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Daenys "The Dreamer" Targaryen had visions of the Doom of Valyria, so Aenar "The Exile" Targaryen relocated his whole clan to Dragonstone.

Is there any explanation of why he chose specifically Dragonstone, when he could have chosen any place in the Valyrian Freehold, which spanned almost all of Essos?

One explanation could be Daenys also foresaw the Century of Blood, but did she?

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This cannot be answered from any canon source so following would be informed speculation and logical inference.

Uncertainty of Dragon Dreams

Daenys saw doom of Valyria in her dreams. Since we know that dragon dreams are just signs involving dragons, whose truth can vary quite opposite to the dreamer's interpretation, Daenys could not be sure if the dream was about just mainland Valyria or her complete Empire. From Dunk & Egg: The Hedge Knight, we see an example of Dragon dream, seen by Prince Daeron Targaryen:

“I dreamed of you,” said the prince.

“You said that at the inn.”

“Did I? Well, it’s so. My dreams are not like yours, Ser Duncan. Mine are true. They frighten me. You frighten me. I dreamed of you and a dead dragon, you see. A great beast, huge, with wings so large they could cover this meadow. It had fallen on top of you, but you were alive and the dragon was dead.”

Another example of Dragon Dream, dreamed by Daemon II Blackfyre, from Dunk & Egg: The Mystery Knight:

"A dragon will hatch? A living dragon? What, here?"

"I dreamed it. This pale white castle, you, a dragon bursting from an egg, I dreamed it all, just as I once dreamed of my brothers lying dead. They were twelve and I was only seven, so they laughed at me, and died. I am two-and-twenty now, and I trust my dreams."

As you see these, dreams do not indicate exact future. They just symbolise it. In first Dream, the dreamer could not determine which Dragon would be killed by Ser Duncan. In second dream, the dreamer mistook exposing Prince Aegon's true identity to be indicative of a real dragon hatching.

So as you can see, Dreams can be wrongly interpreted which is why other Dragon Lords did not believe Daenys' dreams.


Doom of Valyria

We know that in Doom, Valyria burnt from both earth and air. In ADWD Chapter 38, Tyrion recalls that it was written that on the day of Doom every hill for 500 miles had split asunder to fill the air with ash and smoke and fire, blazes so hot and hungry that even dragons in the sky were engulfed and consumed.

Great rents had opened in the earth, swallowing palaces, temples, entire towns. Lakes boiled or turned to acid, mountains burst, fiery fountains spewed molten rock a thousand feet into the air, red clouds rained down dragonglass and the black blood of demons, and to the north the ground splintered and collapsed and fell in on itself and an angry sea came rushing in

So it is possible that Daenys may have seen fire engulfing Valyria or fire engulfing dragons. Sadly we do not know the exact dream Daenys saw. But since she made her father leave Valyria and Aenar chose Island of Dragonstone, the choice seems to be made with preference of keeping a body of water between Valyria and themselves.


Why Dragonstone?

Valyrians had conquered Dragonstone 200 years before the Doom. It was at that time the Western most extent of the Valyrian Freehold. So the probable reasons for Aenar's choice seem to be following:

  1. Dragonstone was the Western most outpost of Valyria. This was as far as Aenar could have run without exiling himself from the Freehold entirely.
  2. Daenys could not be sure about true extent of her dream. Did it mean the whole Empire or did it mean just Valyria itself?
  3. Dragonstone was an Island and was seperated from rest of the Freehold by Sea. If Daenys had seen a great fire in her vision, it would make sense to put a body of water between them and the great fire. They could not flee to Eastern most outposts of the Freehold because they were all connected to Valyria by Land. Remember Valyria only became an Island after the doom. Before Doom, it was a Peninsula.

But judging on these reasons, another candidate land arises. The Island of Lorath. Lorath is Northern most outpost of the former Freehold and it is also an Island. Why did Aenar choose Dragonstone instead of Lorath is something which can't be answered is actually answered by Travis Kindred below.

EDIT: Our esteemed Member Travis Kindred has provided an excellent argument about Dragonstone's good environmental conditions for Dragon Breeding. Not stealing his point, just using it to answer Why did not Aenar choose Lorath instead of Dragonstone?. The Answer would be that Aenar was more inclined to choose Dragonstone because of the favourable environment. Just summarising it for someone who might not reach this conclusion from Travis' answer.


Did She see Essosi wars between Valyrian Colonies?

