Please read this Game of Thrones Wikia passage first:

Dragon eggs are notoriously difficult to hatch, though they can maintain the spark of life inside of them for decades if not centuries. The secret key to hatching the eggs seems to involve some form of blood magic: as the House words of the Targaryens hint, it requires "fire and blood". To hatch them, dragon eggs must be burned in roaring flames, with which another creature is simultaneously being burned alive - a life in exchange for a life. In the wild this might just be a prey animal that the parent dragon kills, but human sacrifice will do the trick quite nicely, particularly if there is more than one egg to hatch.

Dragons | Game of Thrones Wiki

And now the script relating to the dragon-hatching event in Season 1 Episode 10:

Rakharo: (picking up the dragon eggs from their chest, speaking in Dothraki) ls this your command, Khaleesi?
(Daenerys nods, Rakharo places the eggs next to Drogo’s funeral pyre)
Jorah: Drogo will have no use for dragon eggs in the Night Lands. Sell them. You can return to the Free Cities and live as a wealthy woman for all your days.
Daenerys: They were not given to me to sell.
Jorah: Khaleesi, my Queen, l vow to serve you, obey you, to die for you if need be, but let him go, Khaleesi. l know what you intend. Do not.
Daenerys: l must. You don't understand.
Jorah: Don't ask me to stand aside as you climb on that pyre. l won't watch you burn.
Daenerys: ls that what you fear? (kisses Jorah on the cheek, then speaks to the rest of the Dothraki and Lhazareen who stayed with her) You will be my khalasar. l see the faces of slaves. l free you. Take off your collars. Go if you wish, no one will stop you. But if you stay it will be as brothers and sisters, as husbands and wives.
Mirri Maz Duur is shown tied and bound by rope.
Daenerys: Ser Jorah, bind this woman to the pyre. You swore to obey me. (to the crowd) l am Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen of the blood of old Valyria. I am the Dragon’s daughter. And I swear to you that those who would harm you will die screaming.
Mirri Maz Duur: You will not hear me scream.
Daenerys: I will. But it is not your screams I want. Only your life.

Game of Thrones, Season 1 Episode 10, "Fire and Blood"

Daenerys seems to do exactly the things as required for the procedure of hatching dragon eggs, namely:

  1. She asks Rakharo to place the dragon eggs on the pyre seemingly because "They were not given to me to sell". A point to be considered is that in the future episodes she does several things that are much below this like selling her dragon to Kraznys, stealing items from Qarth, etc.

  2. She gives a human sacrifice (Mirri Maz Duur) as required. A point to be considered here is that Mirri Maz Duur was most probably directly responsible for the death of Khal Drogo in that unhonourable way and the death of her child, and she only says "But it is not your screams I want. Only your life."?

So did Daenerys know all this or was all this just a big coincidence? If she knew, then how?

  • She is a Targarian!
    – J M
    Dec 6, 2018 at 8:31
  • That was evident from the first episode!
    – parthagar
    Dec 6, 2018 at 8:36
  • @asHK Targaryen;)
    – Ankit Sharma
    Dec 6, 2018 at 8:50
  • 3
    The Wikia entry is IMHO based on pure conjecture, most likely based in significant part on what Dany experienced. There is not a single example in the books on anyone managing to hatch a dragon egg after the death of the dragons, and awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Burning_of_Harrenhal is most likely the result of a failed attempt.
    – BCdotWEB
    Dec 6, 2018 at 11:35
  • @BCdotWEB "She briefly places one of the eggs into a fire pit in an attempt to hatch it, but the egg remains unhatched. She removes the egg from the fire with her bare hands, but remains unhurt." - Dragons | Game of Thrones Wiki This one too?
    – parthagar
    Dec 6, 2018 at 12:06

3 Answers 3


In an interview with Roz Kaveney from Amazon.co.uk, George R. R. Martin has explained it thusly:

The whole point of the scene in A Game of Thrones where Daenerys hatches the dragons is that she makes the magic up as she goes along; she is someone who really might do anything. I wanted magic to be something barely under control and half instinctive [...]

Additional in-depth fan speculation can be found here, mostly describing her instinctive but carefully executed ritual.

As the TV series has the same motive of a ritual of 'fire and blood' (it takes the episode's title from it), the feverish dream she has beforehand is also taken from the books (and foreshadows the awakening of the dragons), and there is no mention of lore exclusive to the TV series universe, it is IMHO safe to assume the conditions for the hatching were met intuitively here as well.

I must admit I haven't rewatched the show, but bridge4 explains the hatching in the 'meta-universe'.

  • My question was based only on Game of Thrones but this is all ASOIAF and not Game of Thrones.
    – parthagar
    Dec 6, 2018 at 18:13
  • I have no doubts that it is surely based on the books but the purpose of the question was to ask how Dany did it in the show.
    – parthagar
    Dec 6, 2018 at 20:32

Daenerys was basically making it up as she went along, but there is evidence that she might have hit on something greater.

To this end the birth of Daenerys' dragons was indeed magical,

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.

Quote by George RR Martin (Source)

Now for a bit more depth...

First off we must establish that Magic works in mysterious ways in the World of Ice and Fire, as explained in a Q&A with GRRM,

Question 8 - Do you have rules worked out for magic?

