If fire annihilates the Dead, why are they such a threat? Wouldn't Jon Snow just ask to borrow Khaleesi's babies for an afternoon?

I'm aware that Dany is the only one who can control her dragons.

My point is this: Jon Snow is trying to unite houses, tribes, and kingdoms the world over against a common enemy, continuously reminding all that will listen that they have never been up against a force so formidable as the White Walkers and the Army of the Dead, and that only he has seen what the Night King can do, and that if the world of the living is to endure, we must rally every warm body against them.

But I fail to see the magnitude of such a threat in a world where one of its residents can control a weapon that administers a method of death (on a semi-mass-destructive scale) that happens to be the exact bane of such a potential threat.

Why is Jon Snow so concerned with boots on the ground and global cooperation when it seems that one couldn't come up with a better antidote to the walking dead than dragon-fire?

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    Would you borrow your babies to a stranger telling you the end is near for an afternoon?
    – Marv
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 7:57
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    Dramatically, it's the same logic as, "Why didn't they just use the giant eagles in Lord of the Rings?" Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 8:00
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    I have a feeling that flying in vicinity of The Night King is dangerous. Based on his scarecrow abilities, I have to admit. But if I was Daenerys I won't ever show mounted in the range of his sight. Who knows what will happen? Therefore defeating the Army of the Dead with dragons alone is not feasible: worst case scenario is no more dragons or either White Walker dragons. So the assault will still require a matching army.
    – alamar
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 10:00
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    @alamar After the loot train scorpion incident, I'd be rather hesitant to brandish my super weapon at an unscouted enemy. Dragons seen pretty irreplaceable.
    – Gusdor
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 15:15
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    SPOILER but you get your answer in the next episode Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 3:51

8 Answers 8


That's essentially why Jon is there.

When Jon received Tyrion's letter inviting him to Dragonstone, Davos Seaworth pointed out to Jon that fire kills the Others and asked him what breathes fire?

From Season 7 Episode 2:

Sansa: You think it's really Tyrion? It could be someone trying to lure you into a trap.

Jon: Read the last bit. "All dwarves are bastards in their father's eyes."

Sansa: What does that mean?

Jon: It's something he said to me the first night we met. You know him better than any of us. What do you think?

Sansa: Tyrion's not like the other Lannisters. He was always kind to me, but it's too great a risk.

Jon: "The Seven Kingdoms will bleed as long as Cersei sits on the Iron Throne. Join us. Together, we can end her tyranny."

Davos: Sounds like a charmer. Of course, the casual mention of a Dothraki horde, a legion of Unsullied, and three dragons a bit less charming.

Jon: What?

Davos: Fire kills wights, you told me. What breathes fire?

Sansa: You're not suggesting Jon meet with her?

So that's why Jon is there. He wants Daenerys to aid him in his fight with her dragons. He went against his Lords and Sansa's counsel and went to Dragonstone so that he could persuade Daenerys to send dragons for the Battle for Dawn Part II.

He can't borrow them as such, as he can't control them (As of Episode 5 Season 6, since this looks like I am implying he won't ever be able to control them). But he can ask the person who can control them (Or one of them at any rate) to come with him.

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    @bloomers He has few enough men as it is. If this is a war for entire humanity, entire humanity has to fight it. As for "From the beginning", he didn't know about Dragons until he got the letter from Dany. And even Aegon the Conqueror brought human forces with him for the conquest, and he was fighting against humans. Just because you have a super weapon doesn't mean infantry loses its role. Have modern militaries given up infantry just because they have strategic bombers and nukes now?
    – Aegon
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 9:53
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    "...as he can't control them." We'll see. Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 13:39
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    @BilltheLizard As of now ;) Bet he is gonna take Rhaegel, the one named after his father
    – Aegon
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 13:53
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    @KallumTanton "The cream-and-gold I call Viserion. Viserys was cruel and weak and frightened, yet he was my brother still. His dragon will do what he could not."-ACOK Daenerys I....Dany loves her family ;)
    – Aegon
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 14:58
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    @Aegon: On the usefulness of ground force compared to air force: it depends a lot on the strategic aims. You can’t conquer or occupy a region and its inhabitants with bomb carpets and nukes but you can very well wipe out most (un-)life in it. Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 18:39

Spoiler alert

This question is answered in the leaked episode S7E6.

