Provided you didn’t kick a hole in your television after a certain scene in last episode, then you watched Daenerys Targaryen hop on her dragon and fly away. This dramatic scene no doubt kicked up some burning questions, and we’re here with all your dragon-related answers.
Why is dragon-riding such a big deal? Way back in the day, the Targaryen’s mastered the art of dragon-riding allegedly using a combination of practice and sorcery. There’s seemingly no sorcery involved in Daenerys’s move here; she and Drogon are just that bonded. And dragon-riding—like forging Valyrian steel—is considered a lost art, and an extremely effective method of warfare. Targaryen dragon riders are the ones who first united the seven kingdoms and, as we discovered last week, Dany’s dragon fire may be the only hope the realms of men have against the Night’s King.
Can anyone ride a dragon? No, not at all. It’s not easy to tame a dragon. In the books, a character named Quentyn Martell tried to follow Daenerys’s lead and take control of one of her other dragons, Viserion, but gets torched by the third dragon, Rhaegal, for his trouble. Martell seems to have been written out of the show, but it’s possible one of Dany’s remaining Meereenese companions like Daario, Jorah, or Missandei could suffer Quentyn’s fate.
So will Dany be the only dragon rider? Probably not. There’s a prophetic dream sequence in the books that has Daenerys’s dead brother Rhaegar saying “the dragon has three heads.” This is commonly accepted (with encouragement from Martin) to mean that there will be three dragon riders in A Song of Ice and Fire. But those dragon riders willprobably be at least partially Targaryen.
But isn’t Dany the last Targaryen? (R.I.P. Maester Aemon) Ah, no. Hadn’t you heard? The Westeros of the books is lousy with secret Targaryens. There’s Dany’s nephew Aegon (who we suspect to be a fraud), Jon Snow (surely you’ve heard of R+L=J by now), and, of course, Tyrion himself. Most people believe Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, and Daenerys Targaryen are the three fabled dragon riders of A Song of Ice and Fire. There are other candidates including Bran Stark (who could warg into a dragon) or Varys (another potential secret Targaryen), but it seems likely that the three dragon riders will be threemain characters. (Sorry, Bran.)
That’s fine for the book readers, but is there any show evidence to back this up?Well, the dubious parentage of both Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister have been hinted at in the show. The story of Jon’s presumed parents, Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, wasall over the place this season, and when he was alive Tywin was forever going on about Tyrion not really being a Lannister.
But the most compelling argument for Jon, Tyrion, and Dany to be our three dragon riders came in Season 2, Episode 10, during the House of the Undying scene. In this dream-like sequence we see Dany visit three very significant places. Since the House of the Undying scene is much longer and more involved in the books—and contains that line about the dragon having three heads—many believe the HBO series boiled the vision down to its most salient point. In other words, the three locations of the dream—the Wall, the throne room, Khal Drogo’s tent—represent the three dragon riders. The Wall clearly stands for Jon Snow; the tent is for Dany; and the throne room is for Tyrion. Your mileage may vary on this interpretation, but that one is pretty tidy.
Is that it when it comes to show symbolism? Nope, Game of Thrones went all lit major one more time last season when Daario picked Dany this bouquet of flowers. The white flower is for our favorite platinum-haired Khaleesi. The blue flower is pretty consistently a symbol for Jon Snow in the books. (Rhaegar placed a crown of blue roses in Lyanna Stark’s lap, and Daenerys dreams of a blue flower growing out of the Wall.) The red and gold flower stands for the colors of house Lannister a.k.a. Tyrion. So if all goes according to fan expectation—and let’s be real, that isn’t often the case—the series will end with Emilia Clarke, Kit Harrington, and Peter Dinklage all astride their very own CGI dragons.