Who Can Ride Dragons on ‘Game of Thrones’?


We’ve seen Daenerys ride Drogon on Game of Thrones, but can anyone else? After today’s episode, we know a lot more than we did before, and we can add that to knowledge from the books to get an idea of what the “rules” for riding dragons might be.

Spoilers for Season 7 Episode 7 of Game of Thrones below. 

Don’t read on unless you’ve already seen the episode.

For the first time tonight, we saw another character on Game of Thrones riding a dragon, but it wasn’t who fans were expecting. We saw the Night King riding an undead Viserion.

It’s unclear if this is just a special power the Night King has or if it’s related to the same powers that let Dany ride Drogon. It’s possible that once Viserion died and was reanimated, the rules about riding dragons changed for him.

The books give us some hints about dragon riding. We know that Jon Snow is part Targaryen and is the only one who can touch Drogon, and we know that Tyrion has a special ability to touch and communicate with the other two dragons. But we don’t know if either would be able to ride a dragon on his own.

On the show, Tyrion has said that dragons are very intelligent — far more so than most people realize, and can quickly determine who is friend and who is an enemy.

Dragons can’t truly be tamed, but they can form very strong bonds with their riders. Aegon and his sister-wives, Valyrian descendants, used the last three dragons known to the world to conquer the Seven Kingdoms. In the past, Valyrians commonly rode dragons, but that has not been the case for a very long time.

In the books, it is more strongly hinted that only those with Valyrian blood can ride and bond with dragons. Some Targaryen bastards, who were only part Valyrian, were also able to ride dragons — but not all could do so.

The books have also stated that once a dragon bonds with a rider, that dragon won’t let anyone else ride it as long as the rider is alive. Once the rider dies, however, a new person can bond with the dragon. It also appears that once a rider bonds with a dragon, that may be the only dragon that person can ride.

So it looks like Daenerys may only be able to ride Drogon (except, possibly, if Drogon dies.) Which leaves Rhaegal needing a rider. Jon Snow might fit the bill, and if theories about Tyrion secretly being part-Targaryen are true, then he might too.

As for the Night King… Either he can ride Undead Viserion because he shares some of the same magic or blood that lets Dany ride Drogon, or he simply broke all the rules by reanimating Viserion and can now ride him through a completely different type of magic all his own.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.