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Mithras

A Recollection of Poisons

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Here is a list of all known poisons and medicines in the series.



In this thread, I will go over only the poisons and the cases they are used. There will also be some speculations.



Tears of Lys



The tears of Lys is rare and costly, clear and sweet as water and leaving no trace. It is a cruel poison that eats at a man's bowels and belly, and seems like an illness of those parts (I: 270. IV: 516)



Jon Arryn was killed by the tears of Lys. Lysa was the poisoner.



“Yes, m’lord. Domeric. I … I have heard his name …”


“Ramsay killed him. A sickness of the bowels, Maester Uthor says, but I say poison.”



Domeric was probably poisoned with Tears of Lys. It is rare and expensive. No way might a Ramsay in puberty afford to find it and use it. I think Roose is the poisoner, which looks similar to Lysa and Jon Arryn’s case, as it is in the family and personal. Note that sickness in the bowels might be due to widow’s blood too but Roose did not mention any problem with Domeric’s bladder. So, the description fits the Tears of Lys.



Strangler



A poison which seems as small, extremely purple crystals made from a certain plant that grows only on the islands of the Jade Sea. The leaves are aged and soaked in a wash of limes and sugar water and certain rare spices from the Summer Isles. Afterwards the leaves could be discarded, but the potion must be thickened with ash. The process is slow and difficult, leading to its cost. The alchemists of Lys, the Faceless Men, and the maesters of the Citadel know how to make it (II: 15)


The leaf has a particular name amongst the Asshai'i and the Lysene have a name for the crystals. To the maesters, the poison is known as 'the strangler' for causing the throat to clench so powerfully that the windpipe shuts (II: 15)



Cressen tried to poison Mel with it but it did not work on her.



Joffrey was killed by strangler, although we are not completely sure that whether the poison was in the wine or the pie.



Sweetsleep



Sweetsleep is named in part because of its taste. A small pinch can soothe an anxious child, but too large a dose or too regular use can be dangerous (IV: 333, 516)



Sweetsleep (a pinch will bring sound and dreamless sleep, while three pinches brings death (II: 193. III: 743, 872. IV: 516)



According to Colemon, this poison does not leave the flesh, so small doses taken regularly can kill.



Sweetsleep is poured regularly into the pool inside the HoB&W.



Sweetrobin is being given sweetsleep which started to be too frequent and dangerous.



In TPatQ, Hobert Hightower and Ulf the Sot drank a wine containing sweetsleep and died because of it.



Manticore Venom



A poison using manticore venom thickened by some method (possibly magic) so rather than killing instantly upon reaching the heart, it instead takes much longer to reach the heart and thereby delays death while causing excruciating pain. The flesh mortifies and oozes pus, so much so that maggots will not do their work. Violent convulsions ensue. The rotting of the flesh cannot be treated by normal means such as boiling wine and bread mold, and the veins in an arm are turning black. Leeches used to drain blood die of the poison as well (III: 821. IV: 110)



Normally it kills when it reaches the heart (and it can reach the heart within seconds to minutes depending on the wound). Note that how the flesh starts to rot and pus is generated, veins start to turn black.



Oberyn used manticore venom on Gregor. However, he magically altered the poison to elongate his death.



A Sorrowful Man tried to have Dany stung by a real manticore but Barristan was there to save her.



Basilisk Blood



A paste spiced with basilisk blood that gives meat a savory smell, but brings a violent madness on any creature with warm blood, whether man or beast (IV: 516-517)



There is also basilisk venom, which is not described yet. It may or may not be the same poison with basilisk blood.



Jaqen used basilisk blood on the dog of Weese, which in turn attacked and ripped the throat of its master.



Widow’s Blood



Widow’s blood (named so for its color, it's a cruel potion that shuts down bladder and bowels so the victim drowns in their own poisons) (II: 193. III: 743, 872. IV: 516)



It is very suspicious that widow’s blood being described in full detail but we have no known case where it was used. All the poisons described were used at least once. I think widow’s blood is no exception and Oberyn used it on Tywin during the trials. He probably modified it to only attack the bowels, not bladder. It is thematically fitting in this case because Elia was a widow when Tywin had her killed. Also Tywin is known to shit gold. So, a poison shutting his bowels and preventing him shitting is also fitting. Oberyn probably guessed that Tywin’s bowels will get loose at the time of death and all the excrement that waited so long will get out. The world will see what Tywin really shits.



Various Poisons



A scratch from a crannogman arrow is said to be enough to leave a man in agony with bloody bowels, screaming as blood and watery feces runs down his legs until he dies (IV: 257)



The poisons used by the House of Black and White can stunt growth (IV: 324, 517)



A poison that induces blindness, deposited in warm milk and giving it a slightly burnt smell and a bitter aftertaste (IV: 518). It might be the blindeye or something else entirely.



