In the book, Dany's handmaids (or maybe it was the maegi) mention features of her stillborn having to do with scales, a stub tail, among other "monstrous" traits, if I remember correctly.

Does this mean it was maybe half-dragon? Or made to have a dragon's appearance by the maegi? It would relate to her being "mother of dragons", though that is thrown around referring to her ritual in which the dragon eggs hatched.

Disclaimer: I haven't seen the HBO Series yet, so I don't know if the stillborn is shown and how it is pictured. Also, I'm only as far as the beginning of the third book, so I don't know if more is ever mentioned later on.

10 Answers 10


The TV show episode "Fire and Blood" did not differ much from the book. The birth scene was not shown. I recall the the post-birth dialogue was similar to the book as well.

Here's the relevant excerpt from the book (p. 756-757 in the US mass market paperback):

"Tell me how my child died."

"He never lived, my princess. The women say . . ." He faltered, and Dany saw how the flesh hung loose on him, and the way he limped when he moved.

"Tell me. Tell me what the women say."

He turned his face away. His eyes were haunted. "They say the child was . . ."

She waited, but Ser Jorah could not say it. His face grew dark with shame. He looked half a corpse himself.

"Monstrous," Mirri Maz Duur finished for him. The knight was a powerful man, yet Dany understood in that moment that the maegi was was stronger, and crueler, and infinitely more dangerous. "Twisted. I drew him forth myself. He was scaled like a lizard, blind, with the stub of a tail and small leather wings like the wings of a bat. When I touched him, the flesh sloughed off the bone, and inside he was full of graveworms and the stink of corruption. He had been dead for years."

Darkness, Dany thought. The terrible darkness sweeping up behind to devour her. If she looked back she was lost. "My son was alive and strong when Ser Jorah carried me into this tent," she said. "I could feel him kicking, fighting to be born."

"That may be as it may be," answered Mirri Maz Duur, "yet the creature that came forth from your womb was as I said. Death was in that tent, Khaleesi."

"Only shadows," Ser Jorah husked, but Dany could hear the doubt in his voice. "I saw, maegi. I saw you, alone, dancing with the shadows."

"The grave casts long shadows, Iron Lord," Mirri said. "Long and dark, and in the end no light can hold them back."

The TV show episode did not show the birth and the scene based on this excerpt contained essentially the same dialogue.

Since there is no birth scene depicted in the book or the film, the reader is left with the report of Mirri Maz Duur, who has proven to be untrustworthy in some matters, and rumors from others based on what Dany's servants saw. It is possible that Mirri created these rumors herself and killed the child in order to prevent the prophecy about the child from coming true. It is also possible that Mirri knew she would be dead soon so she had nothing to lose and no reason to lie to Dany. The author left it up to the reader to decide on the accuracy of these accounts.

Addendum: There is precedent for a stillborn Targaryen baby with dragon features. From the short story The Princess and the Queen, Rhaenyra Targaryen gave birth to a stillborn child:

When the babe at last came forth, she proved indeed a monster: a stillborn girl, twisted and malformed, with a hole in her chest where her heart should have been and a stubby, scaled tail. The dead girl had been named Visenya.

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    Yes, more or less as I recalled, thanks for the full excerpt! But surely the author doesn't mean to just leave such strong symbolism hanging in the air? It should not be by mere coincidence that the maegi would give a description strongly resembling that of a dragon, before knowing that Dany was ever to have hatchlings as she burned at the stake. And Jorah would have denied had her claims been too far off. I wonder if it's mentioned in later books. Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 4:03
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    Also all that to do with "been dead for years", and the focus on being corruption, filled with graveworms. I don't get why mention dragon-like features in that context. Does it all come together under some theory or are there these two independent symbolisms to the stillborn? Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 4:07
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    @Vic That's an interesting question. It would be worth it for me to flip through the book to see what Mirri knows about Dany's background as the dragon. I have not read any of the later books, so I do not know if the baby is mentioned again. I checked some wikis on the internet, but I could not find anything. Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 16:01
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    Mirri Maz Duur was definitely not a person to be trusted on anything concerning Daenerys, she was determined to avenge Daenerys for all evil her people brought and would of course lie to hurt her. She probably also new that rumors about Daenerys giving birth to a monster would hurt her standing in the khalasar. As for Jorah, he probably wasn't even there, as he says "the women say", so he hasn't seen anything in his own eyes, probably maegi just told him to wait outside since it's not a man's business to assist birth.
    – StasM
    Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 21:32
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    Is it possible Mirri took the child and he was not stillborn as she said. To be raised as a peasant since we never seen the body or anything but her word? Maybe to come back books later with the dragon traits as his blood was of strong genes???? I wished we could have seen the birth so I would know if it was factual. Commented Dec 15, 2011 at 21:47

