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

Alias the Black Dread
Allegiance Aegon I Targaryen
Maegor I Targaryen
Viserys I Targaryen
Race Dragon
Born In or before 114BC, at Valyria
Died In 94 AC
Book(s) The World of Ice and Fire (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)
Teeth long as swords, jaws big enough to swallow a mammoth whole. © Lindsey Burcar
Balerion in the War of Conquest

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[1] in 94 AC[2] during the reign of King Jaehaerys I, around two hundred years old.[3]


See also: Images of Balerion

Balerion was the largest of all the Targaryen dragons, his teeth were as long as swords and his jaws big enough to swallow a mammoth whole.[4] His fire was as black as his scales, his wingspan so vast that entire towns would fall under his shadow when he passed overhead.[5]


Balerion was named after the ancient god of the Valyrian Freehold.[5] 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.[6]

He gained recognition as the 'Black Dread' during the War of Conquest, when Aegon rode him to victory and conquered Westeros. He became notorious when Aegon used him against King Harren Hoare. 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.[7] King Harren and his sons all perished. 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 died, and with him House Gardener. The army was broken and Aegon I was victorious.[4]

According to song, at the end of the war Balerion helped to forge the Iron Throne by melting the swords of Aegon's enemies.[8] Aegon the Conqueror only rode Balerion to battle or for travel.

After Aegon's death, Balerion was claimed by his son Maegor, who had long coveted his father's mount and had not claimed another dragon because he considered all others unworthy. When he was exiled, Maegor brought Balerion with him to Pentos. After his brother Aenys died, Maegor flew back to Westeros on Balerion's back to claim the Iron Throne. In his reign as king, Maegor used Balerion to 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 Aegon and his dragon Quicksilver.[9]

Balerion was later ridden by Viserys I Targaryen, then still a prince. He was Balerion's rider at the time of his death in 94 AC. Viserys never claimed another dragon.[2]

Along with other Targaryen 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 had Balerion's skull removed and stored in a dank cellar along with the others.

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.[10]

Known dragonriders of Balerion


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. [5]

- Daenerys

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. [3]

- Arstan Whitebeard

References and Notes