Ned Stark: " I heard it said that poison is a woman's weapon."
Pycelle: "Yes. Women, cravens... and eunuchs."
Ned Stark and Grand Maester Pycelle[src]

Princess Myrcella Baratheon dies from the effects of the Long Farewell.

A poison is a toxic substance that disrupts the proper functions of the body, often with lethal effects.

Poison is used throughout the known world, though is more prevalent in the Free Cities. In the martial society of Westeros poison is regarded with contempt and considered a weapon used only by cravens and women; an exception is Dorne, whose Prince Oberyn Martell was known as the Red Viper for his proclivity for poison. Maesters study poisons at the Citadel.

Known poisons


A manticore, from which manticore venom is extracted.

When Pycelle testifies at Tyrion's trial, he counts several of the poisons listed above.[1]

Many strong medicines, such as Essence of Nightshade, can also be fatal if a high enough dosage is consumed.

The Crannogmen who live in the Neck use poisons obtained from the surrounding swamps.[2]

Known Poisonings

  • Jon Arryn was suspected of having been poisoned. The truth emerged during a conversation between Arryn's widow Lysa and Petyr Baelish. Lysa reminded Baelish that she laced her ex-husband's wine with Tears of Lys, Baelish having told her to do it.[3]
  • Strictly speaking, King Robert Baratheon was not poisoned, but his squire Lancel Lannister intentionally provided him wine which was spiked to be much more potent than he expected, dulling his wits during a dangerous boar hunt. This was arranged by Lancel's cousin and Robert's wife, Queen Cersei Lannister. The plan succeeded when a large boar gored Robert, mortally wounding him. Given that Robert was a well-known drunk, and no actual "poison" was used, this made it more difficult to suspect foul play.[4]
  • Daenerys Targaryen has twice been targeted with poison. The first occasion was when a wineseller on Robert Baratheon's payroll attempted to give her poisoned wine. Ser Jorah Mormont realized what was about to occur and foiled the attempt.[4] The second was organized by the Warlocks of Qarth, using a manticore hidden in a wooden sphere. The creature was killed by Ser Barristan Selmy before it could sting her.[5]
  • Maester Cressen tried to poison Melisandre during a toast. At his behest, they both drank the wine he had spiked with The Strangler. He collapsed and died, but the poison had no effect on her.[6]
  • At Harrenhal, Jaqen H'ghar murdered Ser Amory Lorch with a dart dipped in wolfsbane.[7]
    Purple Wedding

    King Joffrey after being poisoned

  • King Joffrey Baratheon was poisoned at his wedding feast with The Strangler, which had been put into his wine goblet. His uncle Tyrion Lannister was put on trial for the crime, though the act was actually orchestrated by Petyr Baelish and Olenna Tyrell.[8]
  • Ser Gregor Clegane is badly wounded in his ultimately victorious duel with Oberyn Martell. It was later discovered by Grand Maester Pycelle and Qyburn that before the duel, Oberyn coated his spear with manticore venom, causing Clegane's wounds to horrifically putrefy and leaving him in terrible agony.[9]
  • Bronn takes a scratch on his arm from Tyene Sand, who coats her two daggers with a poison called The Long Farewell. It is a habit, taken from her father Oberyn, that can make a single scratch lethal. [10] Of all the characters who have been poisoned, he is the only one who has fully recovered from the poison (Gregor Clegane has also been cured, but does not show his face - apparently he was not fully restored to what he was).
  • Myrcella Baratheon is poisoned by Ellaria Sand through a kiss on the lips as she departs for King's Landing with Jaime Lannister and Trystane Martell. Though both individuals are poisoned, Tyene Sand is able to produce an antidote for Ellaria as symptoms appear, while Myrcella dies in Jaime's arms. [11]
  • Ludd Whitehill is (player-determined) poisoned by Talia Forrester through a drink of wine. If this happens Elissa Forrester deliberately poisoned herself through the same drink of wine to stop her son Asher Forrester from drinking it when Ludd Became suspicious of it being poisoned, Both them die quickly after drinking it.[12]
  • In the second stage of the Assassinations at the Twins, masquerading as patriarch Walder Frey, Arya Stark tricks the surviving male members of House Frey into drinking poisoned wine.[13]
  • In retaliation for Ellaria Sand's murder of Myrcella Baratheon, Ellaria's daughter Tyene Sand is poisoned by Cersei Lannister using the same poison used to murder Myrcella. Though both individuals are poisoned, Cersei takes the antidote long before symptoms appear and leaves Tyene to die.[14]
  • Olenna Tyrell is given an unknown poison by Jaime Lannister as an alternative to being taken prisoner by Cersei Lannister.[14]


