Warning: the following contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 7 episode 6: 'Beyond the Wall'
For years, fans and theorists alike have wondered how and when an ice dragon would arrive in Westeros. Like the White Walkers themselves, the blue-eyed beasts were the stuff of legend. They were rumored to fly amidst the frozen lakes in The Land of Always Winter. Some thought an ice dragon was housed deep inside The Wall, and others even wondered if one might materialize out of the frozen pond near the godswood at Winterfell.
Not so. As revealed in the penultimate episode of the season, the ice dragon was right in front of us the whole time. In “Beyond The Wall,” Game of Thrones delivered an ice dragon by way of House Targaryen.
It all started in a moment of absolute heroism when Daenerys flew her fleet of fire-breathing beasts to the aide of Jon Snow and his motley crew. While staving off the horde of wights that would have surely decimated the King of the North and his men, Dany’s dragons seemed destined to save the day. Then, out of nowhere, the Night King hurled a crystallized ice-spear like an Olympic javelin thrower and eviscerated Viserion's body. Like a leaking oil tanker, Dany's dragon spilled blood and fiery guts from above, plummeted from the skies onto the frozen pond, and slipped into the watery abyss.
Viserion didn’t remain out of the action for long. After Jon Snow narrowly escaped death thanks to Benjen Stark, the leader of the White Walkers ordered his army of wights to lift the deceased dragon out of the icy water. Armed with massive, noggin-sized chains, the reanimated legion hoisted Viserion out of his aquatic grave and left him before his new master. Rather than what we saw him do at Hardhome, the Night King simply approached the beast, knelt down before it, and resurrected the dead dragon by simply touching his snout. Viserion was reborn, now with the signature blue eyes of his white-walking brethren.
The ice dragon (or wight dragon) is here. With the Night King as his (likely) rider, “the dragon has three heads” theory will be completed in utterly perverse and unpredictable style. Furthermore, it’s equally poetic that the dragon destined to fight Daenerys in the coming season is the one named after her sadistic and weak brother, Viserys. While Viserion got short shrift throughout the show, it makes the most sense that he’s the first dragon to go. Drogon, the biggest of the three, takes his name from Dany’s late husband, Drogo, and is seemingly off limits from premature death. Rhaegal is named after Rhaegar Targaryen, the true father of Jon Snow. You can expect the King of the North to ride him at some point in the final season.
All that being said, it’s still a tremendous loss for the Mother of Dragons and her constituents for the war to come. While we have yet to see him in action, expect Viserion 2.0 to be far more powerful in death than he ever was in life.