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Which Targaryen Had the Biggest Dragon?

Image credit: HBO Max

The Targaryens ruled Westeros for almost 300 years, meaning they were still on the throne even after the last of their dragons died.

But that shouldn't take away from the fact that dragons were a huge part of how they came to rule in the first place.

But which Targaryen had the biggest dragon?

As a fairly minor family of Valyrian dragonlords, they had never really been seen as much of a threat to the larger, more powerful Valyrian nobles – particularly after Lord Aenar moved the family to Dragonstone. Indeed this was viewed as a cowardly move by the other 39 families.

At that time, the family had five dragons. But only one survived – the mighty Balerion who would go on to be known as the 'Black Dread'.

As time went on, the family hatched two dragon eggs, and this trio of mighty beasts was instrumental in seeing Aegon Targaryen crowned King of Westeros.

At the time of the Conquest, the other two dragons, Vhaga and Meraxes, were nowhere near the size of Balerion. However, fast forward to the Dance of the Dragons, and Vhagar was almost as big as him. Of course, Vhagar was killed in the battle – but there remains a school of thought that, had she not died, the powerhouse would have surpassed Balerion in size.

Vhagar's rider was Queen Visenya Targaryen, the older sister and wife of King Aegon I.

Laena Velaryon riding Vhagar in 'House of the Dragon' Episode 6 'The Princess and the Queen' promo

Aegon's other sister-wife, Rhaenys Targaryen, rode Meraxes, the third of the dragons used in the Conquest. Meraxes was also formidable in size but died much earlier than Vhagar (killed in action aged over 180) and Balerion who lived beyond 200 years.

As dragons don't stop growing, there is no telling what size any of those who were ridden by various members of the Targaryen family would have reached if they had not perished early.

But to suggest that Balerion was not a titanic dragon in his own right is to denigrate the sheer size of him. In fact, it was said that when he took flight, his shadow would swallow an entire town. Balerion, of course, was the mount of Aegon I – and later his son Maegor I.

Following Maegor's death, Belerion remained without a rider for many years before he was united with Viserys I, who rode the Black Dread until his death, and never formed a bond with another dragon afterward.

But the biggest dragon in the Targaryen dynasty actually had four riders; Aegon I, Maegor I, Viserys I, and Princess Aera who flew away from Dragonstone on Balerion and was unseen for a year until she returned, limp and clinging to the back of the dragon as she neared her death.

It's worth noting, though, that wild dragons typically grow larger than tamed ones. And The Cannibal, so-called because he ate dragon eggs, newborn dragons, and dead dragons, was bigger even than Balerion. But that's another story…

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