Game Of Thrones: Deadliest Poisons, Ranked

As if White Walkers weren’t bad enough, the world of Game of Thrones is also home to an array of dangerous poisons. Here are the most deadly ones.


  • Poisonings in Game of Thrones vary in nature and shock value, from satisfying deaths to wild mystery stories.
  • Potent poisons like the Long Farewell, Manticore Venom, and Tears of Lys play crucial roles in character deaths.
  • From instant deaths with Wolfsbane to shocking struggles like Joffrey’s with the Strangler, poisonings leave a lasting impact.

HBO’s Game of Thrones is home to different instances of poisoning. Some events provide instant gratification, while others are sudden and shocking, to say the least. King Joffrey Baratheon’s death (by poison) is satisfying, but the revelation that Lysa Arryn poisoned her husband, Lord Hand Jon Arryn, at Baelish’s behest has a high shock value.

Split image of Dawn Sword of the Morning Ser Arthur Dayne and Ned Stark in Game of Thrones.


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The perpetrators often go unpunished as clandestine killings open doors of suspicion, leading to wild whodunnit mystery stories. The investigators on Game of Thrones are committed to finding out the truth, while the perpetrators sit comfortably among them. The nature and manner of poisonings vary, and these are the most potent poisons in Game of Thrones.

Essence Of Nightshade

Can Be Lethal If More Than Instructed Is Taken

Cersei Lannister holds a vial of Essence of Nightshade in Game of Thrones.

  • Seen in Season 2, Episode 9: “Blackwater”

The Lannisters are the defenders of King’s Landing in the Battle of the Blackwater. They fight for the illegitimate king Joffrey Baratheon (born of Jaime and Cersei Lannister’s illicit union). Cersei worries as the Lannisters cannot possibly stand firm against Stannis’ forces, and her father is busy fighting a two-pronged war from Harrenhal, with Robb Stark and the massive northern host on one side and Stannis on the other.

Cersei prepares for the worst by acquiring a vial of the Essence of the Nightshade from Grand Maester Pycelle, who fears that she could overdose. He says Essence of Nightshade can prove to be fatal if taken more than required:

A single drop in a cup of wine suffices to soothe ragged nerves. Three drops will bring on a deep and dreamless sleep. Ten drops, however –

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Cersei dismisses Pycelle and almost poisons her youngest, Tommen, while seated on the Iron Throne towards the battle’s end. She drops the vial when she hears her father say the war is over, and they have won.

The Long Farewell

Takes Hours Or Days To Work

Tyene Sand The Long Farewell in Game of Thrones.

  • Used in Season 5, Episode 6: “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”

The Long Farewell is made in Asshai, and it poses danger as a contact poison. It takes between a few hours and days to work. As seen in the case of Princess Myrcella Baratheon, the Long Farewell turns out to be life-threatening.

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The effects of the Long Farewell vary from person to person. In the case of Bronn, the initial reaction occurs a few days after Tyene Sand slices him with a poisoned dagger. Myrcella, on the other hand, succumbs within an hour of Ellaria Sand giving her a kiss of death. There exists a single known antidote to the Long Farewell, and Bronn, Ellaria, and Cersei take it to reverse its effects. The known victims of the Long Farewell in Game of Thrones are Myrcella and Tyene Sand.

Manticore Venom

The Mountain Lies Comatose Because Of It

Manticore Venom Game of Thrones.

  • Used in Season 4, Episode 8: “The Mountain and the Viper”

Found on tropical islands in the Jade Sea, Manticores are deadly insects that resemble scorpions. The Manticore venom is produced in Mantarys, which lies towards the east of the Free Cities, and from there, it makes its way to the orders of assassins and some such. Ominous-looking and aggressive, in Game of Thrones – Season 3, Episode 1: “Valar Dohaeris,” Daenerys Targaryen has a close call with a Manticore hidden inside a hollow wooden ball sent by the Warlocks. Ser Barristan Selmy arrives in the nick of time and kills the poisonous creature with his blade, leaving Daenerys stunned.

