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Posted (edited)

Is it known about dragons in the Game of Thrones world?:-

(1) How fast can they fly?: maximum, and cruising speed for long flights.

(2) How far can they fly before they need to rest and land and feed?

(3) How much does flaming drain their flight-energy?

(4) Do the books say anything about absence or presence of front legs? I know that the movies show no front legs and in front they walk on the wrists of their wings, a feature likely taken from real-world pterosaurs.

(In The Hobbit by Tolkien, the book mentions Smaug's foreleg, but the movie shows no front legs.)

 

Edited by Anthony Appleyard

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1 minute ago, Anthony Appleyard said:

Is it known about dragons in the Game of Thrones world?:-

(1) How fast can they fly?: maximum, and cruising speed for long flights.

We don't know, but we have pretty good approximations. For instance, we know the Targaryens could fly their dragons from KL to Dragonstone within a day - Rhaenyra and Daemon did that, for instance, and the Conqueror and Jaehaerys/Alysanne and many other Targaryens, too.

We also know that Jaehaerys and Alysanne took three days on a quick flight to Oldtown, spending the two nights on the way, first at Bitterbridge, the second at Highgarden.

This means that you can comfortably fly the distance KL-Bitterbridge, Bitterbridge-Highgarden, and Highgarden-Oldtown in a day.

I'd not say it is maximal distance you could fly in a day if you really drove yourself and your dragon to exhaustion. For instance, it seems very likely that Queen Rhaena flew Dreamfyre directly from Dragonstone to Storm's End when she heard her mother was dying, making no stop along the way, and that's a much larger distance.

As for the other questions, we only know that dragons eat much. How long they can stay in the air without food, how often they have to rest and sleep is completely unclear at this point.

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Posted (edited)

Is it stated (in the books or in the movies) about use of dragon-riding for routine undramatic aerial patrolling to detect sea-pirate movements, or (in Essos) to detect nomad raids from semi-desert regions into farmed regions? (In the Eragon movie there was talk of Eragon riding Safira to patrol to detect nomad raiding parties from a desert into farmed land.)

> we only know that dragons eat much

Is it stated how a big a breeding flock of sheep is needed to keep an average-sized adult dragon fed?

 

Edited by Anthony Appleyard

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4 hours ago, Anthony Appleyard said:

Is it stated (in the books or in the movies) about use of dragon-riding for routine undramatic aerial patrolling to detect sea-pirate movements, or (in Essos) to detect nomad raids from semi-desert regions into farmed regions? (In the Eragon movie there was talk of Eragon riding Safira to patrol to detect nomad raiding parties from a desert into farmed land.)

> we only know that dragons eat much

Is it stated how a big a breeding flock of sheep is needed to keep an average-sized adult dragon fed?

 

I'm sure the Valyrians used dragons for just about anything and everything. Once they became limited in number they were probably considered too precious to expose to danger without prospect of worthwhile reward.

We know one sheep per day got Nettles and Sheepstealer together. Although IDK if that is enough to feed every dragon - depends on size etc. I would think.

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> Once they became limited in number they were probably considered too precious to expose to danger without prospect of worthwhile reward.

That is why I regret the loss of life of men and dragons caused by the civil war called the Dance of the Dragons, a dispute which could have been settled by some other means.

https://gameofthrones.fandom.com/wiki/Dance_of_the_Dragons

 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Anthony Appleyard said:

Is it stated (in the books or in the movies) about use of dragon-riding for routine undramatic aerial patrolling to detect sea-pirate movements, or (in Essos) to detect nomad raids from semi-desert regions into farmed regions? (In the Eragon movie there was talk of Eragon riding Safira to patrol to detect nomad raiding parties from a desert into farmed land.)

> we only know that dragons eat much

Is it stated how a big a breeding flock of sheep is needed to keep an average-sized adult dragon fed?

