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Talking about grown dragons here -- I don't recall ever reading about how tough their skin is or what their fighting style is. (Do they just fly around breathing fire, or do they get down to business Skyrim-style?)

Most importantly, I want to know if anyone has ever killed a dragon. And if so, how? And if not, is there evidence of it being possible?

Please note that I'm looking for for facts from the books that show whether it's possible and whether it's been done.

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    There are dragon skulls in the dungeons in the Red Keep. I assume they did not die of old age. – TLP Jun 21 '14 at 21:40
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    Is op's question "Are GOT dragons immortal/impervious to harm" or "Can GOT humans kill a dragon?" – user16696 Jun 21 '14 at 22:03
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    They're like main characters: Very susceptible to violent deaths. – Kroltan Jun 22 '14 at 16:47
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    @Kroltan - Yes, the important thing is to not get attached to any named individual... – Valorum Jun 22 '14 at 20:10
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    Related: How many dragons ever existed in Westeros and how did they end up?. I have compiled a complete list of the dragons there and how did they die or how were they killed. – Aegon Jul 15 '16 at 8:18
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Dragons are susceptible to physical injury, especially those involving sharp metal-pointed spears or arrows as well as injury from blunt trauma.

The 4th in the Dunk and Egg novella series "The Princess and the Queen" by GRRM contains a vivid depiction of the damage a dragon can receive:

Hundreds fled in terror from her flames … but hundreds more, drunk or mad or possessed of the Warrior’s own courage, pushed through to the attack. Even at the apex of the dome, the dragon was within easy reach of archer and crossbowman, and arrows and quarrels flew at Dreamfyre wherever she turned, at such close range that some few even punched through her scales. Whenever she lighted, men swarmed to the attack, driving her back into the air. Twice the dragon flew at the Dragonpit’s great bronze gates, only to find them closed and barred and defended by ranks of spears.

Unable to flee, Dreamfyre returned to the attack, savaging her tormenters until the sands of the pit were strewn with charred corpses, and the very air was thick with smoke and the smell of burned flesh, yet still the spears and arrows flew. The end came when a crossbow bolt nicked one of the dragon’s eyes. Half-blind, and maddened by a dozen lesser wounds, Dreamfyre spread her wings and flew straight up at the great dome above in a last desperate attempt to break into the open sky. Already weakened by blasts of dragonflame, the dome cracked under the force of impact, and a moment later half of it came tumbling down, crushing both dragon and dragonslayers under tons of broken stone and rubble.

Another was killed with a spear to the eye:

Morghul, it is written, was slain by the Burning Knight, a huge brute of a man in heavy armor who rushed headlong into the dragon’s flame with spear in hand, thrusting its point into the beast’s eye repeatedly even as the dragonflame melted the steel plate that encased him and devoured the flesh within.

and another with an axe to the head:

Shrykos was the first dragon to succumb, slain by a woodsman known as Hobb the Hewer, who leapt onto her neck, driving his axe down into the beast’s skull as Shrykos roared and twisted, trying to throw him off. Seven blows did Hobb deliver with his legs locked round the dragon’s neck, and each time his axe came down he roared out the name of one of the Seven. It was the seventh blow, the Stranger’s blow, that slew the dragon, crashing through scale and bones into the beast’s brain.

Another was apparently killed, either with a crossbow bolt but more likely with a grapnel:

Several differing tales were told afterward of how and why the dragon fell. Some claimed a crossbowman put an iron bolt through his eye, but this version seems suspiciously similar to the way Meraxes met her end, long ago in Dorne. Another account tells us that a sailor in the crow’s nest of a Myrish galley cast a grapnel as Vermax was swooping through the fleet. One of its prongs found purchase between two scales, and was driven deep by the dragon’s own considerable speed. The sailor had coiled his end of the chain about the mast, and the weight of the ship and the power of Vermax’s wings tore a long jagged gash in the dragon’s belly. The dragon’s shriek of rage was heard as far off as Spicetown, even through the clangor of battle. His flight jerked to a violent end, Vermax went down smoking and screaming, clawing at the water. Survivors said he struggled to rise, only to crash headlong into a burning galley. Wood splintered, the mast came tumbling down, and the dragon, thrashing, became entangled in the rigging. When the ship heeled over and sank, Vermax sank with her.


