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Jon Snow: "I don't know how to ride a dragon!"
Daenerys Targaryen: "Nobody does; until they ride a dragon."
Jon Snow: "What if he doesn't want me to?"
Daenerys Targaryen: "Then I've enjoyed your company, Jon Snow."
Daenerys Targaryen tells Jon Snow of Rhaegal's nature[src]
Rhaegal was one of the three dragons born in the wastelands beyond Lhazar, along with Drogon and Viserion. He was named after Daenerys Targaryen's eldest brother, Rhaegar. He could be distinguished by his green and bronze colored scales, and his yellow-orange colored wings. Rhaegal was also the personal mount of Jon Snow.

Biography

Season 1

Dragon Eggs

Rhaegal, the right, green dragon egg.

Daenerys is given three dragons eggs by Magister Illyrio Mopatis on the occasion of her wedding to Khal Drogo.[1] She is drawn to these eggs and always keeps them in a chest with her. Viserys tries to steal them but is stopped by Ser Jorah Mormont.[2]

Rhaegal is born along with his two siblings after Daenerys has their eggs placed on the funeral pyre erected for her deceased husband, Khal Drogo. As she rises unharmed from the ashes of the pyre on the morning following the funeral, he is cradled by Dany.[3]

Season 2

Daenerys and dragons 2x10

Rhaegal and his siblings burn Pyat Pree.

Rhaegal is taken along with his "brothers" to Qarth. He is stolen by Xaro Xhoan Daxos, along with Drogon and Viserion. Daenerys enters the House of the Undying to retrieve them and eventually finds her three dragons chained. Pyat Pree attempts to chain her with magic, claiming that her dragons make his magic strong, and that she makes them stronger, thus she will stay with them for an eternity. She whispers to her dragons the command of fire, and the three of them burn Pyat Pree alive, releasing his magic.[4]

Season 3

Dragons at Yunkai

Rhaegal, Drogon and Viserion at Yunkai.

Rhaegal, along with his brothers, accompanies Daenerys on her journey from Astapor and Yunkai. When Daenerys has a meeting with a Razdal mo Eraz, of the Wise Masters of Yunkai, Rhaegal hisses at the slaver along with his brother Drogon when he comes too close to Daenerys. He then fights over a piece of meat with his brothers when Daenerys makes a show of force to intimidate Razdal.[5] After Daenerys frees the slaves of Yunkai, Rhaegal takes to the sky with his siblings at Daenerys's command; a show of both power and freedom.[6]

Season 4

Dragons imprisoned

Viserion and Rhaegal are imprisoned by Daenerys.

Rhaegal is seen with his brother Viserion fighting over a dead lamb. Drogon, who is now visibly bigger than them, quickly takes the lamb as his brothers squeal for him to share. He sets the corpse down and the three begin to eat.[7]  In response to Drogon's killing of a three-year-old girl named Zalla, Daenerys leads Viserion and Rhaegal into the catacombs of Meereen, where she chains them up.[8]

Season 5

Rhaegal 5x01

Rhaegal snaps at Daenerys.

Daenerys finally decides to reenter the catacombs to attempt to regain control over her dragons. Rhaegal and Viserion, who have grown even larger during their time in captivity, immediately lash out and breathe fire at the sight of their mother who imprisoned them.[9]

Some time later, Daenerys, reeling over the death of Ser Barristan Selmy, arrests the leaders of Meereen's great families and brings them to meet Rhaegal and Viserion. Rhaegal roasts one of nobles and tucks in, sharing the meal with Viserion. Her point proven, Daenerys leaves, sarcastically saying that she doesn't want to overfeed the dragons.[10]

Season 6

In the Great Pyramid, Tyrion Lannister learns that Rhaegal and Viserion have not been eating anything ever since their mother had left. He decides to free them, knowing that they will be better off that way.

Accompanied to the entranceway by Varys, Tyrion ventures alone into the catacombs and encounters Rhaegal and Viserion for the first time. Despite their initial hostility towards him, Tyrion remains calm, assuring them he is a friend of Daenerys and only wants to help. He manages to earn their trust and unshackle them while telling them the story of how he wanted a dragon for his nameday, only to be disappointed by uproarious laughter from his family and the cold truth from his father. Once free, the dragons immediately depart into the darkness behind them while Tyrion quickly exits the catacombs with Varys.[11]

Dragons and fleet end s6

Rhaegal and his siblings follow the fleet to Westeros.

