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{{Infobox character
 
{{Infobox character
 
| Character_name = Balerion
 
| Character_name = Balerion
| image = [[File:Aegon on Balerion.jpg|350px]]  
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| image = [[File:Aegon on Balerion.jpg|400px]]
| image_caption = [[Aegon the Conqueror]] rides atop Balerion, as depicted by Jordi Gonzalez Escamilla in ''[[The World of Ice and Fire]]''
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| image_caption = [[Aegon the Conqueror]] rides atop Balerion, as depicted by Jordi Gonzalez Escamilla in ''[[The World of Ice & Fire]]''.
 
| Alias = The Black Dread
 
| Alias = The Black Dread
 
| Title =
 
| Title =
| Allegiance = [[Aegon I Targaryen]]<br>[[Maegor I Targaryen]]<br>[[Viserys I Targaryen]]
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| Allegiance = [[Aegon I Targaryen]]<br>[[Maegor I Targaryen]]<br> [[Aerea Targaryen]]<br>[[Viserys I Targaryen]]
| Race =  
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| Race =
 
| Culture =
 
| Culture =
 
| Spouse =
 
| Spouse =
| Place_of_Birth = [[Valyria]]  
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| Place_of_Birth = [[Valyria]]
| Date_of_Birth = or ~several years before [[126 BC]]<ref>''See the [[Years after Aegon's Conquest/Calculations Ages#Balerion|Balerion]] calculation</ref><ref group="N">While Balerion's exact age at the time of his death cannot be established, Barristan Selmy's estimation of two hundred years compared to the two hundred and twenty year minimum implies Balerion was reasonably young upon arrival on Dragonstone</ref>
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| Date_of_Birth = or ~several years before [[126 BC]]<ref>''See the [[Years after Aegon's Conquest/Calculations Ages#Balerion|Balerion]] calculation</ref><ref group="N">While Balerion's exact age at the time of his death cannot be established, Barristan Selmy's estimation of two hundred years compared to the two hundred and twenty year minimum, implies Balerion was reasonably young upon arrival on Dragonstone</ref>
 
| Place_of_Death =
 
| Place_of_Death =
 
| Date_of_Death = {{Date|94}}
 
| Date_of_Death = {{Date|94}}
| Books = ''[[The World of Ice and Fire]]'' (mentioned)<br>''[[The Rogue Prince]]'' (mentioned)<br>''[[The Princess and the Queen]]'' (mentioned)<br>''[[A Game of Thrones]]'' (mentioned)<br>''[[A Clash of Kings]]'' (mentioned)<br>''[[A Feast for Crows]]'' (mentioned)<br>''[[A Dance with Dragons]]'' (mentioned)
+
| Books =''[[The World of Ice & Fire]]'' (mentioned)<br>''[[Fire & Blood]]'' (mentioned)<br>''[[The Sons of the Dragon]]'' (mentioned)<br>''[[The Rogue Prince]]'' (mentioned)<br>''[[The Princess and the Queen]]'' (mentioned)<br>''[[A Game of Thrones]]'' (mentioned)<br>''[[A Clash of Kings]]'' (mentioned)<br>''[[A Feast for Crows]]'' (mentioned)<br>''[[A Dance with Dragons]]'' (mentioned)<br>''[[The Winds of Winter]]'' (mentioned)
 
}}
 
}}
  
[[File:Balerion.jpg|thumb|400px|Balerion in the [[War of Conquest]]]]
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[[File:Balerion.jpg|thumb|400px|Balerion in the [[War of Conquest]] ©HBO.]]
'''Balerion''', called the '''Black Dread''', was one of the three great [[dragons]] of [[Aegon I Targaryen]] and his sisters, that were used to conquer much of [[Westeros]] during the [[War of Conquest]]. Balerion died of old age<ref>[[Not a Blog]]: [http://grrm.livejournal.com/360936.html?thread=18791400#t18791400 The Rogues are Coming (March 12, 2014), Reply to question (March 12, 2014)]</ref> in {{Date|94}}{{ref|trp}} during the reign of King [[Jaehaerys I Targaryen]], around two hundred years old.{{Ref|aSoS|8}}
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 +
'''Balerion''', called '''the Black Dread''', was a [[dragon]] of [[House Targaryen]]. He was [[dragonrider|ridden]] by King [[Aegon I Targaryen]] during [[Aegon's Conquest|his Conquest]], alongside his sister Queen [[Visenya Targaryen|Visenya]]'s [[Vhagar]], and his sister Queen [[Rhaenys Targaryen|Rhaenys]]'s [[Meraxes]].{{Ref|aCoK|12}} Other known riders of Balerion were King [[Maegor I Targaryen]],{{Ref|twoiaf|The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I}}{{Ref|tsotd}} Princess [[Aerea Targaryen|Aerea Targaryen]]{{Ref|FAB|Birth, Death and Betrayal Under King Jaehaerys I}} and King [[Viserys I Targaryen]].{{Ref|twoiaf|The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I}}{{Ref|trp}}
 +
 
