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This article is about the toxic substance. For the special feature, see: Poisons

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

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

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]

The House of Black and White in Braavos, temple of the Many-Faced God and headquarters of the Faceless Men, has an atrium featuring a large pool of poisoned water in the center. The water is given out to those who are suffering and come to the temple to seek the release of death.[3]

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 first husband's wine with Tears of Lys, prompted by Baelish.[4]
  • Strictly speaking, King Robert Baratheon was not poisoned, but his squire Lancel 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 Cersei. 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.[5]
  • Daenerys Targaryen has been targeted with poison at least twice:
    • The first occasion was when a wineseller on Robert Baratheon's payroll attempted to give her poisoned wine. Jorah Mormont realized what was about to occur and foiled the attempt.[5]
    • 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.[6]
    • It is implied that Varys attempted to kill Daenerys by poisoning her food. He failed because Daenerys did not eat anything, due to her sorrow over the deaths of Rhaegal and Missandei.[7]
  • 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.[8]
  • At Harrenhal, Jaqen H'ghar murdered Ser Amory Lorch with a dart dipped in wolfsbane.[9]

    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. Tyrion was put on trial for the crime, though the act was actually orchestrated by Littlefinger and Olenna Tyrell.[10]
  • Ser Gregor Clegane was badly wounded in his ultimately victorious duel with Oberyn Martell. It was later discovered by 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.[11]
  • Bronn took a scratch on his arm from Tyene Sand, who coated 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.[12]
    • Of all the characters who have been poisoned, Bronn is the only one who has fully recovered from the poison.
  • Myrcella Baratheon was poisoned by Ellaria Sand through a kiss on the lips as she departed for King's Landing with Jaime and Trystane Martell. Though both individuals were poisoned, Tyene Sand was able to produce an antidote for Ellaria as symptoms appeared, while Myrcella died in Jaime's arms. [13]
  • In the second stage of the Assassinations at the Twins, masquerading as patriarch Walder Frey, Arya tricked the surviving male members of House Frey into drinking poisoned wine.[14]
  • In retaliation for Ellaria Sand's murder of Myrcella Baratheon, Ellaria's daughter Tyene Sand was poisoned by Cersei using the same poison used to murder Myrcella. Though both individuals were poisoned, Cersei took the antidote long before symptoms appeared, and left Tyene to die.[15]
  • Olenna Tyrell was given an unknown poison by Jaime Lannister as an alternative to being taken prisoner by Cersei.[15]


"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 aforementioned poisons are also 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 Pycelle, 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 against Daenerys (omitted from the show) - the third unsuccessful attempt to poison her: at the fighting pit, Hizdahr offers her poisoned honeyed locusts. Luckily for her, she declines, but Strong Belwas eats a lot of them and within a few minutes becomes sick and vomits. Later, Barristan Selmy goes over the event in his mind and recalls that Hizdahr urged 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 he 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. In view of 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 some of those mushrooms to poison Nurse, the wicked overseer of Yezzan's slaves.

See also