dragonriders and it makes a lot of sense that he refused to allow her to mount Vhagar (but, who knows, perhaps he allowed Aerea to claim her?). A younger, smaller dragon would pose no danger to Balerion, though. And once Rhaena claimed Dreamfyre she could not try to mount Vhagar while Dreamfyre lived.

Viserys is a more difficult matter. He could have been the original rider of Dreamfyre, he could have had a dragon of his own we don't yet know existed, a dragon that survived him to be claimed later on by somebody else (Meleys, perhaps?) or a dragon Maegor killed after he had killed Aegon and Quicksilver.

I'm also a strong proponent of the idea that Alyssa Velaryon claimed a dragon, too. She had the blood of the dragon, there were enough dragons around for to pick one, and she was the wife of the Heir Apparent to the Iron Throne and eventually the queen sitting at the side of Aenys I. Her having a dragon makes it more easy for her to actually flee from Dragonstone. The place is an island, after all.

39 minutes ago, Maia said:

Among Jaehaerys's kids Aemon and Baelon certainly had dragons, as their brother Vaegon has a specific moniker "the Dragonless", and it is fairly likely that their sister Alyssa also had one. But were they legacy dragons or hatched by them? Was Vaegon "the  Dragonless" because he was denied a dragon or did he fail to hatch/claim one? Etc.

Both Vhagar and Balerion were in need of new riders after the deaths of Visenya and Balerion. How many eggs the dragons continued to produce in the days the Targaryen infighting during the reign of Maegor is unclear. The dragons apparently mimic the emotions of their riders. There is a hint that most/all of the Targaryen dragons are offspring of Balerion and Vhagar. Vermithor and Silverwing are called cousins, perhaps indicating that Silverwing is a child of Quicksilver and Alyssa's speculative dragon (who may both, in turn, be offspring of Balerion and Meraxes) while Vermithor, Dreamfyre, and others are descended from Balerion and Vhagar.

But since Jaehaerys I and Alysanne loved each other very much it is not unlikely that Vermithor and Silverwing mimicked those feelings (as Silverwing still seems to be doing when Vermithor is dying) so these two dragons could certainly have produced quite a few fresh eggs that were handed to the royal children (or from which the dragons those children claimed eventually hatched).

And we should also consider the possibility that Jocelyn Baratheon claimed a dragon. She had Targaryen blood, too.

In light of the fact that Aerea and Rhalla are much older than Jaehaerys I's eldest children they are not unlikely candidates to have claimed Vhagar and Balerion. Ensuring that the big beasts come back under Targaryen control to be used in war should the need arise would have been a priority.

But it is also not unlikely that Jaehaerys I's eldest children got that honor. We don't know when Alyssa died. She could have ridden Balerion before her own son Viserys (say, she died in childbirth giving birth to her second son, mystery Aegon, and subsequently a 5-6-year-old Viserys - or a ten-year-old, whatever - claimed his mother's large beast. The idea that Aemon rode Balerion prior to Viserys is rather unlikely in my opinion. That would mean Viserys claimed a dragon only later in life and rode Balerion only for two years.

Baelon's dragon could have been Dreamfyre if he had no dragon of his own and his aunt Rhaena died in the 60s or so.

Vhagar could have belonged to Aemon, explaining how she ended up with Laena. Or perhaps she was already in the possession of House Velaryon if Aerea claimed her in the 40s or early 50s, becoming Corlys' mother. The impression we get in TRP is that the Velaryons seem to have no trouble housing a large dragon as Vhagar on Driftmark, and Rhaenyra's sons consider Vhagar to belong to them.

It is all very confusing. Suffice it to say that I think we are going to see new dragons pop up in FIRE AND BLOOD.

39 minutes ago, Maia said:

In the next generation Daemon and Rhaenys hatched their own dragons, but Viserys claimed Balerion. Was it on purpose, to cement Viserys's right to the throne? Or did he fail to hatch his egg?

We actually don't know whether Caraxes and especially Meleys had previous riders. Could very well be in both cases. And considering the five children of Jaehaerys I who died before coming of age there is actually also a chance that dragons were handed up and down among the siblings there.

39 minutes ago, Maia said:

In the next generation, the oldest and the youngest of Alicent's children hatched eggs, but the middle ones claimed legacy dragons - was it on purpose (which, given Helaena's wet-blanket persona and waste of Dreamfyre's capabilities  seems odd), or did their eggs fail to hatch? Etc.

Oh, I think here the mystery can actually be resolved. Alicent had no Targaryen blood, so considering the beliefs about keeping the blood of the dragon pure, etc. it is very likely we have Alicent insisting that Aegon II be given an egg or hatchling to bond with (TPatQ indicates that Sunfyre hatched on Dragonstone) to ensure he become a dragonrider as he should. Once it became clear Aegon had successfully bonded with a dragon Helaena gets a shot with an older, potentially more dangerous dragon. Aemond gets none, perhaps with the intention to have him claim a larger beast, too, as soon as the opportunity present itself (like Maegor did), and Daeron is given an egg because he is born around the same time as Jacaerys who is given an egg, too.

