Let’s face it, even though we love the dragons in ‘Game of Thrones’, there was a good chance that at least one of them would bite the dust in season 7 and, if not, it was in the eighth season. Poor Viseryon.
We knew that they were not easy to defeat, of course. The dragons were and are notoriously difficult to kill, and those who attempt it rarely receive more than one shot before being roasted or eaten.
In this post, we take a look at the methods of dragon slayer weapons available for the characters in the series. Then, we will take a tour of world mythology and discuss various tactics used against dragons and their relatives, such as Wyverns, Sea Serpents, Sirrush, Basilisk, Cockatrices and Qilin.
So, how do you not kill a dragon?
Here is a huge giant crossbow
Daenerys Targaryen and her allies have the Lannisters in their sights, but Queen Cersei is ready. In “Stormborn”, Qyburn showed him a monstrous crossbow that is probably better described as a ballista. Can, what is essentially a large spear, thrown with great force, mortally wound a dragon?
The potential is there. Although considerably smaller at that time, Drogon was badly wounded by spears thrown by the Sons of the Harpy in “The Dance of Dragons” (S5 / Ep9). And when Cersei and Qyburn prove to the crossbow in Balerion’s huge skull the Dark Terror, it hits him with devastating force.
From Martin’s books, we have the story of Serwyn of the Mirror Shield, which killed the dragon Urrax by confusing the beast with its reflective shield and getting close enough to pierce its eyes (this tactic also appears in the history of ancient Greek hero Perseus). One of Aegon’s great dragons, the conqueror, Meraxes, died when he was shot by an iron shot by a scorpion, a device similar to a ballista.
According to the stories, it is possible to kill a dragon with a spear if you hit it in the eye. It is a difficult task on a battlefield when the target flies and attacks you with its fiery breath. Great skill and greater luck is what is required.
Enemy Dragons and the Legend of Dragon Binder
The dragons fought each other during Targaryen’s civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons, which took place some 170 years before the events of ‘Game of Thrones’. Since Daenerys is currently the only person in the world known to possess dragons, one of the only ways in which these beasts can turn against each other is through the use of the legendary Dragon binder.
Dragon binder, also known as the Horn of Hell, is a huge dragon horn marked with Valyrian glyphs. It is said that whoever sounds the horn will die, but any dragon who hears his call will obey the master of the horn.
In the novels “Song of Ice and Fire”, it is believed that Euron Greyjoy is in possession of the Bookbinder of dragons, having found it in the ruins of Valyria. Once he finds a victim willing to fly him, he may be able to turn one or more of Daenerys’ dragons against each other.
However, neither the Dragon binder has now appeared in ‘Game of Thrones’, nor any horn that could be Dragon binder, so this option is probably out.
Enclose it and let them perish
Another method of killing dragons seems to be imprisonment. After Aegon Targaryen III was victorious in the Dance of the Dragons, he had all the surviving beasts chained. Apparently they died in captivity. However, the two dragons of Daenerys, Rhaegal and Viserion, survived a long imprisonment in Meereen, although they did not grow as much as their brother Drogon, as Tyrion points out, which confines the dragons in a small space to prevent their growth. It is also rumored that the dragons enclosed by Aegon III were actually poisoned by the masters, who hate all forms of magic.
So what are the current odds of a dragon thrower in Westeros?
At this moment, it seems that the giant crossbow of Qyburn offers Cersei the best opportunity to hunt a dragon. But does she have other options? Since killing dragons is such a popular subject in ancient mythology, let’s dive into the chaoskampf and see how heroes through the ages have killed the drakon (in Greek it means “dragon, large snake, water snake”) .
What does mythology say?
Great serpent beasts appear in the first oral and written histories of Sumer, Babylon, Greece and many others. Almost all of these ancient stories portray gods or demigods who destroy serpents by using their superhuman strength, such as through nightclubs (the Greek Heracles) or drowning (the Armenian Vahagn). More layers of pious dragons make appearances then, but we are more interested in their methods than in their superpowers.
Pious arrows: Apollo and Python (Ancient Greece)
Revenging an insult to his mother Leto by the ancient Greek gods, Apollo chased the snake Python from Mount Parnassus to the oracle of Gaia at Delphi. He killed Python with his arrows. This is as close as we could get to a crossbow: can you draw a giant crossbow with the strength and precision of the prow of one of the greatest Greek gods? Probably not.
Turning the Beast into Stone: Perseus and Cetus (Ancient Greece)
Perseus was the greatest monster killer in the times before Heracles. He was also more creative than some of his predecessors. To kill Medusa (a Gorgon with hair serpents who could turn a man or beast into stone with a look), Perseus came equipped with a magic sack, an adamantine sword, the helm of Darkness (concealment) of Hades, shoes winged, and a polished shield.
When Perseus arrived at the cave of the Gorgons, he approached the sleeping Medusa observing his reflection in his shield. He cut off his head, and then Pegasus, the winged horse and the sword, Chrysaor exploded in his neck. Perseus pocketed Medusa’s head. Later in his journey, he saw the beautiful naked Andromeda chained to a rock and guarded by the sea serpent Cetus.
In some versions of the story Perseus, kill Cetus with Chrysaor and save Andromeda. Other versions allow more creativity and describe how the dull head of Medusa goes down for Cetus to see: the sea monster instantly becomes stone and sinks into the depths of the ocean.