 

Not sure about routine patrol, but it was practice to have at least 1 Targaryen dragonlord and a dragon ready to protect Kings Landing at all times. (Apart from Aemond one eye's blunder during the Dance)

 

Daemon Targaryen seems to have used Caraxes against pirates in his short lived "kingdom" in the narrow sea. 

Their close kin the Velaryons had a strong navy at hand to deal with piracy.  

 

 

 

 

Edited by Ser Uncle P

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7 hours ago, Anthony Appleyard said:

Is it stated (in the books or in the movies) about use of dragon-riding for routine undramatic aerial patrolling to detect sea-pirate movements, or (in Essos) to detect nomad raids from semi-desert regions into farmed regions? (In the Eragon movie there was talk of Eragon riding Safira to patrol to detect nomad raiding parties from a desert into farmed land.)

Not really. 

7 hours ago, Anthony Appleyard said:

> we only know that dragons eat much

Is it stated how a big a breeding flock of sheep is needed to keep an average-sized adult dragon fed?

No, but we do know that Dragonstone and the surrounding areas - Driftmark, Claw Isle, Massey's Hook, Crackclaw Point, etc. - could support at least three wild dragons in addition to the domesticated dragons, with or without riders. We know that Grey Ghost fed mostly on fish and other sea food, Sheepstealer focused on sheep, and the Cannibal on other dragons (although that could scarcely have been his only diet, considering dragons were not that common).

We know that the royal dragons were usually fed by the dragonkeepers, although we don't know whether they were fed daily (as Sheepstealer was apparently by Nettles).

One assumes that beasts like Vhagar and Balerion needed enormous amounts of meat, but we never get logistics or statistics on that stuff. That is rather interesting in light of the fact that Vhagar and Balerion retired to Dragonstone after the death of Visenya and Maegor, meaning that these two great beasts - in addition to the younger dragons that hatched and nested - could be fed properly by the Targaryen administration there.

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Posted (edited)

Likely another routine use of ridden dragons was to move messages and important people quickly long distances over the heads of gangs who may interfere with traffic on the ground or on the sea.

It is recorded that a dragon-rider was killed by falling far when her dragon was killed in the air. That may show that nobody in that area of that world had invented a parachute or similar.

(As regards modern re-uses of the word "dragon", the Icelandic word for "army tank" is "skriðdreki", which literally means "crawling dragon".)

 

Edited by Anthony Appleyard

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On 3/7/2019 at 2:49 PM, Anthony Appleyard said:

(4) Do the books say anything about absence or presence of front legs? I know that the movies show no front legs and in front they walk on the wrists of their wings, a feature likely taken from real-world pterosaurs.

Martin confirmed in that the Targaryen dragons had only two legs.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/8/2019 at 12:15 AM, Anthony Appleyard said:

 

Is it stated how a big a breeding flock of sheep is needed to keep an average-sized adult dragon fed?

 

Oh my god finally maths that I'm interested in

Okay, so for the sake of having SOMETHING to work with, lets assume that a fantasy dragon has a similar metabolism to a Komodo dragon.

Komodo dragons are able to eat 80% of their body weight in one sitting, and because of this they are able to survive on just one meal a month.

So, for the sake of the argument I'm going to assume that for a dragon to survive for a month, they'd need to consume about 80% of their body weight in food.

 

Alright, so:

When dragons are first hatched, they're about the size of a cat. The average weight of a housecat (and therefore baby dragon) is about 10lbs/4.5kg, give or take a few pounds.

80% of that is about 8lbs/3.5kg. Lets assume that baby dragons in the wild would hunt down like, mice or rats or birds or whatever. Like, probably their parents would feed them, but we're gonna assume that our baby dragon is an orphan and it needs to get shit done on its own.

The average weight of a house mouse is 18g. 3500g divided by 18g = 194.

So if baby cat-sized dragon wanted to survive on rodents, it would need to eat 194 mice per month.

Sooo... seeing as thats unrealistic as hecc, I'm gonna assume that baby dragons rely heavily on their parents to bring them, like, a hunk of sheep or whatever for them to survive. So orphan baby dragons need to be hardcore as fuck, or they dead.