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On 28.7.2017 at 5:03 PM, Lord Varys said:

 That gives Rhaena, Aegon, and Viserys a minimum of eight dragons to pick from.

 

How old is Cannibal, again? Maybe he feasted well on this occasion :P. It would be odd if something as momentous as your proposed second killing of Targaryen dragons by Westerosi - had gone completely unmentioned until now.

It is indeed incredibly odd  that Aegon 1.5 seemingly didn't have a dragon until his father's death, but maybe he was holding out for Vhagar? Or maybe we'll hear a bit more about certain Targs having difficulties with claiming/hatching a dragon.

After all, there are repeated mentions in tWoIaF that claiming an adult dragon/becoming a dragon-rider is somewhat dangerous, yet we never heard of any Targaryen failing. Could it be that Aegon 1.5 initially failed to bond a dragon, but then succeeded with his father's Quicksilver? There had been hints that certain affinities to a dragon that until recently belonged to somebody who loved you might exist. And well, there are reasons to expect that GRRM's own maester Gyldayn would have been more knowledgeable about the history of dragons than Yandel, given the predilections of his employer :D.

  As to Dreamfyre, since she was apparently younger than Vermithor, she might have been too small yet to carry Rhaena during that ill-fated progress, perhaps? Leave alone both of them. Or maybe she had been left behind because of it. After all, it isn't clear how long it takes for eggs to hatch - it seems pretty individual, and different dragons also vary a lot in size and rate of growth.

It would seem very ill-advised of Maeker to gift Rhaena as his captive wife with a dragon, whereas I could see him letting her keep one that she already had, if he was condifent that he could use her little girls to control her. And, as you noted it would also bar her from trying to take Vhagar. Nor do I see one of her 7-year-olds mastering Vhagar. IIRC, Aemond doing so at 10  was a notable feat and was supposed to be very dangerous. Strangely, little was said about Laena Velaryon doing so at 12...

I agree that Visenya specifically told Maegor to hold out for Balerion. But for all we know Rhaena had to hide with Lannisters and Farmans because Dreamfyre was injured or even maybe because she had her daughters with her and was afraid to take them into the wilderness.

 

On 28.7.2017 at 5:03 PM, Lord Varys said:

I'm also a strong proponent of the idea that Alyssa Velaryon claimed a dragon, too. She had the blood of the dragon, there were enough dragons around for to pick one, and she was the wife of the Heir Apparent to the Iron Throne and eventually the queen sitting at the side of Aenys I. Her having a dragon makes it more easy for her to actually flee from Dragonstone. The place is an island, after all.

But then wouldn't there have been a Baratheon dragon and dragon-rider after her death? That would be kinda  big deal. Hm...

 

On 28.7.2017 at 5:03 PM, Lord Varys said:

Both Vhagar and Balerion were in need of new riders after the deaths of Visenya and Balerion. How many eggs the dragons continued to produce in the days the Targaryen infighting during the reign of Maegor is unclear.

 

 Yea, but it is actually unclear how such things are normally handled. I mean, you'd think that getting riders for Vermithor, Silverwing and Seasmoke should have been a priority for Rhaenyra's family, but apparently - and disastrously, not. It is clear why her 3 eldest sons had to get dragons as soon as possible and thus all were provided with eggs to hatch in their cradles, but why Daemon's daughters and mutual sons with Rhaenyra _also_ received eggs instead of being told to bond the older and bigger dragons is a huge conundrum. Heck, even after Rhaena's hatchling died she had to wait for a new clutch of eggs instead of bonding one of the legacy dragons, which is just very odd. Maybe the bond is deeper when it is a rider's own hatchling? Or there is some other advantage.

 

On 28.7.2017 at 5:03 PM, Lord Varys said:

In light of the fact that Aerea and Rhalla are much older than Jaehaerys I's eldest children they are not unlikely candidates to have claimed Vhagar and Balerion. Ensuring that the big beasts come back under Targaryen control to be used in war should the need arise would have been a priority.

Not sure about this. There were sort of robbed of their birthright by Jaehaerys... Trusting them with the family's most powerful dragons would have been rather risky, IMHO.

On 28.7.2017 at 5:03 PM, Lord Varys said:

But it is also not unlikely that Jaehaerys I's eldest children got that honor. We don't know when Alyssa died. She could have ridden Balerion before her own son Viserys (say, she died in childbirth giving birth to her second son, mystery Aegon, and subsequently a 5-6-year-old Viserys - or a ten-year-old, whatever - claimed his mother's large beast. The idea that Aemon rode Balerion prior to Viserys is rather unlikely in my opinion. That would mean Viserys claimed a dragon only later in life and rode Balerion only for two years.