Out of Universe, GRRM intriguingly suggested that we may see a dragon-on-dragon fight at some point in the future;

Q. Can a stag kill a dragon? More to the point, could any animal kill a dragon?

A. That remains to be seen, but perhaps...another dragon.

  • Sounds like the last one might have drowned rather than necessarily being "killed with a grapnel". Which I confess is a pedantic point, since you've already shown two cases where yes, a dragon was killed directly by the human-inflicted blow. – Steve Jessop Jun 22 '14 at 15:01
  • @SteveJessop - Drowning may have been the mechanistic cause of death but the grapnel was the proximate cause of death harriscountytx.gov/ifs/cause.aspx – Valorum Jun 22 '14 at 15:10
  • Sure. I'm not claiming the sailor would get off a dragonslaughter charge on straightforward grounds of not having caused the death. If you lure a dragon with bait, and it gets tangled in the rigging of a sinking ship then you've "killed it with a sausage", nevertheless a sausage is not thereby demonstrated sufficient to kill a dragon. Whereas Hobb's axe was. As I say, a pedantic point. – Steve Jessop Jun 22 '14 at 15:24
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    @SteveJessop - If we're getting technical then the correct term is 'dracocide' :-) – Valorum Jun 22 '14 at 15:33
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    Ummm, The Princess and the Queen is not the fourth book in the D&E series. It's a seperate short story that was published instead of the fourth book (The She Wolves). Also there have been plenty of examples where dragons have been killed, notably in the Storming of the Dragonpit. I also recommend you use the much better awoiaf at westeros.org if you're going to be citing a wiki. – Edlothiad Dec 4 '17 at 13:30
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Yes, dragons can be killed.

In fact, almost every dragon known has been killed in violent circumstances. The best description we have of dragon warfare is from the novella The Princess and the Queen, which describes the civil war known as The Dance of the Dragon that erupted between two branches of the House Targaryen. Dragons would for the most part be used as bombers. Swooping in on land forces and breath fire on them. Every now and then, a dragon to dragon fight would happen. In those occasions the dragons would fight in mid air using fire, tooth and claw to hack at each other until one fell and died. Dragons have also been killed by men, though it is a very difficult task. Their hides are indeed very though, but not impervious and can be pierced with arrows and well placed ax strikes. They also have weak spots, most notably their eyes.

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+100

A Song of Ice and Fire

@Aegon has an excellent list here of all the dragons that have lived in Westeros and their fates. I've compiled a complete list of the dragons in Westeros that died from unnatural causes and what they were.

Vhagar and Caraxes

Both died of their wounds during the battle at the Gods Eye. Their wounds were inflicted onto each other and then they also crashed into the lake at a massive force that probably inflicted the fatal wounds.

