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We see lot of speculation about who will ride Daenerys' dragons.

One of the candidates is Tyrion, but he is not a Targaryen. Jon Snow is also a candidate, but he is only half-Targaryen.

I am not here for speculation, but to ask a simple question:

Must one be a (pure) Targaryen to ride dragons?

  • There is evidence that Tyrion is part Targaryen as well. Just sayin' – Paul Dec 23 '17 at 12:13
  • @Paul from what i have heard it is jus a theory, there is no strong evidence, only speculation... – user94104 Dec 23 '17 at 12:30
  • depends on how strong you want your evidence. There is certainly a lot of evidence, whether it's strong enough is up to you. – Paul Dec 23 '17 at 12:37
  • 1
    Voting to leave open - we don't close canon questions just for us not knowing the answer. – Mithrandir Dec 23 '17 at 16:58
  • The answer isn't unknown. There are plenty of Dragonriders who were not Targaryens. Targaryens were the most insignificant freeholder family in ancient Valyria, there were 39 others who were stronger and more prestigious than targs. Then there are bastards and half-Targaryens as well. Only thing common is, they were all Valyrians. – Aegon Dec 26 '17 at 6:39
5

TL;DR : Noble dragonriders may not have been exclusively Targaryen but all were Valyrian. Furthermore, there have been some bastard dragonriders, called dragonseeds, of unknown origin.

Long answer :

There is a little bit of speculation in the answer, as it is not etched in stone that one can ride a dragon only if he is valyrian, but as there is a limited amount of dragons and dragonriders, we know individually each dragonriders (at least in post-doom era)

As far as I know, all known noble dragonriders where Valyrian. There are also some bastards who became dragonriders, called dragonseeds ( bastards of House Targaryen as well as House Velaryon), even though we are not 100% sure of their origin.

Of course, the Targaryen are the most famous dragonriders, but there are others as well.

  • Jaenara Belaerys flew over Sothoryos with his dragon.
  • Aurion, Emperor of Valyria, is a famous dragonlord that survived the Doom of Valyria, proclaimed himself Emperor of Valyria, and tried to reestablish the Freehold.
  • House Velaryon, A Valyrian noble House who, like the Targaryan, left Valyria before the Doom. They are allied with Targaryens, and there have been a number of dragonriders from this house.
  • Dragonseeds, alleged Valyrian bastards who became dragonriders during the Dance of the Dragons.

The only potential non-Valyrian dragonriders are the dragonseeds, because we don't really know the lineage of those bastards.

Usually, the term of dragonseed is used for Targaryan and Velaryon bastards, but the term was also used to call the dragonriders during the dance of the dragons.

Long story short, there was a civil war between Targaryens, and the black (Rhaenyra Targaryen's loyalists) had more dragons than dragonriders. Prince Jacaerys Velaryon offered lands, riches, and knighthood to any such "seeds" that could master a dragon. A lot of men tried, a lot of men failed.

Those who succeeded were known as dragonseeds, but we don't know for sure if they were all Targaryens/ Velaryons or if it's their alleged Valyrian blood which enabled them to ride a dragon. Another thing to note is that not all of them had Valyran traits (Silver-gold hair, purple eyes etc.).

The best example is Nettles : She is described as a "brown-skinned girl with black hair and brown eyes", not your typical Targaryen.

So, to sum up, all noble dragonriders were valyrian, and bastards dragonriders were supposed to be Valyrian as well, but not all of them had strong valyrian traits, so in conclusion:

  1. Only Valyrians can master the dragons.
  2. Valyrians don't need to be pure-blooded to accomplish that feat.
3

Ancient Valyria

No one doesn't need to be a Targaryen to ride a dragon.

In ancient Valyria, Targaryens were one of forty Freeholder families who all owned dragons. Targaryens were one of the most minor Valyrian families. Before Doom of Valyria, they fled to Dragonstone and escaped the fate that befell the rest of Valyria, with her proudest dynasties. So since all of the notable Valyrian families had dragons, it should be clear that being a Targaryen is not needed.

Known Non-Targaryen Dragonlords

There have been a number of known Dragonriders who were not Targaryen:

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║ Sr. No. ║ Name             ║ House    ║ Dragon       ║ Remarks                                                                                                                                                              ║
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║ 1       ║ Jaenara          ║ Belaerys ║ Terrax       ║ A Valyrian explorer from Belaerys family                                                                                                                             ║
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║ 2       ║ Aurion           ║ Unknown  ║ Unknown      ║ Self-Proclaimed Emperor of Valyria who died on a quest to reclaim Valyria after the doom                                                                             ║
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║ 3       ║ Addam            ║ Velaryon ║ Seasmoke     ║ Alleged Bastard of Ser Laenor Velaryon and rumored to have been infact a bastard of Laenor's father Lord Corlys Velaryon. Legitimized and became heir to Driftmark.  ║
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║ 4       ║ Laena            ║ Velaryon ║ Vhagar       ║ Half Targaryen on her mother's side, the Princess Rhaenys Targaryen.                                                                                                 ║
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║ 5       ║ Laenor           ║ Velaryon ║ Seasmoke     ║ Half Targaryen on his mother's side, the Princess Rhaenys Targaryen.                                                                                                 ║
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║ 6       ║ Jacaerys         ║ Velaryon ║ Vermax       ║ Half Targaryen on his mother's side, the Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.                                                                                                ║
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║ 7       ║ Lucerys          ║ Velaryon ║ Arrax        ║ Half Targaryen on his mother's side, the Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.                                                                                                ║
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║ 8       ║ Joffrey          ║ Velaryon ║ Tyraxes      ║ Half Targaryen on his mother's side, the Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.                                                                                                ║
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║ 9       ║ Nettles          ║ Unknown  ║ Sheepstealer ║ A Dragonseed, an unacknowledged bastard/grand-bastard of either House Velaryon or House Targaryen sired on a lowborn woman.                                          ║
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║ 10      ║ Ulf the White    ║ Unknown  ║ Silverwing   ║ A Dragonseed, an unacknowledged bastard/grand-bastard of either House Velaryon or House Targaryen sired on a lowborn woman.                                          ║
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║ 11      ║ Hard Hugh Hammer ║ Unknown  ║ Vermithor    ║ A Dragonseed, an unacknowledged bastard/grand-bastard of either House Velaryon or House Targaryen sired on a lowborn woman.                                          ║
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It must be noted however Velaryons were also Valyrians and most of the listed Velaryons were half Targaryens.

Conclusion

From canon evidence, only being of Valyrian blood is needed. But all Valyrian sorcery was rooted in fire and blood so technically anyone familiar with blood magic could ride a dragon.

Anyhow, The Dragonlore is not exclusive to Targaryens.

Further suggested readings

  1. Does one Need to be a Targaryen to hatch a dragon egg?
  2. Are Targaryens literally "Blood of the Dragon"?

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