I don't see Viserys claiming Balerion at such an early age. Aemond claiming Vhagar at 10 was supposed to be quite a feat. I don't think that Viserys only having been a dragonrider for a couple of years would be unlikely. Clearly, this whole facet of Targaryen-ness was either unimportant to him... or he had difficulties with the bonding and didn't want to risk it for the second time, having already proven his prowess. Maybe he only managed to claim Balerion because the old dragon was already weakened and ailing? That would certainly explain the difficulties that his grandson and namesake had in that area.

Perhaps we'll even find out that mysterious Aegon, Viserys's and Daemon's little brother failed to claim a dragon and was killed/crippled as a result - and _that_ was the reason why so little was said about him in general histories?

 

On 28.7.2017 at 5:03 PM, Lord Varys said:

We actually don't know whether Caraxes and especially Meleys had previous riders. Could very well be in both cases.

 

Yet both Syrax and even Sunfyre were quite big despite being hatched by their riders and thus relatively young. IMHO, Caraxes would have been more likely to have been a legacy dragon, as he was bigger and had a cool nickname, yet as far as we know Daemon didn't actually do anything particularly interesting with him until their final fight with Aemond and Vhagar.

 

On 28.7.2017 at 5:03 PM, Lord Varys said:

 Once it became clear Aegon had successfully bonded with a dragon Helaena gets a shot with an older, potentially more dangerous dragon.

That's what I don't get - there is a lip-service being paid to it being somewhat dangerous and requiring will and courage to claim a legacy dragon. Yet not only didn't we see or hear about any Targaryen failing, but a complete wet blanket like Helaena succeeded without any trouble? The girl who always did what she was told and let everybody in her family trample on her?

 

On 28.7.2017 at 5:03 PM, Lord Varys said:

Aemond gets none, perhaps with the intention to have him claim a larger beast, too, as soon as the opportunity present itself (like Maegor did), and Daeron is given an egg because he is born around the same time as Jacaerys who is given an egg, too.

But wouldn't it have seemed odd and caused talk that middle children didn't get any eggs, while Aegon and the youngest, Daeron did? And why not hold out for a larger beast with him too? Alicent could have demurred if she so chose.

Anyway, I very much hope that we get some additional details on all things dragon in the upcoming volume of Fire and Blood.

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47 minutes ago, Maia said:

 

How old is Cannibal, again? Maybe he feasted well on this occasion :P.

Well, then it is odd that Alyssa mocked Maegor for being afraid of dragons, not to mention that Gyldayn actually says Maegor was offered young dragons repeatedly. There were dragons around for Rhaena, Aegon, and Viserys. 

It is also not very likely that the Cannibal would have dared attack the hatcheries and other young dragons while Vhagar and Balerion were still spending a lot of time on Dragonstone (assuming he was big enough to be a threat in those days).

47 minutes ago, Maia said:

It would be odd if something as momentous as your proposed second killing of Targaryen dragons by Westerosi - had gone completely unmentioned until now.

Not necessarily. We also have no idea how Aegon could claim his father's Quicksilver who presumably was with Aenys I when the man died on Dragonstone while Aegon and Rhaena were in the Westerlands. Visenya even says Aenys should mount his dragon and use it, indicating that the dragon was close by.

47 minutes ago, Maia said:

It is indeed incredibly odd  that Aegon 1.5 seemingly didn't have a dragon until his father's death, but maybe he was holding out for Vhagar? Or maybe we'll hear a bit more about certain Targs having difficulties with claiming/hatching a dragon.

Then Aegon could have claimed Balerion, couldn't he? He was with the Conqueror when the man suffered his stroke. Maegor was on Dragonstone, too, but Aegon certainly could have gone to the dragon first.

Aenys was given a hatchling, suggesting that they could have just given Aegon a hatchling while he was a toddler. That seems to be normal procedure if there are hatchlings around. And there were quite a few of them around.

47 minutes ago, Maia said:

After all, there are repeated mentions in tWoIaF that claiming an adult dragon/becoming a dragon-rider is somewhat dangerous, yet we never heard of any Targaryen failing. Could it be that Aegon 1.5 initially failed to bond a dragon, but then succeeded with his father's Quicksilver? There had been hints that certain affinities to a dragon that until recently belonged to somebody who loved you might exist. And well, there are reasons to expect that GRRM's own maester Gyldayn would have been more knowledgeable about the history of dragons than Yandel, given the predilections of his employer :D.

We have to wait and see how Aegon claimed Quicksilver. That should be one of the most interesting parts of TSotD in October. But the idea that he had no dragon whatsoever prior to that simply sounds wrong to me. Two dragons hatched in 37 AC, and he lived on Dragonstone with the entire court after his grandfather moved the court back there so the Red Keep could be built. He had more than enough time and opportunity to claim a dragon.