The attack came sudden as a thunderbolt. Caraxes dove down upon Vhagar with a piercing shriek that was heard a dozen miles away, cloaked by the glare of the setting sun on Prince Aemond’s blind side. The Blood Wyrm slammed into the older dragon with terrible force. Their roars echoed across the Gods Eye as the two grappled and tore at one another, dark against a blood red sky. So bright did their flames burn that fisherfolk below feared the clouds themselves had caught fire. Locked together, the dragons tumbled toward the lake. The Blood Wyrm’s jaws closed about Vhagar’s neck, her black teeth sinking deep into the flesh of the larger dragon. Even as Vhagar’s claws raked her belly open and Vhagar’s own teeth ripped away a wing, Caraxes bit deeper, worrying at the wound as the lake rushed up below them with terrible speed.
And it was then, the tales tell us, that Prince Daemon Targaryen swung a leg over his saddle and leapt from one dragon to the other. In his hand was Dark Sister, the sword of Queen Visenya. As Aemond One-Eye looked up in terror, fumbling with the chains that bound him to his saddle, Daemon ripped off his nephew’s helm and drove the sword down into his blind eye, so hard the point came out the back of the young prince’s throat. Half a heartbeat later, the dragons struck the lake, sending up a gout of water so high that it was said to have been as tall as Kingspyre Tower.
Neither man nor dragon could have survived such an impact, the fisherfolk who saw it said. Nor did they. Caraxes lived long enough to crawl back onto the land. Gutted, with one wing torn from his body and the waters of the lake smoking about him, the Blood Wyrm found the strength to drag himself onto the lakeshore, expiring beneath the walls of Harrenhal. Vhagar’s carcass plunged to the lake floor, the hot blood from the gaping wound in her neck bringing the water to a boil over her last resting place. When she was found some years later, after the end of the Dance of the Dragons, Prince Aemond’s armored bones remained chained to her saddle, with Dark Sister thrust hilt-deep through his eye socket.
The Princess and the Queen

Meraxes

Died from a scorpian bolt piercing it's eye and the subsequent fall to the ground.

So again the Targaryens turned to their dragons, unleashing their fury upon Starfall and Skyreach and Hellholt. It was at Hellholt where the Dornish had their greatest success against the Targaryens. A bolt from a scorpion pierced the eye of Meraxes, and the great dragon and the queen who rode upon it fell from the sky. In her death throes, the dragon destroyed the castle's highest tower and part of the curtain wall. Queen Rhaenys's body was never returned to King's Landing.
The World of Ice and Fire, Dorne: Dorne Against the Dragons

Quicksilver

Died fighting with Balerion during the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye. Balerion is said to have grabbed Quicksilver's throat in it's jaws, rip one of it's wings off and let it fall to the ground. The previous information is taken from the wiki on the fight but I can't seem to find a book quote on it.

In the end, it was a confluence of the Faith and his own family that proved Maegor's undoing. In 43 AC, his nephew, Prince Aegon, attempted to win back the throne that by law should have been his, in what came to be known as the great Battle Beneath the Gods Eye. Aegon died in that battle, leaving behind his wife and sister Rhaena, and their two twin daughters; his dragon, Quicksilver, was lost as well.
The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I

Vermithor, Seasmoke and Tessarion

All three died in a fight together where Vermithor ripped Seasmoke's head off and then Vermithor died of fatal wounds given to it by Tessarion. Tessarion was the last to die, fatally wounded by Vermithor and unable to fly it was put out it's misery by an archer who shot it in the eye.

We shall never know the answers to those questions. All that history tells us is that three dragons fought amidst the mud and blood and smoke of Second Tumbleton. Seasmoke was first to die, when Vermithor locked his teeth into his neck and ripped his head off. Afterward the bronze dragon tried to take flight with his prize still in his jaws, but his tattered wings could not lift his weight. After a moment he collapsed and died. Tessarion, the Blue Queen, lasted until sunset. Thrice she tried to regain the sky, and thrice failed. By late afternoon she seemed to be in pain, so Lord Blackwood summoned his best archer, a longbowman known as Billy Burley, who took up a position a hundred yards away (beyond the range of the dying dragon’s fires) and sent three shafts into her eye as she lay helpless on the ground.
The Princess and the Queen

Dreamfyre

Injured in the attack at the Dragonpit by the attackers from arrows, bolts and spears so on it managed to kill a lot of atatckers. Eventually a crossbow bolt struck it's eye and it flew into the ceiling bringing it down on top of itself.