 +
Balerion died of old age<ref>[[Not a Blog]]: [http://grrm.livejournal.com/360936.html?thread=18791400#t18791400 The Rogues are Coming (March 12, 2014), Reply to question (March 12, 2014)]</ref> in {{Date|94}}{{Ref|twoiaf|The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I}}{{ref|trp}} during the reign of King [[Jaehaerys I Targaryen]], around two hundred years old.{{Ref|aSoS|8}}
  
 
==Appearance==
 
==Appearance==
 
:''See also: [[:Category:Images of Balerion|Images of Balerion]]''
 
:''See also: [[:Category:Images of Balerion|Images of Balerion]]''
  
Balerion was the largest of all the Targaryen dragons. His fire was as black as his scales, his wingspan so vast that entire towns would fall under his shadow when he passed overhead.{{Ref|aCoK|12}} His teeth were as long as swords, and his jaws were large enough to swallow an [[aurochs]] whole, or even one of the hairy [[mammoths]] that are said to roam the cold wastes beyond the [[Port of Ibben]].{{Ref|aGoT|13}}
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Balerion's scales{{Ref|acok|12}} and wings{{Ref|FAB|Aegon's Conquest}}{{Ref|twoiaf|The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest}}{{Ref|fab|The Sons of the Dragon}} were black. His fire was black,{{ref|acok|12}}{{Ref|fab|The Sons of the Dragon}} sometimes with swirls of red.{{Ref|fab|Aegon's Conquest}} When he was in the fullness of his power, his flames could melt steel and stone,{{Ref|tpatq}} and fuse sand into glass.{{Ref|fab|Reign of the Dragon - The Wars of Aegon I}}
 +
 
 +
Balerion was the largest of all the Targaryen dragons since [[Aegon's Conquest]]. His wingspan was so large that his shadow could engulf entire towns when he passed overhead.{{Ref|aCoK|12}} His teeth were as long as swords, and his jaws were large enough to swallow an [[aurochs]] whole, or even one of the hairy [[mammoths]] that are said to roam the cold wastes beyond the [[Port of Ibben]].{{Ref|aGoT|13}} By {{Date|93}}, Balerion had finally stopped growing. He had grown sluggish and heavy and was difficult to rouse. When Prince [[Viserys I Targaryen|Viserys Targaryen]] claimed the dragon that year, the dragons struggled to take air. Prince Viserys believed the dragon no longer had the strength to fly from [[King's Landing]] to [[Dragonstone]].{{Ref|fab|The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny, and Pain}}
 +
 
 +
Balerion was willful, and not a beast to trifle with.{{Ref|Fab|Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies}}
  
 
==History==
 
==History==
Balerion was named after the ancient god of the [[Valyria|Valyrian Freehold]].{{Ref|aCoK|12}} He was born in Valyria. Balerion was one of the five dragons [[Aenar Targaryen]] brought with him when he fled to [[Dragonstone]] to survive the [[Doom of Valyria]].{{ref|twoiaf| Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria}}<ref>[http://thewertzone.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-full-story-of-targaryen-conquest-in.html?spref=tw&m=1]</ref>{{ref|twoiaf| The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest}}
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===Origin===
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Balerion was [[named after]] the ancient [[Balerion (god)|god]] of the [[Valyrian Freehold]].{{Ref|aCoK|12}} He was born in Valyria, and was one of the five dragons [[Aenar Targaryen]] brought with him when he fled to [[Dragonstone]] to survive the [[Doom of Valyria]].{{Ref|twoiaf|Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria}}{{Ref|twoiaf|The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest}} After the other four of Aenar's dragons died, Balerion became the last creature to have seen the Freehold in its prime.
  