47 minutes ago, Maia said:

  As to Dreamfyre, since she was apparently younger than Vermithor, she might have been too small yet to carry Rhaena during that ill-fated progress, perhaps? Leave alone both of them. Or maybe she had been left behind because of it. After all, it isn't clear how long it takes for eggs to hatch - it seems pretty individual, and different dragons also vary a lot in size and rate of growth.

Rhaena would have been the first to get a dragon. She was Aenys' eldest child, after all, the first Targaryen of the third generation after the Conquest. If she got Dreamfyre as a toddler the dragon would have been 15-20 years around the time Aegon/Quicksilver faced Maegor/Balerion in battle. A dragon should be big enough to carry a young woman and her young children.

47 minutes ago, Maia said:

It would seem very ill-advised of Maeker to gift Rhaena as his captive wife with a dragon, whereas I could see him letting her keep one that she already had, if he was condifent that he could use her little girls to control her. And, as you noted it would also bar her from trying to take Vhagar. Nor do I see one of her 7-year-olds mastering Vhagar. IIRC, Aemond doing so at 10  was a notable feat and was supposed to be very dangerous. Strangely, little was said about Laena Velaryon doing so at 12...

Viserys I doubted the courage of his second son, indicating that young dragonless Aemond may have been somewhat different than the man we meet during the Dance. But there is no hint that this is all that exceptional, nor is there any hint that Laena claimed Vhagar only at the age of twelve. We know she already was a dragonrider at that age but there is no hint as to when she claimed Vhagar. Could have been at a much earlier age for all we know.

Giving Rhaena a new dragon could have been Maegor's way to make peace with her. Once he disinherited Jaehaerys he needed Rhaena and her daughters. He had no other heirs left.

As for Aerea/Rhalla claiming Vhagar - if Aemond and Laena could do it there is no reason to believe they couldn't, either.

47 minutes ago, Maia said:

I agree that Visenya specifically told Maegor to hold out for Balerion. But for all we know Rhaena had to hide with Lannisters and Farmans because Dreamfyre was injured or even maybe because she had her daughters with her and was afraid to take them into the wilderness.

Dreamfyre being injured could work as well, although it would complicate the age thing unless we assume she only got Dreamfyre later in life.

47 minutes ago, Maia said:

But then wouldn't there have been a Baratheon dragon and dragon-rider after her death? That would be kinda  big deal. Hm...

Not necessarily. Depending when Alyssa died one of her grandchildren or great-grandchildren (Rhaenys, for instance) could have claimed her dragon.

47 minutes ago, Maia said:

Yea, but it is actually unclear how such things are normally handled. I mean, you'd think that getting riders for Vermithor, Silverwing and Seasmoke should have been a priority for Rhaenyra's family, but apparently - and disastrously, not. It is clear why her 3 eldest sons had to get dragons as soon as possible and thus all were provided with eggs to hatch in their cradles, but why Daemon's daughters and mutual sons with Rhaenyra _also_ received eggs instead of being told to bond the older and bigger dragons is a huge conundrum. Heck, even after Rhaena's hatchling died she had to wait for a new clutch of eggs instead of bonding one of the legacy dragons, which is just very odd. Maybe the bond is deeper when it is a rider's own hatchling? Or there is some other advantage.

That is actually somewhat strange. I guess Jaehaerys I may have decreed that Vermithor and Silverwing are allowed to retire to Dragonstone and live out their lives there without serving as mounts for any members of the royal family. Viserys I would have honored such a wish. But Rhaena not trying to mount Seasmoke is indeed somewhat odd, especially when the Dance began.

47 minutes ago, Maia said:

Not sure about this. There were sort of robbed of their birthright by Jaehaerys... Trusting them with the family's most powerful dragons would have been rather risky, IMHO.

Would depend how they got along in the late 40s and 50s.

47 minutes ago, Maia said:

I don't see Viserys claiming Balerion at such an early age. Aemond claiming Vhagar at 10 was supposed to be quite a feat. I don't think that Viserys only having been a dragonrider for a couple of years would be unlikely. Clearly, this whole facet of Targaryen-ness was either unimportant to him... or he had difficulties with the bonding and didn't want to risk it for the second time, having already proven his prowess. Maybe he only managed to claim Balerion because the old dragon was already weakened and ailing? That would certainly explain the difficulties that his grandson and namesake had in that area.

Not sure about that. Claiming a dragon at all early age really don't seem to be that much of a problem, especially not for a Targaryen. 

47 minutes ago, Maia said:

Perhaps we'll even find out that mysterious Aegon, Viserys's and Daemon's little brother failed to claim a dragon and was killed/crippled as a result - and _that_ was the reason why so little was said about him in general histories?

Could be. There is a hint that the complete text of 'The Heirs of the Dragon' (complete version of TRP) mentions him considering that Daemon is at one point referred to as 'Rhaenyra's favorite uncle'. On the Targaryen side she would only have Uncle Daemon and Uncle Aegon, and we don't know that she ever had an uncle on the Arryn side.

