In S05E09 "The Dance of Dragons", Daenerys Targaryen and her advisors find themselves

surrounded in the arena by The Sons of the Harpy, vastly out-numbered.

The situation looks pretty grim, when all of a sudden

a dragon's roar is heard, and her missing dragon Drogon shows up to defend Dany & her friends. After he is wounded by the Sons, Dany climbs onto his back and flies off.

This scene played out differently in the books. In the book, the dragon

was drawn to the arena early on, attracted to the sounds of battle & the smell of blood. Once he landed, he was pretty much out of control - breathing fire at everyone and everything, including Dany herself. She ultimately had to use a whip on him, and flew away with him as much to save everyone else as anything.

Within the context of the show, how did Drogon know that Dany needed him, and how did he know who to attack?

I haven't seen all of Season 5 yet so I'm assuming maybe I missed something.

  • 2
    Season 5 was a giant enormous plothole in itself. I don't think there's an explanation to this truly. – yondaime008 Jun 19 '15 at 18:09
  • 2
    @yondaime008 agreed, with every season it's getting worse and worse. But at least D&D are explaining major events in their inside the episodes. – Nika G. Jun 19 '15 at 19:10
  • @yondaime008: was it, or is it just diverging from the books? (I ask as a non-book-reader, and wonder if it’s easier for me to accept the TV plots because I haven’t read them.) – Paul D. Waite Jun 22 '15 at 14:50
  • @PaulD.Waite well to be short, a lot of side arcs that could explain certain events were skipped, a lot of characters didnt' even make it to the show and were replaced by others which made a new confusion as these characters were put in situations they were not supposed to be in, Sansa Stark is an example of that as she never was supposed to marry Ramsay or even come near Winterfell. these differences are a bit tough to manage and I believe generated a lot of plotholes (i am not a show watcher btw) – yondaime008 Jun 22 '15 at 19:15
  • @yondaime008: “a lot of characters didnt' even make it to the show and were replaced by others which made a new confusion as these characters were put in situations they were not supposed to be in” — well, I think that’s only confusing if you’re watching the show and expecting it to be a literal adaptation of the books. In the show, Sansa marrying Ramsay seems to make sense — the Boltons are trying to legitimise their claim to the North; and Littlefinger is trying to play all sides at once. – Paul D. Waite Jun 22 '15 at 22:53

David Benioff has confirmed that

Dany and Drogon share deep connection. And the event in the fighting pit is evidence that Drogon has ability to sense when Dany is in peril.

for more details watch Game of Thrones Season 5: Inside the Episode #9 from 6:44

  • 1
    "My dragons made no such promise. And you have threatened their mother." – user46271 Jun 19 '15 at 21:17
  • Also interesting is the second paragraph of Dragonriders of this wiki page which implies that in the past there were also evidence of a dragon sensing something happening to the one bonded to it. – Ivo Beckers Apr 26 '16 at 14:46

I was going to try answering this even before I saw that you were familiar with the scene in the books. But basically, a few established facts to consider:


  • Drogon has been shown (in earlier episodes) to frequent the area before this scene, notably in areas around Dany (like the pyramid/ziggurat she lives in on that one night on her balcony)
  • Dragons have been shown previously to have strong senses, especially that of smell and hearing based on their repeated scenes of flaring nostrils and sniffing sounds, and their ability to hear Dany even when she whispers subtly to them or others, and their ability to hear others approach before the human characters do
  • The arena was VERY noisy, with plenty of sounds of screams and yells of combat, long before the Dragon showed up. Along with the other points above, I think it's safe to follow the show's logic and it is very much aligned with that same reasoning used in the book.
  • As for who the dragon attacked, note how few of her allies are among those people on the sand. Literally everyone in an open area aside from her merry little group was an enemy, and it is shown that the dragon is attacking at random first, then focuses on those attacking it afterward (which were Dany's enemies). And, to help out even more, the dragons haven't just been shown to care for and want to protect Dany, but they've been shown as smart enough to recognize threats to her as well.
  • Ziggurat! Haven't read that word in a while :D Perfect usage though.... – Stark07 Jun 20 '15 at 1:48
  • This is the correct book-based answer. Drogon was simply attracted to the noise and the smell of the fighters' blood. – Möoz Jun 14 '16 at 21:55

Dragons are smart beasts who can sense the distress of their riders. A dragon and its rider share a very deep and mysterious bond which is formed at times when either party is either in the crib or egg.

They can sense their rider's likes and dislikes, their enemies, their friends and their families.

Even after Ser Otto had returned to Oldtown, a “queen’s party” still existed at court; a group of powerful lords friendly to Queen Alicent and supportive of the rights of her sons. Against them was pitted the “party of the princess.” King Viserys loved both his wife and daughter and hated conflict and contention. He strove all his days to keep the peace between his women and to please both with gifts and gold and honors. So long as he lived and ruled and kept the balance, the feasts and tourneys continued as before, and peace prevailed throughout the realm … though there were some, sharp-eyed, who observed the dragons of one party snapping and spitting flame at the dragons of the other party whenever they chanced to pass near each other.
The Rogue Prince


We shall not pretend to any understanding of the bond between dragon and dragonrider; wiser heads have pondered that mystery for centuries. We do know, however, that dragons are not horses, to be ridden by any man who throws a saddle on their back. Syrax was the queen’s dragon. She had never known another rider. Though Prince Joffrey was known to her by sight and scent, a familiar presence whose fumbling at her chains excited no alarm, the great yellow she-dragon wanted no part of him astride her.
The Princess and the Queen

This is not the first time a Dragon has shown some mysterious knowledge of their rider's distress. Queen Helaena's dragon snapped her chains when she jumped from the Red Keep even though the dragon was miles away at the Dragonpit.

The rumor of Queen Helaena’s “murder” was soon on the lips of half King’s Landing. That it was so quickly believed shows how utterly the city had turned against their once-beloved queen. Rhaenyra was hated; Helaena had been loved. Nor had the common folk of the city forgotten the cruel murder of Prince Jaehaerys by Blood and Cheese. Helaena’s end had been mercifully swift; one of the spikes took her through the throat and she died without a sound. At the moment of her death, across the city atop the Hill of Rhaenys, her dragon Dreamfyre rose suddenly with a roar that shook the Dragonpit, snapping two of the chains that bound her. When Queen Alicent was informed of her daughter’s passing, she rent her garments and pronounced a dire curse upon her rival. That night King’s Landing rose in bloody riot.
The Princess and the Queen

However in the episode that you describe, Daenerys was in no immediate danger. In the opening games of Daznak's reopening, Drogon was attracted by blood and fire as Dragons are wont to do. He killed the boar and Barsena and ate them both. Barristan Selmy thinks it was the blood and war that attracted Drogon to the pit:

They will come, Ser Barristan might have said. The noise will bring them, the shouts and screams, the scent of blood. That will draw them to the battlefield, just as the roar from Daznak's Pit drew Drogon to the scarlet sands.
ADWD: The Queen's Hand

However, we must note that Drogon has sensed Dany's distress before at the House of the Undying and saved her life.


One of the main reason Dragon sensed the dense cheering crowd and it got the smell of blood and that attracted it in slaughter pit, it was near by to the fighting area.


With almost every Stark having a some level of psychic/warg connection to their direwolves, is it so outlandish to think that someone descended from a family with a history bound to those of dragons, who has an ability to withstand inferno fires (which would seem a bit more implausible), might have some sort of mental bond with her dragons?

Especially where you can always pull out a cop-out answer of "magic." (Stannis kills his brother, people coming back from the dead, etc).

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