"Any man who calls a poison "a woman's weapon," is a traitor to his fellow men. A dagger, arrow, axe. These are the arms of passion. But poison is cold, calculating. Poison is the thought that wakes you in the morning, and lulls you to sleep at night. You watch your victim die a thousand times before you ever offer him that fateful taste. Is a man's hate so inferior to a woman's that we are to be denied such a weapon?"
Oberyn Martell[src]

In the books

Most of the above poisons are mentioned in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, except the "Long Farewell" and "Essence of Nightshade".

In the TV series, "Essence of Nightshade" appears to stand in for a variety of analgesic or anesthetic medicines which were present in the novels. "Essence of Nightshade" actually takes the place of a similar medicine in the novels, "Sweetsleep". The TV series started referring to "Essence of Nightshade" in Season 2, but then actually mentioned Sweetsleep in Season 4.

In the second novel, Tyrion dines with Pycelle, and distracts him for a few minutes in order to steal a bottle of laxatives. He examines Pycelle's display of medicines, noting especially: Sweetsleep, Nightshade, Milk of the Poppy, tears of Lys, powdered greycap, wolfsbane, demon's dance, basilisk venom, blindeye and Widow's blood. Later, after Tyrion arrests Pyecelle, he takes many samples from the medicine shelves (it is not specified what substances he took).

At Tyrion's court trial, Pycelle testifies that Tyrion stole all the aforementioned poisons from his chambers, but emphasizes that none of those was used to kill Joffrey - it was the strangler.

In the fifth novel, a major poisoning attempt is performed (omitted from the show) - the third unsuccessful attempt to poison Daenerys: at the fighting pit, Hizdahr offers Daenerys poisoned honeyed locusts. Luckily she declines, but Strong Belwas eats a lot of them and within a few minutes becomes sick and vomits. Ser Barristan Selmy recalls that Hizdahr begged Daenerys to eat the locusts, but did not taste them himself. He concludes (based on circumstantial evidence) that Hizdahr attempted to murder Daenerys, and that he is in league with the Sons of the Harpy. He and more of Daenerys's loyalists rebel against Hizdahr and imprison him. Belwas lies sick for days and nearly dies, but finally recovers thanks to the medical treatment he is given, and maybe also due to his size and freakish strength, and because has vomited most of the poison shortly after eating the locusts. It is unknown which poison was used in this attempt.

Domeric, Roose Bolton's trueborn son, died of a sickness of the bowels. Roose and Lady Dustin strongly suspect Ramsay murdered Domeric with unknown poison to take his place as Roose's heir. Knowing Ramsay's monstrous personality, the suspicion is probably correct.

At the wedding of Tommen and Margaery, Jaime takes a lot of measures to prevent any attempt of poisoning: he assigns men in the kitchens to watch as each dish is prepared; Ser Addam Marbrand’s gold cloaks escort the servants as they bring the food to table, to make certain no tampering takes place along the way; Ser Boros Blount tastes every course before Tommen eats; lastly, as an extra precaution, Maester Ballabar is present at the hall, with purges and antidotes for twenty common poisons.

While Tyrion stays in Illyrio Mopatis's estate, he finds seven poisonous mushrooms in a garden and hides them in his boot, to grant himself a quick death in case he is captured and delivered to Cersei. It is heavily implied that he uses those mushrooms to poison Nurse, the wicked overseer of Yezzan's slaves.


  1. "The Laws of Gods and Men": "Basilisk venom, Widow's Blood, Wolfsbane, Essence of Nightshade, Sweetsleep, Tears of Lys, Demon's Dance, Blind Eye..."
  2. "House Reed (Histories & Lore)"
  3. "First of His Name"
  4. 4.0 4.1 "You Win or You Die"
  5. "Valar Dohaeris"
  6. "The North Remembers"
  7. "The Old Gods and the New"
  8. "The Lion and the Rose"
  9. "The Mountain and the Viper"
  10. "The Gift (episode)"
  11. "Mother's Mercy"
  12. "The Ice Dragon"
  13. Dragonstone (episode)
  14. 14.0 14.1 "The Queen's Justice"

See also