Westeros returned with raging fire and blood with HBO’s new show House Of The Dragons (HOTD). The series serves as a prequel to HBO’s highly successful show – Game Of Thrones (GOT). Both the shows are based on the works of George R. R. Martin’s novels, with HOTD and GOT being based on ‘Fire and Blood‘ and ‘A Song of Ice and Fire‘ respectively.
HOTD’s first episode was called as ‘The Heirs of the Dragon‘. It featured the brewing conflict and politics for Iron Throne, between the Targaryen house during the reign of Viserys Targaryen.
The episode received high acclaim and positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. It was a visual spectacle, a visual treat that turned back time as memories came flooding back. After a long haul of 3 years, the iconic Iron Throne is up for grabs. Although there were many callbacks, easter eggs, and references to Martin’s universe in books and the original show, something that we will be focusing on here are the Swords and Dragons that were featured in the episode. So, let’s get into it.
“Valyrian steel is a wonder of the world. Sharper than wits, truer than men, rarer than virtue. But even its edge cannot cut so deeply as a son’s failure nor its value match that of redemption”―Jorah Mormont.
Blackfyre is the Valerian steel blade that originally belonged to Aegon I Targaryen. He carried it while conquering the seven kingdoms and since then it has been passed from one ruler to other. According to books, King Aegon IV the Unworthy passed on Blackfyre to his illegitimate son – Daemon Waters, instead of his own son – Daeron. Daemon then founded House Blackfyre and then called himself Daemon I Blackfyre. While Daeron Targaryen succeeded Aegon IV. Later, when Aegon IV was about to die, he legitimized all his children. Some years later, in the Blackfyre Rebellion, Daemon rose up against Daeron in a civil war. The sword was lost at the end of the war.
In the first episode of HOTD, Blackfyre is seen to be in the possession of Viserys I Targaryen (Paddy Considine), the fifth King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men.
The Valyrian steel sword wielded by Visenya Targaryen – the sister-wife of Aegon the Conqueror, was called the Dark Sister. Since it was wielded for a female warrior, it is comparatively thin and light. It is one of two Valyrian steel swords belonging to House Targaryen, the other being Blackfyre. Dark Sister was wielded by Visenya Targaryen, Prince Daemon Targaryen, and later Prince Aemon the Dragonknight.
During the reign of Viserys I Targaryen (as seen in HOTD), the sword was passed on to Daemon Targaryen, the younger brother of King Viserys I Targaryen. This sword was also lost during Blackfyre Rebellion.
There was also a mention of this sword during the second season of Game of Thrones. Arya Stark, when disguised as a cupbearer for Tywin Lannister, tells him about Visenya Targaryen’s role in the burning of Harrenhal. She mentioned that Visenya wielded Dark Sister.
“Fire consumes, leaving at its end naught but ash. Thus, the fate of the Targaryens and their dragons”- Grand Master Pycelle.
Balerion (The Black Dread)
It was the dragon ridden by Aegon the Conqueror during the War of Conquest of seven kingdoms. It is mentioned in the books that ‘he was so large that his shadow could swallow an entire town when he took flight.’ Aegon used him to burn down Harrenhal and thus extinguished House Hoare. Also during the War of Conquest, he burned an entire army and led to the destruction of House Gardener at the time. The dragon was accompanied by Aegon’s sister’s dragons – Vhagar and Meraxes. Balerion used his fiery breath to melt the swords of his rider’s defeated enemies and forge them into the Iron Throne. He is said to be the last surviving creature of Valyria.
In episode 1 of HOTD, when Viserys calls Rhaenyra to talk to her about her being his successor, Balerion’s skull can be seen kept on a pedestal and surrounded by candles. The dragon was also mentioned multiple times during several episodes of GOT.
Syrax is the name of the yellow-scaled dragon ridden by Rhaenyra Targaryen. Rhaenyra names Syrax after a Valyrian goddess and rode it the first time when she herself was seven years old. It implies that she is and has been the only rider of the dragon. In the book titled- ‘Fire and Blood’, it is mentioned that the house Targaryen had 20 dragons alive at the beginning of the Targaryen Civil War. Syrax is one of them.
In the first episode of HOTD, Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) has to order her dragon Syrax to burn the funeral pyres of her mother and new-born brother.
Caraxes (The Blood Wyrm)
Prince Daemon Targaryen rides Caraxes. Due to his red scales and baby legs, he is also sometimes called as Blood Wyrm. He is characterized by his long neck. The first rider of the dragon was Aemon Targaryen the Prince of Dragonstone and King Jaehaerys I’s eldest son. Caraxes assisted him during the Fourth Dornish War. After the death of Aemon, the dragon remained riderless until Daemon Targaryen, the younger son of Aemon’s brother Baelon, claimed him.
It was seen in the last scene of House Of The Dragon’s first episode, as the lords of Westeros swear fealty to Rhaenyra, Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) and his lover Mysaria (Sonoya Mizuno) leave atop his dragon.
If the reports are to be believed then, at least one more Valyrian sword lies within the House Targaryen that is yet to make an appearance. The show has also promised tonnes and loads of dragons, so many more are yet to be featured in the upcoming episodes.