Pycelle: Fire made flesh. Such is the nature of dragons, claimed the eastern mystics. For once, they may have a point, though not the one they think. Fire consumes, leaving at it's end naught but ash. Thus, the fate of the Targaryens... and their dragons.
Thousands of years ago, Valyrians stumbled on the first dragon eggs in the mountains of the Fourteen Fires. I cannot imagine that shepherds could hatch dragon eggs and bind such creatures to their will, but... whatever aid they must have had is lost to history. Every educted person knows how the dragonlords then conquered most of the known world. Breaking the ancient Ghiscari Empire, enslaving a continent, building roads and bridges that still stand today, though the art that made them is lost. An empire of marvels and misery. And now what is left of Valyria? A smoking wasteland, ash.
In time, Aegon Targaryen and his sisters brought their three dragons - who had escaped the Doom - to Westeros, perhaps thinking to regain his people's lost glory... and so he did. On the Field of Fire, he proved that armies were no match for dragons. At Harrenhal, he proved that mighty castles weren't either. Aegon Targaryen became Aegon the Conquerer, First of His Name, founder of a dynasty. His first act: to order his dragon, Balerion the Black Dread, to melt the swords of his beaten foes into his new Iron Throne.
For over a hundred years, the Targaryen dragons cemented their breeders' hold on the Seven Kingdoms, if not each other. When Targaryen fought Targaryen in the civil war called the Dance of the Dragons, an angry mob stormed the Dragonpit, that huge, now-ruined vault where Targaryens stabled their beasts. Thousands died, but through sheer numbers and madness, five of the Targaryen dragons lay dead by the morning. Which was perhaps too many. Thereafter, each generation of dragons grew smaller than its parents'. Their skulls used to line the throne room of the Red Keep in order of birth. The oldest, Balerion, could swallow an ox whole. The last skull was barely the size of a dog's.
Yet the Targaryens never stopped trying to revive their dragons. Aerion Brightflame drank a draught of wildfire and burned to death. Aegon the Fifth tried to hatch stone dragon eggs with sorcery and burned to death. Against these, Aerys the Second looks almost sensible: he only burned other men to death.
Now, we hear rumors that the young Daenerys Targaryen has hatched three dragons far to the east. If she were to be so foolish as to march on Westeros, she will not find, as her ancestor Aegon did, seven disparate kingdoms frightened by strange beasts. She will find a continent united behind Lord Tywin Lannister, who extinguished her own father's flame. And we have known dragons now, we have seen them die.
- Aegon I Targaryen, the "Conqueror"
- Visenya Targaryen
- Rhaenys Targaryen
- Balerion, the Black Dread
- Vhagar (not mentioned by name)
- Meraxes (not mentioned by name)
- Prince Aemond Targaryen (not mentioned by name)
- Prince Daemon Targaryen (not mentioned by name)
- Caraxes (not mentioned by name)
- Hobb the Hewer (not mentioned by name)
- Shrykos (indirectly mentioned)
- Morghul (indirectly mentioned)
- Tyraxes (indirectly mentioned)
- Syrax (indirectly mentioned)
- Dreamfyre (not mentioned by name)
- Prince Aerion Targaryen, "Brigthflame"
- King Aegon V Targaryen, the "Unlikely"
- King Aerys II Targaryen, the "Mad King"
- Lord Tywin Lannister
- Grand Maester Pycelle (not mentioned by name)
- Daenerys Targaryen (mentioned)
- Drogon (indirectly mentioned)
- Viserion (indirectly mentioned)
- Rhaegal (indirectly mentioned)
- Valyrian Peninsula
- Harrenhal (mentioned)
- King's Landing
- Valyrian-Ghiscari Wars (indirectly mentioned)
- Doom of Valyria (indirectly mentioned)
- War of Conquest
- Dance of the Dragons
- Tragedy of Summerhall (indirectly mentioned)