Also, in case you're curious: average weight of a sheep is 75.5kg. 3.5kg divided by 75.5kg = 0.046. So if Mama Dragon wants to feed baby dragon, all she needs to give it is like 0.46% of a sheep per month. Which is a lot better than 194 mice.

 

Anyway, baby dragon is older now - a teenager or 'adolescent', or whatevs, and I'm gonna assume that adolescent dragons weigh about the same as an elephant?

The average weight of an African Bush elephant (and therefore adolescent dragon) is bout 6000kg. 80% of that is about 4800kg

4800kg divided by average sheep weight (75.5kg) = 63.5 (we'll round that up to 64)

For an adolescent dragon to survive, he'd need to chow down on about 64 sheep per month. 

 

And then, for a grown up dragon - dragons never stop growing. Ever. So trying to calculate how much an 'average' adult would weigh, or eat, or whatever is like- impossible. Un-doable. I would go crazy trying. 

But, for the sake of dragon science, I will use the loosest, most estimated measurements possible to try and figure it out.

So we're talking big-ass, Balerion, Vhagar level dragons. So I'm going to use the average weight of a blue whale- 140,000kg.

80% of that is 112,000kg. 

112,000kg divided by the average weight of a sheep (75.5kg) = 1483.44 (round that up to 1484).

???thats??? a lot ???of sheep??

But okay, lets assume that Balerion survived on a tasty diet of elephant.

112,000kg divided by the average weight of a elephant (6000kg) = 18.6 (round up to 19).

Okay. So either Balerion ate an absolute shit ton of sheep, or he took some nice monthly trips to the Westeros version of Africa and cut down on the elephant population.

(I mean or maybe they dont have the same metabolism of a komodo dragon or my math is wrong but I worked hard on this okay leave me alone.)

 

IN SUMMARY/ TL;DR :

If dragons had similar metabolism to komodo dragons:

Hatchlings would eat roughly 194 mice, or a very small fraction (0.46%) of a sheep per month.

Adolescents would eat roughly 64 sheep per month.

And giganticor dragons like Balerion and Vhagar would eat either 1483 sheep per month, or like 19 elephants per month (which seems?? like slightly more reasonable???)

 

Edited by humblegarbageperson

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If a big dragon could carry a big load, are there any cases in the stories of a big dragon being used to airlift food to a beseiged garrison?

 

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Posted (edited)
On 3/7/2019 at 7:17 PM, Legitimate_Bastard said:

I'm sure the Valyrians used dragons for just about anything and everything. Once they became limited in number they were probably considered too precious to expose to danger without prospect of worthwhile reward.

We know one sheep per day got Nettles and Sheepstealer together. Although IDK if that is enough to feed every dragon - depends on size etc. I would think. 

One sheep per day seems a likely ration for a dragon big enough for one rider.

Perhaps one unit of land as considered by the army would be a "dragon-run", = enough land to support enough sheep to breed 365 young adult sheep per year :: with variation in acres according to what proportion of sheep births were twins, and the abundance of petty nuisance lamb-killers such as foxes, and the fertility of the land.

It is to be wondered if restricting a dragon's ration to stop it from growing too big, would work.

If dragons routinely shed the outer layer of the epidermis, like snakes and lizards do, would the shedding be strong enough to be of use?

Game of Thrones seems to be free of the common dragon-story routine feature of dragons' treasure-hoards :: perhaps that started with a man-eating wild dragon, which was finally killed, and in its den were found undigested prey remains including valuable objects :: likely, like snakes, it would dissolve all bones.

 

Edited by Anthony Appleyard

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On 4/10/2019 at 2:52 PM, humblegarbageperson said:

Oh my god finally maths that I'm interested in

Okay, so for the sake of having SOMETHING to work with, lets assume that a fantasy dragon has a similar metabolism to a Komodo dragon.

