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They can even squeal. Dragons are obligate carnivores, with diets consisting entirely of meat. Dragons need to roast their prey with their fire-breath before consuming it - the only animals apart from humans who prefer cooked meat.
Dragons can eat almost any kind of meat, anything from sheep to fish. Historical dragons ridden as beasts of war were known to eat fallen horses and even men on the battlefield. Fully grown dragons could swallow a live horse whole. The scale color of dragons is highly variable, and historical dragons ranged in color from black to silver, red, gold, and even blue. Some dragons were one solid color throughout, but more often, they tend to have one primary color for most of their body, with highlights in a secondary color along their spinal crests, horns, and wing membranes.
Confirmed markings observed so far include:.
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In addition to the various scales hues observed between specimens, dragons also displayed eyes color variations. Dragons being reptiles, they had vertical slit pupils with large colored irises. Drogon and Rhaegal have red eyes while their brother, Viserion , had green eyes before becoming a Wight. Probably the most famous attribute of dragons is their ability to breathe fire. Dragon flame can turn flesh to ash, melt steel, and crack stone.
Older dragons can produce more intense flame for longer duration. The bodies of dragons are also very resistant to fire, particularly their own flames, which will not damage their own mouths as they expel them.
Some believe that in many ways dragons are fire, fire given form as flesh: it is said that "fire cannot kill a dragon". Dragons seem to produce their fire-breath by expelling chemicals out of two tubes either side of their mouths: when these volatile substances combine, they undergo an intense reaction which bursts into a directed jet of fire. Later in the series this idea seemed to be abandoned. There are several shots where fire is seen emanating from the dragon's throats not out of the tubes in their mouth.
During the Battle of Winterfell , flames leak from the neck of the undead Viserion after he suffers injuries from his brother Rhaegal. Like most reptiles, dragons lay clutches of eggs. Dragon eggs are roughly the size of a human child's head, and as heavy as stone, so they need to be carried with two hands. The outer shell is covered in scales, with vastly different color patterns between eggs, usually matching the color of the dragon inside.
Dragon eggs are notoriously difficult to hatch, though they can maintain the spark of life inside of them for decades if not centuries. The secret key to hatching the eggs seems to involve some form of blood magic : as the house words of the Targaryens hint, it requires "fire and blood". To hatch them, dragon eggs must be burned in roaring flames, with which another creature is simultaneously being burned alive - a life in exchange for a life.
In the wild this might just be a prey animal that the parent dragon kills, but human sacrifice will do the trick quite nicely, particularly if there is more than one egg to hatch. The exact details of dragon reproduction fell out of living memory in the nearly two centuries since they died out.
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Several conflicting theories and rumors have been circulated, some less grounded in fact than others. It is unclear if the mother guarded eggs she had laid, or simply left them to hatch and fend for themselves, or if the father aided the mother in caring for them.
Dragons were apparently relatively solitary creatures, though it is unknown if any hierarchical relationships formed within groups of dragons. Dragons, like birds, tend to imprint on whoever is present when they hatch, regarding that person as their parent. Newly hatched dragons are about the size of a small cat, but they grow very rapidly, reaching the size of a small dog in about one year, and the size of a small pony in only three or four years. It is unknown at what age dragons reach reproductive maturity. Dragons never stop growing as long as they live, and they can live for centuries, though many died in combat before reaching such an age.
The largest Targaryen dragon, Balerion the Black Dread, lived for nearly two centuries and had a skull the size of a carriage. However, if dragons are chained or confined into an enclosed space for long periods of time it can hinder their growth and their overall size. Rhaegal and Viserion who hatched at the same time than Drogon were considerably smaller than their sibling, around half his size after being locked under Meereen's great pyramid for almost two years at an early stage of their development.
When dragons hatch, they do have horns around their faces and along their spines, but they are still quite small and relatively rounded. Their horns grow increasingly longer and sharper as they mature, quickly making the dragon appear more dangerous and menacing to prey or other dragons.
The four lines of webbed frills along a dragon's spine only grow to a prominent size after they are about a year old. The bigger the dragon is, the bigger its appetite. When a dragon reaches adolescence, roughly when they are the size of a pony, they tend to be rebellious to a degree, much like how human teenagers are, even snarling at their imprinted parent.
However, as they mature, this trait disappears. Dragons cannot be truly "tamed", but they can be bonded with and trained. The Valyrians rode dragons for millennia. Aegon I Targaryen and his sister-wives, who descended from Old Valyria, used the last three dragons in the world to conquer and unify the Seven Kingdoms. Dragons are fairly intelligent animals, and like a horse or a dog, they can be trained by their rider to respond to basic voice commands.
