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Anthony Appleyard

Uses of dragons

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In the story as I know, dragons are largely used as a major weapon of war. But between battles they need to be kept in training. That raises the possibility of using them for routine flying patrolling. Even when they were not allowed to make flame, they would be useful, e.g. to patrol over main roads spotting from above for wandering gangs of thieves - often a serious problem in the old days, as is clear in the real world in the Laws of Ine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ine_of_Wessex passed by King Ine of Wessex (in England) in Anglo-Saxon times. (Ine's Laws #13 says that a gang of thieves is called "thieves" if there are up to 7 of them, and a troop if there are from 7 to 35 of them, and an army if there are over 35 of them.)  When the gang is spotted, the dragon-rider could fly quickly to warn people and raise the alarm and tell the local lord where to send his armed men to catch the gang. (In the Eragon film, there was talk of Eragon flying Safira in routine patrolling watching for nomads marauding out of desert into farmed land.)

 

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On 7/9/2019 at 4:53 PM, Anthony Appleyard said:

In the story as I know, dragons are largely used as a major weapon of war. But between battles they need to be kept in training. That raises the possibility of using them for routine flying patrolling.

Yes!

On 7/9/2019 at 4:53 PM, Anthony Appleyard said:

Even when they were not allowed to make flame,

Or not allowed to descend to flame range. Dragonriders are not immune to arrows.

Whereas a dragonrider overflying foes at height of 200 or 500 yards is higher than any arrows or scorpion bolts will rise and will have much better overview to see over distances, hills, trees and walls than a dragon at fire and arrow range would.

And that´s an exercise, and useful assignment, that can be undertaken by a "noncombatant" dragonrider, such as preteen child of either sex, woman, mother...

On 7/9/2019 at 4:53 PM, Anthony Appleyard said:

they would be useful, e.g. to patrol over main roads

As Jaehaerys pointed out, that would not be useful.

Roads suck. They are almost as bad as going offroad, so patrolling the road and not patrolling offroad has little effect.

On 7/9/2019 at 4:53 PM, Anthony Appleyard said:

spotting from above for wandering gangs of thieves - often a serious problem in the old days, as is clear in the real world in the Laws of Ine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ine_of_Wessex passed by King Ine of Wessex (in England) in Anglo-Saxon times. (Ine's Laws #13 says that a gang of thieves is called "thieves" if there are up to 7 of them, and a troop if there are from 7 to 35 of them, and an army if there are over 35 of them.)  When the gang is spotted, the dragon-rider could fly quickly to warn people and raise the alarm and tell the local lord where to send his armed men to catch the gang. (In the Eragon film, there was talk of Eragon flying Safira in routine patrolling watching for nomads marauding out of desert into farmed land.)

Small wandering gangs are difficult to spot. Besides, for a child flying at 200 to 500 yards, there are small groups of people travelling for legitimate reasons.

Now, armies...

Armies that expect airborne scouting may do stuff to get hard to spot.

Scatter into smaller groups. Hide under cover of forests and villages. Choose shelter of night and cloudy or foggy weather. Not fly banners.

But all of the above also hamper their own command and control.

Jaehaerys disdained Vulture King as a gopher, because he did bring his air scouting to bear.

But... there were suspicions, denied by Dorne, of Dorne supporting a Vulture King under Aenys.

Dorne actually is more vulnerable to dragon scouting than rest of Westeros!

Desert. Less trees, less villages. Even a small band moving or camping in a desert has nowhere to hide.

When Vulture King rose against Aenys, Rhaena was 14 and a dragonrider for two years.

What do you think would have happened if Rhaena had taken to overflying the battlefield at 200 to 500 yards, including the Dornish side of border, and reporting to Westerosi armies any movements and whereabouts of Vulture King forces?

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Posted (edited)

Dareon the Daring used Blue Queen for scouting enemy armies during the Dance, usually Dragons in peace time are being used only as show of might to houses they visit or  leisure flight. Size of the dragon even its coloring may effect the role it is best suited for.

Though Dragons seem to be mostly  prosperously developing when left free on Dragonstone so that alone looks to be enough for them to get larger and stronger (food ,being free to fly and volcanic caves), dragons bound to Dragonpit or Rhaenyra's dragon seem to be impaired when being chained.

