The Cannibal as depicted by Douglas Wheatley in Fire & Blood.
The Cannibal was a wild dragon that lived on Dragonstone during the Dance of the Dragons. The smallfolk of Dragonstone called him the Cannibal because he would practice cannibalism, feasting on dead dragons, newborn dragons, and dragon eggs. He was one of three completely wild dragons dwelling on Dragonstone, along with Sheepstealer and Grey Ghost.
The Cannibal was black as coal, with menacing green eyes. He was the largest and oldest of the wild dragons.
The Cannibal's exact age has not yet been stated. The wild dragon Sheepstealer is said to have hatched when the Old King was young - that is, early in the reign of Jaehaerys I Targaryen. The Cannibal is stated to have been the eldest and largest of the three wild dragons, and was therefore even older than Sheepstealer.
Some among the smallfolk of Dragonstone claimed that the Cannibal lived on the island even before the Targaryens arrived in 114 BC. If the Cannibal was from a different lineage of dragons altogether, that might have explained why it was so antagonistic to the other Targaryen dragons. However, some maesters doubt these claims. Moreover, for this to be true the Cannibal would need to have been hatched at the very latest around the same time that Balerion arrived on Dragonstone in 114 BC. Balerion died of old age in 94 AC, at the age of at least 208 years, meaning that by 129 AC the Cannibal would need to be at least 35 years older than that. Because Balerion is the only known example of a dragon dying from old age, however, it is difficult to determine if this was a typical maximum lifespan for a dragon.
The Cannibal was known to attack smaller dragons. He laired at the back of the Dragonmont, on its eastern side. Prior to the Dance of the Dragons, would-be dragontamers had made attempts to ride him a dozen times, and his lair was littered with their bones. When Prince Jacaerys Velaryon called for dragonriders in 129 AC, none of the dragonseeds who attempted to tame the wild dragons were foolish enough to disturb the Cannibal due to his reputation - and any who were, did not return to tell the tale. However, when Silver Denys tried to master Sheepstealer, the dragon tore off his arm. As his sons struggled to stanch his wound, the Cannibal descended on them, drove off Sheepstealer, and devoured Silver Denys and his sons.
In 130 AC, when the carcass of the Grey Ghost was discovered at the Dragonmont's base, burned and broken, torn apart and partially devoured, Dragonstone's castellan Ser Robert Quince was quick to name the Cannibal as the killer (though in truth it was actually Sunfyre). Some fisherfolk began to worry that the dragon would attack them as well, and urged Ser Robert to send knights to kill the Cannibal. He refused, reasoning that if they left the dragon alone he would not bother them, and forbade fishing in the waters to the east of the Dragonmont, where Grey Ghost's body had been found. However, Lady Baela Targaryen was not satisfied with this explanation, and proposed to discover the truth herself, as she had no fear of the Cannibal and her dragon Moondancer could outfly him. But Ser Robert barred her from taking the risk, and confined Baela to her chambers.
In 132 AC, it was said that during the burial at sea of Lord Corlys Velaryon, the Cannibal took wing and flew to salute the deceased. However, Archmaester Gyldayn notes this may be a later embellishment of the story, since the Cannibal would be more likely to eat the corpse than salute it.
If we do not trouble him, the Cannibal will not trouble us.
- The Princess and the Queen.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Short, Sad Reign of Aegon II.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.