Tyrion Lannister claims that dragons are intelligent, much more so than most people and will quickly recognize friend from foe. If they are not trained they will quickly lay waste to anything around them. The key to training dragons is making sure they are well fed, a dragon with a full stomach is more obedient. Since they cannot be truly tamed, dragons can be very dangerous even to their riders. However, they can form very strong bonds with their riders and will show affection and trust towards them.
They will even nuzzle their riders, hoping to be petted.
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Daenerys Targaryen has trained her three dragons to respond to vocal commands in her mother tongue of High Valyrian. She often uses the command "Dracarys", to which her dragons respond by instantly breathing fire and burning anything in their path. The first known dragons were mentioned to have their lairs in the Fourteen Fires , a chain of volcanoes across the neck of the Valyrian Peninsula. The Valyrians , then peaceful shepherds, tamed the dragons with magic, even learned how to master and ride them as beasts of war.
Thus they began expanding their influence from the Peninsula to the rest of their continent. The dragons gave the decisive victory in the Ghiscari Wars during which the Old Ghis is burned to ashed by dragonfire, and the ever-expanding Valyrian Freehold replaced the Ghiscari Empire as the dominant culture of Essos. The Rhoynar under Nymeria fled to Dorne having no chance against the Valyrian dragons. Four hundred years before the War of the Five Kings , the entire Valyrian empire was destroyed in a single day, during a cataclysmic volcanic eruption known as the Doom of Valyria.
Most dragons, still lairing in the volcanoes, were killed outright. One Valyrian noble family, the Targaryens , survived the Doom on the distant island outpost of Dragonstone in the Narrow Sea - along with the last surviving Valyrian dragons. The last surviving dragons in the world were possessed by House Targaryen , the last Valyrians after the Cataclysm, who used them to conquer and unify the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros three hundred years before the War of the Five Kings. Most of the Targaryen dragons died in a civil strife known as Dance of the Dragons about a century and a half later, and after that, the only dragons the Targaryens had were the size of cats.
Soon after the civil war ended, the last Targaryen dragons died, and the species was considered to be extinct throughout the world.
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The only thing left of the race are petrified dragon eggs, which are used as decoration, and the bones which are used for weapon crafting. According to one legend, dragons originated from a second moon that hatched when it drifted too close to the sun. This is mostly dismissed as a simple myth. They remain the sigil of House Targaryen , who were known to have a special affinity with the creatures. Even Daenerys Targaryen who knows nothing of her true heritage feels a connection with the relics of the ancient animals.
She appears to feel a connection with the eggs; causing her to develop a curiosity about the race and the possibility that there may still be living dragons. Daenerys is given three petrified dragon eggs as a gift for her wedding to Khal Drogo. The three eggs are black, green, and gold. She keeps them in a chest surrounded by candles, day and night as she is drawn to them. Arya stumbles upon the massive skull of one of the Targaryen dragons while chasing a cat in the vaults.
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She hides in the mouth of the skull and overhears the plotting of Illyrio and Varys. Daenerys continues to experiment with her eggs. She briefly places one of the eggs into a fire pit in an attempt to hatch it, but the egg remains unhatched. She removes the egg from the fire with her bare hands, but remains unhurt. Daenerys Targaryen places the eggs on the funeral pyre of her husband after smothering him with a pillow.
She also straps the witch Mirri Maz Duur to the pyre. She then lights the pyre, and walks into it, with all her followers believing her to have burned alive. In the morning however, she is found with three dragons, a green dragon in her arms, a black dragon clinging on her shoulder and a white-peach colored dragon clinging on her leg.
Dragons possess awesome and devastating power, capable of laying waste to armies and burning entire cities to ashes. The greatest of these empires was the Valyrian Freehold forged by the Valyrian dragonlords. Aegon I Targaryen and his sisters used the last three surviving dragons in the world to conquer and unify the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. For generations, the dragon-kings ruled over much of Westeros - but the dragons eventually died out after nearly a century and a half, and the species was subsequently considered to be extinct.
At the same time that the War of the Five Kings began in Westeros, Daenerys Targaryen was in possession of three petrified dragons eggs. They were given to her as a wedding gift, beautiful to look upon and valuable beyond comprehension, but otherwise useless. However, in a shocking display of old magic, Daenerys miraculously hatched the eggs and for the first time in generations dragons filled the skies. Dragons have long serpentine bodies, with proportionately long necks and tails.
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Their bodies have four limbs: two short back legs and two large wings as forelimbs, a body-plan similar to a bat. In later generations, after the dragons went extinct, physical descriptions of dragons became so confused in memory that artwork sometimes depicted them as having six limbs - two wings growing out of their backs in addition to four legs - but this is inaccurate, at least in Westerosian legend.