House Celtigar is one of the three Valyrian houses that moved to the Western most outpost of the Valyrian Empire (The other two being Velaryons and Targaryens). Out of the three of them only Targaryens had dragons so they naturally became the leaders.

We know that only people with blood of Old Valyria tame the dragons, they don't necessarily have to be Targaryens.

Yet, during Dance of the Dragons, when Lord Bartimos Celtigar advised Queen Rhaenyra to attack King's Landing with both claimed and unclaimed Dragons, her reply was:

“It will never come to that,” Celtigar insisted. “The usurper will have no choice but to oppose us with his own dragons. Our nine must surely overwhelm his four.

“At what cost?” Princess Rhaenyra wondered. “My sons would be riding three of those dragons, I remind you. And it would not be nine against four. I will not be strong enough to fly for some time yet. And who is to ride Silverwing, Vermithor, and Seasmoke? You, my lord? I hardly think so. It will be five against four, and one of their four will be Vhagar. That is no advantage.”
The Princess and the Queen

Why does Rhaenyra thinks it is virtually impossible for Lord Celtigar to claim a dragon? He had just as much Valyrian blood as Rhaenyra did. Although her point seems to be vindicated since when Prince Jacaerys called for all Dragonseeds to come and try claiming dragons, no Celtigar seems to be present. But on the other hand, there were two bastard Velaryons who tried and one of them succeeded (Both were brothers). Not to mention, many other dragonseeds, even the ones who were plainly born with Valyrian blood like Silver Dennis failed as well whereas some who by no means looked Valyrian like the girl Nettles succeeded. Since people of such diverse backgrounds succeeded, with only thing common between them being Valyrian blood, in claiming dragons, why does Rhaenyra believes it is unthinkable that Celtigars might have claimed one as well?

  • 1
    The time frame for this hypothetical attack seems pretty short, before the queen is recovered. Is it possible she's just dismissing the possibility of training a dragon rider enough to face Vhagar before the situation changes?
    – Nolimon
    Oct 14, 2019 at 20:39
  • @Nolimon Very Interesting take, could be possible.
    – Aegon
    Oct 15, 2019 at 6:23

1 Answer 1


There isn't enough information to really definitively answer. Celtigar might well have attempted to bond with a dragon and failed sometime in the past, or perhaps his family line was mostly unable to. We just don't know based on the conversation.

In a broader sense, not based on any sort of Canon, but on the real world, Genetics can be a funny thing. You have evidence that bloodline is no guarantee when we see Dany's brother get killed by a 'Glob-O-Lava', while she is untouched by flames in several points in the books. Same Parents, same bloodline, wildly different outcomes. Look at it as a recessive gene. The ability to bond with a dragon could be related to a genetic marker that only occurs in certain families. Since family lines are tightly controlled, like with Targaryans marrying brother to sister, then the ability becomes amplified to some extent. Yet if one of them goes outside to a brothel and gets someone pregnant, there is still a small chance that the ability gets passed on to a commoner. How would a commoner even know? They would never see a dragon close enough to find out.

So you have two things at play here. First is the recessive trait combined with the rarity of dragons in general. With that, you can justify the bloodline thing and simultaneously explain how someone seemingly unrelated to everyone important being able to bond with Dragons.

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    Targaryen bloodline is not immune to fire so Viserys getting burnt doesn't really say anything. A lot of Targaryens have burnt to death historically. While The idea of blood-purity is for some reason very popular among Valyrians, we have tons of example of nobles with at least one Non-Valyrian parent who still tamed dragon e.g. Alicent Hightower was no Valyrian yet all her children by Viserys I were dragonriders. Rhaenyra herself had an Arryn mother and yet rode a dragon.
    – Aegon
    May 17, 2019 at 16:50
  • So perhaps, taming a dragon has more to do with magic than it has to do with purity of blood. After all, all achievements of the dragonlords were due to blood magic. But yet we do not see any Targaryens or Velaryons doing magic before taming the dragons, they just hop up and that's it. It is often noted that dragons can be perilous to Valyrians as well. Prince Aemond recalls that when he was secretly going out to claim Vhagar, he was more afraid that his parents would catch him and scold him, than he was of getting eaten by the dragon
    – Aegon
    May 17, 2019 at 16:51
  • Viserys getting burnt is exactly my point though. In ancient and Medieval societies, the concept of a bloodline was just a very primitive understanding of genetics with tons and tons of mistaken notions. Obviously no ability to track genetic markers, but even 4000 years ago, we understood that if we took 2 animals that had desirable characteristics and bred them we were more likely to get more animals with those characteristics. We had no idea why or how that worked. Same with the old Valyrian families. And we now know recessive genes can lurk for generations before turning up
    – Paul TIKI
    May 17, 2019 at 17:21
  • Being exposed to fire and having molten gold dumped on your head are two very different things.
    – T.J.L.
    Oct 14, 2019 at 13:27
  • @T.J.L. The mechanism of injury in both cases is the same though. Exposure to fire in reality means you get damaged by means of superheated air. Burns on humans is caused when heat damages or outright destroys the cells. A Glob'o'lava, or molten gold would be lethal because effective thermal transfer would destroy a lot of cells with heat. Burning in a fire hot enough to reduce a human body to ash destroys a lot of cells with heat. Effectively the same mechanism of injury. That is why I count it.
    – Paul TIKI
    Oct 22, 2019 at 19:44

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