The Game of Thrones season 8 premiere renewed various relationships for expositional purposes, but the episode “Winterfell” also established Daenerys’ three dragons as proper characters through Drogon’s weird facial expression. As a result, the stakes have been raised. Up until the Game of Thrones season 7 finale, Rhaegal, Drogon, and Viserion were primarily known as destructive flying beasts that correlated with the Targaryen family history and Daenerys’ overall character arc.
When the dragons appeared on-screen in the past, viewers could expect a classic Daenerys moment. But that all changed with the Game of Thrones season 7 finale and the Game of Thrones season 8 premiere. The Game of Thrones season 8 premiere includes numerous comedic moments, including Drogon’s menacing and/or jealous facial expression. By providing Rhaegal, Drogon, and Viserion with distinct personalities, Game of Thrones has doubled down on the drama for the remaining episodes.
Jon learns that Rhaegar Targaryen is his real father in the Game of Thrones season 8 premiere. He also rides Daenerys’ dragon Rhaegal for the first time. Of course, Rhaegal is named after Daenerys’ brother Rhaegar, Jon’s father. Unsurprisingly, Jon comedically struggles to process the physical act of riding an actual dragon. Subtextually, this Game of Thrones sequence aligns Jon with the theme of fire, along with his Targaryen bloodline. Though Jon clumsily rides Rhaegal, the act itself is telling, as only Targaryens ride dragons. There’s a sparkle in Daenerys’ eye as she watches the events unfold, and Rhaegal even shows off by swooping over Winterfell. When the dragons land, Jon' unofficially initiated into the family, and Rhaegal seems more than pleased.
Drogon's Facial Expression Reveals His Personality
When Jon and Daenerys smooch in the Game of Thrones season 8 premiere, Drogon’s unforgettable facial expression creates more narrative balance. On one level, it’s a meme-worthy moment, one that fans interpreted differently and immediately discussed on social media. Is Drogon jealous? Is Drogon purely happy? Is Drogon the reincarnated Khal Drogo? After Jon bonds with Rhaegal, Drogon’s behavior reinforces the central theme of fire, and further creates a sense of balance between the two human characters, and the two dragon characters. They’re now a family.
But Drogon’s smile also hints at the underlying and unresolved conflict. Jon will soon learn that he’s actually a Targaryen, and Daenerys will be presented as a villain. Samwell Tarly learns that not only did Daenerys execute his father and brother, but that she also didn’t reveal that information to Jon. Crucially, Jon learns about his true bloodline in the Winterfell crypt, a location that has been connected to ice; the place where winter fell. How will Drogon react when Jon and Daenerys inevitably clash? Drogon’s Mona Lisa smile is cryptic, and also crucial to Game of Thrones season 8.
Viserion, The Night King, And Ice
In Game of Thrones season 7, the Night King kills Viserion and resurrects him as an ice dragon. Viserion later destroys Westeros' ancient wall, with the Night King riding on top. This Game of Thrones moment immediately separates Viserion from Rhaegal and Drogon, because the ice dragon suddenly becomes crucial to Game of Thrones’ final episodes. Most importantly, Viserion’s new personality and character arc aligns him with the theme of ice.
Now, the pieces are in place for the Battle of Winterfell. Drogon trusts Daenerys; however, the North doesn’t quite trust the Mother of Dragons, at least not yet. As for Jon, he’s now formed a bond with Rhaegal, but his dragon’s brother - Drogon - is obviously keeping a close eye on the rightful heir to the throne. One of these dragons, including Viserion, may represent the wild card within the inherent game. If Game of Thrones is a song of ice and fire, who's the odd man out? Whatever happens, Game of Thrones has effectively transformed Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion into proper characters. Anything is possible moving forward, maybe even some dragon warging.