While oddsmakers are taking bets on which Game of Thrones character will end up occupying the Iron Throne, fans of the series are beginning to wonder about the mortality odds of something else altogether: Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons.
In a series full of heartbreaking and horrific deaths, the death of Viserion at the hands of the Night King and his deadly ice spear in season 7 remains among the show's most depressing moments. And while we later saw the Wights dragging the dragon’s body out of the frozen water, only to watch as the creature's eyes opened and turned bright blue—signaling that he’s now part of the Night King’s army of the dead—we're still holding out hope that something can be done to turn Viserion back. And that Daenerys has a plan to keep her two remaining dragons—Drogon and Rhaegal—safe.
Over at Mashable, Jess Joho has clearly also got dragons on the brain. In a new article, she details the two main factors that could determine which dragon(s) will survive Game of Thrones's final season: their size and the connection to their rider.
In George R.R. Martin’s latest book, Fire & Blood, which serves as a history of House Targaryen, Martin makes it known that dragon size matters. As for Dany’s three: Drogon is the biggest, followed by Rhaegal, and then Viserion. The article points out different reasons why Drogon is the size he is, including that his egg was always the biggest and that his growth wasn’t stunted like his brothers' could have been when they were caged and he was flying free in Valyria.
While size is important, the connection the dragon has to its rider might be even more significant, according to Joho. Daenerys is arguably the closest to Drogon, while the Night King now has a connection with Viserion (though it's unlikely to be as emotional as the one he had with Dany). That just leaves Rhaegal, and fan speculation is running rampant that we'll see Jon Snow riding him in the final season (the dragon was named after Rhaegar Targaryen, Jon's father, after all).
While at this point it's all just speculation, Mashable points out another possibility that could change the game a bit: more dragons. “Maybe one's been hiding out in the crypts of Winterfell," Joho writes. "Maybe another native Westerosi dragon has been holed up elsewhere for all this time, since dragons live very, very long. Maybe Melisandre will come back from her trip in season 7 with a dragon from Asshai.”
In other words: It would be a mistake to ignore the possibility that Dany's kids are the only dragons in existence.
But what does this all mean in the end? Well, potentially bad news. The Mashable piece concludes that fate may see all three dragons dying, as a way to restore peace to Westeros.