Komodo dragons are able to eat 80% of their body weight in one sitting, and because of this they are able to survive on just one meal a month.

So, for the sake of the argument I'm going to assume that for a dragon to survive for a month, they'd need to consume about 80% of their body weight in food.

 

Alright, so:

When dragons are first hatched, they're about the size of a cat. The average weight of a housecat (and therefore baby dragon) is about 10lbs/4.5kg, give or take a few pounds.

80% of that is about 8lbs/3.5kg. Lets assume that baby dragons in the wild would hunt down like, mice or rats or birds or whatever. Like, probably their parents would feed them, but we're gonna assume that our baby dragon is an orphan and it needs to get shit done on its own.

The average weight of a house mouse is 18g. 3500g divided by 18g = 194.

So if baby cat-sized dragon wanted to survive on rodents, it would need to eat 194 mice per month.

Sooo... seeing as thats unrealistic as hecc, I'm gonna assume that baby dragons rely heavily on their parents to bring them, like, a hunk of sheep or whatever for them to survive. So orphan baby dragons need to be hardcore as fuck, or they dead.

Also, in case you're curious: average weight of a sheep is 75.5kg. 3.5kg divided by 75.5kg = 0.046. So if Mama Dragon wants to feed baby dragon, all she needs to give it is like 0.46% of a sheep per month. Which is a lot better than 194 mice.

 

Anyway, baby dragon is older now - a teenager or 'adolescent', or whatevs, and I'm gonna assume that adolescent dragons weigh about the same as an elephant?

The average weight of an African Bush elephant (and therefore adolescent dragon) is bout 6000kg. 80% of that is about 4800kg

4800kg divided by average sheep weight (75.5kg) = 63.5 (we'll round that up to 64)

For an adolescent dragon to survive, he'd need to chow down on about 64 sheep per month. 

 

And then, for a grown up dragon - dragons never stop growing. Ever. So trying to calculate how much an 'average' adult would weigh, or eat, or whatever is like- impossible. Un-doable. I would go crazy trying. 

But, for the sake of dragon science, I will use the loosest, most estimated measurements possible to try and figure it out.

So we're talking big-ass, Balerion, Vhagar level dragons. So I'm going to use the average weight of a blue whale- 140,000kg.

80% of that is 112,000kg. 

112,000kg divided by the average weight of a sheep (75.5kg) = 1483.44 (round that up to 1484).

???thats??? a lot ???of sheep??

But okay, lets assume that Balerion survived on a tasty diet of elephant.

112,000kg divided by the average weight of a elephant (6000kg) = 18.6 (round up to 19).

Okay. So either Balerion ate an absolute shit ton of sheep, or he took some nice monthly trips to the Westeros version of Africa and cut down on the elephant population.

(I mean or maybe they dont have the same metabolism of a komodo dragon or my math is wrong but I worked hard on this okay leave me alone.)

 

IN SUMMARY/ TL;DR :

If dragons had similar metabolism to komodo dragons:

Hatchlings would eat roughly 194 mice, or a very small fraction (0.46%) of a sheep per month.

Adolescents would eat roughly 64 sheep per month.

And giganticor dragons like Balerion and Vhagar would eat either 1483 sheep per month, or like 19 elephants per month (which seems?? like slightly more reasonable???)

 

And that is how the Long Night killed off the worldwide dragon population. By killing off 90% of the population of their prey species, thus robbing dragons of the massive amount of food they need to sustain themselves.

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On 4/14/2019 at 7:22 AM, Anthony Appleyard said:

 

It is to be wondered if restricting a dragon's ration to stop it from growing too big, would work.

If dragons routinely shed the outer layer of the epidermis, like snakes and lizards do, would the shedding be strong enough to be of use?

 

 

On restricting rations - I would think that it would retard the growth of the dragon for sure.

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On 4/10/2019 at 8:52 AM, humblegarbageperson said:

IN SUMMARY/ TL;DR :

If dragons had similar metabolism to komodo dragons:

Hatchlings would eat roughly 194 mice, or a very small fraction (0.46%) of a sheep per month.

