Game of Thrones has subjected fans to some pretty brutal deaths before, but the Night King’s murder of Daenerys’ dragon Viserion was especially hard to accept. Worse than that, though, was at the very end of the penultimate episode of Season 7, when the Night King brought Viserion back to life as an undead dragon wight under his command.
It’s a huge blow to Dany, and a massive gain for the army of the dead, but although the wight-Viserion is, for all intents and purposes, an ice dragon, Game of Thrones lore is a little more complicated than that.
Dragons and direwolves aren’t the only mythical creatures roaming the world of ice and fire. In the books, the servant Old Nan told the Stark children mythical tales of Westeros’ past, and some of those stories included ice dragons. Viserion, even in his undead state, is made of flesh and blood, but ice dragons of myth were said to be made of living ice. They were also said to be significantly larger than the dragons of Valeryia.
There haven’t been any confirmed sightings of ice dragons in living memory, though they’re thought to inhabit the Shivering Sea and the icy, unexplored White Waste to Westeros’ northeast. Ultimately, ice dragons are more myth than they are reality.
The undead Viserion, though, is very real. It’s unclear if he’ll still breathe fire, or if he’ll spit deadly frost, but he’s the Night King’s to command. And, although the Wall is supposed to contain magic wards that keep the dead out, Jon and his crack team were able to fly a still-“living” wight over the top. So … if a wight can pass over the Wall, there’s no reason why the Night King couldn’t mount Viserion, fly over Castle Black, and wreak havoc.
Interestingly, although ice dragons haven’t made a proper appearance in Game of Thrones or the Song of Ice and Fire books, author George R. R. Martin has written about them before. In 1980, Martin published The Ice Dragon, an illustrated children’s book about a little girl who befriends an ice dragon and eventually learns to ride it as it fights fire dragons. Since it was originally released, publishers have claimed it’s set in the same world as A Song of Ice and Fire, though Martin has said this isn’t the case. Nevertheless, there are some similarities. The little girl, Adara, was born during a long winter, similar to the deadly cold spells Westeros faces. Clearly, the concept of “ice dragons” is something Martin’s been thinking about for a long time.
The season finale of Game of Thrones Season 7 will air on Sunday night at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO.