Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons in Game of Thrones grow to an enormous size, much larger than dragons in the past. There are several key reasons for this:
Magic returns to the world
Dragons thrive on magic and for many years magic had faded from the world of Game of Thrones. But with Daenerys’ dragons being born, magic begins to return, allowing the dragons to grow bigger and stronger. The more magic there is, the more the dragons can grow.
Lack of confinement
Unlike past dragons that were kept confined in the Dragonpit in King’s Landing, Daenerys’ dragons are allowed to roam free. This freedom and lack of confinement allows them to reach their full size potential. Past dragons that were chained up remained smaller.
Larger gene pool
Daenerys’ dragons were bred from multiple sources of dragon eggs, including eggs from different parts of the world. This increased genetic diversity results in larger and healthier dragons. In contrast, past dragons suffered from inbreeding due to the small pool of dragons in Westeros, stunting their growth.
The return of magic
For hundreds of years, magic had been slowly fading from the world of Game of Thrones. The maesters claim that magic left the world when the last of the dragons died out over a century before Daenerys hatched her eggs. Magic and dragons seem to be intrinsically tied together.
With Dany’s dragons being born, magic begins seeping back into the world. Wildfire starts burning more powerfully, the warlocks of Qarth regain their powers, wargs and greenseers tap deeper into their abilities. As magic strengthens, so does the environment for raising healthy dragons.
Additionally, dragons themselves are magical creatures. Their growth and power relies on absorbing magic from their surroundings. The more ambient magic there is, the bigger and stronger dragons can become. With magic returning to the world, Daenerys’ dragons have a bountiful well of magical energy to fuel their growth.
Freedom from confinement
One of the biggest factors in the size of Daenerys’ dragons is that they are unconfined and free to fly wherever they want. They are not chained up or locked away like dragons of the past. This freedom allows them to reach their maximum size potential.
In contrast, the dragons kept by the Targaryens in King’s Landing were confined to the Dragonpit. Chaining dragons and limiting their movement stunts their growth and prevents them from reaching epic proportions. The Dragonpit dragons never grew as large as their ancestors from Old Valyria or Daenerys’ dragons.
Being able to fly freely and hunt live prey also contributes to their growth. The exercise from flight and the nutrition from fresh meat allows Daenerys’ dragons to put on size and muscle mass rapidly. Confined dragons in the past were fed infrequently, weakening them.
Increased genetic diversity
Daenerys’ dragons come from a variety of dragon eggs found across the world, including fossilized eggs from Asshai and fresh eggs from the Shadow Lands beyond Asshai. This diversity of gene sources resulted in large, healthy dragons.
In contrast, the Targaryen dragons of the past suffered from inbreeding depression. With the dragon population limited to King’s Landing, inbreeding was inevitable. This led to decreased size and health, along with physical mutations.
Daenerys avoiding inbreeding by using eggs from distinct bloodlines allowed her dragons to reach sizes not seen for hundreds of years. Multiple sources of genes resulted in hybrid vigor and biological fitness. Her dragons were blessed with the best traits from a variety of dragon lineages.
While magic certainly plays a key role, some basic scientific principles also explain why Daenerys’ dragons grew so massive:
Daenerys’ dragons are able to hunt live prey and feast on as much food as they want. They can freely fly the countryside and have their pick of livestock to eat. A nutritious high protein diet during adolescence allows for rapid growth.
Protein intake is especially important while young and still growing. Consuming meat and bone provides amino acids, minerals like calcium and phosphorus, and other nutrients needed to support structural growth.
In addition to having plenty of food, Daenerys’ dragons get frequent exercise by flying wherever they please. Regular exercise stimulates growth by:
- Increasing appetite so more calories are consumed
- Boosting blood flow and nutrient delivery
- Promoting bone strength
- Releasing growth stimulating hormones
The aerobic exercise from flying long distances helps circulate oxygen and energy to support their large body mass.
Daenerys hatched her eggs in the hot, arid climate of Essos. The warm environment is ideal for cold-blooded reptiles to thrive. Warmer temperatures allow for faster metabolic and growth rates.
The dragons likely would have grown much slower if hatched in the cooler climates of Westeros or the North. Warmth is crucial for them to be active hunters and maintain a healthy appetite.
Comparison to Real-World Animals
Looking at real-world creatures can provide perspective on how Daenerys’ dragons grew so big:
Pterosaurs were flying reptiles that lived alongside dinosaurs up to 65 million years ago. One species called Quetzalcoatlus reached wingspans of over 30 feet, demonstrating how reptiles can grow massive with the right conditions.
Like dragons, pterosaurs relied on a protein-rich diet and constant flight to reach record sizes. They went extinct along with dinosaurs once the climate cooled.
The largest living lizard is the Komodo dragon, reaching 10 feet long and 150 lbs. They live on several Indonesian islands with ideal tropical habitat. Komodo dragons eat up to 80% of their weight in meat each week.
With their sharp teeth and strong tails, Komodo dragons have thrived in isolation with no natural predators to limit their growth.
Blue whales are by far the largest animals ever known, growing up to 100 feet long and 150 tons. Like Daenerys’ dragons they have access to plentiful nutrition from sea life and migrations keep them active.
Whales benefit from a lack of predators, and like dragons their body heat is conserved by thick layers of blubber. Optimal conditions allow whales to reach record sizes.
In summary, Daenerys’ dragons grow to epic proportions for several key reasons:
– The return of magic to the world fuels their growth
– Freedom to fly anywhere and exercise strengthens their bodies
– Genetic diversity from varied eggs creates hybrid vigor
– A hot climate provides an ideal habitat
– Access to unlimited food enables rapid growth
Just like real-world creatures from massive pterosaurs to giant whales, optimal conditions allows animal life to expand to mythic sizes. Daenerys’ dragons had everything they needed to realize their full potential.