We cannot say if she did see that. But even if she did see that, Targaryens would have no cause to worry because they had a dragon while the colonies had none. Also since Targaryens, Velaryons and Celtigars were of the pure blood of Valyria, they would be most welcome by the city state of Volantis which was the closest to Valyria than all other colonies. So that does not appear to be a reason behind the self-imposed exile to dragonstone.

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    Thanks, @Aegon! Very explanatory answer. One thing I didn't know is the fact Valyria was a peninsula instead of an island. – João Victor Oliveira Jul 7 '16 at 2:50
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Introduction

Valyrian power has always been rooted in Dragonfire and Dragonfire has always been rooted in the power of the land, specifically volcanic terrain. Evidence of this persists across the history of Planetos.

Fourteen Flames

Dragons were first found by Valyrians in the Fourteen Flames, the ring of volcanos that became their capital. A simple shepherding tribe became the greatest power in the world because of volcanic power, and dragons as a result. It should be noted that the Dragonlords of Valyria bred larger dragons by far than those which came after.

The Importance of Dragons

Without the dragons, Aegon's conquest would've failed in a single battle. Aegon's entire force was 1600 men at the landing, and many would've been forced to stay behind and guard the new keep. That would leave at most 1400 men against the Duskendale/Maidenpool host of three thousand. Obviously, the dragons were an asset. What I mean to convey is that the unification of the seven kingdoms was utterly and completely hopeless without the dragons. The Targaryens would know that any center of Dragonlord power would need to be a center of Dragon power.

Leaving Dragonstone

It's important to note that the slow decline in the size of the Targaryen dragons happened once the dragons left Dragonstone and began residing in King's Landing. It may be that the Dragonpit was to blame for the ever-smaller dragons, but it was damaged to disuse decades before the last dragon. It may be that Aegon I and then Aegon III after him would progressively lose some of the lore that helped keep their dragons strong. I would say that what they forgot was the draconic need for proximity to volcanic activity.

Conclusion

The previous answers miss the most vital point. Dragonstone is volcanic. It was important to distance themselves from the Doom and from any conflict of rebellion, but not as important as their dragons. There is a vague link between the elements and magic that has not been and can not be well defined with current canon. What we do know is that the Targaryen dragons declined in strength after leaving Dragonstone. Daenerys' dragons are nowhere near the size of Balerion or the dragons of Old Valyria, and Drogon flew to a micro-volcano when he was freed.

Dragon + Volcano = Big.

Person + Big Dragon = Empire.

Targaryen + Dragonstone = Westeros.

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    I believe you have raised a very good point in Dragonstone's good environment for dragon breeding but a suggestion would be to rearrange your answer's heading because on first skimming, it looks like this is not really a good answer. One has to read it completely to know it is a good answer. +1 – Aegon Jul 6 '16 at 2:57
  • Also Storming of Dragonpit did not destroy it. It just damaged the structure. It still stands in KL although in a very bad state. – Aegon Jul 6 '16 at 3:04
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    Thank you. I'll take both of your suggestions into account. I've been studying Russian essayists, who always sound nonsensical till the end. Perhaps I was channeling them a bit too much. – Travis Kindred Jul 6 '16 at 15:11
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    @TravisKindred Thanks for your really good answer and bringing the point of the land being beneficial for dragon breeding. I chose Aegon's answer because it was more complete and more to the point, but the truth is your answers complement each other. – João Victor Oliveira Jul 7 '16 at 2:44
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    Absolutely. It wasn't exactly my most cogent post, and his contained a broader historical perspective than my single point. – Travis Kindred Jul 7 '16 at 15:27
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I think it was because Westeros, and so Dragonstone, is mostly untouched by Valyria. So they would not be so damaged by the Doom of Valyria.

Essos is right next to Valyria, so it was an easy guess than the effects of the Doom would ripple through the land, causing the Century of Blood.

  • Dragonstone had been conquered by Valyrians 200 years before the Doom. It was a part of the Empire. So it was not "untouched" by Valyrians. – Aegon Jul 5 '16 at 19:52
  • @Aegon I assume that Bruno's point is that Dragonstone is physically separated from Valyria. – Blackwood Jul 6 '16 at 15:38
  • @Aegon I meant "Mostly" Untouched. Westeros never was under Valyrian rule until Aegon I, so it wouldnt be so damaged by its fall. I like the Answer of .@Travis_Kindred more, i had not considered the Volcanoes – Bruno Gutierrez Jul 6 '16 at 21:21

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