A poison known as heart's bane, served in a cup (IV: 545).



Various poisons that are not described yet: nightshade, powdered greycap (taken from the toadstool), wolfsbane, demon's dance, basilisk venom, blindeye, (II: 193. III: 743, 872. IV: 516)



Speculations



Heart’s bane might be the poison Arya used on the gold coin in her first assignment. The KM said that the victim’s “heart gave out”. That looks like a heart attack inducing poison and it acted probably around 10 minutes. Pate also seems to die the same. I think another possible victim for heart’s bane might be Tytos whose heart was said to burst in his chest while climbing to his mistress’s chamber and the poisoner might be Tywin.



Nightshade and wolfsbane are known poisons in real life. Their effects might be similar in the series.


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If both Pate and Arya's victim were killed by Heart's bane, than I guess the dosis that Pate received was somewhat bigger, since he died rather fast after biting the coin. Arya's victim seems to have felt the effect a bit later, right? (Can't check the books right now)



As to Tytos, the Westerland reading gave a good picture of him. A fatter man, of his age, without any condition, and IIRC favoring feasts and such, it isn't unlikely that he just had a heart attack. I can imagine that his veins and arteries slowly got more obstructed, until the bloodflow was entirely cut off. In Westerosi times, it would be impossible to help him, and thus, he died.


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If both Pate and Arya's victim were killed by Heart's bane, than I guess the dosis that Pate received was somewhat bigger, since he died rather fast after biting the coin. Arya's victim seems to have felt the effect a bit later, right? (Can't check the books right now)

Arya gave the coin to a customer of the victim. The customer paid the victim with the poisoned coin. When the victim bit the coin, his heart gave out within 10 minutes just like Pate. The FM make their kills seem natural. I think if he dies to soon after biting the coin, poisoning might be suspected.

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We know that the Strangler was in the wine.



If we entertain the idea that Tywin was poisoned by Widow's Blood, Varys would also (a more likely?) suspect for this. I'm not sure that Oberyn would have been able to administer the poison.



I'm pretty sure Tytos died of natural causes. He had an heart attack. Tywin would not have murdered his own father.



Additionally, I'd suggest that Basilisk Blood (in a somewhat diluted form) might have been used 'to help' the mob storm the Dragonpit during the Dance.



First the Shepherd directs the anger of the mob towards the dragons, and then many of the people eat 'bowls of brown' with a small dose of Basilisk Blood in the pot shops of Flea Bottom.


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We know that the Strangler was in the wine.



If we entertain the idea that Tywin was poisoned by Widow's Blood, Varys would also (a more likely?) suspect for this. I'm not sure that Oberyn would have been able to administer the poison.



I'm pretty sure Tytos died of natural causes. He had an heart attack. Tywin would not have murdered his own father.



Additionally, I'd suggest that Basilisk Blood (in a somewhat diluted form) might have been used 'to help' the mob storm the Dragonpit during the Dance.



First the Shepherd directs the anger of the mob towards the dragons, and then many of the people eat 'bowls of brown' with a small dose of Basilisk Blood in the pot shops of Flea Bottom.




You mean in a way where a little bit was put in the water supply (which would cause it to have been diluted), which was then used by a big part of the population of KL (if they have several spots where they all get their water, poisoning some of those sources might be enough)?







Arya gave the coin to a customer of the victim. The customer paid the victim with the poisoned coin. When the victim bit the coin, his heart gave out within 10 minutes just like Pate. The FM make their kills seem natural. I think if he dies to soon after biting the coin, poisoning might be suspected.




True, if it happens too quickly after biting the coin, people might get suspicious. Especially in Braavos. But Pate died very shortly after biting his coin, right? There were no 10 minutes, hardly a few. Which is why I suggested that the amount of poison, or the strength of the poison, might have differed between the two. With Arya's victim receiving a dosis which would make it look natural, a while after biting the coin, and with Pate receiving a higher dosis, which caused his death rather quickly after biting the coin. Pate's killer had to prevent that Pate walked away, so he had to die a bit more quickly.


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We know that the Strangler was in the wine.

I think we do not know that for certain.

True, if it happens too quickly after biting the coin, people might get suspicious. Especially in Braavos. But Pate died very shortly after biting his coin, right? There were no 10 minutes, hardly a few. Which is why I suggested that the amount of poison, or the strength of the poison, might have differed between the two. With Arya's victim receiving a dosis which would make it look natural, a while after biting the coin, and with Pate receiving a higher dosis, which caused his death rather quickly after biting the coin. Pate's killer had to prevent that Pate walked away, so he had to die a bit more quickly.

