The Targaryens and Their Strange Relationship with Fire Explained

The relationship that a Targaryen has with fire is as toxic as the other relationships that almost all of them experience in their lives. When Daenerys Targaryen steps into a pyre, only to come out of it unburnt, we assume that fire cannot burn a true Targaryen.

However, it seems like there’s more to the story. Though Dany is definitely unaffected by fire, it does not seem to be the case with other Targaryens. In fact, we have ample instances of Targaryens dying as well as being severely injured because of fire.

The latest HOTD episode climax has reopened this interesting discussion. When Rhaenys Targaryen makes her grand entry during Aegon II’s coronation on her dragon, all of us assume that she would just scream Dracarys and call it a day.

However, Rhaenys does nothing of that sort and flies away. But we can’t help but wonder if it at all would have made any difference had she actually tried to burn the Greens down with her dragon. A fire cannot kill a Targaryen, remember?

But the truth is, it would have made a difference. In fact, Rhaenys alone could have burnt them all down and spared us all of the Dance of Dragons. Here’s why.

Targaryens are not immune to fire and can be killed by fire. However, Daenerys Targaryen is an exception. She is not just any Targaryen, but the Mother of Dragons. Hence, being untouched by fire is a privilege only she holds in the GOT universe.

Which Targaryens are unaffected by fire?

Apart from Daenerys Targaryen, there’s no proof of any other Targaryen being unaffected or unburnt by fire. The reason why many people think that fire cannot harm Targaryens is that Dany said something along the same lines in GOT Season 1.

The Targaryens and Their Strange Relationship With Fire Explained
Viserys’ Death in Game of Thrones

It’s a pretty iconic scene, so I’m sure you remember. After Khal Drogo kills Dany’s brother, Viserys, by pouring molten gold on his head, Dany declares that his brother “was no dragon”.

He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon.

Daenerys Targaryen

From this scene, we sort of assumed that if you’re a true Targaryen, you cannot be killed by fire. At the end of GOT Season 1, Dany stepped into a burning pyre, only to come out of it unburnt and with her three dragon eggs hatched.

She continuously uses this special ability to her advantage, by taking hot baths in boiling water, or by burning alive Dothraki khals who wanted to force her into Dosh Khaleen. However, this is a privilege only Dany holds, and that too just in the show.

In the books, no Targaryen is immune to fire, including Daenerys. Martin does hint that Daenerys has an affinity towards fire and heat, but not in the way it was illustrated in the series. The scenes where Dany hatches her dragon eggs from her husband’s pyre or takes a bath in boiling water are straight from Martin’s books.

However, the show made it seem like Dany could step into fire and come out unharmed, which isn’t the case. Here’s what George R. R. Martin himself had to say about this:

“Targaryens are not immune to fire! The birth of Dany’s dragons was unique, magical, wondrous, a miracle. She is called The Unburnt because she walked into the flames and lived. But her brother sure as hell wasn’t immune to that molten gold.”

George R. R. Martin

Another example that Martin gave us was in his novel, A Game of Thrones. In one chapter, Jon Snow, who we now know is a ‘true’ Targaryen, grabs a flaming curtain and throws it over a wight that wanted to kill the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Guess what? The flaming curtain severely burns Jon’s hand.

Jon’s injury bothered him throughout the rest of the book and occasionally in the show as well. It also left him a scar.

Why is Daenerys unburnt by fire?

In the series, Dany declares that fire cannot kill a true dragon. Though that was pretty cool and gave me goosebumps, it was basically more metaphorical than factual.

Dany simply meant that her brother was not a true Targaryen by personality. Targaryens are known for their strong personality and brave ideals. However, Viserys had none of that and was more or less an incapable leader. Not to forget how badly he treated his own sister.

The Targaryens and Their Strange Relationship With Fire Explained
Daenerys with her baby dragon

So, you really cannot blame Dany for delivering such lines, can you? But as it seems, Dany was not speaking facts but only expressing her disgust towards her brother.

Dany is the only Targaryen who remains unaffected by fire in the series because she was portrayed as the only symbol of the Targaryen dynasty and a true Targaryen by blood.

Dany is not just any Targaryen, she is also the Mother of Dragons. She walked into her husband’s pyre and stepped out with three baby dragons. Metaphorically, she actually gave birth to dragons centuries after they disappeared from the world of ice and fire. She was a big deal, so D&D probably thought it would be cool to add this fire touch to her character!

Are the Targaryens in House of the Dragon immune to fire?

The answer is no. There’s proof that the Targaryens in House of the Dragon are not immune to fire in Martin’s novel, Fire & Blood.

SPOILERS AHEAD! This page contains spoilers from House of the Dragons.

In case you didn’t know this, Rhaenyra Targaryen, the truest Targaryen ever in the series, was burnt to death by a dragon. Rhaenyra met her end in the fire of Aegon II’s dragon, Sunfyre, who burnt her alive as her son, Aegon III, was forced to watch.

Rhaenyra is portrayed as the perfect ancestor of Daenerys in the series. She is as true as a Targaryen can ever get. So, if she was not unburnt by fire, I don’t think any Targaryen in the show will be. This brings me back to the climax of House of the Dragon Episode 9, where Rhaenys could have burned the Greens alive but did not.

The Targaryens and Their Strange Relationship With Fire Explained
Rhaenys on her dragon

It would have definitely worked. Her dragon, or any dragon for that matter, has the power to burn any Targaryen alive. In case you never noticed, this was confirmed long ago in Game of Thrones itself.

In Season 4 Episode 4 of Game of Thrones, Joffrey tells Margaery how Rhaenyra Targaryen died during the civil war. He specifically mentioned that she was burnt to death by her brother Aegon’s dragon Sunfyre, straight from Martin’s novel.

Since GOT and HOTD exist in the same universe and HOTD has been following the book more or less, I am pretty sure Rhaenyra will meet her end in the series in the same way. Besides, HOTD Episode 6 already depicted how Laena ordered Vhagar to burn her to death after she failed to give birth to her unborn child.

Vhagar reluctantly burnt her down, but it proves the fact that Targaryens are not immune to fire in HOTD either. Laena was a dragonrider hailing from Old Valyria and the daughter of Rhaenys Targaryen. So, if Targaryens would have been immune to fire in the series, she would not have been burnt by dragonfire.

All of this just reiterates one thing—there never was, is, and will be anyone like Daenerys Targaryen. Our unburnt queen will always remain superior. The rest of them are just normal. The fire theory is a just Daenerys thing.

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About House Of The Dragon

House of the Dragon is the prequel series to HBO’s blockbuster Game of Thrones based on George R. R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood.

Set three hundred years before the events of Game of ThronesHouse of the Dragon will show Westeros under the Targaryen family’s rule before the dragons went extinct. It will follow the Dance of the Dragons, the Targaryen civil war between siblings Aegon II and Rhaenyra, who fought for the throne after the death of their father, Viserys I.

Directed by Ryan Condall and Miguel Sapochnik, the show stars Paddy Considine as Viserys I Targaryen, Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen, Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen, Tom Glynn-Craney as Aegon II Targaryen, Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, Steve Toussaint as Corlys Velaryon, Eve Best as Rhaenys Velaryon, Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria, Fabien Frankel as Criston Cole, and Graham McTavish.

Epic Dope Staff

Epic Dope Staff

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