As far as I understand, Mirri is not the only one who sees the stillborn, monstrous baby: it seems unlikely she could have killed the newborn with the other women around and no-one wanted to see the body or question what happened. When Daenerys asks about her child, no-one wants to speak, so it is left to Mirri to describe the full horror of her revenge, the scene does not read like she was the only one who had seen or knew of the condition of the stillborn. The baby was essentially corrupted and killed by the spell Mirri Maz Duur used to resurrect Khal Drogo - so in fact she did kill him, just not in a more mundanely physical way.


Did Maege had something to do with Daenerys' Child's appearence?

For Daenerys' child's death, it is certain that Maege was responsible. However as far as the Babe's appearence is concerned It is not Maege's fault apparently because Targaryens have had malformed dragon-babies without having Maeges around in the past. So it appears to be some genetic defect that runs in the Blood of the Dragon.

Historically Malformed Targaryen Children

  1. Malformed Children of Maegor I one of whom is described as "Eye-less monstrosity". Later however it was revealed that Queen Tyanna was responsible for the still-births and was executed by her husband. Curiously one of the Children from Queen Elinor Costayne lacked any eyes and had Dragon wings.
  2. Daemon Targaryen had a deformed still born son with Laena Velaryon. The extent of deformity is not described.
  3. Rhaenyra Targaryen gave birth to a malformed stillborn girl who had a tail and a hole in place of her heart.

Daenerys' Child in Books

It has been already transcribed by BennyMcBen but repeated here for consistency:

"Twisted. I drew him forth myself. He was scaled like a lizard, blind, with the stub of a tail and small leather wings like the wings of a bat. When I touched him, the flesh sloughed off the bone, and inside he was full of graveworms and the stink of corruption. He had been dead for years."

Daenerys' Child in Show

From Season 1 Episode 10, this is how Show described the Child:

Maege: Monstrous, twisted. I pulled him out myself. He was scaled like a lizard, blind, with leather wings like the wings of a bat. When I touched him the skin fell from his bones. Inside he was full of graveworms. I warned you that only death can pay for life. You knew the price.

Daenerys: Where is Khal Drogo? Show him to me. Show me what I bought with my son's life.

Is that why Daenerys is called Mother of Dragons?

Absolutely not. If that was true, Rhaenyra Targaryen also mothered a dragon. Daemon and Maegor also fathered dragons.

Daenerys is called Mother of Dragons because she brought three dragons from dead eggs back to life. So figuratively, she went into fire and gave birth to dragons.


This is actually genetic because Daenerys' ancestress Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen also had a stillborn "dragon baby" called Visenya.

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    Can you a reference for this? Commented Jun 15, 2014 at 16:41

It sounds to me like the baby had Harlequin Ichthiosis. 1 in 300,000 births have this horrible defect. Except for the whole "full of grave worms" thing (which I think Mirri made up just to further torment Daenerys) the rest of the description is textbook H.I..


Mirri Maz Duur sacrificed Rhaego for Khal Drogo's "life" - albeit in a vegetative state. She claimed - with some justification - that Daenerys had tacitly agreed to that after her "life for a life" speech. There was probably nothing at all wrong with him and he was not stillborn.


I read the first book many years before the TV show and all this subsequent information from GRRM's histories like Fire and Blood written so many years after the original novel, so my take is based on the dialogue in the first book and having read a zillion fantasy books.

