Let's Talk About Vhagar, House Of The Dragon's Floppiest, Chonkiest Dragon

This article contains spoilers for season 1, episode 7 of "House of the Dragon."

People like mystical creatures, and the dragons of "Game of Thrones" and "House of the Dragon" have become major fan favorites. While they're not technically dragons — they're wyverns, because dragons have wings and four legs instead of two — the big, fire-breathing lizards have captured the hearts and imaginations of TV watchers everywhere. On "Game of Thrones," there were only three dragons, siblings hatched by Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) more than two hundred years after the last dragons had died out. Rhaegal, Drogon, and Viserion looked pretty similar, save for their coloring, but given their heritage it sort of makes sense. In "House of the Dragon," there are significantly more dragons, which means we get to see a much wider variety of these magnificent beasts. While we sadly didn't get a chance to see Balerion, the biggest and scariest dragon to ever live, there is one ancient, epic dragon left alive by the events of the series: Vhagar. 

Vhagar was one of the three main dragons ridden during Aegon's conquest, when Aegon Targaryen I conquered Westeros along with his sisters, Visenya and Rhaenys. Visenya rode Vhagar, alongside Aegon's Balerion and Rhaenys' Meraxes. By the events of "House of the Dragon," both Meraxes and Balerion have died, but the massive and wizened Vhagar lives on. She's had four riders, and in episode 7 of "House of the Dragon," she meets and accepts the fourth. Young Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell) snuck out onto the beach where she slept and claimed her for his own, but he is only the latest in a long and storied legacy. 

The biggest, baddest lizard

If given enough room, dragons continue to keep growing, and Vhagar has had more than a century and a half and plenty of room to grow. In the first novel of George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, Tyrion Lannister describes Vhagar as being so large that you could ride a horse down her throat. At the time of "House of the Dragon," she is the oldest and largest dragon in the known world, making her a very powerful weapon. When Aemond claims her for his own, he not only cements his own power as a dragon rider, but helps bring more firepower to his family's cause in the coming civil war. 

War is nothing new to this battle-hardened old she-dragon, who was fighting in Aegon's conquest and the first Dornish War more than a century before Aemond was even born. After the death of her first rider, Visenya, Vhagar was unridden for decades. Her next rider was Baelon the Brave, a legend in his own right and the father of the series' current king, Viserys (Paddy Considine). With Baelon on her back, Vhagar fought in the Fourth Dornish War, burning entire fleets. (Dorne has never been great at surrendering.) After the death of Baelon from what was likely a burst appendix, the legendary lizard was riderless once more. 

A dragon with a soft spot for children?

Vhagar's next rider would be Laena Velaryon, who somehow tamed the legendary beast for her own when she was no older than 12. Laena loved dragon riding and thought of herself as a dragon rider and warrior above all. When she was dying during labor complications, she begged Vhagar to end her misery in a way befitting a dragonrider: with a bevy of flame. While the relationships between dragons and their riders haven't been deeply explore in the shows or novels, there seemed to be hesitancy for Vhagar to kill her rider, even when being commanded repeatedly. Also, she went from being ridden by a great king to a preteen girl, showing a softness to her that's surprising given her history, size, and hoary appearance. She is also surprisingly patient with Aemond when he wakes her and then climbs atop her back. She flies around to try and lose him, but that's probably just dragon tradition in testing a new rider. Once it's clear the kid is going to hang on, she just takes him on a seriously fun flight. 

Not only does Vhagar seem to have a bit of personality, she also has a fun design that really makes her stand out from the other dragons. With a big, hanging wattle, long spiky "hairs," and a droopy Basset Hound face, she's immediately identifiable. While book readers know exactly how her story ends, it will be great to see her in action until then. 

New episodes of "House of the Dragon" debut Sundays on HBO and HBO Max.