Unable to flee, Dreamfyre returned to the attack, savaging her tormenters until the sands of the pit were strewn with charred corpses, and the very air was thick with smoke and the smell of burned flesh, yet still the spears and arrows flew. The end came when a crossbow bolt nicked one of the dragon’s eyes. Half-blind, and maddened by a dozen lesser wounds, Dreamfyre spread her wings and flew straight up at the great dome above in a last desperate attempt to break into the open sky. Already weakened by blasts of dragonflame, the dome cracked under the force of impact, and a moment later half of it came tumbling down, crushing both dragon and dragonslayers under tons of broken stone and rubble.
The Princess and the Queen

Morghul

Died at the Dragonpit attack by the Burning Knight who ran through the dragons flame with spear in hand and killed it.

Morghul, it is written, was slain by the Burning Knight, a huge brute of a man in heavy armor who rushed headlong into the dragon’s flame with spear in hand, thrusting its point into the beast’s eye repeatedly even as the dragonflame melted the steel plate that encased him and devoured the flesh within.
The Princess and the Queen

Shrykos

Killed by Hobb the Hewer at the Dragonpit by seven blows to the head with an axe.

Shrykos was the first dragon to succumb, slain by a woodsman known as Hobb the Hewer, who leapt onto her neck, driving his axe down into the beast’s skull as Shrykos roared and twisted, trying to throw him off. Seven blows did Hobb deliver with his legs locked round the dragon’s neck, and each time his axe came down he roared out the name of one of the Seven. It was the seventh blow, the Stranger’s blow, that slew the dragon, crashing through scale and bones into the beast’s brain.
The Princess and the Queen

Syrax

Again killed at the Dragonpit but during the aftermath. It's unclear how Syrax was finally killed though it did die fighting on the ground and several people claim the kill through handheld weapons.

Unchained and riderless, Syrax might have easily have flown away from the madness. The sky was hers. She could have returned to the Red Keep, left the city entirely, taken wing for Dragonstone. Was it the noise and fire that drew her to the Hill of Rhaenys, the roars and screams of dying dragons, the smell of burning flesh? We cannot know, no more than we can know why Syrax chose to descend upon the mobs, rending them with tooth and claw and devouring dozens, when she might as easily have rained fire on them from above, for in the sky no man could have harmed her. We can only report what happened.
Many a conflicting tale is told of the death of the queen’s dragon. Some credit Hobb the Hewer and his axe, though this is almost certainly mistaken. Could the same man truly have slain two dragons on the same night and in the same manner? Some speak of an unnamed spearman, “a blood-soaked giant” who leapt from the Dragonpit’s broken dome onto the dragon’s back. Others relate how a knight named Ser Warrick Wheaton slashed a wing from Syrax with a Valyrian steel sword. A crossbowman named Bean would claim the kill afterward, boasting of it in many a wine sink and tavern, until one of the queen’s loyalists grew tired of his wagging tongue and cut it out. The truth of the matter no one will ever know—except that Syrax died that night.
The Princess and the Queen

Tyraxes

The last, of the list, to die at the dragonpit Tyraxes retreated into it's layer and killed all those who charged the entrance. Eventually the attackers charged the back entrance and Tyraxes got caught in it's chains. It's unclear how Tyraxes was slain and multiple people would claim to have done so.

Prince Joffrey’s Tyraxes retreated back into his lair, we are told, roasting so many would-be dragonslayers as they rushed after him that its entrance was soon made impassable by their corpses. But it must be recalled that each of these man-made caves had two entrances, one fronting on the sands of the pit, the other opening onto the hillside, and soon the rioters broke in by the “back door,” howling through the smoke with swords and spears and axes. As Tyraxes turned, his chains fouled, entangling him in a web of steel that fatally limited his movement. Half a dozen men (and one woman) would later claim to have dealt the dragon the mortal blow.
The Princess and the Queen

Sunfyre

Was injured by several dragons, but defeated them all: Meleys (who nearly tore a wing from it's body), Grey Ghost (Left Sunfyre with one eye and lots of wounds) and Moondancer (Lots of injuries and they both fell to the floor together). After these fights Sunfyre eventually succumbed to it's wounds and died.

