64

Twice in the books Daenerys has been in situations where it is reasonable to expect that she would have been burned to death, or at least seriously injured, yet has come out unharmed.

The first time was when she stepped into the funeral pyre of Khal Drogo, which resulted in her dragon eggs hatching. The second time is in A Dance with Dragons, when she is exposed to Drogon's fire.

In both instances, all that happens to her is her hair is burned away.

I can't be certain, but I believe there may have been references in the first book to her touching burning coals and other hot materials, as well.

Is this a trait shared by other Targaryens? Her brother certainly wasn't immune to molten gold, and while a number of Targaryens were fascinated with fire (Aerion Targaryen died from drinking wildfire, believing it would turn him into a dragon), I don't recall seeing mention of any Targaryen shrugging off fire.

Is Daenerys' apparent immunity explained anywhere?

  • 1
    Ever thought it was because Daenerys got hit by dragonfire and not just regular fire? Dragons are strongly connected with magic, it's possible right that their fire has magical properties, right? Or that it just burns super hot. Take Harrenhal for instance, the dragonfire melted the stone but Dany only got blisters from the same thing. She could just have a high tolerance and stone melting heat could be a threshold but it also might be because the dragonfire has magical properties. Food for thought, cause I don't actually know and find this question fascinating to think about. – user22913 Feb 16 '14 at 17:24
  • 5
    @Kathy The funeral pyre was not dragon fire though. – Möoz Jul 16 '14 at 20:49
  • 1
    Isn't she also supposedly a new Azor Ahai, chosen warrior of R'hllor? If that's the case, she might have have some extra protection from the fire god until she completes her task (preventing human extinction at the hands of the White Walkers). – Liesmith Dec 1 '14 at 18:08
  • Wildfire is not actual fire, it's a chemical concoction and so would be poison. – Broklynite Feb 22 '16 at 8:28
  • 1
    FWIW: In the first book she steps into a hot bath and the servant tells her it's still way too hot (or something like that), but she doesn't notice anything unpleasant. – user1129682 Jul 4 '16 at 8:10
86
+100

Official Word of God says:

Lastly, some fans are reading too much into the scene in GAME OF THRONES where the dragons are born -- which is to say, it was never the case that all Targaryens are immune to all fire at all times.

Source: The Citadel: So Spake Martin - Egg and the Targaryens

Also this:

Granny: Do Targaryens become immune to fire once they "bond" to their dragons?

George RR Martin: Granny, thanks for asking that. It gives me a chance to clear up a common misconception. TARGARYENS ARE NOT IMMUNE TO FIRE! The birth of Dany's dragons was unique, magical, wonderous, a miracle. She is called The Unburnt because she walked into the flames and lived. But her brother sure as hell wasn't immune to that molten gold.

Revanshe: So she won't be able to do it again?

George RR Martin: Probably not.
Source: A question about Daenerys Targaryen in a Song of Ice and Fire (spoilers) - Forum - DakkaDakka

  • 8
    Wow. You won't get a much better answer than straight from the author. Good catch, Jimmy! – Omegacron Feb 18 '14 at 3:56
  • 5
    Except even George Martin was wrong...she did it again. I'm gonna go with the explanation that the hatching of the dragons shed some lasting, fire-retardant magic on her. – xr280xr May 23 '16 at 16:07
  • 6
    @xr280xr this may very well be a place where the book and show split. There are good reasons to believe that the season 6 scene will not occur in the books. – kuhl May 27 '16 at 0:04
  • 1
    I have to differ, respectfully, with GRRM -- Daenerys is immune from flame and heat. – Jeff Aug 16 '17 at 0:33
  • 2
    Silly fans, reading a lot into a person walking into a huge pyre, staying until it dies out, and coming out unscathed... I think GRRM is being straight-out inconsistent here. There's no way she would have walked into the pyre if she had not already known she was immune to fire, which could only happen if she experienced this immunity beforehand. Dany is immune to fire and has been since birth. The pyre was pivotal in that others learned it as well. That doesn't say other Targaryens are immune too - of course, a lot of theorizing can be done about why Dany has this ability. – Meni Rosenfeld Sep 2 '17 at 22:23
20

As of the end of A Dance with Dragons the Targaryen immunity to fire is intentionally left ambiguous; As is most of the dogma behind dragons. She is obviously highly resistant to fire and heat at the very least.

A Dance with Dragons introduces other characters who believe they have Targaryens blood. It is inferred by those characters that they should be immune to fire.

According to A Wiki of Ice and Fire:

The phrase "blood of the dragon" refers to a number of typical Targaryen features: silvery-gold (or platinum) hair and violet eyes. Some Targaryens also have a high tolerance of heat, though they are by no means immune to fire.

13

From the last chapter

Dany can be burned.

Her skin was pink and tender, and a pale milky fluid was leaking from her cracked palms, but her burns were healing.

  • 7
    She had just been doused with dragon fire. Normal people would have been burnt to a crisp, not suffer a few quickly healed burns. So she's at least highly resistant to fire if not completely immune. – System Down Jun 27 '13 at 17:20
10

It does seem to be a regressive genetic trait, if it is a genetic trait, as it is not shared by all Targaryens. There are a few allusions to her apparent heat resistant qualities before the funeral pyre and the hatching of the dragons: most clear is the scene where she picks up the dragon egg that she had placed in the coals in her tent. Her hands are untouched while her handmaiden burns hers after a much shorter contact. In the book, but not in the tv series, it is mentioned she likes her bath to be hotter than most people would find tolerable.