That indicates that Aegon was around during the reign of Viserys I.

47 minutes ago, Maia said:

Yet both Syrax and even Sunfyre were quite big despite being hatched by their riders and thus relatively young. IMHO, Caraxes would have been more likely to have been a legacy dragon, as he was bigger and had a cool nickname, yet as far as we know Daemon didn't actually do anything particularly interesting with him until their final fight with Aemond and Vhagar.

Caraxes was half as large as Vhagar, indicating that he could have been pretty old. Meleys and Vermithor both seem to have been somewhat larger still.

47 minutes ago, Maia said:

That's what I don't get - there is a lip-service being paid to it being somewhat dangerous and requiring will and courage to claim a legacy dragon. Yet not only didn't we see or hear about any Targaryen failing, but a complete wet blanket like Helaena succeeded without any trouble? The girl who always did what she was told and let everybody in her family trample on her?

Blood and Cheese seems to have broken Helaena. Prior to that she was not necessarily as meek as afterwards. And for a Targaryen not showing fear when approaching a dragon might come much more naturally than, say, speaking in front of a crowd or speaking up for yourself. They are drawn to those creatures. There are hints that dragons are sympathetic to people with dragonlord blood in any case. Syrax tolerates Joffrey until her tries to mount her, and Dany's dragons really like Brown Ben.

47 minutes ago, Maia said:

But wouldn't it have seemed odd and caused talk that middle children didn't get any eggs, while Aegon and the youngest, Daeron did? And why not hold out for a larger beast with him too? Alicent could have demurred if she so chose.

Perhaps she tried? It could also be that there were no fresh eggs around when Helaena and Aemond were born. The eggs given to Jace, Daemon, Luke, Joff, Aegon, Viserys, Jaehaerys, Jaehaera, and Maelor may have been produced later.

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On 7/27/2017 at 1:09 AM, Victarion Chainbreaker said:

we’d like to explore a more concrete reason for the disappearance of dragons. Specifically, why Targaryens before Aegon III were able to hatch dragon eggs, and why Targaryens after him were not, at least until Dany came along.

I'd like to note that dragons stopped hatching shortly after house Lothston took Harrenhall and began hatching again after house Whent (almost certainly descended from house Lothston based on their heraldry and known history) was evicted from Harrenhall during the War of the Five Kings. It supports the idea that Harrenhall (when ruled by someone with a particular bloodline) was designed to emit a sort of "anti-magic" effect. It's why Aegon's landing occurred on the very day it was finished; not a coincidence. Interesting note: the Stark kids are Whent descendants. Baelish is lord of Harrenhall. Makes it a bit more clear where the story is going with Sansa, whose plot otherwise seems somewhat pointless as the novels move into more mythic themes and away from political intrigue.

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my theory is that the lack of dragons until recently has more to do with the presence of magic in the world. i think dragons require magic to live, and after the doom, when magic was fading out of the world like an outgoing tide, there was less and less of it for the dragon eggs and young dragons to drink in. by the time we get to the dragonbane, there isnt enough magic left in the world to hatch any eggs. it would also explain why the dragon that had been hatching were coming out smaller and smaller with each generation.

by the time Daenerys's eggs hatch, i think magic was starting to come back, like the tide coming in. the Others had been awake for a while by the time she got them from ilyrio, and they need magic to to survive and use their abilites. so her eggs were drinking magic that entier time she was with the dothraki. then she puts them in the fire with the blood witch, which probably topped the "magic tank", and allowed them to hatch. and with magic flowing back in, waxing in its strength, they are going to get bigger.

i think the dragons both drink in magic, and exude it, kinds like a sponge. they need to drink it in so they can grow, but they give off the excess like radiation, which is why the warlocks wanted them nearby, to use the bleeding magic to fuel their own powers.

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13 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Then Aegon could have claimed Balerion, couldn't he? He was with the Conqueror when the man suffered his stroke. Maegor was on Dragonstone, too, but Aegon certainly could have gone to the dragon first.

Maybe he didn't think about it in time, and Maegor got there first? It is pretty clear, after all that Maegor had sights set on Balerion for years, so he would have jumped at this opportunity at once, while Aegon would have been distracted by grief and bewilderment at his grandfather's sudden death. Also, in respect to Aemond and Vhagar it was said that a dragon that just lost a rider was particularly difficult and dangerous, IIRC.

 

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Aenys was given a hatchling, suggesting that they could have just given Aegon a hatchling while he was a toddler. That seems to be normal procedure if there are hatchlings around. And there were quite a few of them around.

 

Maybe his didn't thrive?  It is rather interesting how the things seem to go from no extra hatchlings being around in the pre-Conquest days, to Aenys being given a hatchling, to Targaryen children being given eggs to hatch themselves, etc. And there is a precedent of Rhaena of Pentos's hatchling not surviving - who is to say that it was a rare occurence? Maybe so many hatchlings being strong and healthy prior to the Dance was the extraordinary state of affairs, and not the other way round?  