After Daenerys returns to Meereen and pits Drogon against the fleet assembled by Astapor, Yunkai, and Volantis, Rhaegal and Viserion break out of the catacombs and join their mother and brother in destroying the the slavers' fleet with dragon fire, decisively breaking the Second Siege of Meereen. This defeat marks the end attempt to reintroduce slavery to Meereen.[12]

Some time later, Rhaegal and his brothers accompany their mother and her large army on a voyage to retake Westeros by soaring above the armada.[13]

Season 7

Rhaegal and his brothers fly ahead of their mother as she lands on Dragonstone. They investigate the island as Daenerys enters and secures the castle.[14]

Later, Daenerys tells Jon that both Viserion and Rhaegal were named for her deceased brothers, Viserys and Rhaegar, respectively.[15]

Rhaegal On Dragonstone

Rhaegal on Dragonstone

Rhaegal and his brothers fly North of the Wall to help battle the White Walkers and the army of the dead that are advancing on Jon Snow and the others during their Wight Hunt. During the battle, the Night King fatally wounds Viserion with an ice spear to the neck. Rhaegal swoops after him in a desperate attempt to help, but it's too late; he can only cry in despair as Viserion crashes through the frozen lake and slowly sinks into the waters.[16]

Daenerys brings Rhaegal to the Dragonpit Summit, as a show of power: he circles overhead as she lands on Drogon's back. Bringing Rhaegal proves to be a minor error, however, as Cersei Lannister notices Viserion's absence and correctly concludes that something has happened to him, brushing off Jaime's suggestion that the third dragon is guarding the fleet.[17]

Season 8

Jon Dragon S8 Ep 1

Jon cautiously pets Rhaegal.

Rhaegal flies with his mother's army to Winterfell. He and Drogon pass over the winter town and the castle, shocking and amazing the northerners. Rhaegal and Drogon are both affected by the North's cold and are not eating as much as they normally would. When Daenerys prepares to take them for a flight, possibly as a way to give him exercise and shake off the cold, she invites Jon Snow to ride Rhaegal. Rhaegal takes off with a semi-reluctant Jon.

Dragon Riding S8 Ep 1

Jon rides Rhaegal for the first time.

Jon has trouble hanging on and nearly falls a few times, especially as Rhaegal follows Drogon through icy ravines and mountainous sheer drops. Eventually, wanting to land, Rhaegal obeys his command when he turns towards a waterfall. When they do stop, Jon and Dany have a little private time by the waterfall to cuddle and kiss. Though, while kissing, both of the dragons stare intently at Dany and Jon.[18]

Viserion vs rhaegal

Rhaegal fights Viserion above Winterfell.

During the Battle of Ice and Fire, Jon and Daenerys, mounted on Rhaegal and Drogon respectively, provide air support for their ground forces and fight the Night King in the sky above Winterfell. Rhaegal ferociously attacks his undead brother, biting his neck and tearing chunks of rotting flesh from his belly while trying to stay in the air. Viserion fights back and wounds Rhaegal in the belly as well, but the elder dragon retaliates by biting off part of Viserion's neck and lower jaw, exposing the blue flames in his brother's throat. When Drogon comes to his aid by dropping on Viserion from above, Rhaegal retreats, wounded and exhausted, crashing into the snow and falling unconscious. Jon is thrown off of Rhaegal in the process and is forced to leave him to rejoin the battle.[19] 

Still recovering from the battle, he is visited by his mother in the very den she and Jon came to find them before they rode the two dragons together. Despite the tears in his wings, Rhaegal manages to take to the air, if not gracefully. On the ramparts of Winterfell, Sansa Stark watches Rhaegal and Drogon fly away before telling Tyrion the truth about Jon.

Rhaegal

Rhaegal is killed by a scorpion bolt to the neck.

Off the coast of Dragonstone, Daenerys mounted on Drogon watches Rhaegal flying nearby, pleased to see him recovering. Suddenly, a colossal scorpion bolt strikes Rhaegal in the chest, followed by another to his wing. The dragon's screams of agony is silenced when a third bolt pierces his neck, causing massive blood loss. Fatally wounded, Rhaegal plummets from the sky in a torrent of blood, crashing into the sea below and sinking. As Daenerys watches another of her children die, Euron Greyjoy appears, with scorpions mounted on all of his ships.[20]

Traits and Personality

Most of Rhaegal's scales are emerald green, with a few bronze scales on the underside of his neck and tail. His frills and wings are yellow-orange colored, becoming a darker green near the wing-bones. By the time he and his mother reached Westeros, many of the scales on Rhaegal's dorsal side, and most of those along his frills, had turned almost black, while his neck was striped with bright green and black. Rhaegal is not as aggressive as Drogon, he is a more calm dragon much like Viserion. However, he can show ferocity if needed and will undoubtedly defend his mother from any enemy menacing her. Daenerys has trained him to respond to vocal commands in her mother tongue of High Valyrian, especially "Dracarys" (High Valyrian for dragonfire), to which Rhaegal responds by instantly breathing fire and burning anything in his path.

Being a dragon, Rhaegal, has an immense phyisical strength and can spit destructive streams of fire. He can also fly extremly high and at great speeds, more than any other animal.

After the battle against a wight Viserion, Rhaegal sustained some serious injuries, notably deep wounds on his belly and his left wing appears to be a bit tattered or has a hole or two in his wing membrane.