It is possible that many knowledge about Dragons was lost after the fall of Valyria so Targaryen's had to learn lot of things again from experience and mistakes they made.

I am not sure for what size of issue is effective to bring dragon, hunting bandits to me isn't reason enough to bring it to the field, minor rebellions are least reason to bring them in my opinion.

Edited by Eltharion21

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7 hours ago, Eltharion21 said:

Dareon the Daring used Blue Queen for scouting enemy armies during the Dance, usually Dragons in peace time are being used only as show of might to houses they visit or  leisure flight. Size of the dragon even its coloring may effect the role it is best suited for.

Though Dragons seem to be mostly  prosperously developing when left free on Dragonstone so that alone looks to be enough for them to get larger and stronger (food ,being free to fly and volcanic caves), dragons bound to Dragonpit or Rhaenyra's dragon seem to be impaired when being chained.

I am not sure for what size of issue is effective to bring dragon, hunting bandits to me isn't reason enough to bring it to the field, minor rebellions are least reason to bring them in my opinion.

But since lack of exercise is bad for both dragon and rider, dragons should be exercised in peacetime. Precisely in view of getting te geographic familiarity needed for wartime scouting.

In wartime, a dragonrider descending within bowshot of ground or visiting a village of unknown loyalty might get an arrow in the back, or a poisoned welcome feast. Nosing around in peacetime on dragonback is better than wasting childhood on horseback with lances, tournaments and quintains.

Not that a dragonrider should not ride a horse at all (or sail a ship). A dragonrider needs to know what a road feels and looks like, to spot from air which tracks are too rocky or swampy for horses to get through. So the dragonrider could scout ahead of an accompanying land army, check the roads, spot (and remember) potential places for roadblocks and ambushes, check them for presence of defenders and route his or her army around enemies if unwilling to descent to fire range - or clear roadblocks and ambushes by dragonfire.

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24 minutes ago, Jaak said:

But since lack of exercise is bad for both dragon and rider, dragons should be exercised in peacetime. Precisely in view of getting te geographic familiarity needed for wartime scouting.

In wartime, a dragonrider descending within bowshot of ground or visiting a village of unknown loyalty might get an arrow in the back, or a poisoned welcome feast. Nosing around in peacetime on dragonback is better than wasting childhood on horseback with lances, tournaments and quintains.

Not that a dragonrider should not ride a horse at all (or sail a ship). A dragonrider needs to know what a road feels and looks like, to spot from air which tracks are too rocky or swampy for horses to get through. So the dragonrider could scout ahead of an accompanying land army, check the roads, spot (and remember) potential places for roadblocks and ambushes, check them for presence of defenders and route his or her army around enemies if unwilling to descent to fire range - or clear roadblocks and ambushes by dragonfire.

In a essence I agree, though from what I saw in F&B that sort of discipline, training and dedication, is mostly dependent of the rider himself or his nature. 

Connection to the dragons is mysterious, and sometimes feelings of the rider and their character impacts on the dragon or vice versa,

Targaryen's as a dinasty seem to mostly be improvising as seen lot in their succession rules or lack of it regarding dragons who live much longer than their riders.

One of rarer ancient traditions that seem to be prevalent is incestuous marriage but having children being raised as dragonriders remains mostly left upon themselves, it is possible that similarly to some races of dogs, no dragon can stand two masters. 

 

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In the real world, police helicopters seem to be very useful in spotting fleeing suspects and criminals. In a magical pre-industrial world, dragons would seem to provide an equivalent.

In such a circumstance, a use of flaming without hurting anyone may be to make a light at night to let men see what is happening.

 

 

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On 7/16/2019 at 7:01 PM, Anthony Appleyard said:

In such a circumstance, a use of flaming without hurting anyone may be to make a light at night to let men see what is happening.

Yes, but let who see?

Dragonfire is not surrounded by reflectors. The rider might shield his or her eyes behind dragon´s head, but generally when dragonfire is used to give light at night, the objects illuminated by dragonfire are far and dim and flame itself is nearby and dazzling to the rider. Still, the same applies to a torch.

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