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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 126 BC, 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)
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 Targaryen, around two hundred years old.[3]


See also: 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.[4] 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.[5]


Balerion was named after the ancient god of the Valyrian Freehold.[4] 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][7][8]

Aegon the Conqueror

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 magisters of the Free City, then flew to Lys in time to set ablaze a Volantene fleet trying to take the city.[6]

Aegon then turned west to conquer the Seven Kingdoms.The first true test of Aegon's in his War of Conquest came from Lords Mooton and 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.[8]

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.[8]

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.[5][8]

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 Targaryens. After Aegon headed south and the submission of Oldtown.[8]

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.[9]

Maegor I

Maegor I and Balerion burn the Sept of Remembrance. by Jordi Gonzalez

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 independant of the Iron Throne, Maegor rode the Black Dread to the Vale and put down his rebellion.[10]

When he was exiled, Maegor took Balerion with him to Pentos. After his brother King 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 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 and his dragon Quicksilver.[11]

Viserys I

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 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.[5]

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.[12]

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.[4]

- Daenerys Targaryen

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

  1. Not a Blog: The Rogues are Coming (March 12, 2014), Reply to question (March 12, 2014)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Rogue Prince.
  3. 3.0 3.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 8, Daenerys I.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 13, Tyrion II.
  6. 6.0 6.1 The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Doom of Valyria.
  7. [1]
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  9. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 43, Eddard XI.
  10. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
  11. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I.
  12. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 5, Samwell I.