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Jaime Lannister: "Qyburn's scorpion is over there!"
Bronn: "Go and get it then!"
Jaime Lannister: "I can't shoot with one hand!"
Jaime Lannister and Bronn during the battle of the Goldroad[src]
Scorpions are long-range artillery weapons, resembling mounted large crossbows. A bolt fired from one carries enough velocity to pierce the skull of a dragon. It is fully pivotal and though it is best operated by a small team, it can be loaded and fired by a single soldier. A scorpion can be considered a smaller, more portable variation of a ballista.

History

Background

During the First Dornish War, Rhaenys Targaryen and her dragon Meraxes, were killed when a very lucky shot from a scorpion bolt managed to pierce the dragon's eye and drive into her brain, killing Meraxes instantly in mid-flight and causing Rhaenys to fall to her death. This was a major blow to House Targaryen.[1]

Season 7

To combat Daenerys Targaryen's dragons, Cersei Lannister's new Hand of the Queen Qyburn commissions the construction of a very powerful custom scorpion. Qyburn has Cersei accompany him to the crypts below the Red Keep where the skulls of dead dragons are housed. Qyburn shows her the scorpion he's had built and invites her to fire the bolt at the skull of Balerion. The bolt pierces the skull easily. Cersei seems very pleased.[2]

Though the weapon usually requires a team to operate, Bronn manages to operate Qyburn's scorpion during the battle of the Goldroad and fire it against Drogon while Daenerys is riding him. The bolt misses his eyes, however, and only strikes him in the shoulder - failing to deeply penetrate the dragon's iron scales (which apparently Qyburn nor anyone else considered for penetration), and only inflicting a minor flesh wound. Drogon then destroys the scorpion by blasting it with fire, and Bronn barely escapes. When he lands nearby, Drogon destroys the burning cart with a single swipe of his tail.[3]

Silence

The Silence and several Greyjoy ships with mounted scorpions.

Season 8

Euron Greyjoy uses several scorpions, installed on his ships, to kill Rhaegal and destroy the Targaryen fleet in a battle in the waters off Dragonstone.[4]

Later, scorpions are seen mounted on the walls of King's Landing. Despite the numerous scorpions present in the Battle of King's Landing, they failed to kill Drogon, who successfully evaded getting struck by a bolt and destroyed all the scorpions.[5]

In the books

Scorpions are commonly-used siege weapons throughout Westeros and Essos, along with ballistae, catapults, and trebuchets.

Scorpions have been notably used at the Battle of the Blackwater, Battle of Castle Black (by the defenders only), and the second siege of Meereen (by the besiegers only).

The difference between a scorpion and a ballista is that a ballista is far larger, and needs to be constructed on-site - it can't be moved with horses and be assembled reasonably quickly the way a scorpion can.

References

See also

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