I agree the dose might be different. But Pate walked away for some unknown time. Jaqen was following him. He didnot die where he stood.

He had to hurry to keep pace with the alchemist’s longer strides. They went down an alley, around a corner, through the old Thieves Market, along Ragpicker’s Wynd. Finally, the man turned into another alley, narrower than the first.

He was halfway down the alley when the cobblestones began to move beneath his feet.

I guess it took around 5-10 minutes.

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There is something fishy about Arya’s first assassination. Arya was successful but the poisoned coin should continue killing. However, the FM kill only their targets. Arya should have taken the poisoned coin back after the job was done. Is it possible that the whole thing was a show to test Arya? They probably wanted to see that whether she will act like a wild wolf and make an abbatoir or she would go only after the target. I think in a real assassination, the KM would not agree with Arya’s plan because innocent lives might be risked in that. Jaqen followed Pate and most probably took the poisoned coin back. Or at least he washed the poison away and left the coin because they are no thieves.


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Paper Weaver,



really? But isn't that confirmed by pretty much all we know about the poisoning,especially by the fact that Tyrion identifies the remnants of the wine in the goblet as purple (as well as the wine Cressen slips the Strangler while the poison is dissolving in it). One could also doubt that whether it would feasible to administer the Strangler in solid foods. It has to be dissolved in a liquid - I don't know who should have switched the Strangler into the pie ingredients, nor do I know if there is all that much liquid in there to enable the poison to its job.



[i cannot really comment on the last thing, since those weird pies containing meat aren't exactly meals common outside of Britain (or the US?), so I really don't know if you use about the same amount as water/milk etc. for those pies as you would use for a cake. But I'd daresay that it would be especially difficult to hide the purple/deep red color of the Strangler in water, milk, or any other liquid I can think of that could be used to make the non-meat portions of the pie.]



On the poisoned coin:



It's possible that the poison evaporates pretty quickly after being smeared on the coin. Or it may be that Arya used a dosage that could only killed one man - meaning that after he bit on it, there was not enough poison left on it to kill another. But I'd go with the first possibility.



Rhaenys,



If Basilisk Blood was used during the Storming of the Dragonpit, my guess is the poison was administered in a fashion that did not make the people completely mad, but rather enabled them to not let their natural fear of (dragon-)fire and death overcome their rage and mad intention to kill the dragons. I guess a small dosage of the poison in 'a bowl of brown' given to many people could do the trick. If the Citadel was behind that, they would know enough about the poison to dilute it.


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Regarding Domeric's death,Ramsay could have gotten the poison from the maester in Dreadfort(propably all maesters have a stock of poisons like Pycelle and Cressen)


I don't see why Roose would kill his son.


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I think we do not know that for certain.

I agree the dose might be different. But Pate walked away for some unknown time. Jaqen was following him. He didnot die where he stood.

He had to hurry to keep pace with the alchemist’s longer strides. They went down an alley, around a corner, through the old Thieves Market, along Ragpicker’s Wynd. Finally, the man turned into another alley, narrower than the first.

He was halfway down the alley when the cobblestones began to move beneath his feet.

I guess it took around 5-10 minutes.

I looked up the passage... I guess the first part of your quote comes from an earlier part of the prologue?

Because Pate receives the gold (bites down on it), gives the key, asks to see the face, and is granted his request, and then starts to walk away. They are in an alley, and he tells he is halfway down the alley when it all goes wrong.

It could have taken 5 minutes, I suppose. But not 10 for the minimum amount of interaction they had after biting the coin, and walking a couple of meters down an alley, I think.

So he died in the alley where he received the coin, he had just walked a little.

There is something fishy about Arya’s first assassination. Arya was successful but the poisoned coin should continue killing. However, the FM kill only their targets. Arya should have taken the poisoned coin back after the job was done. Is it possible that the whole thing was a show to test Arya? They probably wanted to see that whether she will act like a wild wolf and make an abbatoir or she would go only after the target. I think in a real assassination, the KM would not agree with Arya’s plan because innocent lives might be risked in that. Jaqen followed Pate and most probably took the poisoned coin back. Or at least he washed the poison away and left the coin because they are no thieves.

Perhaps the poison no longer works after a while? Or it evaporates?

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Rhaenys,

If Basilisk Blood was used during the Storming of the Dragonpit, my guess is the poison was administered in a fashion that did make the people completely mad, but rather enabled them to not their natural fear of (dragon-)fire and death overcome their rage and mad intention to kill the dragons. I guess a small dosage of the poison in 'a bowl of brown' given to many people could do the trick. If the Citadel was behind that, they would know enough about the poison to dilute it.

A bowl of brown, of course... My mind was stuck on water, I think because I read Dan Brown's Inferno a few months ago.. Soft to say it's conclusion left quite an impression on me, so now when I think poison and great amount of people, I usually conclude that it was in the water.