 

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Rhaena would have been the first to get a dragon. She was Aenys' eldest child, after all, the first Targaryen of the third generation after the Conquest.

 

OTOH, dragons don't lay eggs continually, but in "clutches" and individual eggs from the same clutch don't neccessarily all hatch at the same time. It is entirely possible that all of Aenys's kids received eggs from the same clutch, then some hatched earlier, some later and some not at all. But I agree that "Sons of the Dragon" should clarify this, so only a few months to go!

 

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Viserys I doubted the courage of his second son, indicating that young dragonless Aemond may have been somewhat different than the man we meet during the Dance. But there is no hint that this is all that exceptional, nor is there any hint that Laena claimed Vhagar only at the age of twelve.

 

The kid who snuck out to claim bereaved Vhagar and who has  severely beaten and taunted his nephews in the process absolutely sounds like somebody who'd grow up into adult Aemond, though the loss of an eye may have added a bit extra darkness to an already developing asshole. Or not. And his claiming Vhagar at his age absolutely was depicted as exceptional and very dangerous, something that his parents would have never allowed (though, personally, I am fairly certain that Alicent was a covert instigator there. But then, she had 2 other sons who already had their hatchlings, so she probably judged that it was worth the risk).

A little girl claiming Vhagar at 7 would have been even more dangerous and noteworthy. It seems to be a fairly early age to become a dragon-rider in general - Rhaenyra has done it, but with her own hatchling. From her own kids it seems that both Joffrey and Aegon the Younger were older, so was Baela (her dragon was barely big enough to carry her), etc. But again, only a few months and we'll hopefully learn more about Aenys's kids and Rhaena's daughters.

 

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That is actually somewhat strange. I guess Jaehaerys I may have decreed that Vermithor and Silverwing are allowed to retire to Dragonstone and live out their lives there without serving as mounts for any members of the royal family. Viserys I would have honored such a wish. But Rhaena not trying to mount Seasmoke is indeed somewhat odd, especially when the Dance began.

That's the other thing that I'd really like to know - what are the lives of riderless legacy dragons like? I mean, if they are chained in the stables for decades on end, that's pretty horrific, and then it makes zero sense that they could fly when finally claimed again. Or that  Jaehaerys would be so cruel as to decree such a fate for his and his beloved's loyal companions. But if they were let out to fly, then how were they brought in again, without riders? Who'd be able to call them back and chain them?

As to Seasmoke, it makes no sense to leave him riderless even before the Dance, but the Dance certainly excacerbated things.

 

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 Claiming a dragon at all early age really don't seem to be that much of a problem, especially not for a Targaryen. 

 

Except that it is often said in tWoIAF that there is an element of danger in claiming a legacy dragon and that a 10 years-old was considered too young to attempt it. And, of course, we have seen the danger with Dany, but she let Drogon become wild and has no know-how, so it is not representative. From everything we have heard, claiming your own hatchling should have normally been pretty safe for a Targaryen.

I'd really like some resolution there. If there is a real danger in claiming legacy dragons, then the situation of Rhaenyra's patchwork family is more understandable - i.e. that she didn't want any of her kids to risk it, whatever the potential pay-off, and that  Daemon's daughters were so crucial to the maintenance of Targaryen - Velaryon alliance that they couldn't be risked either. Once Lucerys was dead, Rhaena not making an attempt was pure lunacy, though. But if so, GRRM should provide examples of Targaryens actually failing at claiming dragons and getting killed/hurt. For which he still has some options, though not many.

 

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Blood and Cheese seems to have broken Helaena. Prior to that she was not necessarily as meek as afterwards.

No, from everything written about her in TPatQ, tRP and tWoIaF she looked like a completely passive doormat and perpetual victim of her family before that, too.

 

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Perhaps she tried? It could also be that there were no fresh eggs around when Helaena and Aemond were born. The eggs given to Jace, Daemon, Luke, Joff, Aegon, Viserys, Jaehaerys, Jaehaera, and Maelor may have been produced later.

There were apparently hatchlings for Aemond to chose from, when the family came to Dragonstone and Driftmark for Laena's burial, though. Wonder what happened to them. Cannibal?

 

1 hour ago, Graydon Hicks said:

my theory is that the lack of dragons until recently has more to do with the presence of magic in the world. i think dragons require magic to live, and after the doom, when magic was fading out of the world like an outgoing tide, there was less and less of it for the dragon eggs and young dragons to drink in. by the time we get to the dragonbane, there isnt enough magic left in the world to hatch any eggs. it would also explain why the dragon that had been hatching were coming out smaller and smaller with each generation.

