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Pretty big, actually.
May 2, 2014 9:33 AM   Subscribe

Just how big are the Game of Thrones dragons, anyway? [Contains minor book spoilers for the Unsullied]
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering (78 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'd like to conquer an empire with Pete's Dragon. I suspect there would be less fighting.
posted by arcticseal at 9:49 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


I suspect anyone involved in the invasion would forget what they're doing and find something to eat.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:52 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


You want big dragons? In Glorantha (the setting for tabletop RPGs Runequest, Hero Wars, and HeroQuest and the iOS game King of Dragoon Pass), the Dragons are mostly mountain ranges these days, whose dreams are so potent that they create various dragon-like creatures of great terror who are strictly ephemeral, living only centuries. So, if you want bad-ass dragons, Glorantha is your place.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:03 AM on May 2 [4 favorites]


I love how dragons still capture my imagination even though I'm an adult.

At least, on a physical/age-basis.
posted by glaucon at 10:06 AM on May 2 [4 favorites]


I'm your basic run-of-the-mill fantasy-loving D&D-playing geek, but I never liked the 'big as a house' dragons. My favorite dragons were barely over nine feet or so. What made them frightening and fearsome was all of the other stuff: ferocious hand-to-hand combatants, pretty hot breath weapon, but also competent sorcerers, and above all, a feral cunning and intelligence that made them wonders to behold.

But then again, my favorite dragons were (in my mind's eye) just very smart, talented and powerful six-to-nine feet tall lizard men with wings and wicked senses of humor, so I realize I'm an outlier here.
posted by eclectist at 10:26 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


Your Petes and Smaugs and Dany's Dragons are all fine and dandy, but in a pinch, I wouldn't want anybody by my side but a Night Fury.
posted by kmz at 10:28 AM on May 2 [6 favorites]


King of Dragoon Pass

Wherein your regiment of 18th century hussars fights glorious battles against the dastardly Russians, Moguls and, ultimately, the ravening Napoleonic Army, whos' chaos threatens to swallow all of EuropeGlorantha.

Bonus Gloranthan speculation: dragons are to Glorantha as viruses are to a cell: a parasitic infection which hopes to incubate their next generation in one of the brief bubbles in the sea of chaos. The same chaos which their young, the successful dragonnewts, will return to as adults.
posted by bonehead at 10:42 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


The shots of Arya next to a dragon skull gave me a Dark Souls vibe, where the fantasy monsters are hideous, gigantic abominations which are more gods than mortal creatures.

Sort of like the monsters in The Mist.

Anyway, if that is true, then Daenerys is essentially breeding Westeros' Armageddon. Without spoiling anything, that's a great direction to take her character.
posted by codacorolla at 10:51 AM on May 2 [4 favorites]


I'm not so sure. I mean, basically all she needs to do is land with 10K Unsullied and three (!) badass dragons and say "I'm in charge now. Anyone got a problem with that? You do? Dracarys."

Dany invading Westeros is going to be a piece of cake. She has dragons FFS. It would be like showing up to Agincourt with tanks and bombers. One demonstration of her power and she wins.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:53 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


[reference IMG]
posted by Eideteker at 10:54 AM on May 2 [9 favorites]


Now click the below infographic to view every single dragon on one scale:

WHAR IS VERMITHRAX? WHAR?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:10 AM on May 2 [5 favorites]


I love GOT, but I was so hoping that the dragons would just be a myth. Dragons? Really? I can suspend disbelief for all sorts of silly things, but I draw the line at dragons. And the bigger they are the more silly they seem.
posted by cccorlew at 11:20 AM on May 2


You might consider that a Seadragonus Giganticus Maximus is 240m in length (20x a T. rex).
posted by plinth at 11:24 AM on May 2


Should have gone more magical/mythical with the dragons. In the last book, they're still smallish eating livestock. OK, fine. What is a dragon the size of a 747 going to eat? How could anyone ever have that many cattle/humans/elephants/etc around to feed it?
posted by jeff-o-matic at 11:25 AM on May 2


OK, fine. What is a dragon the size of a 747 going to eat?
Ha, my old GM has the answer:
Other Dragons.
Hence, the now-scarcity of Dragons.
posted by eclectist at 11:27 AM on May 2 [7 favorites]


OK, so after it's done eating all the remaining dragons (2? 5?) THEN what does it eat? Huh, HUH???
posted by jeff-o-matic at 11:31 AM on May 2


The last two dragons eat each other in a climactic battle, the end of which is the beginning of a new universe.

Hence, the myth of the Ouroboros.
posted by eclectist at 11:36 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


Dany invading Westeros is going to be a piece of cake

Which will last until she has her first glass of home-grown Westeros wine. "Oh thanks aunty Margarey, I'm parched! Cough. Coughcough."
posted by happyroach at 11:37 AM on May 2 [13 favorites]


What is a dragon the size of a 747 going to eat?