Whole book is to his discretion as to how it works. He doesn't have a magic system specifically. Some authors do but too like D&D for him. He went back to Tolkien when he got into the book seriously. Thinks Tolkien is still the master. What you discover when you read Tolkien with eye to magic is there is very little magic. Gandalf is wizard - wise but he doesn't whisper a spell and slaughter an entire army. He thinks fantasy needs magic as a seasoning. Too much seasoning and you can overwelm the dish. Too much magic can ruin a fantasy. Magic has to be magic - something that violates law of nature. "Unknown" - published between the two World Wars writen by Campbell - a real rationalist with a particular brand of fantasy. Campbell treated magic as science. GRR enjoyed reading them but that approach to magic and the aproach in role playing games is...just science, not magic. Magic has to be more mysterious than that. He wants less Campbell and more Lovecraft. It has to be dark stuff we can't fully comprehend. Use it sparingly so it has impact.

Westeros.org - The Citdael - So Spake Martin - OCTOBER 16, 2010 OCTOCON Q&A

He does this on purpose to avoid contradicting himself and not having to remember "rules",

Someone asked how, as a 'gardener' style of writer, George manages to set and stick to the "rules" of his fantasy world without contradicting what has gone before. George answered that he doesn't have to worry about contradicting his magical system because he's deliberately limited the magic and intentionally tries to keep it magical and mysterious, that the essence of magic is that it must be "wondrous and unexplainable". He doesn't like what other authors have done, which is to treat magic like a different kind of science with its own set rules.

Westeros.org - The Citadel - So Spake Martin - NOVEMBER 29, 2005 US SIGNING TOUR (ALBUQUERQUE, NM)

Now to throw in the history as is pertains to Westeros. Dragon eggs have been known throughout the Targaryen reign, but none have been hatched in a few hundred years.

Nine mages crossed the sea to hatch Aegon the Third's cache of eggs. Baelor the Blessed prayed over his for half a year. Aegon the Fourth built dragons of wood and iron. Aerion Brightflame drank wildfire to transform himself. The mages failed, King Baelor's prayers went unanswered, the wooden dragons burned, and Prince Aerion died screaming.

A Storm of Swords, Davos V

And within the series we Melisandre attempt to convince Stannis to use "kings blood" to wake stone dragons on Dragonstone. This is from the book lore and is being to supplement my answer, however the show does not explore this plot.

"Your brother's blood," Melisandre said. "A king's blood. Only a king's blood can wake the stone dragon."

Stannis ground his teeth. "I'll hear no more of this. The dragons are done. The Targaryens tried to bring them back half a dozen times. And made fools of themselves, or corpses.

A Storm of Swords - Davos IV

"I am a small man," Davos admitted, "so tell me why you need this boy Edric Storm to wake your great stone dragon, my lady." He was determined to say the boy's name as often as he could. "Only death can pay for life, my lord. A great gift requires a great sacrifice."

A Storm of Swords - Davos V

So here we have a second character beleving (and proving with the three deaths from the leeches earlier which was in the show) in blood magic and "only death may pay for life".

So to bring it full circle Daenerys didn't really know what she was doing, but from her experience with Mirri Maz Duur has stumbled on a powerful magic.

To address your other points:

  1. She asks Rakharo to place the dragon eggs on the pyre seemingly because "They were not given to me to sell". A point to be considered is that in the future episodes she does several things that are much below this like selling her dragon to Kraznys, stealing items from Qarth, etc.

She had no real intention of selling her dragons as is evident that as soon as Daenerys has control of the Unsullied she immediately immolates him.

Qarth, specifically Xaro Xhoan Daxos, betrayed Dany and stole her dragons. Once, she deals with him, she returns the favor and steals from him... afterall he won't be needing it longer.

  1. She gives a human sacrifice (Mirri Maz Duur) as required. A point to be considered here is that Mirri Maz Duur was most probably directly responsible for the death of Khal Drogo in that unhonourable way and the death of her child, and she only says "But it is not your screams I want. Only your life."?

This is where the coincidence and "she makes the magic up as she goes along" comes into play. She sees that the blood magic worked, just not in the way Dany intended. Since Daenerys has a gut feeling she can hatch the dragons (she says as much to Jorah that she will survive the pyre), but also now seeing the power of blood magic is following "only death can pay for life".

  • 1
    Again, this is all based on ASOIAF and not on Game of Thrones. Still your answer says that 'it was just a big coincidence', then can you please explain my point 1. and 2.?
    – parthagar
    Dec 21, 2018 at 17:55
  • 1
    @parthagar Yes, because ASOIF is the source material and especially in the early seasons the show was sticking to the books very well. George's comments are still relevant as he is a Producer for the show and would have given first hand direction on how to portray his story.
    – Skooba
    Dec 21, 2018 at 19:53

In season 2 of the show, speaking to the merchants of Qarth, Daenerys says that she was given the eggs as a gift, and told they were turned to rock. She explains that she saw in a dream that if she made a big fire and walked them in the flames, they would hatch.

She explains this to the "Spice King" of Qarth when he refuses to give her any ships. This happens in TV show, Season 2 Episode 6.

She didn't know the technicalities but she had a "vision" that it could work. She already knew that she herself had some resistance to heat and fire, as she entered a bath that was too hot before and also didn't burn her hands on the hot eggs while a servant burnt hers in previous episodes.

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