King Viserys Targaryen bonded with the dragon Balerion and rode him until he died of old age a year after he’d been claimed. He is never seen bonded with another dragon because after a Targaryen’s Dragon dies they don’t claim another one.
Let’s take a look at the two-hundred-year-old dragon who held the title as largest Dragon in Westeros and what exactly happened to King Viserys Targaryen’s mythical creature.
Balerion – The Black Dread
What the Fearsome Dragon Looked Like
Balerion was a black dragon. Everything about the beast from his scales to his wings and even his fire, which could get so hot that it was capable of melting steel and stone and could fuse sand into glass, was black.
The dragon was so large that when he passed over a town the shadow of his wingspan would engulf it entirely. He had teeth that were as long as swords and his jaw was so large that he could swallow an auroch or even a mammoth, whole.
King Viserys Targaryen’s dragon was a mighty beast and not one to be trifled with.
1. Lord Aegon Targaryen – Balerion’s first rider and the king who conquered the seven kingdoms with his sister Queens (Visenya and Rhaenys) and their dragons at this side. Together they burned a Valantene fleet, killed Lord Mooton and Darlun, burned the ironborn victors on the Gods eye, and burned the fortress of Harrenhal with fire so hot that the towers began to melt and twist into shapes that they still keep, and King Harren and his sons all perished, effectively ending their line
After the three dragons burned four thousand men between them in the Field of Fire, the rest of the realm surrendered to him without too much trouble, no one too keen on taking on the power of the dragons. Not even the King in the North, who decided to submit to Aegon instead.
Soon after Aegon was named king and Balerion helped to forge the Iron Throne, his flames used to help melt the swords of the king’s enemies.
After the death of Rhaenys Targaryen (who had been taken out during the First Dornish War), Aegon and Visenya burned each Dornish castle multiple times for two years during the Dragon’s Wroth, with the exception of Sunspear (which they did to try and get the Dornish to turn against their rulers – it did not work)
Balerion was very helpful in preventing any rebellions from forming against Aegon the Conquer.
2. Maegor Targaryen – the second rider of Balerion and Aegon’s younger son, claimed him after his father’s death, having waited a long time to claim a dragon because none of them were worthy of him. He took Balerion with him when he was exiled and brought him back so he could claim the Iron Throne from his deceased brother. Maegor the Cruel went around burning anyone that would dare try to challenge him and his fearsome dragon, not giving his people a chance against him.
Together the two of them burned the Sept of Remembrance (a monument built to honour the memory of Aegon’s sister Queen Rhaenys – Dragonpit was later built in its place) and fought a battle at the Great Fork of the Blackwater Rush, during the uprising of the Faith Militant. They also burned the House seats of Falwell, Doggett, Lorch, and Broome in the westerlands, and they killed Prince Aegon (Maegor’s nephew) and his dragon Quicksilver) during the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye.
He built the Dragonpit to house Balerion and the other dragon, but after his death, the dragon returned to Dragonstone.
3. Princess Aerea Targaryen – the third rider to claim Balerion and the last before Viserys. The two of them went missing for a year and despite the many search parties sent after them, the princess and dragon were never found. The largest dragon in the world simply vanished with the king’s daughter. Even her mother, Rhaena Targaryen, and her dragon Dreamfyre went looking for the young girl and still, they could find no signs of them.
When they returned to King’s Landing the severely ill princess, who was just barely clinging onto the hide of the ancient dragon, die soon after their arrival. Because of the scars that the Black Dread now bore (some of them half-healed and still bleeding), Septon Barth suspected that the princess had never been able to claim the Balerion, so she’d been unable to bend him to her will. Balerion had instead taken the young princess to Valyria, the place he had been born so many years earlier.
He was housed in the Dragonpit soon after and guarded by the Dragonkeeper
By this point, Balerion had become very old and the ancient dragon was significantly slower than he used to be. Princess Alyssa Targaryen was the last person who was persuaded away from claiming the old dragon and was instead led to a younger and much faster dragon before Viserys had his turn.
Viserys could barely get the ancient dragon into the sky, informing his father that he’d wanted to fly him to Dragonstone, but instead just flew him three times around King’s Landing, fearing that he wouldn’t have the strength to make the full journey. Less than a year after he had been claimed by the young king, the monstrous Black Dread finally took his last breath.
The dragon had a kitten named after him by Princess Rheanys Targaryen and his skull was once mounted on the wall of the Red Keep (along with the 18 other skulls of the dragons that had once belonged to House Targaryen before they’d all gone extinct) before it was moved to a cellar by King Robert Baratheon.
The ancient dragon was a formidable beast claimed by each of his riders because of his terrifying presence and sheer size. Balerion was once a dragon with insane amounts of power and, unfortunately for King Viserys, was on his last leg, no longer destined to rule the skies as a formidable symbol of death from above.