Mammoths, apparently.

Which may explain why we don't see any south of the Wall?

I'm with you on this, btw, and have been ever since I started reading fantasy: how the hell does something that big eat enough to sustain itself? (cf the world-spanning whelk from The Science of Discworld).

I mean, you could argue that dragons are magic and don't actually need to eat much but that's a bit handwavy for a world that is otherwise constructed in a relatively self-consistent and logical manner. Something the size of a 747 could probably consume an entire field of sheep for a snack, burp, and then move on to a cattle herd for dinner.

Blue whales need approximately 1.5 million kCal per day to live. Apparently an elephant (mammoth stand-in) is worth around 6 million calories. That's a whole lot of industry devoted to just dragon-feeding, methinks.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:40 AM on May 2


She has dragons FFS. It would be like showing up to Agincourt with tanks and bombers. One demonstration of her power and she wins.

My personal moment of Fridge Brilliance was first complaining that nobody in their right minds would keep building castles when the enemy can rain fiery death from above (see: Harrenhal) and instead they'd build underground bunkers.

Then I realised why they have pyramids in Essos that are hollow under several meters of packed earth. Of course they do.

Anyway, in a kaijuu fight, I'd still bet for Godzilla.
posted by sukeban at 11:43 AM on May 2 [4 favorites]


I love GOT, but I was so hoping that the dragons would just be a myth. Dragons? Really? I can suspend disbelief for all sorts of silly things, but I draw the line at dragons. And the bigger they are the more silly they seem.

Interesting, I had almost the same reaction about the ice zombies and the wargs and the resurrecting clerics, and especially the magical horns. I was hoping for a world where magic was 99% mythic, and dragons were pretty much the sole exception.
posted by skewed at 11:43 AM on May 2


No Griaule?
posted by JohnFromGR at 11:48 AM on May 2


Not just what they eat, but how much they would poop. My god. Unless the fire-breathing means a high metabolism that results in little waste, but even then, the mind boggles.
posted by emjaybee at 11:51 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]


Maybe dragon poop is how they made wildfire
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:54 AM on May 2 [1 favorite]


What is a dragon the size of a 747 going to eat?

This is my second- or third-favorite part of Naomi-Nevik-dragons. There are huge dragons, sure, but they're basically heavy shock troops that need huge amounts of support, and every time one shows up, you can be sure that there's going to be five pages of discussion about the logistics of bringing in enough cattle to keep it from starving to death. Large squadrons of dragons are functionally impossible to supply with conventional lines, so the population is limited enough to make each dragon a supremely valuable tactical resource.
posted by Mayor West at 11:58 AM on May 2 [7 favorites]


Feckless (you don't mind if I call you Feckless, do you?), it helps to remember that George R. R. Martin is terrible at scale. Overland distances, lengths of time, weight, etc. The castles are too big, armies march too fast, the farms bring in too many crops, the Wall is too high, the Mountain That Rides should be the Mountain With Crippling Knee Pain, etc.

Nevertheless, less us attempt to fuel these beasts. We know that dragons, like Dany, are not harmed by heat and maintain their own body temperature. Not harmed by heat's a pretty good trick and requires an absurd heatsink and system of heat dispersal. We also have no description, even by allusion, to them defecating. Combine the two, and we have but one conclusion to reach - Martin's dragons are bigger on the inside.

With a whole bunch of matter and heat to play with on the inside, is it so unreasonable to suggest they're simply fusion powered? Surely the biological engineering challenges aren't much to a giant scaley TARDIS.

This also suggests, then, they they eat conventionally to be polite and/or out of a hatred for sheep.
posted by The Gaffer at 12:03 PM on May 2 [36 favorites]


Not just what they eat, but how much they would poop. My god. Unless the fire-breathing means a high metabolism that results in little waste, but even then, the mind boggles.

According to Anne McCaffrey, dragons go between.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:06 PM on May 2 [5 favorites]


...first, consider a spherical dragon.

And yeah, granted absolutely that GRRM and 'scale' are things which are not even on nodding acquaintance but goddammit this is MetaFilter and this is where we beanplate.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:07 PM on May 2 [8 favorites]


I just assume that dragon poop is where the Lannisters come from.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:09 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


Interesting, I had almost the same reaction about the ice zombies and the wargs and the resurrecting clerics, and especially the magical horns. I was hoping for a world where magic was 99% mythic, and dragons were pretty much the sole exception.

