When Daenerys Targaryen went zooming around the sky last week torching Lannisters and Tarlys, some Game of Thrones had a question or two about the Dragon Queen’s strategies. Would it have made more sense for her to bring all three dragons instead of her Dothraki riders if a show of force and intimidation was her end goal. But some have pointed out that with Daenerys perhaps only able to entirely control Drogon (though she handled her other two dragons pretty capably in the Battle of Meereen), she can’t risk using all three in battle. Will she ever get some help riding those dragons? All signs point to yes. But those riders will need a particular set of skills. Still there are three clear candidates for Daenerys’s remaining two dragons and new footage from this week’s episode, “Eastwatch” hints that we might finally get an answer.
Why is dragon-riding such a big deal? Way back in the day, the Targaryen’s mastered the art of dragon-riding allegedly using a combination of practice and sorcery. There’s seemingly no sorcery involved in Daenerys’s dragon-riding; she and Drogon are just that bonded. And dragon-riding—like forging Valyrian steel—is considered a lost art, and an extremely effective method of warfare. Targaryen dragon riders are the ones who first united the seven kingdoms and, as we discovered back in Season 5, Dany’s dragonfire may be the only hope the realms of men have against the Night’s King.
Can anyone ride a dragon? No, not at all. It’s not easy to tame a dragon. In the books, a character named Quentyn Martell tried to follow Daenerys’s lead and take control of one of her other dragons, Viserion, but gets torched by the third dragon, Rhaegal, for his trouble. Martell was written out of the show but fans were very worried that Tyrion might meet the same fate when he approached Viserion and Rhaegal last season.
But Tyrion got out of that interaction unscathed. The dragons seemed intrigued by Daenerys’s Hand but not…