How Did Balerion Fare? How Long Did He Live Before HOTD?

“House of the Dragon” is dominated by the skull of Balerion, the Black Dread, but when did the fiercest and most potent dragon of the Targaryens pass away? The events of Game of Thrones are roughly 200 years ago when “House of the Dragon” takes place in Westeros. Thanks to their dragons, the “nuclear weapons” of this medieval fantasy world, House Targaryen is at the height of their power as the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms during this time. Balerion, the Targaryens’ most powerful dragon, has long since passed away by the time King Viserys I (Paddy Considine) occupies the Iron Throne.

The largest and most potent of the three dragons House Targaryen brought with them to Dragonstone, a volcanic island far east of Westeros, where they took up residence after escaping the Doom of Valyria, was Balerion. When he mounted his conquest of the Seven Kingdoms, Aegon the Conqueror rode Balerion, while his sister-wives Visenya and Rhaenys rode the dragons Vhagar and Meraxes, respectively. Balerion had black scales, wings, and fire coming out of his mouth. As he swooped overhead, the Black Dread’s shadow could cover entire villages, and his teeth were as long as swords. The magnificent Harrenhal castle, regarded as impregnable, was likewise devastated by Balerion’s fire. Balerion’s other known riders belonged to the Targaryen family line and were King Maegor I and Princess Aerea. Balerion, however, had already passed away by the House of the Dragon era, which started in 101 AC with the Great Council’s selection of Prince Viserys as the new King of Westeros.

Balerion passed away in 94 BC, near the conclusion of Viserys’s succeeding King Jaehaerys’ lengthy and successful reign. The future King Prince Viserys was Balerion’s final rider, but he was already very old and close to death when he ascended the black dragon. Less than a year after Viserys rode him, Balerion passed away. Balerion was the final of the original five dragons that Aenar Targaryen carried to Dragonstone when he and his family left Valyria prior to the Doom. Balerion was the last dragon to have seen Old Valyria, where he was born, before the city was obliterated by a volcanic explosion, according to King Viserys, who revealed this to his daughter and designated heir, Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock). As seen in “House of the Dragon,” the skull of the Black Dread was initially displayed in the Red Keep. In Game of Thrones, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) discovers Balerion’s enormous skull in the castle’s dungeons after King Robert Baratheon relocated the Targaryens’ dragons’ corpses there (Mark Addy).

Are any of the dragons in “House of the Dragon” larger than Balerion?

Vhagar, whose flame was rumored to be so intense it could melt a knight’s armor and cook him inside, is the only living dragon in the “House of the Dragon” that rivals Balerion in size. Vhagar has not yet been seen in “House of the Dragon,” although after Balerion’s passing, she surpassed all other dragons of the Targaryen dynasty in size, age, and strength. Prince Baelon the Brave, who passed away in 101 AC, was Vhagar’s final rider. Laena Velaryon (Savannah Steyn), the daughter of Lord Corlys Velaryon, also known as The Sea Snake (Steve Toussaint), and his wife Rhaena Targaryen, the Queen Who Never Was (Eve Best), will be Vhagar’s next dragon rider. Future “House of the Dragon” episodes will feature Laena and Vhagar.

In the world of Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen’s (Emilia Clarke) Drogon is the dragon that comes closest to matching the Black Dread. Balerion is a Targaryen legend. Of Daenerys’ three dragons, Drogon was the biggest and most potent, and he is the only one to have survived the Game of Thrones conclusion, even outlasting his “mother,” Daenerys. Although Drogon was not as big as Balerion, he continued to grow throughout Game of Thrones. Maybe Drogon will live to be bigger and more powerful than Balerion. Before Drogon is even born, “House of the Dragon” has already ended.

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