# Are Westeros Dragons Too Big to Fly? Someone Did the Math

Are dragons too big to fly? Many a scientist and over-thinker has asked this question. Sure, Game of Thrones is fantasy. After all, there’s dragons. And there’s even more in the prequel House of the Dragon. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a good thought experiment, similar to last month’s, what do dragons smell like? Thankfully, someone has already done the calculations for this one. An aeronautical engineer did the math. We saw it on Scientific American, but the story was originally published on The Conversation back in 2016. Let’s find out if the dragons of Westeros could actually fly.

### The Quick Math

There’s a few factors that go into this, but most people assume dragons are too heavy or their wings are too small to get lift. The author, pilot and aviation professor Guy Gratton, estimated an adult dragon’s size and mass by comparing it to Daenerys. He reached the conclusion that it was 42 feet long, or a little bigger than a school bus, and weighed 5,700 pounds, about the size of a small elephant.

The wing size and stalling speed (the slowest it can fly) are also needed to calculate the amount of lift needed to get a dragon in the air. Assuming Earth’s gravity and air density, a dragon that heavy could not get off the ground with wings that size. Rather than giving up and saying, “then some magic happens,’ Gratton assumes Westeros itself must have different atmospheric conditions.

### How It Works

Delightfully, the author uses everyone’s ability to throw swords and spears so well to back up this theory. What would help lift a dragon would also give characters seemingly superhuman abilities. It’s like Superman’s red versus yellow suns. If you increase the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, it would make the atmosphere more dense. And dragon flight more possible. Everything would also be more likely to catch fire. But again, that is backed up by just how quickly things burst into flame in Westeros.

In order to bump the numbers up enough to lift a dragon into the sky, the remaining nitrogen in Earth’s atmosphere would have to be replace with denser argon. Gratton admits this mix would be “moderately narcotic” but adds, “Perhaps this might in part explain the regularly irrational and downright aggressive behaviour seen among many citizens of Westeros.” So not only do we get an explanation of how dragons are able to fly, but also why everyone is such a murderous grump.