 
===Aegon the Conqueror===
 
===Aegon the Conqueror===
[[Aegon I Targaryen|Aegon Targaryen]], became involved in the wars in the [[Disputed Lands]], when [[Pentos]] and [[Tyrosh]] approached him, inviting him to join a grand alliance against [[Volantis]], he chose to heed their call. Mounting Balerion, he flew east to meet the [[Prince of Pentos]] and the [[magister]]s of the [[Free City]], then flew to [[Lys]] in time to set ablaze a [[Volantene]] fleet trying to take the city.{{ref|twoiaf| Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria}}
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Balerion was eventually claimed by Lord [[Aegon I Targaryen|Aegon Targaryen]], some time before he married his sisters [[Visenya Targaryen|Visenya]] and [[Rhaenys Targaryen|Rhaenys]].{{Ref|twoiaf|The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest}} Aegon became involved in the wars in the [[Disputed Lands]] when [[Pentos]] and [[Tyrosh]] approached him, inviting him to join a grand alliance against [[Volantis]], and he chose to heed their call. Mounting Balerion, he flew east to meet the [[Prince of Pentos]] and the [[magister]]s of the [[Free City]], then flew to [[Lys]] in time to set ablaze a [[Volantene]] fleet trying to take the city.{{Ref|twoiaf|Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria}}{{ref|adwd|14}}
  
Aegon then turned west to conquer the [[Seven Kingdoms]].The first true test of Aegon's in his [[War of Conquest]] came from Lords [[House Mooton|Mooton]] and [[House Darklyn|Darklyn]] who had joined forces to push the invaders out. [[Orys Baratheon]] rode out to meet them, while Aegon riding Balerion descended on them from above, both Lords were killed in the battle.{{ref|twoiaf| The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest}}
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[[File: Forging the iron throne.jpg|400px|thumb|right|Balerion and workers help forge the [[Iron Throne]], as depicted by Donato Giancola.]]
  
Aegon then crossed the [[Blackwater]] to meet King [[Harren Hoare]] at [[Harrenhal]]. King Harren the Black took refuge in the formidable fortress of Harrenhal. Aegon gave him till sunset to surrender, he did not yeild. Aegon took Balerion high up and descended inside the castle walls and put the castle to flame. Balerion's flames burned so hot that the towers of [[Harrenhal]] went up like candles, melting and twisting into the shapes they retain to this day. King Harren and his sons all perished, ending the line of [[House Hoare]].{{ref|twoiaf| The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest}}  
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Afterwards, Aegon turned his attention to conquering the [[Seven Kingdoms]], during which he flew on Balerion. Aegon descended on Lords [[House Mooton|Mooton]] and [[House Darklyn|Darklyn]], killing both of them during [[Aegon's first test]]. Next, Aegon took Balerion to [[Harrenhal]], where King [[Harren Hoare]] took refuge in his formidable fortress. When Hoare had not yielded by sunset, he took Balerion high up and descended inside the castle walls, and put the castle to flame. Balerion's [[dragonfire]] burned so hot that the towers of [[Harrenhal]] went up like candles, melting and twisting into the shapes they retain to this day. King Harren and his sons all perished, ending the line of [[House Hoare]].{{Ref|twoiaf|The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest}}
  
Balerion was also deployed in the battle that became known as the [[Field of Fire]], the only time in history that all three of the fabled Targaryen dragons took to the sky at the same time. Between [[Vhagar]], [[Meraxes]] and Balerion, four thousand men were burned to death. King [[Mern Gardener|Mern]] died, and with him [[House Gardener]]. The army was broken and Aegon I was victorious.{{Ref|aGoT|13}}{{ref|twoiaf| The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest}}
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Aegon next rode Balerion in the [[Field of Fire]], besides his sisters on [[Vhagar]] and [[Meraxes]]. Between the three dragons, four thousand men were burned to death, including King [[Mern IX Gardener]], resulting in Targaryen victory.{{Ref|aGoT|13}}{{Ref|twoiaf|The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest}} When Aegon learned that King [[Torrhen Stark]] had crossed the [[Neck]] and was leading an army into the [[riverlands]], he raced ahead of his army on Balerion to meet the threat. When the Targaryen host was encamped at one side of the [[Trident]] and the northern horst on the other side, Torrhen's [[bastard]] brother [[Brandon Snow]] offered to assassinate the sleeping dragons. Recalling the destruction the three dragons had caused on the Field of Fire, Torrhen instead submitted to Aegon.{{Ref|twoiaf|The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest}}
  
