The dragons in House of the Dragon are fearsome creatures. Meleys and Arrax are mighty beasts, and Balerion the Black Dread lives up to his name. In a recent interview with ScreenRant, one of the designers spoke about the creative process behind each, and the inspiration for Caraxes.
“The animation team started thinking about even the way they shake their head,” Mike Bell, VFX supervisor on House of the Dragon, said. “Meleys does it the way a lioness would do it, while Caraxes was unique and different from the others. He’s much more serpent-like and slightly twitchy; a bit on edge.”
Moulding Caraxes in the fantasy series meant drawing from some fascinating sources, like old pets. “I’ve got a couple of racing dogs, like lurchers and greyhounds, and [Miguel Sapochnik] sort of linked them to that,” Bell adds. “They’re amazing when they’re at full speed, but when they lie down, they look a bit awkward.”
This thinking fed into some neat moments, like Caraxes and House of the Dragon character Daemon in an early episode. “There’s a moment where Daemon’s calming Caraxes in the cave, and it’s twisted and trying to fit into the cave, but he’s feeling like he doesn’t like to be confined,” Bell explains. “He wants to be out there flying, like Daemon.”
As we see more dragons in the drama series, we can no doubt expect more scenes like the aforementioned that pathologise the Targaryen pet of choice. Some gruesome battles are on the way, and no doubt some tender moments as well – or as soft as things get in Westeros.
Have a look at our guide to House of the Dragon season 2 for when you can see the winged behemoths once again.