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Jon Connington, contemplating his greyscale.
© Fantasy Flight Games
The legacy of Shireen Baratheon's bout with greyscale.
© Fantasy Flight Games

Greyscale is a disease that can leave flesh stiff and dead and the skin cracked and flaking, mottled black and grey and stone-like to the touch. The tongue and lips turn to stone.[1]


It generally affects children, especially in cold damp climates. The victims are disfigured but also rendered immune to the rarer fatal form and to the grey plague. The free folk consider people who survive greyscale unclean.[2]Tyrion Lannister believes that Garin's Curse is only greyscale.[3]

If a person has been exposed to greyscale they can prick each of their toes and fingers every day with a knife to check for infection. So long as the pricks hurt, they are safe. It is only when they cannot feel the blade that they will have cause to fear that they have contracted greyscale.


Maesters say its progress could be stayed by limes, mustard poultices, and scalding-hot baths. Septons insist that prayer, sacrifice and fasting are the cure. It is also colloquially believed that severing any affected appendages may stop the disease from spreading, but this treatment is not always effective.

Some say that washing a person with vinegar helps prevent the greyscale. Haldon is inclined to doubt the vinegar wash, but he sees no harm in trying it.

Persons with Greyscale

Recent Events

A Dance with Dragons

Under the Bridge of Dream the Shy Maid's crew are attacked by stone men. Tyrion Lannister falls into the Rhoyne but Jon Connington manages to pull him out of saving his life, but Jon becomes infected with greyscale in the process.

At the Wall Val becomes wary of Shireen Baratheon because of her greyscale. Val mentions to Jon Snow that the child is not clean and should be killed, and that she would have given Shireen the gift of mercy long ago.


Death had lost its terror for Tyrion Lannister, but greyscale was another matter.

He had heard it said that there were three good cures for greyscale: axe and sword and cleaver. Hacking off afflicted parts did sometimes stop the spread of the disease, Tyrion knew, but not always. Many a man had sacrificed one arm or foot, only to find the other going grey. Once that happened, hope was gone. Blindness was common when the stone reached the face. In the final stages the curse turned inward, to muscles, bones, and inner organs.

“The maesters may believe what they wish. Ask a woods witch if you would know the truth. The grey death sleeps , only to wake again. The child is not clean!”
- Val, to Jon Snow

References and Notes

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