Daenerys Targaryen walked into the flames with three stones and rose from the ashes with three dragons, just like she burned the khals alive and emerged from the inferno Khaleesi of all the Dothraki. Her immunity to fire is a power only she possesses, and it has made her fearsome, but is there a limit to what even she can withstand? Would she be unharmed if bathed in dragonflame? There’s reason to think she would, which could help her survive a dragon battle with the Night King.
Of course, if things go wrong for the living and she ends up fighting with the dead, her greatest strength could become Jon Snow’s biggest problem.
A One-of-a-Kind Power
“Fire and blood” might be the words of House Targaryen, and though they have the blood of the dragon running through their veins, they can still burn. Daenerys is the only known Valyrian ever to be immune to fire. Jon Snow, son of her brother Rhaegar, burned his hand throwing a lantern at a wight while saving Lord Commander Mormont, and her older brother Viserys was killed by molten gold.
Past Targaryens weren’t immune either. Maester Aemon’s younger brother, King Aegon V, died during a massive blaze at Summerhall when Aegon tried hatching stone eggs with wildfire. Before that their awful older brother Aerion Brightflame (also known as the Monstrous) thought if he drank wildfire he would turn into a dragon. He did not, but he did die screaming. And the Half-Year-Queen, Rhaenrya Targaryen, died in a dragonflame bath from her rival half-brother’s dragon.
However, just because Daenerys is immune to regular fire doesn’t mean she’s immune to flames that come from magical beasts known as “fire made flesh.” The fact she appears to be magical herself does though.
A Revealing Change in George R.R. Martin’s Original Plans
Her fire immunity was hinted at in both the books and show before she hatched her dragons, when she entered a scalding bath and picked up her burning hot eggs without being harmed. But originally George R.R. Martin planned for her special birth to be a one time only event.
In an archived 1999 online chat Martin did ahead of the release of the third book (a.k.a simpler times), the author was asked by a fan if “Targaryens become immune to fire once they ‘bond’ to their dragons?” His animated response answered a lot more though, when Martin said:
“Thanks for asking that. It gives me a chance to clear up a common misconception. TARGARYENS ARE NOT IMMUNE TO FIRE! The birth of Dany’s dragons was unique, magical, wonderous, a miracle. She is called The Unburnt because she walked into the flames and lived. But her brother sure as hell wasn’t immune to that molten gold.”
Another fan followed up by asking, “So she won’t be able to do it again?” and Martin replied, “Probably not.”
Her burning of the khals, which hasn’t had a chance to happen in the books but certainly feels like it will, clearly altered Martin’s intent. The hatching of the eggs wasn’t a miracle. Daenerys seems to be magical herself, and that makes her like her dragons.
That might not guarantee she’s immune to dragonflame, but all the evidence we have makes a convincing argument.
Advantage Fighting the Night King
While some body parts are vulnerable, especially their eyes, dragons themselves are mostly immune to dragonflame. The older they get and the thicker their scales grow, the safer they are from their fellow dragons’ fire, so they primarily fight by biting at each other’s necks and tearing at their bellies with their claws.
They can still kill opposing dragon riders with their fires though, so Jon Snow could easily be melted by the Night King.
As for the Night King, himself a magical creature whose powers we do not fully understand, not even Bran knows if he can be hurt by dragonflame, since “no one’s ever tried.” We did see the White Walker leader walk through a ring of fire at the Three-Eyed Raven’s cave, flames parting as he stepped through, so it’s very possible that like Daenerys his fire immunity will also makes him safe from dragonflame. But at the very least the Night King won’t have any advantage on Daenerys while they are fighting in the skies.
The problem will be if he kills Daenerys another way and then recruits her into the army of the dead, because then the living might not be able to kill her with any kind of fire.
How to Kill a Night Queen Immune to Fire
If the Night King kills Daenerys she will become a wight, not a White Walker, but that difference might not matter. White Walkers can only be killed by drgaonglass and Valyrian steel, but wights can also be killed by fire, which is why dragons are the living’s greatest weapon.
But if Daenerys the Unburnt, whose dragons might not know she is dead when they see her walking around, is still immune to fire even in death, it will mean someone with a dragonlass dagger or a Valyrian steel sword – maybe someone like Jon or Jorah – will have to kill her while looking right into her blue eyes. Will they be able to do that? Can anyone withstand a moment so terrible?
Or even worse, because dragonglass and Valyrian steel are both connected to dragons themselves, will there be anyway to kill her directly? Could she be invincible to any known way of killing a wight?
Is Daenerys immune to dragonflame? The living might be better off if she’s not.