It is very common to see dragons breathing fire in various works such as Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Hobbit and the House of the Dragon to come. I've created several posts here about fire dragons, but recently I got curious about ice dragons and even made a post about them. My current curiosity is about how powerful the ice dragon's freezing breath would be.

The breath of the ice dragon is based on liquid nitrogen and water. The dragon releases both separately from two openings in the mouth, but the shot is transverse, so when the substances touch, it generates ice (which can be shaped like icicles, balls, freezing water flow, spray, etc.) . Based on this, what would be the strength of an ice dragon's breath?


  • By strength/power/potency I mean what the breath would be capable of. Ex: if the freezing would be fast or not, if the freezing would be able to make something fragile (such as wood, metal and stone) or just to cover it with ice, etc.
  • As for how the dragon survives even with a liquid with cryogenic temperature inside itself, let's ignore it. If I'm not mistaken, in English the term is "handwave". The same applies to the liquefaction of nitrogen.
  • Link to the post I mentioned about ice dragon breath: Ice Dragon Breath
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    $\begingroup$ Just for your information, nitrogen does not have a very good heat transfer coefficient to other materials. It will absorb little energy rom the surrounding, making it flash to gas and develop a vapor barrier on warm surfaces, preventing any further heat transfer. Ive had the contents of a nitrogen dewar dumped on my feet before and it basically flashed before I felt anything $\endgroup$
    – Sonvar
    Dec 9, 2021 at 22:52
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    $\begingroup$ Also, water has an enormous specific heat capacity, so making ice by exposing water to liquid nitrogen is more likely to cause a burst of vapour (as the nitrogen expands) injuring the dragon, rather than projecting anything other than a squirt of cold water). $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Dec 9, 2021 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ All of which is to say "the strength would be nonexistent", but a whole answer isn't needed for that. $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Dec 9, 2021 at 23:45
  • $\begingroup$ In terms of heat capacity, you might be better-off thinking about using something like super-cooled powdered rock held in the creature's crop, blown out like venturi fluid with the breath. It'd have greater cooling power per Kg and wouldn't show the Ledenfrost effect. It would also leave the subject covered in a water/concrete of whatever colour depending on the rock that had been used. $\endgroup$ Dec 9, 2021 at 23:52
  • $\begingroup$ I think your dragon would be a walking time bomb, storing liquid nitrogen at that kind of pressure needs much stronger material than muscles can hold ;D $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Dec 10, 2021 at 5:17

1 Answer 1


It'll be a snow-spewer

The liquid nitrogen will only serve to make cold air, not really useful for freezing things unless you submerge your foe. Which, I might add, would be a pretty terrifying situation to be in if the dragon has the intelligence to dig pitfalls as traps and then use them as a 'bowl' of sorts to pour their liquid nitrogen into and freeze whatever was unlucky enough to be in it. Similar tactics will be required if you want to make use of any fragility that might be imparted to objects from being frozen.

As a spewed cold gas + water combo though... you'll only manage to make a snow spray from the water vapor(pressurized sprayed water) interacting with the cold air that the liquid nitrogen will make. Many snow-making devices or methods make use of the cold air interacting with the sprayed water, and with sand or impurities as part of the liquid mix you'll manage to make snow at warmer than usual temperatures.

Snow on its own won't do much in any quick capacity. Might briefly stun foes with how cold it feels and slow them down ever so slightly. Depending on the velocity of the snow maybe you can use it to push foes back and numb their extremities in the process. If you can manage to bury your foe in the snow they might get stuck, which could lead to hypothermia and frostbite, and eventually death, though that's a much slower and cruel death than any dragon would be able to deliver from its bite or claws alone.

  • $\begingroup$ What if the dragon used something else instead of water? Would it work to freeze targets? If yes, what would it take? Would an oil made synthesized with a gland from fat work? $\endgroup$ Dec 10, 2021 at 16:28
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    $\begingroup$ @WizardKing You're more likely to choke your dragon if you use such an oil. Oils become more and more viscous as they cool to the point of being so viscous as to essentially be solid without actually 'truly' freezing. Supercooled liquids(specifically water) might be more effective but in order to make use of this your dragon will have to be ultra-smooth everywhere where the supercooled liquid will travel inside the dragon, and not be contaminated by foreign materials or any sort of crystal(like ice) or bumped too hard lest it risk its internals turning into solid ice near-instantly. $\endgroup$
    – Lemming
    Dec 10, 2021 at 18:01

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