Aegon then headed to [[Highgarden]] which yielded without a fight, when he heard word of King [[Torrhen Stark]] and the northmen marching south he flew to meet them calling his sisters and all bannermen to join him. Torrhen submitted the [[north]] to the rule of the [[House Targaryen|Targaryen]]s. After Aegon headed south and the submission of [[Oldtown]].{{ref|twoiaf| The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest}}
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According to song, at the end of the war Balerion helped to forge the [[Iron Throne]] by melting the swords of Aegon's fallen enemies.{{Ref|aGoT|43}}
  
According to song, at the end of the war Balerion helped to forge the [[Iron Throne]] by melting the swords of Aegon's fallen enemies.{{Ref|aGoT|43}}
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Aegon later flew Balerion into battle during the [[First Dornish War]], burning every Dornish stronghold (except [[Sunspear]]) at least once during the years of the Dragon's Wroth.{{Ref|twoiaf|Dorne: Dorne Against the Dragon}}
  
 
===Maegor I===
 
===Maegor I===
[[File:Sept of Remembrance.jpg|400px|thumb|right|[[Maegor I]] and Balerion burn the [[Sept of Remembrance]]. by Jordi Gonzalez]]
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[[File:Sept of Remembrance.jpg|400px|thumb|right|King [[Maegor I Targaryen]] and Balerion burn the [[Sept of Remembrance]], by Jordi Gonzalez for ''[[The World of Ice & Fire]]''.]]
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 +
After Aegon's death, Balerion was claimed by his son Prince [[Maegor I Targaryen|Maegor]], who had long coveted his father's mount, and had not claimed another dragon because he considered all others unworthy. After [[Jonos Arryn]] imprisoned his brother Lord [[Ronnel Arryn (king)|Ronnel]] and declared himself independent of the [[Iron Throne]], Maegor rode the Black Dread to the [[Vale]] and put down his rebellion.{{ref|tsotd}}{{Ref|twoiaf|The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I}}
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 +
When Maegor was exiled to [[Pentos]] as punishment for his [[polygamy|polygamous marriage]], he took Balerion with him. After his brother King [[Aenys I Targaryen|Aenys I]] died, Maegor flew back to [[Westeros]] on Balerion to claim the Iron Throne. In his reign as king, Maegor used Balerion in the [[burning of the Sept of Remembrance]] and in many other battles against the [[Faith Militant]]. In the [[Battle Beneath the Gods Eye]], Maegor used Balerion to kill his nephew Prince [[Aegon Targaryen (son of Aenys I)|Aegon]] and his dragon [[Quicksilver]].{{Ref|twoiaf|The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I}} After Maegor's death, Balerion returned to [[Dragonstone]], where he made his lair.{{ref|fab|Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies}}
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 +
===Princess Aerea===
 +
Balerion was claimed as a dragon by Princess [[Aerea Targaryen]] in late {{Date|54}}. They disappeared and went missing for more than a year. King [[Jaehaerys I Targaryen]] sent expeditions to try and locate Balerion and the young princess, and the [[master of coin]], [[Rego Draz]], offered a reward for any information on their whereabouts, but none came forward that were credible. Balerion was the largest living dragon in the world, but there were no sightings of the dragon anywhere. Septon [[Barth]] believed that the lack of sightings suggested that Balerion was no longer in [[Westeros]].{{Ref|FAB|Birth, Death and Betrayal Under King Jaehaerys I}}
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 +
Balerion returned to [[King's Landing]] in {{Date|56}}, descending into the courtyard of the [[Red Keep]] with Aerea barely clinging to him. The princess was severely ill, and died soon after. Barth's accounts describe wounds and half-healed scars on Balerion. The dragon bore a huge jagged rent down his left side, almost nine feet long, and fresh blood still dripped from the wound, hot and smoking. Barth speculated that, when Aerea claimed Balerion, she was unable to bend the dragon to her will, and instead the dragon had taken her to the place he had been born, [[Valyria]]. Shortly thereafter, Balerion became the first dragon to be housed in the [[Dragonpit]], where he was guarded by the [[Dragonkeepers]].{{ref|fab|Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies}}
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 +
===Further life===
 +
Balerion remained at the Dragonpit. Young Prince [[Baelon Targaryen (son of Jaehaerys I)|Baelon Targaryen]] smacked Balerion on his snout the first time the boy entered the Dragonpit.{{Ref|FAB|Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies}} When Princess [[Alyssa Targaryen]] came to the Dragonpit to claim a dragon of her own in {{Date|75}}, the Dragonkeepers persuaded her not to try and claim Balerion, insisting that the dragon had become old and slow, suggesting to her that she would much more prefer a faster dragon.{{Ref|FAB|The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny, and Pain}}
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 +
The last rider of Balerion was Prince [[Viserys I Targaryen|Viserys Targaryen]], who entered the Dragonpit to claim the dragon in {{Date|93}}. Balerion was hard to rouse, and struggled when Viserys urged him into the sky. They flew around King's Landing three times, although Viserys later confided to his father that he had originally intended to fly Balerion to [[Dragonstone]]. However, fearing the dragon lacked the strength to do so, Viserys had opted otherwise.{{Ref|FAB|The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny, and Pain}}
  
