In House of the Dragon episode 7, Aemond Targaryen finally achieved his dream and got himself a dragon. This wasn’t any old dragon either; he managed to tame Vhagar, the largest and oldest of the Targaryen dragons who took part in Argon’s Conquest.
Aemond’s decision to jump in and steal Vhagar from House Velaryon, who’d previously owned the beast, caused outrage and cost young Aemond his eye, yet the young prince believes the exchange was a fair one.
He’s not alone in that thinking. His grandfather Otto Hightower agrees, telling Alicent that Aemond has brought the Greens a powerful ally in their cold war against Rhaenyra and her faction, the Blacks. Yet, as large and as powerful as Vhagar is, there may be another dragon in the fantasy series who rivals her in size and power but may be more dangerous.
In the books Fire and Blood and The World of Ice and Fire, George RR Martin writes of a terrible dragon living on the island of Dragonstone. This wild, untamed dragon known as ‘Cannibal’ was an ancient monster who lived an unknown number of years, but there were whispers it had lived on the island before the Targaryens claimed the island.
While the maesters argued this was impossible as it would make it even older than Balerion the Black Dread, there’s no saying how or when it arrived on the island, and the upper age limit of dragons is unknown, it would account for its vast size.
Cannibal was extremely belligerent to the Targaryen dragons and earned its sobriquet because it had a nasty habit of devouring smaller dragons. Several would-be dragonriders tried to tame the beast over the decades, but all were devoured.
Even during the Dance of the Dragons, when the Blacks needed every dragon they could get their hands on, no one tried to mount Cannibal. As such, it spent the war terrorising the common folk.
Cannibal was one of just four dragons who survived the Dance, although it mysteriously disappeared not long after, never to be seen again. If you’re enjoying the build-up to the Targaryen civil war, you learn more about some of the key players, Ser Criston Cole and Daemon Targaryen, here.