Adolescents would eat roughly 64 sheep per month.

And giganticor dragons like Balerion and Vhagar would eat either 1483 sheep per month, or like 19 elephants per month (which seems?? like slightly more reasonable???)

Well, dragons cannot have the same metabolism as reptiles or even mammals. Their flesh is hot enough to melt steel, the metabolic rates would need to immense to keep their bodies that hot.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/7/2019 at 2:49 PM, Anthony Appleyard said:

 

(3) How much does flaming drain their flight-energy?

 

"Call it dragonglass." Archmaester Marwyn glanced at the candle for a moment. "It burns but is not consumed."

"What feeds the flame?" asked Sam.

"What feeds a dragon's fire?" Marwyn seated himself upon a stool. "All Valyrian sorcery was rooted in blood or fire. The sorcerers of the Freehold could see across mountains, seas, and deserts with one of these glass candles. They could enter a man's dreams and give him visions, and speak to one another half a world apart, seated before their candles. Do you think that might be useful, Slayer?"

Samwell V, AFFC

So, dragon's fire is fed by magic and magic will keep it up.

 

Quote

(4) Do the books say anything about absence or presence of front legs? I know that the movies show no front legs and in front they walk on the wrists of their wings, a feature likely taken from real-world pterosaurs. 

"Most of the stories you hear about dragons are fodder for fools. Talking dragons, dragons hoarding gold and gems, dragons with four legs and bellies big as elephants, dragons riddling with sphinxes … nonsense, all of it. But there are truths in the old books as well. Not only do I know that the queen's dragons took to you, but I know why."

Tyrion XI, ADWD

So, no front legs (the show got it right, for once) meaning not "unnatural"  physiology

For the rest, you got some good answers already.

Edit: BTW. I love that Tyrion quote. See how GRRM frees himself from Tolkien's legacy?

Edited by rotting sea cow

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On 4/10/2019 at 1:52 AM, humblegarbageperson said:

So I'm going to use the average weight of a blue whale- 140,000kg.

80% of that is 112,000kg.

 

The blue whale can only grow that massive because the buoyancy of its marine environment allows that much biological 'stuff' to be packed into such a shape but not crushing the bones and/or organs under their own weight.

It's a stretch to argue a land animal could reach these dimensions/proportions, but there's just no way a flying animal could do so.

Further, given that dragons can breathe fire (somehow), it's actually safer to assume they have a metabolism closer to mammalian than reptilian. After all, the temperature of their bodies - and the fire jetting forth from their mouths - are being regulated by internal processes. They don't have to bask in the sun or under the terrarium heat lamp to 'charge up' a fire blast.

Not trying to nitpick, only offering what I think are legitimate corrections if we're going to try some real math to develop answers to these questions.

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Posted (edited)

> but there's just no way a flying animal could do so.

Unless magic helped out.

> to assume they have a metabolism closer to mammalian than reptilian.

Dinosaurs were warm-blooded also.

 

Edited by Anthony Appleyard

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(1). Apparently, speed is at least partially related to age and size.  Later in life, Balerion was considered slow.  When Aemon, Alyssa and Baelon  used to race back and forth between KL and Dragonstone it was usually Alyssa and Melys who were fastest.  

The fight between Tessarion and Seasmoke was considered the fight, "where the dragons truly danced."  

Now whether this also applies to how far a dragon can fly is another matter.  Unlike, the speed issue we have no direct textual evidence.  My best guest would be that the older dragons can fly farther at a slower pace.  Balerion somehow made it to Valyria and back without being noticed.  That would imply that he spent a large portion of the trip either flying over open water or otherwise avoiding populated areas.

A good comparison might be a Tesla and a tractor-trailer.  The Tesla is fast and agile, but has a relatively short range.  The big rig is much slower and far less agile but can travel much further without refueling.

Then again, we're dealing with a magical world, so who knows.

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