In the days following his half sister’s death, the king still clung to the hope that Sunfyre might recover enough strength to fly again. Instead the dragon only seemed to weaken further, and soon the wounds in his neck began to stink. Even the smoke he exhaled had a foul smell to it, and toward the end he would no longer eat. On the ninth day of the twelfth moon of 130 AC, the magnificent golden dragon that had been King Aegon’s glory died in the yard of Dragonstone where he had fallen. His Grace wept.
The Princess and the Queen

Moondancer

Killed by Sunfyre after several injuries, blinding by dargon fire and eventually falling to the ground.

They met amidst the darkness that comes before the dawn, shadows in the sky lighting the night with their fires. Moondancer eluded Sunfyre’s flames, eluded his jaws, darted beneath his grasping claws, then came around and raked the larger dragon from above, opening a long smoking wound down his back and tearing at his injured wing. Watchers below said that Sunfyre lurched drunkenly in the air, fighting to stay aloft, whilst Moondancer turned and came back at him, spitting fire. Sunfyre answered with a furnace blast of golden flame so bright it lit the yard below like a second sun, a blast that took Moondancer full in the eyes. Like as not, the young dragon was blinded in that instant, yet still she flew on, slamming into Sunfyre in a tangle of wings and claws. As they fell, Moondancer struck at Sunfyre’s neck repeatedly, tearing out mouthfuls of flesh, whilst the elder dragon sank his claws into her underbelly. Robed in fire and smoke, blind and bleeding, Moondancer’s wings beat desperately as she tried to break away, but all her efforts did was slow their fall.
The watchers in the yard scrambled for safety as the dragons slammed into the hard stone, still fighting. On the ground, Moondancer’s quickness proved of little use against Sunfyre’s size and weight. The green dragon soon lay still. The golden dragon screamed his victory and tried to rise again, only to collapse back to the ground with hot blood pouring from his wounds.
The Princess and the Queen

Grey Ghost

Was killed by Sunfyre after Sunfyre returned to Dragonstone and then partially eaten though details of the fight are unclear.

Sunfyre could no longer soar, not remain in the air for long, but must needs struggle to fly even short distances. Yet somehow he had crossed the waters of Blackwater Bay … for it was Sunfyre that the sailors on the Nessaria had seen attacking Grey Ghost.
...
Moondancer was a young dragon, pale green, with horns and crest and wingbones of pearl. Aside from her great wings, she was no larger than a warhorse, and weighed less. She was very quick, however, and Sunfyre, though much larger, still struggled with a malformed wing, and had taken fresh wounds from Grey Ghost.
The Princess and the Queen

Meleys

Killed by Vhagar and Sunfyre during a fight against both of them but did manage to almost tear one of Sunfyre's wings from it's body.

Those closest to the dragons did not live to tell the tale. Those farther off could not see, for the flame and smoke. It was hours before the fires guttered out. But from those ashes, only Vhagar rose unharmed. Meleys was dead, broken by the fall and ripped to pieces upon the ground. And Sunfyre, that splendid golden beast, had one wing half torn from his body, whilst his royal rider had suffered broken ribs, a broken hip, and burns that covered half his body. His left arm was the worst. The dragonflame had burned so hot that the king’s armor had melted into his flesh.
The Princess and the Queen

Vermax

Died in the Battle in the Gullet after crashign into the sea though why it flew too low and crashed is unclear.

… till Vermax flew too low, and went crashing down into the sea.
Several differing tales were told afterward of how and why the dragon fell. Some claimed a crossbowman put an iron bolt through his eye, but this version seems suspiciously similar to the way Meraxes met her end, long ago in Dorne. Another account tells us that a sailor in the crow’s nest of a Myrish galley cast a grapnel as Vermax was swooping through the fleet. One of its prongs found purchase between two scales, and was driven deep by the dragon’s own considerable speed. The sailor had coiled his end of the chain about the mast, and the weight of the ship and the power of Vermax’s wings tore a long jagged gash in the dragon’s belly. The dragon’s shriek of rage was heard as far off as Spicetown, even through the clangor of battle. His flight jerked to a violent end, Vermax went down smoking and screaming, clawing at the water. Survivors said he struggled to rise, only to crash headlong into a burning galley. Wood splintered, the mast came tumbling down, and the dragon, thrashing, became entangled in the rigging. When the ship heeled over and sank, Vermax sank with her.
The Princess and the Queen

Arrax

Was killed by Vhagar after a short battle during a storm and fell into the sea for it's head and neck to wash up to shore a few days later.