The other explanation is that it is Magic (add tinkly music) - the first instance when she is clearly fireproof is the funeral pyre scene. This is meant to be a magical event, though no spells are read out nor is there magic lightning effects. Magic in the world of GoT is purposefully ambiguous, not unlike Tolkien's world - there is no neat explanation anywhere what it does and does not do or how many kilojoules of willpower are needed for an effect of magnitude X. However it has been alluded that the re-emergence of dragons has made magic a more potent force everywhere

So it is largely open to interpretation my the reader/watcher, I would guess it is a bit of both. Daenerys is heat resistant by her blood heritage, but the effect is magnified by her magical link to the dragons.

  • 5
    In the first episode of the tv series, Daenerys is shown taking a bath while a handmaiden warns her that the bath is too hot, but Daenerys is too distracted to notice. – Jean Hominal May 6 '13 at 13:31
3

Unfortunately I'm still in the middle of Dance of the Dragons so can't comment on the second, but I came away from the first incident with the distinct impression that the magic of the dragons themselves were protecting her. In other words, she didn't have an inherent immunity but in the dragons' immediate presence she is effectively immune.

3

During the funeral pyre incident the witch who was burned alive was chanting a spell, that may have been intended to confer fire protection onto the witch, but ended up being misdirected onto Dany.

As has been stated by Beofett, she ducked Drogon's Fire.

The other two cases of her 'heat' resistance where the higher than normally comfortable temperature of her bath, and her touching the dragon eggs after they were heated to the point when another would be burned. These indicate she has some inherent heat resistance.

Some people criticise the show for making more of her heat/fire resistance than the novels; but since the author has been closely involved in the show, I don't see that as being a 'mistake' on the part of the show.

  • The thing about the eggs is that no one else felt their warmth, Dany may have felt a connection rather than actual heat. The bath? Meh, I can sit in a bath that has had only hot water placed into it, I've gotten used to it, she seems to have done the same; if you look back, you'll see that at first she doesn't like the baths too hot. – Möoz Aug 30 '17 at 3:35
2

While it is left somewhat ambiguous as to whether her family is inherently immune to fire, she certainly seems to be that way. While the second time she is 'burned' mentions pink and tender skin as well as sores, she herself later reflects that only her hair burned away, just like the first time. She even goes so far to try and make a hat to cover up her head.

Is she truly immune to fire? Perhaps, perhaps not. She had sores and tender flesh, but those might have been friction burns. She claims to have lost her whip somewhere along the way, if it got ripped out of her hands that would explain the sores.

What remains certain is that she was subjected to fire hot enough to burn away her hair and come away unharmed. If that is not total immunity to fire, it's quite possibly the closest thing you're going to get.

While I don't doubt that at one point Martin might have intended it to be a one-time deal, it clearly is not. Also, there are more hints that Targaryen blood has power in it. Ben Plumm is quite liked by the dragons. One of them even goes so far as to land on his shoulder from time to time, something they only seem to do with Daenerys. So yes, I do think Targaryen blood has some sort of dragon-affinity and Daenerys herself has an immunity to fire.

  • The prince of Dorne was hit by a firebreath from one of the lesser two dragons and he was so badly burned that he no longer had any lips and his body was described as charred. Even a man who had only tried to help him afterwards had hands burned to the point of no longer being able to wield a sword. Yet Daenarys comes away with only her hair burned away despite the fact that several thousand people see her taking a full blast from Drogon, the largest of her dragons. – Theik Feb 17 '14 at 20:04
  • 1
    If you recall, that was one of the reasons I asked the question. However, the prince of Dorne was hit full-on by the breath. If I recall the book (and the wiki synopsis agrees with my recollection), Danerys only got close to the flame. I do not believe she actually "took a full blast". The actual quote was "With a hisssssss, he spat black fire down at her. Dany darted underneath the flames, swinging the whip and shouting" (emphasis mine). That's a big difference. – Beofett Feb 17 '14 at 20:12
  • 1
    Basic physics. First: air is an excellent insulator. Second: heat rises. No natural fire is of uniform temperature; the hottest part is generally at the peak of the center portion of the flame. I see no reason to suspect that dragon fire would behave any differently. Sure, dragonfire can melt chains. The fire dumped on Viserys' head was hot enough to melt gold, but Khal Drogo's men were still able to get close enough to pick up the cookpot without bursting into flames. – Beofett Feb 17 '14 at 20:53
  • 2
    I admit, I may have dozed off when we discussed the natural properties of dragonfire in physics class. However, there is a distinct difference between gold melting because it has been subjected to a fire long enough and hair being scorched away in seconds by mere proximity. Even if we were to assume that Daenarys had ducked away entirely, anything that would have scorched her hair away would have left severe burns. – Theik Feb 17 '14 at 21:20
  • 1
    I believe I was somewhat mistaken: hair may actually burn at a higher temperature than skin. However, it takes only a fraction of time of exposure to heat for hair to ignite compared to how long it takes for skin to burn. All you need to do to see this is to run the flame of a lighter across your arm, or stand too close to a BBQ when it flares up. You will lose your hair, but not suffer any injuries so long as your exposure to the heat/flame is only a second or two. – Beofett Feb 18 '14 at 19:38

protected by Aegon May 10 '18 at 13:44

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.