"Walking lizards" or "tattooed lizards" are a species of lizard, which can be found in the unexplored southern jungles of Sothoryos, known as the Green Hell.
These lizards appear to be tattooed, and run down their prey on their powerful hind legs. They also have long curved claws on their hind legs, which they use to rip their prey apart.
A Game of Thrones
Syrio Forel tells Arya Stark about the rare live specimens of walking lizards kept in the exotic animal menagerie of the Sealord of Braavos.
A Dance With Dragons
Victarion Greyjoy wonders if the rumors about Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons are true, or if they are only tattooed lizards from the swamps of Sothoryos.
Hear me. The ships of Braavos sail as far as the winds blow, to lands strange and wonderful, and when they return, their captains fetch queer animals to the Sealord's menagerie. Such animals as you have never seen, striped horses, great spotted things with necks as long as stilts, hairy mouse-pigs as big as cows, stinging manticores, tigers that carry their cubs in a pouch, terrible walking lizards with scythes for claws. Syrio Forel has seen these things.
Like as not, the girl would prove to be some pock-faced slattern with teats slapping against her knees, "her dragons" no more than tattooed lizards from the swamps of Sothoryos.—Victarion Greyjoy thinking about Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons
Behind the Scenes
It is likely that the "terrible" walking lizards are a kind of dromaeosaurid dinosaur, such as Velociraptor or Deinonychus. "Dinosaur" means "terrible lizard", "dromeosaurid" means "running lizard", and they have a large scythe-like claw on their hind legs. Furthermore, George R.R. Martin greatly enjoyed the novel Jurassic Park, which popularized velociraptors as vicious killers.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: Sothoryos.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 50, Arya IV.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 56, The Iron Suitor.
- ↑ Not a Blog: The Dinosaurs Are Coming (June 7, 2015)
- ↑ Wikipedia: Velociraptor in popular culture