"Is this how you treat the Gods of your fathers? Are you so eager to spit on your ancestors?"
―Cressen to the people of Dragonstone[src]

Cressen was the Maester of Dragonstone and a servant of Stannis Baratheon. He died trying to trick Melisandre into sharing a poisoned cup of wine with him.



Cressen is a maester of the Citadel, a man of learning assigned to a castle to advise its inhabitants in matters of science and medicine. Cressen has served Lord Stannis Baratheon at Dragonstone for many years.[1]

Season 2

Cressen is worried about the influence that the red priestess Melisandre has over Stannis, and is horrified when she gets him to renounce the Faith of the Seven. When she has the carved wooden statues of the Seven burned on the beach, he speaks out against doing this. He says that all of them were named in the light of the Seven, and they risk the wrath of the Gods. Cressen tries to talk to Davos about going against her, but Davos refuses, saying that right now is not an opportune time to act. The maester decides that if Stannis can't be talked into putting Melisandre aside she must be killed, before she leads him into a war he cannot win.

Cressen death

Cressen dies in an attempt to kill Melisandre.

Later Cressen sits at the Painted Table, at a council meeting with Stannis, Davos, and Melisandre. When he puts poison in a cup of wine, Davos silently urges him to stop, but he does not. Walking around the table, Maester Cressen says that they should put their differences aside and asks Melisandre to drink a toast with him. He drinks from the cup first and hands it to her. She watches him and sees his nose start to bleed. She knows it's poison, but with a smile she drinks the rest of the wine anyway. As he dies almost immediately, she stands over him, unaffected by the poison. As she watches him die her red ruby necklace begins to glow.[2]

Season 5

When Shireen Baratheon is teaching Gilly how to read, she mentions to her and Samwell Tarly that Cressen taught her how to read when she was three years old.[3]

Season 7

When Samwell tells Archmaester Ebrose that Shireen Baratheon was cured of her greyscale to try and persuade the Archmaester to allow him to try and help Jorah Mormont, Ebrose responds that Cressen accomplished this when Shireen was very young and the disease had not spread so much.[4]


Season Two appearances
The North Remembers The Night Lands What Is Dead May Never Die Garden of Bones The Ghost of Harrenhal
The Old Gods and the New A Man Without Honor The Prince of Winterfell Blackwater Valar Morghulis

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Cressen is a long-standing servant of House Baratheon. He was maester at Storm's End for many years, and advised Stannis during the year-long siege of the castle by the armies of House Tyrell during Robert's Rebellion. After the death of Lord Steffon Baratheon in a shipwreck, Cressen had adopted a fatherly attitude to the three Baratheon boys, particularly to Stannis, who lacked the charm of Robert and Renly. After Stannis was made Lord of Dragonstone, Cressen followed him to his new home, something uncommon among maesters, who are assigned to keeps and castles and not to lords, and has continued to advise him there ever since. Approaching eighty years of age, Cressen has started to slow down, so Stannis asked the Citadel to send him an assistant, Pylos, to take up his burdens and eventually replace him, a prospect Cressen is not happy about.

While normally stoic and unsentimental, after his death Stannis later says that Cressen was like a second father to him after his own father Steffon died. Stannis did ask for Pylos to replace Cressen, though not because he simply wanted to dispose of the man, but because he was actually concerned about his well-being. As Stannis curtly explained to Cressen, his duties as a maester would require him to climb the steep stairs of the castle to the rookery every day, but with his failing health and bad hip, it was only a matter of time before he fell down the stairs and died, and Stannis would not have Cressen needlessly kill himself in his service.

Melisandre never openly mocks Cressen at any point in the novels. It is Stannis's wife Selyse and their daughter's motley-tattooed fool Patchface who ridicule him for being old, and while Melisandre knew about the poisoned cup, she actually seems to take pity on the maester, and even tells him not to throw his life away by going through with the plan. His death also occurs slightly differently. First, Melisandre drinks and appears completely unaffected, but Cressen then drinks and dies from the poison. This also occured before the burning of the idols and not after.

Shireen Baratheon mentions in Season 5's "The House of Black and White" that Cressen taught her to read. In the novels, Cressen was Shireen's teacher and had a kindly attitude towards her, pitying her frail health and how Greyscale had marred her face. Cressen and Shireen actually did have a scene together in the book: when Cressen received the special white messenger-raven from the Citadel announcing that autumn had begun, Shireen asked to see it and he obliged: he could never deny a request from her, feeling that life had already denied her so much. The scene between Cressen and Shireen didn't take place in the TV version, however, because Cressen is introduced and then dies in the Season 2 premiere - and the TV producers weren't even sure during Season 2 if Shireen would ever appear in the TV series, though they later decided to introduce her in Season 3.

See also


  1. HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Baratheon of Dragonstone entry
  2. "The North Remembers"
  3. "The House of Black and White"
  4. "Stormborn"
v  d  e
Lord: None, extinct Heir: None, extinct
Seat: Dragonstone Lands: Blackwater Bay and the Stormlands
Title(s): Lord of Dragonstone
Current members:None, extinct
Deceased members:King Stannis Baratheon · Queen Selyse Florent · Princess Shireen Baratheon · Petyr Baratheon · Tommard Baratheon · Edric Baratheon
Household:{Maester Cressen} · {Lady Melisandre} · {Lord Axell Florent} · Ser Davos Seaworth · Ser Imry Florent · {Matthos Seaworth} · Bert · {General}
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