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Sweetsleep is a drug that gives the gift of painless death.[1] In small doses, it can be used to moderate shaking fits.[2] Three doses of sweetsleep will cause the victim to slip into a sleep that they will never wake from, killing them. Sweetsleep smells sweet, and has a very sweet taste; therefore as an assassin's poison, it is best used in sweet foods, such as cakes, pies, and honeyed wines.[3] Milk with a pinch of sweetsleep in it may be called sweetmilk.[4]

Doses for an adult

  • a few grains - will slow a pounding heart, stop a hand from shaking, and make a man feel calm and strong.[3]
  • a pinch - will grant a night of deep and dreamless sleep.[3]
  • three pinches - will produce a sleep that does not end.[3][1]

According to Maester Colemon, sweetsleep does not leave the flesh, possibly meaning that even small doses may build up over time, resulting in the dangerous effects of larger doses.[4]


Grand Maester Munkun laced Princess Jaehaera Targaryen's milk with sweetsleep before her wedding to King Aegon III Targaryen. He believed that if he had not done so, the child would have collapsed during the ceremony.[5]

Recent Events

A Clash of Kings

In Winterfell, Maester Luwin gives Bran Stark a sleeping draught to give him a sweet, dreamless sleep. Bran finds the potion thick and chalky, but there is honey in it so it goes down easily. Bran falls asleep within minutes and does not dream, but he does warg into Summer in the godswood.[6] Later, when Jojen Reed asks Bran to tell him about his dreams, Bran tells him that his maester gives him sleeping draughts, and that he does not have dreams. When Jojen asks him if they help, Bran replies, "sometimes".[7]

Tyrion Lannister sees sweetsleep in Grand Maester Pycelle's collection of medicines and poisons.[8]

A Storm of Swords

On the great ranging of the Night's Watch beyond the Wall, Brown Bernarr carries bags of Maester Aemon's medicines, including sweetsleep.[1]

During Tyrion Lannister's trial for the death of King Joffrey Baratheon, Pycelle claims that Tyrion stole a sample of sweetsleep as well as other drugs from Pycelle's collection.[9]

The guards of the Red Keep's black cells have their wine dosed with sweetsleep by Varys, allowing Tyrion to escape.[10] After the guards are discovered asleep, Queen Regent Cersei Lannister orders Ser Boros Blount to make sure they never wake—that is, to kill them.[11]

A Feast for Crows

In the Eyrie, after young Lord Robert Arryn has a violent shaking fit, Petyr Baelish suggests to Maester Colemon that he should put a pinch (an adult dose) of sweetsleep in Sweetrobin's milk, to calm him down and to stop the shaking. The maester agrees to one small pinch, not much and not too often. Littlefinger then tells him to give the boy a pinch before he meets the Lords Declarant later.[2]

In the Faceless Men's House of Black and White in Braavos, the waif teaches Arya Stark about the gentlest of poisons, sweetsleep.[3]

Grand Maester Pycelle treats Lord Gyles Rosby's sickness. He uses sweetsleep to moderate the violence of Rosby's coughing.[12]

While Alayne Stone is preparing Robert Arryn to leave the Eyrie for winter, he complains that Maester Colemon put something vile in his milk the previous night, and says that he ordered the maester to give him a cup of "sweetmilk" but was refused. Later, Alayne tells Maester Colemon to give Robert a cup of sweetmilk in order to keep him calm during the long descent from the Eyrie to the Gates of the Moon, but he objects, telling her that Sweetrobin had a cup less than three days ago. Alayne reminds him that Robert wanted a cup of sweetmilk the previous night, but Colemon had refused him. Maester Colemon explains that he has told Littlefinger that a pinch of sweetsleep will prevent shaking, but it does not leave the flesh. He tries to tell Alayne what the effects of sweetsleep will be on the boy over time, but she interrupts, telling him that Lord Robert must be kept calm at all costs. Maester Colemon asks her if Robert had a nosebleed, and when she says no, he agrees to a cup of sweetmilk before the descent, and a cup before the feast that is to be held when they arrive at the Gates of the Moon. He tells Alayne that this must be the last time they give Sweetrobin sweetsleep for at least six months, or longer. Alayne tells him to discuss the subject with Littlefinger.[4]

The Winds of Winter

This information has thus far been released in a sample chapter for The Winds of Winter, and might therefore not be in finalized form. Keep in mind that the content as described below is still subject to change.

At the Gates of the Moon, at the feast before the tourney for the Brotherhood of Winged Knights, Alayne Stone sees Robert Arryn staring at her while she dances with Harrold Hardyng. She worries that he may start to shake, even though she believes Maester Colemon would have given him a strong dose of sweetmilk before the feast.[13]


Sweetsleep is the gentlest of poisons.[3]

—the waif, to Arya Stark