Meraxes; The She Dragon who Can Swallow Whole Horse

Meraxes was a female dragon from House Targaryen. Queen Rhaenys Targaryen rode her during Aegon’s Conquest. She was with King Aegon the Conqueror’s Balerion and their sister Queen Visenya’s Vhagar. Meraxes was named after a god from Old Valyria.

How Meraxes Looks Like

Meraxes was larger than Vhagar but smaller than Balerion, according to Tyrion Lannister, and it is rumored that Meraxes could swallow horses whole. However, the veracity of these claims is questionable because Vhagar is the only dragon documented in historical sources as becoming nearly as large as Balerion, and Meraxes died at least many decades younger than Vhagar. Meraxes possessed silver scales and golden eyes.

What She Was Named After and Who Claimed Her

Meraxes was named after a Valyrian Freehold god. During the Century of Blood, her egg hatched on Dragonstone.

Rhaenys Targaryen claimed Meraxes at some point. Rhaenys initially rode Meraxes, demonstrating that she was a dragon rider, before she married her brother, Aegon. Rhaenys liked to fly, spending more time on dragonback than her brother and sister combined. She was once overheard saying that she meant to fly Meraxes across the Sunset Sea to explore what was beyond its western shores.

Aegon’s Conquest

Aegon despatched his sisters to obtain the submission of the neighboring strongholds after landing on Westeros and beginning his invasion. Rosby surrendered without a struggle to Rhaenys and Meraxes. Following that, Rhaenys and Meraxes joined Orys Baratheon on his attempt to capture Argilac Durrandon, the last Storm King.

At the Battle of the Last Storm, Meraxes slew many, engulfing Argilac’s vanguard and the knights of his personal guard in dragon flame. Rhaenys then flew Meraxes into Storm’s End Castle to meet with Argilac’s daughter Argella.

Rhaenys flew Meraxes to Stoney Sept when the stormlanders submitted, where she met up with her siblings, their dragons, and Aegon’s army. They moved south, where all three Targaryen dragons fought in the pivotal Field of Fire – the only battle in which all three Targaryen dragons flew simultaneously during Aegon’s Conquest. Meraxes, Vhagar, and Balerion murdered four thousand men and burned them alive. House Gardener and King Mern IX Gardener perished. The army was defeated, and House Targaryen triumphed.

Rhaenys then flew Meraxes to the Trident in the riverlands, where she met her brother and sister and their dragons to battle King Torrhen Stark in the North. Torrhen’s bastard brother, Brandon Snow, volunteered to sneak into the Targaryen camp at night and destroy the dragons, but the northern king declined, instead sending his brother as an emissary, finally bending the knee to the Targaryens.

Rhaenys then flew Meraxes to Dorne to demand their surrender. She did not have an easy conquest because every fortress she came across was empty and abandoned, with only women, children, and elderly men remaining in the cities and villages.

Finally, she and Meraxes arrived in Sunspear, where all that remained was the eighty-year-old Meria Martell, Princess of Dorne. Meria instructed Rhaenys to notify Aegon that Dorne would neither fight nor submit nor that there would be no king. Rhaenys forewarned Meria of the Targaryens’ return and left Sunspear, leaving Dorne as the lone unconquered realm.

The Death of Meraxes

The First Dornish War began in 4 AC, when Aegon finally resolved to seize the realm. Queen Rhaenys led the initial attack on Dorne, taking Dornish seats as she reached Sunspear and setting fire to Meraxes’ Planky Town. An iron bolt from a scorpion pierced through Meraxes’ eye in 10 AC at Hellholt, and the dragon and Rhaenys plummeted from the sky.

During her last struggles, Meraxes demolished the castle’s topmost tower and a portion of the curtain wall. It’s unclear whether Rhaenys outlived Meraxes. Some believe Rhaenys fell off her seat and died, while others believe she was crushed to death beneath Meraxes in the castle yard.

What Happened Afterwards

Following the deaths of Rhaenys and Meraxes, Visenya and Aegon torched every Dornish fortress (save Sunspear and its shadow city) at least once during the Dragon’s Wroth, a two-year period. A peace mission later delivered Meraxes’ skull to Aegon. The remaining bones were discovered in the open area near Hellholt decades later.

Meraxes’ skull hung on a wall in the Red Keep’s royal room, with eighteen other Targaryen dragon skulls. Following Robert’s Rebellion, King Robert I Baratheon ordered the skulls be taken from the throne room and placed in a gloomy dungeon.

When Tyrion Lannister entered the capital in 284 AC for his sister Cersei’s wedding to Robert, he noticed the skulls in the cellar, including Meraxes’. Arya Stark came upon the dragon skulls while going through the Red Keep basements in 298 A.D.

Daenerys Targaryen christened the three ships brought to her by Illyrio Mopatis Vhagar, Meraxes, and Balerion in 299 AC to announce the return of the dragons.

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