After Aegon's death, Balerion was claimed by his son Prince [[Maegor I Targaryen|Maegor]], who had long coveted his father's mount and had not claimed another dragon because he considered all others unworthy. After [[Jonos Arryn]] imprisoned his brother Lord [[Ronnel Arryn|Ronnel]] and declared himself independent of the [[Iron Throne]], Maegor rode the Black Dread to the [[Vale]] and put down his rebellion.{{ref|twoiaf| The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I}}
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Balerion died in {{Date|94}},{{Ref|trp}}{{Ref|twoiaf|The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I}} less than a year after Viserys claimed him as his mount.{{Ref|FAB|The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny, and Pain}}
  
When he was exiled, Maegor took Balerion with him to [[Pentos]]. After his brother King [[Aenys I Targaryen|Aenys I]] died, Maegor flew back to [[Westeros]] on Balerion's back to claim the Iron Throne. In his reign as king, Maegor used Balerion to [[Burning of the Sept of Remembrance|destroy]] the [[Sept of Remembrance]] and in many other battles against the [[Faith Militant]]. In the [[battle Beneath the Gods Eye]], Maegor used Balerion to kill his nephew Prince [[Aegon Targaryen (son of Aenys I)|Aegon]] and his dragon [[Quicksilver]].{{ref|twoiaf| The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I}}
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===Legacy===
 +
[[File: Arya Stark and Balerion's skull by Justin Sweet.jpg|400px|thumb|right|[[Arya Stark]] encounters the skull of Balerion the Black Dread, by Justin Sweet for ''[[The World of Ice & Fire]]''.]]
  
===Viserys I===
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Along with eighteen{{Ref|aGoT|13}} other Targaryen [[Dragon skulls (Targaryen)|dragon skulls]], Balerion's skull hung on a wall in the [[Red Keep]]'s throne room.{{Ref|aGoT|3}}{{Ref|aGoT|12}} After [[Robert's Rebellion]], King [[Robert I Baratheon]] had the skulls removed from the throne room, and stored them in a dank cellar. In {{Date|284}}, when [[Tyrion Lannister]] visited the capital for the [[wedding]] of his sister [[Cersei Lannister|Cersei]] to Robert, he observed the skulls in the cellar, including Balerion's.{{Ref|aGoT|13}} In {{Date|298}}, [[Arya Stark]] encountered the dragon skulls while passing through the Red Keep cellars.{{Ref|aGoT|32}}{{Ref|aGoT|50}}
The last rider of Balerion was [[Viserys I Targaryen]], then still a prince. He was Balerion's rider at the time of his death in {{date|94}}. Viserys never claimed another dragon.{{ref|trp}}
 
  
Along with other Targaryen [[Skulls of the Targaryen dragons|dragon skulls]] Balerion's huge skull used to hang on a wall in the [[Red Keep]]'s throne room. After the [[War of the Usurper]] King [[Robert I Baratheon|Robert]] had Balerion's skull removed and stored in a dank cellar along with the others.{{ref|agot|13}}
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In {{Date|299}}, [[Daenerys Targaryen]] had the three [[ships]] sent to her by [[Illyrio Mopatis]] renamed [[Vhagar (ship)|Vhagar]], [[Meraxes (ship)|Meraxes]], and [[Balerion (ship)|Balerion]], to tell the world that the [[dragon]]s had returned.{{Ref|aCoK|63}}
  