Have you read "The World of Ice and Fire" book? Or "The Princess and the Queen"? Because that's not what happened at all. There were more healthy young dragons in Westeros than ever before immediately prior to the Dance of the Dragons. Nor were they becoming smaller - it is just that none of them lived to the great age of Balerion and Co., they all were killed when much younger, so of course they were also smaller. Dragons grow for as long as they live, after all.

The difficulties began _after_ the Dance, and there are strong hints in ADwD and tWoIaF that maesters, Faceless Men or both together had  something to do with it and with deaths of the few surviving dragons.

It is true that magic is rising in the world of ASoIAF, and that it was what allowed Dany to hatch the eggs despite their age/whatever was done to prevent it.  But if not for the Dance and subsequent shadowy machinations the dragons would have still been around. Just as the Others weren't completely gone, just keeping a low profile.

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1 hour ago, Maia said:

Maybe he didn't think about it in time, and Maegor got there first? It is pretty clear, after all that Maegor had sights set on Balerion for years, so he would have jumped at this opportunity at once, while Aegon would have been distracted by grief and bewilderment at his grandfather's sudden death. Also, in respect to Aemond and Vhagar it was said that a dragon that just lost a rider was particularly difficult and dangerous, IIRC.

We know Maegor was there for Aegon's funeral because he spoke the eulogy. However, we don't know whether he was already on Dragonstone when his father died. Visenya was in KL to oversee the building of the Red Keep with the Hand (Alyn Stokeworth), so Maegor could have been there, too, only returning to Dragonstone with his mother on Vhagar for the funeral. KL is much closer to Dragonstone than Highgarden is (from where Aenys was flying to Dragonstone on Quicksilver to receive his crown - but he didn't seem to have been there for the funeral).

If Maegor had only come to Dragonstone for the funeral Prince Aegon had had more than enough time to try to claim Balerion. And even Maegor seems to have taken his time - the first time he is mentioned as a dragonrider is when he shows up with Balerion in the Vale, following the rebellion of Jonos the Kinslayer.

1 hour ago, Maia said:

Maybe his didn't thrive?  It is rather interesting how the things seem to go from no extra hatchlings being around in the pre-Conquest days, to Aenys being given a hatchling, to Targaryen children being given eggs to hatch themselves, etc. And there is a precedent of Rhaena of Pentos's hatchling not surviving - who is to say that it was a rare occurence? Maybe so many hatchlings being strong and healthy prior to the Dance was the extraordinary state of affairs, and not the other way round?  

It is a possibility. But still - Aegon was Aenys I's Heir Apparent. If there was a Targaryen prince who needed a dragon it was him. And we do know from TSotD that half a dozen dragons hatched on Dragonstone during the later part of Aegon's reign - that would be more or less the time during which his grandchildren were born, beginning in the early 20s. If Aegon was given a dragon and it didn't thrive he would have been given another and another. There were enough hatchlings around. Maegor had his pick, too. He repeatedly refused a dragon leading to Alyssa Velaryon asking whether her 'good-brother was afraid of dragons?'.

And even if we assume Aegon's dragon died only during the reign of his father there would have been the opportunity to give him new ones then, too. Two additional dragons hatched in 37 AC, after Maegor was made Hand.

The idea that Aenys I sent Aegon and Rhaena on a royal progress without them being dragonriders/taking dragons with them simply doesn't make any sense to me. And if their dragons (or at least Aegon's dragon) died around that time it sure as hell could make sense that it/they were slain by the Faith Militant rebels or people colluding with them.

And thinking about that - while we don't really know when Rhaena claimed Dreamfyre we also don't know when Jaehaerys and Alysanne claimed Vermithor and Silverwing. Could very well only have happened after Maegor's downfall, although there is a hint that Jaehaerys was already a dragonrider when he announced his claim to the Iron Throne.

1 hour ago, Maia said:

OTOH, dragons don't lay eggs continually, but in "clutches" and individual eggs from the same clutch don't neccessarily all hatch at the same time. It is entirely possible that all of Aenys's kids received eggs from the same clutch, then some hatched earlier, some later and some not at all. But I agree that "Sons of the Dragon" should clarify this, so only a few months to go!

Aenys' children most likely didn't get any eggs. They were given living hatchlings, like Aenys was and Maegor was allowed to pick and refused.

1 hour ago, Maia said:

The kid who snuck out to claim bereaved Vhagar and who has  severely beaten and taunted his nephews in the process absolutely sounds like somebody who'd grow up into adult Aemond, though the loss of an eye may have added a bit extra darkness to an already developing asshole. Or not. And his claiming Vhagar at his age absolutely was depicted as exceptional and very dangerous, something that his parents would have never allowed (though, personally, I am fairly certain that Alicent was a covert instigator there. But then, she had 2 other sons who already had their hatchlings, so she probably judged that it was worth the risk).