In Game of Thrones – Season 4, Episode 10: “The Children,” Qyburn and Pycelle conclude that Oberyn Martell laced his spear with Manticore venom with which he fought Gregor Clegane in their Trial by Combat duel. Clegane (aka the Mountain) is the perfect case of poisoning by Manticore venom in Game of Thrones. He goes into a coma, and Pycelle keeps giving him Milk of the Poppy to ease his pain. In the end, Qyburn sees some hope and works at reanimating the Mountain.

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The Tears Of Lys

Jon Arryn Contracts A Fever And Dies

Jon Arryn on a bier in Game of Thrones.


  • Referenced in Season 1, Episode 1: “Winter is Coming”

Jon Arryn’s mysterious death and Ned’s appointment as the new Hand opens a can of worms. Ned thinks Cersei killed Jon because he found out the truth about her and Jaime, while Lysa uses her husband’s death to sow discord in the realm. The truth is that Lord Hand Jon was murdered by his wife at Baelish’s behest. He gave Lysa the Tears of the Lys poison to be slipped into Jon’s wine. She flees the capital with Robin Arryn and misleads her sister, Catelyn, writing that the Lannisters are behind it:

When you [Baelish] gave me those drops and told me to pour them into Jon’s wine, my husband’s wine, and you told me to write a letter to Cat telling her it was the Lannisters…

Lysa killed for Baelish, and pretty much started the War of the Five Kings. Baelish, in return, threw her down the Moon Door.

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The Tears of the Lys, as the name suggests, is manufactured by alchemists of Lys. It is expensive and is a favorite with royalty. It is rare, tasteless, odorless, and difficult to detect. Because of these properties, Lysa and Baelish get away with murder, and Robert Baratheon simply says a fever took Jon.


A Deadly Poison That Kills Instantly

Tywin sniffs Wolfsbane dart in Game of Thrones.

  • Used in Season 2, Episode 7: “A Man Without Honor”

In Game of Thrones – Season 2, Episode 7: “A Man Without Honor,” Tywin’s generals send several Lannister soldiers to the gallows on the suspicion that one of them tried to kill their head with Wolfsbane. Tywin recognizes the rare substance, Wolfsbane, from sniffing the dart:

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This is no common assassin.

Clegane thinks an infiltrator from the Brotherhood without Banners is behind the assassination, when in reality, Jaqen H’ghar, on Arya’s orders, shoots the poisonous dart into Amory Lorch before he can reach Tywin. Lorch finds the cupbearer, Arya, with a stolen letter and rushes to Tywin’s chambers to tell him. Wolfsbane works instantly and Lorch drops dead, leading Tywin to believe his man took the hit.

The Strangler

Causes Joffrey To Choke To Death

Split image of Cersei Lannister Joffrey Baratheon Jaime Lannister and Sansa Stark's necklace at the Purple Wedding in Game of Thrones.

  • Used in Season 4, Episode 2: “The Lion and the Rose”

After King Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell say their vows in Game of Thrones – Season 4, Episode 2: “The Lion and the Rose,” the two head to their wedding fest at which the groom is poisoned. Lord Baelish, helps smuggle the necklace to the wedding, by having one of his henchmen, Ser Dontos Hollard, gift it to Sansa. Unbeknownst to Sansa, Margaery’s grandmother, Olenna, sneakily removes a deep purple Strangler vial from her necklace and slips it into Joffrey’s wine goblet.

The Strangler works in no time, and true to its name, the poison has a grip on Joffrey’s throat. He dies an ugly death, leaving everyone in utter shock. Tyrion Lannister is wrongly accused of poisoning his nephew, and the event is known as the Purple Wedding in the fandom. Later in Game of Thrones, Olenna summarizes the effects of the Strangler when she admits that she was responsible for Joffrey’s poisoning. She tells Jaime:

I’d hate to die like your son. Clawing at my neck, foam, and bile spilling from my mouth, eyes blood-red, skin purple. Must have been horrible for you, as a Kingsguard, as a father. It was horrible enough for me – a shocking scene. Not at all what I intended. You see, I’d never seen the poison work before.

Of all the poisonings in Game of Thrones, watching the vile king Joffrey struggling to draw breath under the effect of the Strangler remains a satisfying moment, even though the effects of said poison are harrowing to witness.

game of thrones

Game of Thrones

First TV Show

Game Of Thrones

First Episode Air Date

April 17, 2011

Where to watch



House of the Dragon

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