Outside, the storm was raging. Thunder rolled across the castle, the rain fell in blinding sheets, and from time to time great bolts of blue-white lightning lit the world as bright as day. It was bad weather for flying, even for a dragon, and Arrax was struggling to stay aloft when Prince Aemon mounted Vhagar and went after him. Had the sky been calm, Prince Lucerys might have been able to outfly his pursuer, for Arrax was younger and swifter … but the day was black, and so it came to pass that the dragons met above Shipbreaker Bay. Watchers on the castle walls saw distant blasts of flame, and heard a shriek cut the thunder. Then the two beasts were locked together, lightning crackling around them. Vhagar was five times the size of her foe, the hardened survivor of a hundred battles. If there was a fight, it could not have lasted long.
Arrax fell, broken, to be swallowed by the storm-lashed waters of the bay. His head and neck washed up beneath the cliffs below Storm’s End three days later, to make a feast for crabs and seagulls. Prince Lucerys’s corpse washed up as well.
The Princess and the Queen

Stormcloud

Fled from the Battle in the Gullet but sustained arrow wounds and a scorpion bolt through it's neck. After reaching Dragonstone it succumbed to it's wounds and died.

The tale reached Dragonstone only when Prince Aegon arrived desperately clinging to the neck of his dragon, Stormcloud. The boy was white with terror, shaking like a leaf and stinking of piss. Only nine, he had never flown before … and would never fly again, for Stormcloud had been terribly wounded as he fled, arriving with the stubs of countless arrows embedded in his belly and a scorpion bolt through his neck. He died within the hour, hissing as the hot blood gushed black and smoking from his wounds.
The Princess and the Queen

There are some more dragons in Westeros including Balerion the Black Dread but these either died of natural causes (Balerion, The Last Dragon, Morning) or dissappeard (Silverwing, Sheep Stealer, Cannibal).

There is also the case of Urrax, an ancient dragon, who was allegedly killed by Serwyn of the Mirror Shield by plunging a spear into it's eye. However, it is unclear if this is a true story or not.

"No doubt. Well, Hugor Hill, answer me this. How did Serwyn of the Mirror Shield slay the dragon Urrax?"
"He approached behind his shield. Urrax saw only his own reflection until Serwyn had plunged his spear through his eye."
A Dance with Dragons, Tyrion III


Game of Thrones

We first see Drogon be harmed by spears in the fighting pits in Mereen when he comes to save Dany from the Sons of the Harpy. Dany pulls at least one spear out of Drogon's side so it certainly injured him at least a bit.

He is later injured by the Lannister Ballista in Season 7 when she, Drogon and the Dothraki attack the caravan train. Here Drogon screams in pain and falls to the ground where Dany again pulls it out of his shoulder.

Qyburn had also previously proven the ballista's effectiveness by shooting it into a dragons skull in the basement at the Red Keep.

In Season 7 Episode 6, "Beyond the Wall",

Viserion, was killed by the Night King after throwing an ice spear into him just under his wing. You can watch that scene here.

As of Season 8 Episode 4, "The Last of the Starks",

Rhaegal was sniped out of the sky by Euron and the scorpions on the ships of the Iron Fleet. He fell into the ocean dead as a dodo. You can watch that scene here.

The wikia on the dragons also mentions some more dragons, mainly those from the books. However, as most of the information seems to be taken from the books and not the show I will not repeat it here.

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