In S7E6, as Daenerys goes to save Jon Snow who is stuck north of the wall, the night's king takes one of the dragons down with a spear, and very easily. The dragons might have killed huge numbers from the army of the dead, but with the night king being able to kill them with one blow, if they started a war with the army of the dead using dragons only, the three dragons will probably die before being able to kill all of the dead, and the army of the dead will end up having three additional dragons.

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    @Möoz this is as relevant as it gets, he asked couldn't the dragons defeat the army of the dead, the spoiler shows that the night's king is a danger for the dragons not the other way around so obviously they can't defeat it
    – Mansuro
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 8:57
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    well, following this logic, and the other info we get from this episode, they only need a well aimed dragon-burp in the direction of the night king, they don't need to kill every single undead.
    – Federico
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 10:02
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    However, neither John nor anyone else (other than apparently Ol' Blue Eyes, and maybe Raven-Bran) knew any of this, so it fails to explain why it wasn't his original goal. Which is what the question was about. Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 12:10
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    @deed02392 you need an excuse to have season 8. plus, the completely foreseeable cliffhanger next episode.
    – Federico
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 5:15
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    @IStudiedAtHogwarts Dragon fire is not regular fire. Dragonglass can kill them because it is basically "solidified dragon fire"
    – Federico
    Commented Oct 20, 2018 at 8:43

I think Jon is being practical. Yes the dragons are great but the night king has magic and could easily blind them in clouds of snow. The army usually walks under a blinding blizzard so it isn't a sure thing.

Plus the biggest issue he has to deal with south of the wall is everyone killing each other off or worse attacking him from behind when they are trying to defend the wall. He has to unite everyone to stop the bloodshed.

Another thing to think about is that the night king may very well drag all those dead bodies back out of the ground to join his army once he is past the wall. The problem is no one knows how great the danger is so getting everyone ready and united is really the best option.

--- edit ---

After S07E06 we see exactly why the dragons aren't the perfect weapon verse them. I won't expand upon that but another thing I realized is that in that sea of undead, which includes giants and polar bears the actual white walkers are not going to be easy to see. The Night King and his group riding horses seem to just appear on the battlefield. They may remain hidden until they are ready to act.


As an author, your primary task is to create conflict, not solutions. When you design a story, you always try to find the most complex and perplexing way to resolve a situation.

To put it another way: You can't fill a series of 700+ page books when you're solving every problem efficiently.

In this case, dragons are a natural/efficient solution for the Walker problem, so George has to find obstacles. In game design this is called "balancing". Games are no fun when one party is so powerful that they can simply wipe out the opposition with a click of a button.

Here is a short list of complications that I came up with in a few minutes:

  • Advisers playing their own games
  • Misunderstandings
  • Traitors
  • When Daenerys arrives with a few or one dragon, they might be killed or, worse, injured (dying for days or weeks! The Horror!) So she should arrive with many - which she can't really control. And while she's there with many dragons ... why not take the throne while we're at it?
  • It's not good for your reputation score when your dragons burn a few cities and eat the people there on the way ...
  • Daenerys arrives with many dragons, defeats the Walkers. Now everyone else thinks "hey, she's weak now, let's finish her!"
  • She returns home only to find that someone attacked while she was away
  • How long can dragons live in cold conditions?
  • How efficient is magic against dragons?
  • If it was so simple, why isn't everyone asking Daenerys for help? Let's ponder this to see what else we can come up with.
  • Maybe the Night King can somehow take control of a dragon
  • Or interrupt Daenerys control while she is riding (turning her into an in-flight snack)
  • Maybe the dragons don't want to. They are somewhat sentient, right? They can (and might) say "No". Good luck forcing them...

I think it's George's great skill that he can come up with so many believable complications and problems in his story.