Appearances

Season One appearances
Winter Is Coming The Kingsroad Lord Snow Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things The Wolf and the Lion
A Golden Crown You Win or You Die The Pointy End Baelor Fire and Blood
Season Two appearances
The North Remembers The Night Lands What Is Dead May Never Die Garden of Bones The Ghost of Harrenhal
The Old Gods and the New A Man Without Honor The Prince of Winterfell Blackwater Valar Morghulis
Season Three appearances
Valar Dohaeris Dark Wings, Dark Words Walk of Punishment And Now His Watch Is Ended Kissed by Fire
The Climb The Bear and the Maiden Fair Second Sons The Rains of Castamere Mhysa
Season Four appearances
Two Swords The Lion and the Rose Breaker of Chains Oathkeeper First of His Name
The Laws of Gods and Men Mockingbird The Mountain and the Viper The Watchers on the Wall The Children
Season Five appearances
The Wars To Come The House of Black and White High Sparrow Sons of the Harpy Kill the Boy
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken The Gift Hardhome The Dance of Dragons Mother’s Mercy
Season Six appearances
The Red Woman Home Oathbreaker Book of the Stranger The Door
Blood of My Blood The Broken Man No One Battle of the Bastards The Winds of Winter
Season Seven appearances
Dragonstone Stormborn The Queen's Justice The Spoils of War
Eastwatch Beyond the Wall The Dragon and the Wolf
Season Eight appearances
Winterfell A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms The Long Night
The Last of the Starks The Bells The Iron Throne

Image gallery

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Rhaegal is much the same. In some ways he is essentially the "middle brother" of Daenerys's three dragons: Drogon is larger than both of his brothers and the most aggressive, while Viserion is the best behaved towards other people besides Daenerys. Rhaegal, meanwhile, is not as aggressive as Drogon but is also not as friendly as Viserion.

Like her biological son Rhaego, Daenerys named Rhaegal in memory of her older brother Rhaegar, the last great champion of House Targaryen.

Rhaegal's name wasn't mentioned on-screen as of the end of Season 4, though it was stated in the Season 4 HBO Viewer's Guide, establishing that his name is the same in the TV continuity.[21] His name was finally stated on-screen (alongside Viserion's name) in Season 5 episode 1, "The Wars To Come".

Daenerys refers to her three dragons as "brothers", but as the exact origin of the eggs is never addressed, there is actually no reason to think that their eggs were all laid by the same dragon, or if the three eggs were even found in the same place (even if they are all from the Shadow Lands, that region is at least as large as Dorne). She may call them "brothers" more in the figurative sense that they were raised together.

In the third novel, Rhaegal has grown to the size of a small dog, like Viserion, a bit smaller than Drogon. At one occasion he tries to snatch a piece of meat from Drogon, and Daenerys chides him for his greed.

During the fifth novel, Daenerys is so busy ruling Meereen, that she neglects the dragons. Like any wild beast that is left to grow without proper training, all three grow savage and unrestrained; first they prey on sheep and goats, causing significant losses to shepherds. Only after a little girl is killed by Drogon, Daenerys realizes the dragons pose a great danger to her subjects, and must be kept locked in a makeshift dragon pit, large enough to hold 500 men, inside the Great Pyramid.

Viserion is easily restrained, but Rhaegal is not, perhaps because he hears his brother raging in the pit. The servants have to cover him with a net of heavy iron chain as he basks on the terrace, and he fights so fiercely that it takes three days to carry him down the servants' steps, twisting and snapping. Six men are burned in the struggle. Drogon flies away.

As the Yunkai troops and their sellswords draw closer to Meereen, Ben Plumm urges Daenerys to to use Rhaegal and Viserion, but she reluctantly declines for a reason she cannot reveal - that she has lost control over them. As a result, the Second Sons switch sides.

Daenerys has Viserion and Rhaegal fed and visits them occasionally. As time passes, they break their chains and dig holes in the walls, though they still cannot exit the pit. When Daenerys comes with Quentyn Martell to visit them, she becomes worried that eventually they will break through the walls.

After Daenerys and Drogon leave Meereen, Quentyn seeks to steal Viserion and Rhaegal. The attempt costs his life (while attempting to whip Viserion into submission, Quentyn turns his back to Rhaegal and the dragon burns him alive), and the dragons finally become loose.

Viserion and Rhaegal terrorize the city, killing and eating people. They destroy the pyramid of Hazkar, then make the pyramids of Yherizan and Uhlez their lairs. Many of the Meereenese who reside in those pyramids are killed, either by the dragons' fire or crushed under the debris; the survivors find themselves homeless and penniless. Hundreds of people flee the city for any refuge that will have them; many others have lost all hope. In order to minimize the danger the dragons pose, Ser Barristan Selmy orders to fill the fighting pits with large amounts of sheep and bullocks, what seems to satisfy the dragons and make them less eager to feast on human flesh.

While making plans for the battle against the besieging armies, Selmy takes into consideration that Viserion and Rhaegal will undoubtedly arrive at the battlefield, drawn by the noises of battle and scent of blood, and probably attack both parties indiscriminately. Selmy hopes, though, that the sight of the dragons will demoralize the enemy troops.

During the ensuing battle between the defenders of Meereen and the besiegers, Viserion and Rhaegal are flying overhead. At the camp of the Second Sons, Tyrion watches Rhaegal circling above the bay, where the ironborn fight the besiegers' fleet, banking and turning as longships and galleys clash and burn below him.

See also

References