But with KL in such a state as it was, bowls of brown would be what most of them would have been eating during that time, so that is entirely possible as well.

Going back to my water idea.. Do we even know where KL get's its water from? I imagine the Blackwater Bay is salt water, so close to the open sea.

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On the poisoned coin:

It's possible that the poison evaporates pretty quickly after being smeared on the coin. Or it may be that Arya used a dosage that could only killed one man - meaning that after he bit on it, there was not enough poison left on it to kill another. But I'd go with the first possibility.

Perhaps the poison no longer works after a while? Or it evaporates?

I think it is not the case because if poison evaporates easily, the coin cannot be smeared with poison long before the poisoning. That proves some serious practical problems.

Regarding Domeric's death,Ramsay could have gotten the poison from the maester in Dreadfort(propably all maesters have a stock of poisons like Pycelle and Cressen)

I don't see why Roose would kill his son.

It is pretty much implied that Domeric Bolton was a bastard of Brandon Stark and Bethany Ryswell.

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I think we do not know that for certain.

When George talked about the purple wedding for the HBO show he said it was called the purple wedding because of the wine.

Going back to my water idea.. Do we even know where KL get's its water from? I imagine the Blackwater Bay is salt water, so close to the open sea.

I've thought about that as well, it is never mentioned, nor are any aquaducts or wells shown in the map in the map book.

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I think it is not the case because if poison evaporates easily, the coin cannot be smeared with poison long before the poisoning. That proves some serious practical problems.

But... the coin doesn´t need to be smeared long before the poisoning..? We're not saying that the stuff evaporates within an hour... But give it a few hours, I think, and it might be gone.

It is pretty much implied that Domeric Bolton was a bastard of Brandon Stark and Bethany Ryswell.

Implied where?

When George talked about the purple wedding for the HBO show he said it was called the purple wedding because of the wine.

And I always thought because of the colour of Joff's face :P Cool. B)

I've thought about that as well, it is never mentioned, nor are any aquaducts or wells shown in the map in the map book.

It's a bit weird, right? Especially to witstand a long siege, they would need to have access to water.. Perhaps there are wells in the city? I mean, they can't all be drinking wine and ale..

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Nice idea about basilisk blood in a bowl of brown.



Regarding Arya's coin. It would have been dangerous when it was exchanged and bitten again. Which could have been 5 minutes after the captain took it back or never. In the meantime it would have been handled, stored etc and eventually only traces of the poison would have been left on it and it would lose its potency. If there was a danger the Waif would have warned Arya.


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But... the coin doesn´t need to be smeared long before the poisoning..? We're not saying that the stuff evaporates within an hour... But give it a few hours, I think, and it might be gone.

Still there is the danger of somebody else biting it. Jaqen obviously tracked his target until he died.

Implied where?

Here and here are some good threads on the subject.

Regarding Arya's coin. It would have been dangerous when it was exchanged and bitten again. Which could have been 5 minutes after the captain took it back or never. In the meantime it would have been handled, stored etc and eventually only traces of the poison would have been left on it and it would lose its potency. If there was a danger the Waif would have warned Arya.

Or the coin was not poisoned at all. The FM knew well that Arya was a wild wolf. This assasination was just a test for her. They needed to see that if there is some hope for her. In fact, Arya's first instinct was to slay the man with his bodyguards like a butcher. However, she worked her way around getting only to her target and not making the killing look like a murder. Surely they might tell her later that the correct way to kill them man was not what she did.

Or GRRM never considered this possiblity.

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I like this thread. It's easy to get confused with all the different types of poison, so it's nice to have each one laid out here with its nuances.


It is pretty much implied that Domeric Bolton was a bastard of Brandon Stark and Bethany Ryswell.

Zuh? I'll have to read up on that. I kind of like it, but have never seen that suggested before.

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Here and here are some good threads on the subject.

Zuh? I'll have to read up on that. I kind of like it, but have never seen that suggested before.

So it's a theory, and not all that held together, in my opinion. There are multiple assumptions made, but all together, they don't hold up. It's not implied. It's a theory a few people have, and then a few others agree with.

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Joffrey was killed by strangler, although we are not completely sure that whether the poison was in the wine or the pie.

I think it's plain enough when we look at the description of the strangler in Cressen's pov..

In the Citadel, it was simply called the strangler. Dissolved in wine, it would make the muscles of a man’s throat clench tighter than any fist, shutting off his windpipe. They said a victim’s face turned as purple as the little crystal seed from which his death was grown, but so too did a man choking on a morsel of food.

Grrm let's us know early that the Strangler is used dissolved in wine in order to simulate choking on food. He's basically describing Joff here.

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