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Viserion is felled by one spear. Rhaegal is felled by 3 arrows. Drogon cannot be hit once, even with dozens of scorpions aimed at him.

Why are the other dragons so easy to hit with projectiles, yet Drogon isn't?

Is it plot armor, or is there another reason?

101

Drogon is the biggest
Drogon is essentially the big brother of the three. He's the largest, potentially the fastest and most probably the strongest; he's the alpha.

Drogon has Dany in the pilot seat
It would make a lot of difference that Dany is the one riding Drogon, able to give commands, and steer him better than the other two may.

Drogon has the most combat experience
Being Dany's main ride, Drogon has experienced a lot of attacks, he has gained the most experience under attack than his two siblings.

Viserion was hunted by the Night King
Olympic level javelin throwing is an understatement for this guy. The Night King took down Viserion as they were retreating with an epic throw of his spear. He's powerful, that spear was travelling very fast, and hard. It pierced Viserion exactly where it needed to to mortally wound him.

Rhaegal was injured already
In the scene where Rhaegal is shot down by Euron's scorpion, we can see that Drogon and Rhaegal are flying in a tight, low and slow formation. Rhaegal is visibly injured, his wings torn from the Battle of the Long Night. This makes him slower, and a much easier target.

Besides, Euron had the element of surprise; he could take his time with his shots and make it count. Notice how once alerted, Drogon was able to evade the rest of the arrows?

Drogon was in fact hit once
Recall in the Seventh Season, Drogon is hit by Bronn's scorpion, severely damaging his shoulder. So he's not invincible.

  • 51
    Though I agree with all the statements going around that episode 4 was bad writing, it's nice to read a good answer that doesn't have to resort to that. +1 – Nacht - Reinstate Monica May 14 at 23:08
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    @Nacht I agree but I think it is bad writing and we are looking for good excuses. I will accept this one as canon from now on. – aloisdg says Reinstate Monica May 15 at 7:22
  • It's worth noting that in the books, there seems to be a one-way bond between dragon and rider (no rider is ever noted to have bonded multiple dragons). I wonder if show Dany is only bonded to Drogon (giving her much more direct, intuitive control) and her "control" of the others basically amounted to them following Drogon's lead or simple commands. I don't recall that we have ever seen Dany directly control the other two (other than using learned commands like Dracarys) in the same way she controls Drogon. – delinear May 15 at 10:23
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    Adding to this, don't forget that Rhaegal and Viserion were both locked up for two seasons. While Drogon was out flying, growing, and doing everything else a dragon does, they stayed chained up, causing them to be smaller and likely weaker than Drogon. – Question Marks May 15 at 12:31
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    I'd argue that Drogon's size should make him easier to hit than the other dragons - he's simply a bigger target. He may be faster than the other dragons, but Dany doesn't seem to be flying at top speed when going in for attack runs, so a higher top speed isn't all that useful in battle. – Nuclear Wang May 15 at 12:52
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Viserion is a different case because he’s killed by the Night King and an ice spear so we can rule him out from your analysis as the case isn’t the same.

You also make a slight mistake in that Drogon does get hit by a scorpion bolt but that was back in Season 7 Episode 3, “The Spoils of War”, on the first design by Bronn during it.

Rhaegal is killed by poor writing essentially but you can explain it by that ”she just kind of forgot about the Iron Fleet” and the fleet having all the time in the world to line the shots up. However, even then it is next to impossible but hey ho.

Drogon in that scene then “dodges” the bolts coming at him.

In the next episode, “The Bells”, Dany and Drogon use the scorpions weaknesses against them; they are slow turning and take a while to load and are quite hard to aim. Dany moves around a lot and only comes in close after a volley has been shot and when close moves around even more whilst minimising the targets.

What we’re really comparing here is the difference in writing from one episode to the next. The killing of Rhaegal is poor writing and portrays the scorpions as extremely over powered yet at King’s Landing they are shown to be pretty realistic. That is the difference not necessarily that Drogon is better. Although note Drogon also has Dany on him to help command him around the battle.

And it’s also worth noting as I hinted to above that Drogon does not have dozens of scorpions pointed at him because they can’t keep up with the dragon to aim properly.

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    Yes, "Achilles heel", some would even say "dragon's bane"! – Möoz May 15 at 10:01
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Apparently, the element of surprise is a Dragon's real Achille's Heel.

The Night King was the first real threat to the dragon, so Viserion didn't expect to get hit out of nowhere by an ice lance.

Rhaegal bit the dust as they were on the way to the capitol and were ambushed (though this was more of a plot ambush, who isn't expecting some kind of attack?!).

In both cases, they didn't even know the first attack was coming. Were they weaker than Drogon? I can't say - but he never faced an attack without knowing where it was coming from. I can't remember if it was Drogon who got hit by the little spears in the Meereen fighting pits, but even so he still was doing his best to get Danny out of there. He isn't the most dexterous after all...

  • That was Drogon yes, Viserion and Rhaegal were locked up at that point I believe. – TheLethalCarrot May 15 at 15:01
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    "Apparently, the element of surprise is a Dragon's real Achille's Heel." So Arya will kill Drogon? Gotcha – Vahx May 15 at 16:27
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Poor writing.

Viserion's death was at least plausible, given that it was the first time the dragons had been attacked from the ground with a magic one-hit-kills spear.

The second time, when the attack came from supposedly hidden ships, was just poor writing. It beggared belief and made very little sense. The weapons wouldn't work in real life, the idea that the fleet could have remained hidden was a joke.

