One indisputable fact has become illuminated after talking about Game of Thrones nonstop since the premiere of its final season: many people have no idea where Dragonstone is. They definitely can't find the smokey island on a map of Westeros. Some believe the ancestral home of the Targaryens is somewhere in the unwieldy North. My father assumed with a hand wave it was somewhere South, but its exact location was undefinable.
If Daenerys Targaryen’s (Emilia Clarke) familial haunt was a shrug of a locale, this wouldn’t matter much. But, the placement of Dragonstone is actually a major plot point as Game of Thrones approaches its own endgame. And, it’s becoming even more important as the final confrontation between Dany and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), the woman sitting on the Iron Throne in King’s Landing, looms ahead.
So, let’s really dig into everything you'll ever want to know about Dragonstone, down to exactly where you can find it on a map.
Where is Dragonstone?
Dragonstone is on the opposite side of the Blackwater Bay from King’s Landing. Dragonstone is an island, while King’s Landing is a proper port city. Essentially, Dragonstone is Staten Island to King’s Landing’s Manhattan. This fact adds to the tension of Game of Thrones’ Last War. Dany’s machinations at home aren’t some distant concept to Cersei in the Red Keep — they’re happening right across the water. In fact, Cersei can practically see her rival’s holdfast on the other side of the bay. And, that means Dany can practically see the throne she has believed she is destined for from her island base.
That explains why both women are acting with such urgency in this final war: they’re essentially breathing down each other’s necks. An understanding of Dragonstone’s location also clarifies why it was so easy for Euron Greyjoy’s (Pilou Asbæk) fleet to ambush Dany in “Last of the Starks” on her return home from the North. Everyone is sharing Blackwater Bay. It’s unlikely Euron even had to dispatch many ships, if any, from their holding spot to catch Dany.
Considering this very obvious geographical fact, it’s impossible to understand why Team Targaryen wasn’t better prepared to meet Euron’s fleet upon return.
Why did Daenerys' Army go to Dragonstone?
Dany returns to Dragonstone because it’s a great tactical spot to fight Cersei. It’s a short distance from King’s Landing and thus easy to ferry her army from the island castle to the capital, especially in comparison to the lengthy journey between King’s Landing and Winterfell. If you’re trying to take the Red Keep, there’s nowhere better to start.
What is the historical significance of Dragonstone?
Hundreds of years prior to the events of Game of Thrones, the first Aegon Targaryen used Dragonstone has a jump-off point for his conquest of Westeros. While the Targaryen family hails from Essos’ Valyria, they fled the famous freehold a little over a decade before its Doom. The family settled on Dragonstone, which was the western-most Valyrian outpost at the time. Another Valyrian family, the Velaryons, had already settled on another island in Blackwater Bay, Driftmark. The Targaryens had dragons and the Velaryons did not (they were expert seamen instead).
Aegon planned his conquest of Westeros a little more than a 100 years after his ancestors landed on Dragonstone and took it as their seat. He used the painted table of the castle to strategize his war, which he infamously won. Daenerys now uses that same table to devise her battle plans.
When have we seen Dragonstone before?
Dragonstone has featured heavily in Dany’s conquest of Westeros and her love story with Jon Snow (Kit Harington). However, before Daenerys ever landed on the shores of her family’s castle, Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) held the castle as his seat. During the Targaryen dynasty, the castle was traditionally gifted to whichever male heir was next in line for the Iron Throne. That individual was given the title of “The Prince of Dragonstone.”
Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) continued this convention at the start of his rule by giving Dragonstone to his next male heir at the time, his younger brother Stannis. Robert then handed the Baratheon’s ancestral seat of Storm’s End, and its lands, to his youngest brother, Renly Baratheon (Gethin Anthony). This move was meant to spread Baratheon power throughout the realm and should have ensured the family’s long-term continental strength (it didn’t). It is unclear what Robert would have done if he had lived to see his alleged son Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) mature to adulthood. Would he have named Joffrey Prince of Dragonstone and moved Stannis to Storm’s End? What would that mean for Renly?
We’ll never know because every single one of those men is now dead. At least we can all remember the table Stannis used to make a shadow baby with Melisandre (Carice van Houten) is now a centerpiece in Daenerys Targaryen’s battle plans.
Where does Game of Thrones film for Dragonstone?
Thrones films its Dragonstone scenes in Itzurun Beach, a seaside area in Spain’s Basque Country. According to the Telegraph, it’s a wildly easy place to visit, so it just might be time to book that plane ticket overseas. Or, hop on the nearest dragon.