There is a rather nice picture of Balerion the Black Dread done in coloured inks in the book ''[[Dragonkin, Being a History of House Targaryen from Exile to Apotheosis, with a Consideration of the Life and Death of Dragons]]'' written by [[Maester]] [[Thomax]].{{Ref|aFfC|5}}
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There is a rather nice picture of Balerion the Black Dread, done in colored inks, in the book ''[[Dragonkin, Being a History of House Targaryen from Exile to Apotheosis, with a Consideration of the Life and Death of Dragons]]'', written by [[Maester]] [[Thomax]].{{Ref|aFfC|5}}
  
 
==Known riders==
 
==Known riders==
 
* King [[Aegon I Targaryen]]
 
* King [[Aegon I Targaryen]]
 
* King [[Maegor I Targaryen]]
 
* King [[Maegor I Targaryen]]
* King [[Viserys I Targaryen]]{{Ref|TRP}}
+
* Princess [[Aerea Targaryen]]
 +
* King [[Viserys I Targaryen]]
  
 
==Quotes==
 
==Quotes==
{{Quote|His [[Dragonflame|fire]] was as black as his scales, his wings so vast that whole towns were swallowed up in their shadow when he passed overhead.{{Ref|ACOK|12}}}} – [[Daenerys Targaryen]]
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{{Quote|[[Aegon I Targaryen|The Conqueror's]] [[Maegor I Targaryen|son]] had claimed a [[dragon]] at last, and none other than the Black Dread, the greatest of them all.{{Ref|tsotd}}}}
  
 +
{{Quote|His [[Dragonflame|fire]] was as black as his scales, his wings so vast that whole towns were swallowed up in their shadow when he passed overhead.{{Ref|ACOK|12}}|[[Daenerys Targaryen]]}}
 +
 +
{{Quote|Balerion the Black Dread was two hundred years old when he died during the reign of [[Jaehaerys I Targaryen|Jaehaerys the Conciliator]]. He was so large he could swallow an [[aurochs]] whole. A [[dragon]] never stops growing, [[Daenerys Targaryen|Your Grace]], so long as he has food and freedom.{{Ref|ASOS|8}}|[[Barristan Selmy|Arstan Whitebeard]], to [[Daenerys Targaryen]]}}
  
{{Quote|Balerion the Black Dread was two hundred years old when he died during the reign of [[Jaehaerys I Targaryen|Jaehaerys the Conciliator]]. He was so large he could swallow an [[aurochs]] whole. A [[dragon]] never stops growing, [[Daenerys Targaryen|Your Grace]], so long as he has food and freedom.{{Ref|ASOS|8}}}} – [[Barristan Selmy|Arstan Whitebeard]]
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{{Quote|The last living creature in all the world who saw [[Valyria]] in its glory.{{Ref|FAB|Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies}}|Writings of Septon [[Barth]]}}
  
 
==Notes==
 
==Notes==
Line 70: Line 96:
  
 
==References==
 
==References==
{{references|2}}
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{{References}}
  
 
{{Dragons}}
 
{{Dragons}}

Latest revision as of 08:36, 16 June 2019

Balerion
Aegon on Balerion.jpg
Aegon the Conqueror rides atop Balerion, as depicted by Jordi Gonzalez Escamilla in The World of Ice & Fire.

Alias The Black Dread
Allegiance Aegon I Targaryen
Maegor I Targaryen
Aerea Targaryen
Viserys I Targaryen
Born In or ~several years before 126 BC[1][N 1], at Valyria
Died In 94 AC
Book(s) The World of Ice & Fire (mentioned)
Fire & Blood (mentioned)
The Sons of the Dragon (mentioned)
The Rogue Prince (mentioned)
The Princess and the Queen (mentioned)
A Game of Thrones (mentioned)
A Clash of Kings (mentioned)
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (mentioned)
The Winds of Winter (mentioned)
Balerion in the War of Conquest ©HBO.

Balerion, called the Black Dread, was a dragon of House Targaryen. He was ridden by King Aegon I Targaryen during his Conquest, alongside his sister Queen Visenya's Vhagar, and his sister Queen Rhaenys's Meraxes.[2] Other known riders of Balerion were King Maegor I Targaryen,[3][4] Princess Aerea Targaryen[5] and King Viserys I Targaryen.[6][7]

Balerion died of old age[8] in 94 AC[6][7] during the reign of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, around two hundred years old.[9]

Appearance

See also: Images of Balerion

Balerion's scales[2] and wings[10][11][12] were black. His fire was black,[2][12] sometimes with swirls of red.[10] When he was in the fullness of his power, his flames could melt steel and stone,[13] and fuse sand into glass.[14]