A good old sword, balanced well: Beowulf and the dragon (Old English)
Fifty years after his legendary murder of the monster Grendel (and Grendel’s mother), Geatish Beowulf found his kingdom under the attack of a dragon. Starting with only one companion, Wiglaf, Beowulf pursued the dragon to his lair. Beowulf managed to kill the creature with his seax (a Germanic sword or sword of the High Middle Ages). Unfortunately, the dragon could wound Beowulf with one of its poisonous horns, and the great hero died.
The sword and the well: Sigurd against Fafnir (ancient Norse)
Sigurd was a hero of Norse mythology who killed Fafnir, a murderer who had been turned into a dragon by a cursed ring. After forging a sword (Gram) that could pierce an anvil, Sigurd digs a hole, attracts Fafnir and stabs him to death. Sigurd bathes in the blood of the dragon, which makes it invulnerable. He also drinks blood, and its magical properties allow him to understand the language of birds.
Drunk as a gentleman: Susanoo against Orochi (ancient Japan)
After being expelled from heaven for his deception, the god of the Shinto storm Susanoo-no-Mikoto lands on earth to find two local deities that mourn. He discovers that they have been forced to sacrifice a daughter every year for eight years to the huge eight-headed Yamata no Orochi (“snake of eight bifurcations”). Susanoo orders that eight platforms be built and on each platform he places a large tank full of liquor “eight times”. The Orochi arrives, drinks from the vats and falls into a stupor. Susanoo then cuts Orochi to pieces.
Death by Sea Foam: Vritra and Indra (Ancient India)
At the beginning of the Vedic religious tradition, Vritra was a gigantic demonic dragon as big as the mountains and as tall as the sky, and his thirst caused a global drought. The hero rises in the form of Indra, the future king of the gods, who swears to save the world.
The early Vedic version has Indra killing Vritra with a massive beam, but the later version of Puranic is much more interesting. There, Indra and Vritra fight for a tie and negotiate a truce: Indra swears that he will not attack the dragon during the day or night, and that he will not use a weapon made of metal, wood or stone, or anything dry or wet.
Indra finds a loophole in the contract, attacks twilight (between night and day) and uses marine foam (neither wet nor dry, but both) as a weapon. The god Vishnu enters the foam of the sea to ensure its effectiveness, and Vritra is destroyed.
Pomegranates of sheep: the apprentice of shoemaker Scuba against the dragon of Wawel (Polish)
This is good. In ancient Poland, it was said that the Wawel dragon made his lair at the foot of Wawel Hill in Krakow. In a later version, the dragon demands to eat young maidens, and the King, who has already seen his best knights incinerated, offers his beautiful daughter the hand of Wanda in marriage to anyone who can destroy the beast.
A poor cobbler’s apprentice named Scuba fills a lamb full of sulfur and ties it to a stake at the foot of Wawel Hill. The dragon eats the lamb and immediately runs towards the Vistula River to quench its sudden and fiery thirst. The beast swallows half the river, but nothing quenches its agony, and he continued to drink until it exploded. Scuba and Wanda were married, although it is not mentioned that dragon fillets are served at the reception party.
The magic strip: Saint George and the dragon (Georgian)
According to the Golden Legend of the tenth century, the Libyan city of Silene was being threatened by a dragon that carried plagues. People had to sacrifice two sheep a day to appease him, and when they ran out of sheep, they had to start sacrificing their children.
The children were selected by lottery, and one day, the king’s daughter drew the short straw. Saint George came riding and severely wounded the dragon with his spear. When the dragon continued attacking, San Jorge shouted at the princess to throw the sash. Once he tied the girdle to the dragon, he became docile like a lamb. Once the people of Silene converted to Christianity, St. George killed the dragon.
Blinded by light: Gerolde against many dragons (British)
Although not as famous as Saint George, Gerolde was also known as a successful dragon slayer in the Middle Ages. Gerolde’s deadly trick was to polish his armor to shine and attack at noon, so that the reflection of the sun blinded the dragons and allowed them to “pierce” them with their “long spear”.
Gerold was not the brightest gentleman, however. He received so many ribbons and garlands from esteemed gentlemen and peasants that he decided to make a glorious robe of them. He wore the tunic fighting another dragon and the coat prevented his armor from reflecting the sunlight (which was already weakened by the cloudy skies), and the dragon spat fire so much that it reduced it to ashes. He was buried with the Latin epitaph “Never get involved in a flag when you go out to kill dragons”.
Poisonous desserts: Daniel and the dragon
When visiting the court of Cyrus, the king of the Persians, Daniel finds himself in front of an animal that is treated as a god, “a great dragon worshiped by the Babylonians.” Daniel bakes a mixture of pitch, fat and hair in the form of barley Tortas. The dragon eats the deadly cakes and his stomach explodes, killing him.
The enraged Babylonians demand that Cyrus give them custody of Daniel. Cyrus relents, and the Babylonians sentence Daniel to death by throwing him into a lion’s den. Daniel survives for seven days without being touched by the lions, so Cyrus frees him and throws the Babylonians, who are immediately consumed.
If Cersei sticks to Westeros’ script, it seems that his best bet to kill Dany’s dragons is Qyburn’s crossbow. If you could read our list, you could probably rule out the use of gorgon heads, sea foam, wells, alcohol and girdles. Swords can be an option, but only magic.
But the options still remain. For example, the Lannisters can quickly realize that Dany’s dragons require large amounts of food. If Drogon begins to invade the field again for sheep, what prevents Cersei from planting a large, vulnerable herd of sheep doped with gallons of Lyses of Lys, or turned into potential explosives, filled with packages of sulfur floating in the fire?
Dragonbinder, if it appears, could also be a game changer. But from where I’m sitting, the best way to kill a dragon in ‘Game of Thrones’ is to use a sheep’s grenade.