Is Balerion alive in House of the Dragon?

Balerion the Black Dread is many years dead by the time of House of the Dragon, although there are still characters around who remember him.
House of the Dragon. Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO
House of the Dragon. Photograph by Ollie Upton / HBO /

Balerion the Black Dread is quite possibly the most famous dragon in Westerosi history. Aegon the Conqueror rode Balerion when he took over the Seven Kingdoms with his sister-wives Rhaenys and Visenya some 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones. He was among the largest dragons anyone in Westeros had ever seen, the only one to have been born in Valyria during the height of the empire, before it collapsed.

House of the Dragon, which is returning to the airwaves next month. is set over 100 years before the events of Game of Thrones; the war that will form the centerpiece of the story kicks off around 129 AC, or 129 years after the coming of Aegon the Conqueror on Balerion. There are a ton of dragons around during this period of Westerosi history, but Balerion isn't among them. He died in 94 AC, apparently of old age. You can see his skull in the Red Keep. It's in the background of the scene from the series premiere where King Viserys shares the secret of Aegon's prophecy with his daughter Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock).

However, characters who we've met on House of the Dragon would have been old enough to see Balerion alive. King Viserys I Targaryen, for instance, played in the first season by Paddy Considine, was the last person to ride Balerion, although at that point the dragon couldn't manage much more than a flapping a few circles around King's Landing. Balerion died less than a year after Viserys mounted him.

Viserys' brother Daemon (Matt Smith) is also old enough to have remembered Balaerion, although he would have been quite young the last time he saw the beast alive. And even though Balerion is dead, another dragon from the time of the conquest lives: Vhagar, ridden by King Aegon's sister Visenya Targaryen way back when and by Aemond Targaryen (Ewan Mitchell) during the time of House of the Dragon. With Balerion dead, Vhagar is the oldest and largest dragon in the world.

We may eventually see Balerion onscreen if HBO decides to go ahead with a show about the life and times of Aegon the Conqueror, although that's only in the planning stages for now. More immediately, the second season of House of the Dragon premieres on HBO and Max on Sunday, June 16. We won't see Balerion, but we will see a lot of other dragons:

dark. Next. All 6 dragons in the new House of the Dragon trailers. All 6 dragons in the new House of the Dragon trailers

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