The Maegi seemed to have used a spell that exchanged life for life, which was the purpose of the stallion for Drogo but the baby's life was also drained but mostly into the Dragon eggs, which were fossilized and hundreds of years old. I always interpreted the line about Rhaego being "dead for years" as to reflect a direct exchange of the actual condition of the dragons prespell into Rhaego and his life into them as well as some of their appearance. I also think that without the spell, he was a normal child, because Dany later has a vision of him as a tall bronze man with white hair braided with the Dothraki and he is normal in appearance there and in the vision in the House of Undying, again he is normal in that one, and was in the TV adaptation in that scene. The Maegi in the book version is very glad to gloat over killing Rhaego and that "the stallion that mounts the world" prediction by the Crones of Vos Dothrak will not come true at all. She has made sure no son of Dany will rule the world.

So, I think poor Rhaego's appearance was a mess just like stated, but because of the spell rather than some random Tarygaren birth defect. All that stuff was written years after the first book in the Histories by GRRM, and may have been added to make Rhaego's death more mysterious and to bolster stronger ties of the Tarygarens with the Dragons and his hinted Valyrian hybridization rituals. He also has admitted experimenting with past characters or concepts to please fans or add more interest to what has been already stated, Gerold Darkstar is an example of GRRM trying to recreate the excitement the Red viper had on his fanbase by his own admission to fans. He also was interviewed and said he was shocked so many people figured out Rhaegar and Lyanna were John's parents, and he liked to keep more things obscure than that, and now he has added a Tarygaren Princess who accidently died of Fireworms from a flight to Valyria in Fire and Blood. (Although R+L=J was easy to see in the FIRST book to me!)

So I think the recurrent birth defect like dragon thing is something retconned into GOT, although stillbirths and defects could occur easily in an inbred family like that of course. FIrst book, it seemed the spell caused it, period...


I always thought the child was born "monstrous" as a result of Daenerys entering the tent in the middle of Mirri's magic. But after Rhaenyra giving birth to a stillborn dragon-girl this cannot be taken as a coincidence.

Also, while it would seem logical to think they were stillborn because they were malformed, what if they were malformed because they were stillborn? Maybe all targs are half-dragons, but they finish the development in the womb.

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    Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see how this answers the question. Were you attempting to comment on the question or another answer?
    – Null
    Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 18:50
 The baby's death and Drogo's vegetative state wasn't the Maegi's fault. 

I feel the baby died because Daenerys was told to stay out of the tent but Sir Jorah freaked when Daenerys was going into labor and he didn't know what to do. He picked her up, and carried her into the tent so the Maegi could aid in birth. The Maegi was in the middle of sacrificing Drogo's horse, but the spell redirected to the baby since it wants human life for a human life.

The reason Drogo was in a vegetative state was because babies are in vegetative states until born, except for minor movements or stretching, which I would assume was too into detail to just depict. So when the Maegi said the child had been dead for a long time, she meant he was turned into something that had been dead for a long time, as he took all the corruption and illness his father had been harboring that was ultimately killing him as well as dying to give life back to his father. The child wasn't born yet, so he really couldn't do much beyond the minor movements. He became stillborn.

As for the dragon-like parts, Daenerys is half dragon by blood, so her child would inherit the strong genes shown in her with the immunity to fire, as well as the physical genes shown in other Targaryen-born children (that ultimately died).

So, in theory, the Maegi didn't intentionally kill the baby. Sir Jorah did with his devotion to his khaleesi and fear for her baby during it's birth. He wanted her and her child safe, but by taking the action he did, he killed the babe. Jorah brought khaleesi into the tent. His fear fueled this outcome. Even without Jorah, the child was 'doomed' according to the Maegi, "the child had been dead for years."

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    Hi. Welcome. It looks like you are telling your own opinion without any sources or quotes. Also, you answered in a question that was already answered... be sure to add relevant informations.
    – Bebs V
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 14:31

My guess would be that she killed the child because it was half dragon etc OR it was a healthy child and she killed it because he would be heir to Drogo's Khalasar and to Khaleesi's claim to the Iron throne.

  • It was born dead.. Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 13:38
  • By the way Rhaego would have been heir to nothing. Dothraki follow strength, not blood. If Rhaego wanted to inherit his father's Khalasar, he would have had to win it. Similarly from his mother's side, he would have gotten only a claim, nothing else. Unless of course She took the IT. Doesn't matter though, Rhaego died, Drogo died.
    – Aegon
    Commented Jun 1, 2016 at 8:49

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