  • GRRM has said that he'd originally envisioned the story as a novella, beginning with the Starks encountering the dire wolves. Arguably, the story involves an enormous digression that begins when Eddard Stark accepts the post of King's Hand.
    – bgvaughan
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 17:17
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    @Aaron Digulla Your answer looks much like defending the poor writing of the author and the showrunners. Both books and TV show are below mediocre due to such illogicalities and I think no depth should be construed where there is none. The novels and TV show are primarily made for undiscerning audience that usually never raises questions like OP. A good example is also Euron's fleet which has at least hundred ships in the TV show, yet on his barren islands are for sure not more than a hundred trees. Majority of audience does not question this fleet that is just possible because of poor CGI. Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 18:32
  • @bgvaughan He started writing Game of Thrones in 1992 and released it in 1996. Remember he was a well accomplished science fiction and fantasy author already, so pumping out 800 pages wouldn't have been too hard. It's not a leap to think he spent most of those years planning out the future books. Some 'novella'...
    – corsiKa
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 21:16
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    @BruderLustig I think that's excessive. This was a very reasonable answer about a world where, even though solutions theoretically exist, the actions of characters and their goals make it non-trivial to actually make happen. The Iron Fleet is a poor illustration of your point, as the Iron Islands are rich in iron, enabling them to get wood through trade. These are early ships, not requiring an insane amount of wood. There's historical parallels to justify this; for example, the Dutch imported the vast majority of their wood.
    – Samthere
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 10:14
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    @BruderLustig It seems like an odd place to bring that up, seeing as the characters are explicitly aware of the possibility of dragons being effective here, but the characters prioritising the war against the zombies aren't the same as the ones controlling the dragons.
    – Samthere
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 10:15

No. He (or any one else for that matter) can't ride, control, or order a dragon to do something that complicated. Even Daenerys can't.

During the series, you never see her riding any of the other two dragons. They're not with her when she attacks the Lannister army because (most likely) she can't just tell them to follow her.

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    She might not be able to ride them but Rhagal and Viserion both do follow her and fight with her in S6E9.
    – Virusbomb
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 13:36
  • If you remember what happened precisely, she didn't tell or order them to, they followed he in their own. Here's an answer where this point was mentioned movies.stackexchange.com/questions/78490/… " the dragons are creature of fire and blood. They are attracted to battle and carnage like carrion crows are attracted to corpses. They sensed a battle and they wanted in. So they came but Daenerys controlled only Drogon, not the other two."
    – madmada
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 15:25
  • BTW I took the question a bit literally, before the edit, so the answer just addresses borrowing the dragons or giving them an order.
    – madmada
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 15:44
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    Even Daenerys can't Clearly that's a bogus claim. Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 12:30
  • Other than going herself, she can't. Am I missing something here?
    – madmada
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 13:12

Dany knows Jon wants her dragons but right now they are too valuable as an instrument of war or simply as a show of force in taking the iron throne. Plus she views them as her children and is very protective.

Daenerys' dragons will eventually help Jon Snow and the North against the white walkers but I don't believe it will be as simple as flying over their armies and breathing fire to melt the dead away. The dragons are essentially flying lizards and are cold blooded animals. The temperatures north of the wall would be too hostile an environment for the dragons to be as effective as we have seen thus far. While I understand that their is a magical element so it is plausible for the dragons to endure the cold but if there are no repercussions in bringing them North it will be a huge flaw in the story and we all know nothing is that simple in this series.

  • Do we know they are cold-blooded? Has that been established somewhere?
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 15:51
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    Do we know that they are not? I suppose my answer was a bit speculative and based a bit in reality. However, if we look at it in a world of fantasy, usually if a creature is given an elemental strength(fire) they are normally shown having a weakness to the opposing element (ice/water). But again this may be speculative and magic can skew the results. Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 16:11
  • For what it is worth, dinosaurs were not cold blooded.
    – Taladris
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 16:14
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    We don't "know that they are not" a lot of things. We don't know they are not in fact retired Time Lords from the Dr. Who series, reincarnated into draconic form for meritorious service. There are an infinite number of things we don't know that they are not. Its a mighty big leap from dreaming up one of those to stating it as a fact.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 16:16
  • @SonOfChuckles In Clash of Kings, dragons steam in water because their bodies radiate heat. In Dance of Dragons, when Drogon is attacked in the fighting pits, we see that his blood is hot enough to melt iron.
    – user28241
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 10:07

The dragons can take out the wights with fire, but I think the white walkers are impervious to fire. Remember when they came to the tree to kill the three eyed raven?


Giant Wights with Large CrossBows like the one seen in S7E4-can slay a dragon. The top of the wall was a lot farther than Bronn was to the dragon with the Scorpion-shooting dragons with large bolts wouldn't be too hard for a giant.

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