Well, start getting ready for Season 5 of Game Of Thrones where Brienne and Pod find a magic carpet, Sansa's mood improves markedly when she learns polymorph other, Stannis dabbles in ventriloquism ("Traitor Davos says what?" is his new catchphrase) and Arya joins the Bene Gesserit.
posted by furiousthought at 12:12 PM on May 2 [9 favorites]


SPOILERS
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:14 PM on May 2 [3 favorites]


Dany invading Westeros is going to be a piece of cake. She has dragons FFS. It would be like showing up to Agincourt with tanks and bombers. One demonstration of her power and she wins.

Doubtlessly she'll have no problem winning, but as has always been the case with Dany she has no idea what to do afterwards. Winter is coming. How do you continue to feed your dragons with cattle and sheep when you can't feed your serfs bread and gruel? The answer is probably pretty ghoulish. That's what I mean by Armageddon. Like how the atomic bomb ended the war, and then we had to deal with its aftershock ever since. It was the end of the world without atomic war, and the birth of a world which is far different.
posted by codacorolla at 12:19 PM on May 2 [2 favorites]


There are only four sizes of dragons. There are some that are the size of a kite, and those you have surely seen, in circuses and fairs. There are some that are the size of the great ram that sits outside the emperor's throne room, and they are the ones who rise at the time of war, when the emperor declares it, and burn armies and cities. There are three the size of the emperor's castle, and they are the ones who defend the emperor. And there is one the size of a moon, and he lives behind the moon, and he is who the emperor worships.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:19 PM on May 2 [24 favorites]


Whoah. What happened? I fell asleep and was woken by the sounds of typing, and discovered I had just typed something.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:20 PM on May 2 [2 favorites]


If you want loads more information on GRRM's dragons, read the novella "The Princess and the Queen." It's set 170 years before the events of GoT, so no show spoilers.

But lots and lots of dragons and where they hang out and how you tame them and how they kill and are killed. Vhaegar, one of the three dragons that conquered Westeros with Aegon the Conqueror, is in it.
posted by lovecrafty at 12:28 PM on May 2 [2 favorites]



This also suggests, then, they they eat conventionally to be polite and/or out of a hatred for sheep.


and shepherd children apparently
posted by elizardbits at 12:32 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


Blue whales need approximately 1.5 million kCal per day to live.

So, the answer is obvious: dragons live on a steady diet of blue whales.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:35 PM on May 2 [4 favorites]


A lot of people in this thread will probably enjoy reading the classic short story The Man Who Painted The Dragon Griaule, by the recently departed Lucius Shepard.

Note that there's a small formatting error at that link. The very last paragraph, beginning with ".. It's foolish to draw simple conclusions from complex events" is a separate section, a bit of an epilogue.
posted by Ian A.T. at 12:47 PM on May 2


Feckless (you don't mind if I call you Feckless, do you?), it helps to remember that George R. R. Martin is terrible at scale. Overland distances, lengths of time, weight, etc. The castles are too big, armies march too fast, the farms bring in too many crops, the Wall is too high, the Mountain That Rides should be the Mountain With Crippling Knee Pain, etc.

The standard distance traveled is 1,000 leagues. I just decided that units of measurement in Westeros are literally figurative.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:12 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


Yeah, a thousand leagues is roughly the width of Canada.

Bit of a trek is what I'm saying.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:16 PM on May 2 [2 favorites]


The size of a fictional country like Westeros or Ontario will always be somewhat fluid.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:18 PM on May 2 [11 favorites]


Hey!
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:19 PM on May 2


Dany invading Westeros is going to be a piece of cake. She has dragons FFS.

No, currently she dragons. We don't know if she'll have dragons by the time she tries to conquer Westros or even if she'll try to invade. She might get smart and stay in Essos. She may not live long enough to attempt an invasion.

Finally, invading might be a piece of cake. Keeping the Severn Kingdoms under her thumb will be a different story.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:23 PM on May 2


Mountain That Rides should be the Mountain With Crippling Knee Pain

Of course he has crippling knee pain. This is why he's always cranky.
posted by honestcoyote at 1:24 PM on May 2


There's a reason he's not The Mountain That Jogs.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:25 PM on May 2 [18 favorites]


No Falkor?
posted by Sys Rq at 1:28 PM on May 2 [5 favorites]


Finally, invading might be a piece of cake. Keeping the Severn Kingdoms under her thumb will be a different story.

What terrifies me about that is GRRM starting yet another epic about the refounding of the Targaryen Dynasty etc etc etc.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:29 PM on May 2


Yeaaaah, it might go that way. Danaerys is already torturing people in the name of justice, which she of course decides.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:33 PM on May 2


Of course he could dodge the whole thing by having Daenerys arrive and then winter falls, so all three dragons can be conveniently lost in the battle against whatever the fuck is going on up north.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:38 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


A horde of ice babies?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:39 PM on May 2 [3 favorites]


A horde of ice babies?