So third time around the situation was actually more realistic. The fleet was realistically slow to react and the Scorpions realistically slow to aim and fire. Given their realistically short range the chances of them being effective were low. Same for the rampart mounted ones.

So if anything Drogon's actions in the penultimate episode are the more realistic ones, although it's not entirely clear why his fire seems to demolish stone structures.

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    The magic one-hit-spear was itself poor writing. But then, TBH, the Night King is already a piece of rather poor writing; there is no Night King in the books. There is a legend of a LC of the NW who declared himself king and possibly married an Other, but - that's a legend, not a Big Boss antagonist. – einpoklum - reinstate Monica May 17 at 20:10
  • This is the actual correct answer, it seems to me. – Dronz May 28 at 17:51
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Were they on the way to the Capital when Rhaegal was killed?
I thought they were returning to Dragonstone, hence their proximity when the survivors were washed up on the beach?

Euron and Cersei anticipated this and were lay in waiting to ambush them.

It was a surprise attack and the already weakened Rhaegal was the victim.
In the attack on King's Landing, Daenerys had the element of surprise, coming out of the sun.

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It is not so much Drogon as battle tactics. First, there's no element of surprise as pointed out - rather it is Dany being the element of surprise this time, as she attacks from an unexpected angle. She learned her lesson after losing Rhaegal and therefore initially attacks the Ironborn Fleet directly from above. It wouldn't be possible to have a scorpion shoot straight up, so as long as she is directly above a ship, it is defenseless. Similarly, if flying closely to the ships at full speed, the dragon would be way too fast a target to hit.

Though this doesn't explain why Drogon isn't hit by the wall-mounted scorpions in King's Landing, I think it is mostly "plot armor" there.

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Drogon inherits plot armor from Dany. This might seem like a rant, but it isn't. If Dany rides on Drogon's back, then Drogon's dying in-flight means Dany almost certainly dies or is gravely injured.

Now, you might say, that's fine, people die in GoT all the time. And that's true, but they don't die randomly. If you pay close attention, you will find that there is a certain pattern to this. In particular (spoiler episode 6)

We will see that Dany is fatally stabbed by Jon after she tries to have Tyrion executed for releasing his brother.

Obviously, there wasn't time for that in episode 5 or earlier. And it wouldn't make sense previously, there had to be time for Dany to turn from the good side to the bad. This is already done very fast (over a few episodes, though there have always been signs of its potential). Given that (also spoiler on episode 6)

Dany had to be killed in the final episode, she could not die before that (or they'd have to revive her like they did Jon, but that wouldn't fit the plot).

Hence my answer, Dany (and by extension Drogon) has plot armor.

  • Man, you have fallen low by putting here spoilers for yet unaired S08E06! – Dimitry K May 17 at 14:33
  • @DimitryK the spoilers are announced and are imperative to understanding the plot armor argument. – JJJ May 17 at 14:48
  • I kindly disagree. If you're in advantageous position of possessing some insider information about show's ending, it doesn't give you right to use it to 'put your argument above' of everyone else's arguments which are based only on past knowledge and the books. IMHO usage of insider knoweldge comes across as arrogant and disrespectful to other readers and SE writers... – Dimitry K May 17 at 15:27
  • @DimitryK no, see Meta. Also, it's not insider information, it's used in many posts across this SE site. – JJJ May 17 at 15:31
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Several good points in the other answers. I'm here just to point out Daenerys' strategy in King's Landing battle, which counted a lot as to why Drogon didn't get hit.

0 - The element of surprise, as already pointed out by others - Drogon/Daenerys were not taken by surprise, they knew where the enemies were and what was their weapon.

1 - Being a hard target - in the first strike on the iron fleet, they are coming in an angle that the iron fleet can't see - they're coming directly from the sun. They show the audience that by having a scene with oversaturated light and the sun behind Drogon, and also by showing the sailors squinting when looking upwards to try to see them. It gets really hard to target something that's towards the sun.

2 - Being fast - since they were coming downwards, they could achieve a faster speed, arrive at their targets faster, not giving them time to aim properly.

3 - Close battle - close proximity fight is to Drogon's advantage. Drogon is big ("easy" target from a distance) and his attack range is way smaller. He has more speed and manoeuvrability. In a fight against so many scorpions, the challenge is to get close; once they're close, it's Drogon's advantage.

4 - Attack vector - with the city in the middle, all scorpions were pointing outwards. Once Daenerys destroys the iron fleet, they can fly into the city more easily, as all other scorpions are pointing away from them. They can turn, of course, but it's a slow operation. The scorpion operators heard explosions, but didn't realize Drogon was upon them until it was too late. Also, pointing the scorpions towards the city is dangerous, as you might hit your own people/buildings/Queen, so they probably would be thinking twice before doing that unless they had visual confirmation of their target.

So to summarize, yes there are all the points the others mentioned; but using your resources wisely also counts, a lot!

0

In S8 E5 we see Daenerys using various fighter pilot tactics/Basic fighter maneuvers (BFM) such as approaching with the sun on her back, and various other tactics shown in the image below.

enter image description here

This could be why an experienced dragon pilot has the advantage over either no pilot or an inexperienced pilot (Jon Snow). It almost suggests the dragons themselves don't have too much evasive skills.

Also, we don't know what Drogon got up to when he disappeared, most likely just hunting far away, which would've honed his combat skills somewhat. Whereas the other two were locked in a dungeon being hand fed.

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