Balerion was the largest of all the Targaryen dragons since Aegon's Conquest. His wingspan was so large that his shadow could engulf entire towns when he passed overhead.[2] His teeth were as long as swords, and his jaws were large enough to swallow an aurochs whole, or even one of the hairy mammoths that are said to roam the cold wastes beyond the Port of Ibben.[15] By 93 AC, Balerion had finally stopped growing. He had grown sluggish and heavy and was difficult to rouse. When Prince Viserys Targaryen claimed the dragon that year, the dragons struggled to take air. Prince Viserys believed the dragon no longer had the strength to fly from King's Landing to Dragonstone.[16]

Balerion was willful, and not a beast to trifle with.[17]

History

Origin

Balerion was named after the ancient god of the Valyrian Freehold.[2] He was born in Valyria, and was one of the five dragons Aenar Targaryen brought with him when he fled to Dragonstone to survive the Doom of Valyria.[18][11] After the other four of Aenar's dragons died, Balerion became the last creature to have seen the Freehold in its prime.

Aegon the Conqueror

Balerion was eventually claimed by Lord Aegon Targaryen, some time before he married his sisters Visenya and Rhaenys.[11] Aegon became involved in the wars in the Disputed Lands when Pentos and Tyrosh approached him, inviting him to join a grand alliance against Volantis, and he chose to heed their call. Mounting Balerion, he flew east to meet the Prince of Pentos and the magisters of the Free City, then flew to Lys in time to set ablaze a Volantene fleet trying to take the city.[18][19]

Balerion and workers help forge the Iron Throne, as depicted by Donato Giancola.

Afterwards, Aegon turned his attention to conquering the Seven Kingdoms, during which he flew on Balerion. Aegon descended on Lords Mooton and Darklyn, killing both of them during Aegon's first test. Next, Aegon took Balerion to Harrenhal, where King Harren Hoare took refuge in his formidable fortress. When Hoare had not yielded by sunset, he took Balerion high up and descended inside the castle walls, and put the castle to flame. Balerion's dragonfire burned so hot that the towers of Harrenhal went up like candles, melting and twisting into the shapes they retain to this day. King Harren and his sons all perished, ending the line of House Hoare.[11]

Aegon next rode Balerion in the Field of Fire, besides his sisters on Vhagar and Meraxes. Between the three dragons, four thousand men were burned to death, including King Mern IX Gardener, resulting in Targaryen victory.[15][11] When Aegon learned that King Torrhen Stark had crossed the Neck and was leading an army into the riverlands, he raced ahead of his army on Balerion to meet the threat. When the Targaryen host was encamped at one side of the Trident and the northern horst on the other side, Torrhen's bastard brother Brandon Snow offered to assassinate the sleeping dragons. Recalling the destruction the three dragons had caused on the Field of Fire, Torrhen instead submitted to Aegon.[11]

According to song, at the end of the war Balerion helped to forge the Iron Throne by melting the swords of Aegon's fallen enemies.[20]

Aegon later flew Balerion into battle during the First Dornish War, burning every Dornish stronghold (except Sunspear) at least once during the years of the Dragon's Wroth.[21]

Maegor I

King Maegor I Targaryen and Balerion burn the Sept of Remembrance, by Jordi Gonzalez for The World of Ice & Fire.

After Aegon's death, Balerion was claimed by his son Prince Maegor, who had long coveted his father's mount, and had not claimed another dragon because he considered all others unworthy. After Jonos Arryn imprisoned his brother Lord Ronnel and declared himself independent of the Iron Throne, Maegor rode the Black Dread to the Vale and put down his rebellion.[4][3]

When Maegor was exiled to Pentos as punishment for his polygamous marriage, he took Balerion with him. After his brother King Aenys I died, Maegor flew back to Westeros on Balerion to claim the Iron Throne. In his reign as king, Maegor used Balerion in the burning of the Sept of Remembrance and in many other battles against the Faith Militant. In the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye, Maegor used Balerion to kill his nephew Prince Aegon and his dragon Quicksilver.[22] After Maegor's death, Balerion returned to Dragonstone, where he made his lair.[17]

Princess Aerea

Balerion was claimed as a dragon by Princess Aerea Targaryen in late 54 AC. They disappeared and went missing for more than a year. King Jaehaerys I Targaryen sent expeditions to try and locate Balerion and the young princess, and the master of coin, Rego Draz, offered a reward for any information on their whereabouts, but none came forward that were credible. Balerion was the largest living dragon in the world, but there were no sightings of the dragon anywhere. Septon Barth believed that the lack of sightings suggested that Balerion was no longer in Westeros.[5]