All right, stop.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:48 PM on May 2 [2 favorites]


Collaborate and listen.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:48 PM on May 2 [3 favorites]


And then get eaten by ice zombies.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:51 PM on May 2 [2 favorites]


Or Jon SNOW
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:03 PM on May 2


A horde of ice babies?

White Toddlers.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:32 PM on May 2 [4 favorites]


the Mountain That Rides should be the Mountain With Crippling Knee Pain

Gregor Clegane is a straight-up junkie; he hits the "milk of the poppy" pretty hard.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:59 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


...first, consider a spherical dragon.

A void dragon, if you will. It opens up and thousands of Daleks exit.
posted by arcticseal at 3:10 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


A horde of ice babies?

Ally McBeal Part VIII: Babies Take Kings Landing
posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:11 PM on May 2


Spoilers.






Just 10K Unsullied? Hell, if I read the last chapter in her POV right, Dany is about to score an even bigger prize. Oh, there'll be the usual GRRM footdragging through the negotiations, but she's going to return to Mereen with a Drogon hammer and a Dothraki anvil. And then off to enjoy the winter winds in Westeros.
posted by Ber at 3:22 PM on May 2


Anyway, in a kaijuu fight, I'd still bet for Godzilla.

I dunno, Godzilla has really let himself go.
posted by homunculus at 3:56 PM on May 2


I don't think it's a cop-out to say they're magic. They've had a witch lady birthing a spectral demon of some sort, dead people coming back to life, sometimes repeatedly, some crazy ass zombie devils riding horses so long dead that half the flesh is missing from their bones. Dragons aren't really a stretch.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:22 PM on May 2


I'm with you on this, btw, and have been ever since I started reading fantasy: how the hell does something that big eat enough to sustain itself?

There have been sauropods near that size that were herbivores. I think you could probably find a work-around in a fictional fantasy world as to what they eat.
posted by Hoopo at 4:45 PM on May 2


Of course the strains are magic-otherwise someone will have to explain to Martin how mass/wing area applies to flying creatures. They're magical lizards- I see no problem with assuming they need to eat far less than normal for their size.

One of the themes of ASoIaF is that it's fundamentally a magical universe, that people were mistaken in thinking was mundane. Dragons fit into that idiom perfectly.

Of course I still think the final revelation is that the whole thing is taking place inside the dreams of a girl in a coma in Ontario. Of course that runs into the difficulty of getting people to believe in Ontario...
posted by happyroach at 4:48 PM on May 2


A horde of ice babies?

If they thaw and you refreeze them, do they become Ice Ice Babies?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:49 PM on May 2 [7 favorites]


What if the insane distances and height of people and buildings and size of dragons is because Westeros' planet has super low gravity. So armies cover a huge amount of distance hopping around like ridiculous gazelle people.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:37 PM on May 2 [9 favorites]


The Mountain That Nimbly Frolics
posted by jason_steakums at 6:40 PM on May 2 [3 favorites]


No Ancalagon the Black in the comparison chart? For shame.
posted by Apocryphon at 7:20 PM on May 2 [3 favorites]


How has no one mentioned Ancalagon the Black?
posted by natteringnabob at 7:28 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


[Couple of sorta spoilery comments deleted; if folks want to talk about general book spoiler stuff, rather than dragon stuff, maybe it can go over in the open GOT book/fantheory thread?]
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:40 PM on May 2


I'll read anything that says, "It's time for dragon math."
posted by TyBest95 at 5:19 AM on May 3 [1 favorite]


MeTa
posted by mlis at 9:23 AM on May 3


I'll read anything that says, "It's time for dragon math."

The dragons in the Temeraire books have a lot of opinions on geometry.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:40 PM on May 3 [2 favorites]


Dragons are magic, guys. They're not worried about calories and can slumber for decades at a time. It's likely they draw most of their energy from the sun or from the magical "aether" (I assume there is an aether). They just eat all your sheep to be dicks.
posted by turbid dahlia at 10:23 PM on May 4


This chart is useless without Falkor.
posted by prefpara at 8:43 AM on May 5


Falkor's a puppy dragon though, not a dragon-dragon.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:26 PM on May 5


The Ever Increasing Size of Godzilla: Implications for Sexual Selection and Urine Production
posted by homunculus at 9:14 PM on May 5


Sys Rq:
> A horde of ice babies?
White Toddlers.


Sam cowered behind the snowdrift, gripping the shaft of the dragonglass spear. He quaked as he heard the staggering footsteps, the intermittent faceplanting, and the eerie voices yelling "biiiiiiikiiiiiiiiiiit"
posted by coriolisdave at 6:23 PM on May 11 [4 favorites]


Having watched the trailer, and become completely confused, concluded that the dragons are kitten sized.
posted by Wordshore at 9:42 AM on May 14


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