It is somewhat exceptional but certainly not unheard of. Nobody makes a fuzz about Laena claiming Vhagar at an early age, either. One assumes that a dragon who has long been riderless is somewhat more difficult to claim, especially by someone who is not exactly closely related to the previous rider or not familiar with the dragon.

1 hour ago, Maia said:

A little girl claiming Vhagar at 7 would have been even more dangerous and noteworthy. It seems to be a fairly early age to become a dragon-rider in general - Rhaenyra has done it, but with her own hatchling. From her own kids it seems that both Joffrey and Aegon the Younger were older, so was Baela (her dragon was barely big enough to carry her), etc. But again, only a few months and we'll hopefully learn more about Aenys's kids and Rhaena's daughters.

Rhaenyra was very much a precocious child but she is also the only child of the king and a very important historical character. Laena Velaryon was not as important. I'm pretty sure she claimed Vhagar during the reign of the Old King, so that feat (if exceptional) could be covered during the section on Jaehaerys I. It seems that Stormcloud was simply not big enough to be mounted in 129 AC. Combined with Aegon's general temperament (the boy seems to have been always somewhat timid) it is understandable why he isn't a dragonrider at the age of nine, just as it makes sense that Jaehaerys and Jaehaera haven't yet mounted their dragons at the age of six.

1 hour ago, Maia said:

That's the other thing that I'd really like to know - what are the lives of riderless legacy dragons like? I mean, if they are chained in the stables for decades on end, that's pretty horrific, and then it makes zero sense that they could fly when finally claimed again. Or that  Jaehaerys would be so cruel as to decree such a fate for his and his beloved's loyal companions. But if they were let out to fly, then how were they brought in again, without riders? Who'd be able to call them back and chain them?

One assumes they lived in those hatcheries around the citadel and were fed and cleaned there, roaming the island and the seas whenever they would. Unlike the wild dragons they were not accustomed to/forced to hunt their own food, and were thus not exactly a danger for the people of Dragonstone.

The idea that they were closed stables and the like on Dragonstone doesn't sound very likely to me.

1 hour ago, Maia said:

As to Seasmoke, it makes no sense to leave him riderless even before the Dance, but the Dance certainly excacerbated things.

Yeah, that is odd. But it is just as odd that Rhaenyra and Daemon left Baela and Moondancer on Dragonstone. What was the point of that?

1 hour ago, Maia said:

Except that it is often said in tWoIAF that there is an element of danger in claiming a legacy dragon and that a 10 years-old was considered too young to attempt it. And, of course, we have seen the danger with Dany, but she let Drogon become wild and has no know-how, so it is not representative. From everything we have heard, claiming your own hatchling should have normally been pretty safe for a Targaryen.

But is it? Where is it said that it is dangerous for a Targaryen to claim a huge dragon who has been previously ridden before? We know it is dangerous for people without a lot of Targaryen blood like those many dragonseeds.

Wild dragons are different, of course.

1 hour ago, Maia said:

I'd really like some resolution there. If there is a real danger in claiming legacy dragons, then the situation of Rhaenyra's patchwork family is more understandable - i.e. that she didn't want any of her kids to risk it, whatever the potential pay-off, and that  Daemon's daughters were so crucial to the maintenance of Targaryen - Velaryon alliance that they couldn't be risked either. Once Lucerys was dead, Rhaena not making an attempt was pure lunacy, though. But if so, GRRM should provide examples of Targaryens actually failing at claiming dragons and getting killed/hurt. For which he still has some options, though not many.

Rhaenyra was pretty protective of her children, so there may be something to that, whether those fears were justified or not.

1 hour ago, Maia said:

No, from everything written about her in TPatQ, tRP and tWoIaF she looked like a completely passive doormat and perpetual victim of her family before that, too.

I found that one comment she makes about her brother-husband at the beginning of TPatQ pretty funny. And we never get anything else from her that enables us to get to know her as a person. Both she and Aegon were pawns of Alicent's and Otto's.

1 hour ago, Maia said:

There were apparently hatchlings for Aemond to chose from, when the family came to Dragonstone and Driftmark for Laena's burial, though. Wonder what happened to them. Cannibal?

Yes, but that was later, when Aemond was ten. Rhaenyra's boys and Daeron already had their eggs/dragons by then.

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On 2017-07-28 at 4:20 PM, White Ravens said:

We don't really know enough about Targaryen culture to know which is more prestigious; newly hatched dragons to bond with or "legacy" dragons as you put it.  Dragons live much longer than humans so they would logically bond with more than one human in their lifetime.  And the history of the legacy dragons probably influences their prestige points as well.  Balerion and Quicksilver would hardly be considered runner-up material I would think. 

Seems to me it was plenty advantage in claiming a pre-ridden one: not only are they bigger and battle-hardened but the rider also gets some of the previous riders glam.

 

@Victarion Chainbreaker This is a great theory, thank you for sharing it! I might no be entirely sold but I do think dragon-hatching as opposed to dragon-riding is a GREAT aspect to consider.

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