House Of The Dragon Is Proving That Daenerys Is The Greatest Dragonrider


Warning! This post contains SPOILERS for House of the Dragon and Book: Fire and BloodHouse of the Dragon effectively establishes Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) as the greatest dragonrider of them all. Featuring the height of Targaryen rule, the Game of Thrones’ spinoff series showcases a time when the population of dragons is at its peak after the Doom of Valyria. While House of the Dragon has an abundance of dragons and dragonriders, the Mother of Dragons still manages to best all known dragonriders with one small detail.

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HBO’s House of the Dragon covers the Targaryen Civil War which marks the end of the dragons’ existence in all the realm. Historically, the Dance of the Dragons severely depletes the dragon population, causing them to go extinct for more than a century, with the last known dragon to die during the latter part of King Aegon III’s reign. Fast-forward to the Game of Thrones season 1 finale, Daenerys steps into Khal Drogo’s (Jason Momoa) funeral pyre and emerges miraculously with three dragons, Rhaegal, Viserion, and Drogon, signifying the rebirth of the dragons in a new era. But it is only in Game of Thrones’ season 5 finale that Daenerys becomes a dragonrider, escaping the Sons of the Harpy on Drogon’s back.

With the release of House of the Dragon episode 4, the show has already introduced Syrax, Caraxes, and Seasmoke alongside their dragonriders: Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock/Emma D’Arcy), Daemon (Matt Smith), and Ser Laenor Velaryon (Theo Nate/John Macmillan), respectively, with more to come as the show progresses. Yet there’s one thing that these dragonriders all have in common that Daenerys doesn’t share: dragon saddles. Like horses, House of the Dragon‘s dragons use saddles to strap in their dragonriders. Daenerys, however, is never seen to use a dragon saddle in the entire duration of Game of Thrones.

Why Daenerys Never Used A Saddle To Ride Dragons In GOT

A Song of Ice and Fire series has always been ambiguous regarding Daenerys’ dragonriding situation but George R.R. Martin’s book, Fire and Blood, (and House of the Dragon season 1) finally confirms that dragonriders, indeed, used saddles (and even dragon armor) during their fights and flights. While it isn’t unheard of to ride a dragon bareback, it’s not that common, either, with the only previous known accounts to be Rhaenyra’s children – Aegon III on Stormcloud (who somehow survived and later became king) and Joffrey Velaryon on Syrax (who died.) Hence, it truly is a gravity-defying feat to ride a dragon (on multiple occasions and some in battle at that) and cling to it without falling off as Daenerys Targaryen did; even Prince Daemon Targaryen flew on a dragon saddle (albeit unstrapped) before striking the final blow on Aemond Targaryen at the Battle Above the God’s Eye.

Additionally, Game of Thrones’ Daenerys definitely has the resources to commission a dragon saddle for Drogon, especially after her return to Mereen. However, obtaining such an item may have been challenging given that the last one probably burned down in King’s Landing. Another thing to consider is the availability of Valyrian steel reforging which would mean that dragon saddle blueprints might still exist somewhere in Westeros. And if not, Daenerys could have asked Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) to draft one as he did Bran Stark’s (Isaac Hempstead Wright) special horse saddle. Either way, it would have made her dragonriding experience more comfortable regardless if she needed one or not.

Game of Thrones‘ dragon saddle omission certainly raises more than a few eyebrows because of its inconsistency with House of the Dragon. Granted that Daenerys is completely self-taught and hasn’t had the chance to learn like the rest of the Targaryen brood, she clearly has the upper hand in terms of dragon control. And while House of the Dragon expands on its dragon lore, Daenerys Targaryen’s accomplishments are only further highlighted. It all proves she doesn’t need an entire house to solidify her greatness – may it be as the greatest dragonrider of all time or the greatest Targaryen who ever lived.

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