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Laena Velaryon’s death reminds us Valyrians aren’t fireproof

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Game of Thrones was based on the book series A Song of Ice and Fire. The prequel series, House of the Dragon, is adapted from the book Fire & Blood. Fire, and its representation, has been a huge aspect of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy world. Kings and Queens, lords and royal houses, the conquest to rule is nothing out of the ordinary. But some of the most prominent people in the lore are the dragonlords, House Targaryen.

 
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With Laena Velaryon’s death in episode six of House of the Dragon, many might have the question, “wait, aren’t they supposed to be fire-proof?” The answer is no. Although the Game of Thrones audience knows Daenerys is immune to fire, other Targaryens and Valyrians are not; a common misconception since the show leaned quite heavily into the “a true dragon does not burn” angle.

Even though Laena Velaryon is Targaryen from her mother’s side, she can burn because Valyrians are not impervious to fire. The author of the books, George R. R. Martin has explained that Daenerys’ case was an exceptional circumstance. He told fans during an interaction:

“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.”

He also noted that Daenerys likely wouldn’t be able to do that again.

Targaryens and Fire

daenerys emerges from the fire

Targaryens have long been burning their dead with dragon fire. A few even believed that dying in a fire would help them be reborn as a dragon from the ashes. Prince Aerion Targaryen went so far as to drink a cup of wildfire in the same belief; he died screaming. Jamie Lannister suggested the Mad King, Aerys II thought the same way. Aerys had wildfire caches installed in most parts of the King’s Landing which were set to go up in flames if he was about to be usurped. It is believed that he had the same delusion as Aerion, that he would survive the wildfire and emerge a dragon.

Although the Targaryens weren’t the only dragonlords to exist, they were the most significant in Westerosi history. The Targaryens originated in Valyria and they were one of the 40 noble houses to control dragons. Old Valyrians were suspected of dabbling in magic since no one knew how they tamed dragons. Targaryens are said to be heat-resistant to some degree, thanks to frequently dragon riding, but that’s it. Daenerys’ magical abilities were what her ancestors had been dreaming of, not something they achieved. The Targaryens are emphasized as being just like any royal family (minus the incest), with their power being able to tame dragons, not the immunity to fire.

Read More: 10 details you might have missed in House of The Dragon Episode 6

 

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