Balerion returned to King's Landing in 56 AC, descending into the courtyard of the Red Keep with Aerea barely clinging to him. The princess was severely ill, and died soon after. Barth's accounts describe wounds and half-healed scars on Balerion. The dragon bore a huge jagged rent down his left side, almost nine feet long, and fresh blood still dripped from the wound, hot and smoking. Barth speculated that, when Aerea claimed Balerion, she was unable to bend the dragon to her will, and instead the dragon had taken her to the place he had been born, Valyria. Shortly thereafter, Balerion became the first dragon to be housed in the Dragonpit, where he was guarded by the Dragonkeepers.[17]

Further life

Balerion remained at the Dragonpit. Young Prince Baelon Targaryen smacked Balerion on his snout the first time the boy entered the Dragonpit.[17] When Princess Alyssa Targaryen came to the Dragonpit to claim a dragon of her own in 75 AC, the Dragonkeepers persuaded her not to try and claim Balerion, insisting that the dragon had become old and slow, suggesting to her that she would much more prefer a faster dragon.[16]

The last rider of Balerion was Prince Viserys Targaryen, who entered the Dragonpit to claim the dragon in 93 AC. Balerion was hard to rouse, and struggled when Viserys urged him into the sky. They flew around King's Landing three times, although Viserys later confided to his father that he had originally intended to fly Balerion to Dragonstone. However, fearing the dragon lacked the strength to do so, Viserys had opted otherwise.[16]

Balerion died in 94 AC,[7][6] less than a year after Viserys claimed him as his mount.[16]

Legacy

Arya Stark encounters the skull of Balerion the Black Dread, by Justin Sweet for The World of Ice & Fire.

Along with eighteen[15] other Targaryen dragon skulls, Balerion's skull hung on a wall in the Red Keep's throne room.[23][24] After Robert's Rebellion, King Robert I Baratheon had the skulls removed from the throne room, and stored them in a dank cellar. In 284 AC, when Tyrion Lannister visited the capital for the wedding of his sister Cersei to Robert, he observed the skulls in the cellar, including Balerion's.[15] In 298 AC, Arya Stark encountered the dragon skulls while passing through the Red Keep cellars.[25][26]

In 299 AC, Daenerys Targaryen had the three ships sent to her by Illyrio Mopatis renamed Vhagar, Meraxes, and Balerion, to tell the world that the dragons had returned.[27]

There is a rather nice picture of Balerion the Black Dread, done in colored inks, in the book Dragonkin, Being a History of House Targaryen from Exile to Apotheosis, with a Consideration of the Life and Death of Dragons, written by Maester Thomax.[28]

Known riders

Quotes

The Conqueror's son had claimed a dragon at last, and none other than the Black Dread, the greatest of them all.[4]

His fire was as black as his scales, his wings so vast that whole towns were swallowed up in their shadow when he passed overhead.[2]

Balerion the Black Dread was two hundred years old when he died during the reign of Jaehaerys the Conciliator. He was so large he could swallow an aurochs whole. A dragon never stops growing, Your Grace, so long as he has food and freedom.[9]

The last living creature in all the world who saw Valyria in its glory.[17]

—Writings of Septon Barth

Notes

  1. While Balerion's exact age at the time of his death cannot be established, Barristan Selmy's estimation of two hundred years compared to the two hundred and twenty year minimum, implies Balerion was reasonably young upon arrival on Dragonstone

References

  1. See the Balerion calculation
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
  3. 3.0 3.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Sons of the Dragon.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Fire & Blood, Birth, Death and Betrayal Under King Jaehaerys I.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 The Rogue Prince.
  8. Not a Blog: The Rogues are Coming (March 12, 2014), Reply to question (March 12, 2014)
  9. 9.0 9.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Fire & Blood, Aegon's Conquest.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
  13. The Princess and the Queen.
  14. Fire & Blood, Reign of the Dragon - The Wars of Aegon I.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 13, Tyrion II.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies.
  18. 18.0 18.1 The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria.
  19. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
  20. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 43, Eddard XI.
  21. The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: Dorne Against the Dragon.
  22. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I.
  23. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
  24. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard II.
  25. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 32, Arya III.
  26. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 50, Arya IV.
  27. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 63, Daenerys V.
  28. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 5, Samwell I.