Tongue mutilation

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King Aerys deals with disturbing rumours by removing Ser Ilyn Payne's tongue with hot pincers

There are tongueless characters in A Song of Ice and Fire, meaning that they have had their tongues torn out by the roots at some point. It is a life changing event. A toungless person is disadvantaged by being rendered mute, and can tell no tales.[1][2]


A tongue can be torn out with hot pincers. [3][4] Sometimes people have their tongue removed to subjugate and silence them. Removal of the tongue also serves as a torture technique, as well as a very cruel, severe and permanent, punishment - as they are left to live the rest of their lives without a tongue, diminishing their quality of life. A tongue can also be removed for vengeance. Sometimes a person’s tongue is removed under torture prior to being killed.[5]

The mere threat to rip out tongues can be extremely effective. [3]

The silent sisters are rumoured not to have tongues but that is not true, rather they take a vow of silence.[6] Euron Greyjoy removes the tongues of many who serve him. [7][8][2]

Characters left alive with no tongue

Characters de-tongued and killed

Characters who remove tongues

Recent Events

A Feast for Crows

Victarion Greyjoy espies the Silence and is disturbed to note that her motley crew of mutes and mongrels speak no word as the Iron Victory sails near. [18]

Cersei Lannister threatens to have the tongue of any man who dares to say Shae’s corpse was found in Lord Tywin Lannister’s bed. [19]

Ser Marwyn Belmore states that when he vowed to cut out Marillion’s tongue after he made mock of him, but the singer ran to Lady Lysa and hid behind her skirts. [20]

Cersei Lannister thinks to herself that if Lady Taena Merryweather is lying to her she will have her tongue. [21]

Cersei thinks to herself that if Lord Tywin had known what Maggy the Frog has said to her he would have had her tongue out. [3]

Sweetrobin complains about Marillion’s singing and says to Alayne Stone that her father should have cut his tongue out and that he told him to, but he wouldn’t. Alayne thinks to herself that Marillion needed his tongue so that he could confess to her aunts murder. [22]

Jaime Lannister reveals many of his darker secrets to Ilyn Payne, knowing the mute and illiterate knight can never reveal it to anyone.[1]

Jaime recalls that Ser Ilyn was heard saying that it was Tywin Lannister who truly ruled the Seven Kingdoms, rather than King Aerys II Targaryen. The king had Ilyn's tongue torn out with hot pincers for the comment. [23][17]

Victarion Greyjoy confides his doubts regarding Euron to the toungeless dusky woman.[7]

The normally placid Tommen becomes furious when his mother says she would gladly have Margaery Tyrell’s tongue torn out.[24] To punish him she orders that Tommen is to whip Pate and if His Grace refuses or protests, Qyburn is to be summoned to remove Pates tongue. [24]

A Dance with Dragons

When Illyrio Mopatis tells Tyrion Lannister that there are those in Westeros who would say that killing Tywin Lannister was merely a good beginning Tyrion tells him not to say that in his sister’s hearing, or they will find themselves short of a tongue. [25]

Aboard the Shy Maid Griff warns Tyrion he is to guard his tongue or lose it. [26]

During a game of cyvasse with Haldon Tyrion says he wants to play for secrets instead of coin, Haldon states that Griff would cut his tongue out. [26]

The Shavepate advises Queen Daenerys Targaryen to at least rip out Hazzea’s father’s tongue to silence him about the girl’s death. [12]

When Davos Seaworth states that Tommen is bastard born sired by the Kingslayer one of the Freys tells Lord Wyman Manderly he should take Davos’s lying tongue. [4]

Daario cuts out the tongue of one of the Long Lances for saying Meereen would soon be under siege.[15]

Theon knows that Ramsay Snow will never take his tongue as he liked to hear him beg. [10]

Ramsay Snow threatens to rip out Theon Greyjoy’s tongue and nail it to the wall during his bride’s bedding.[27]

When Ralf the Limper suggests that the Iron Fleet is on a cursed voyage, Victarion slaps him twice and threatens to nail his tongue to the mast.[2]

The Winds of Winter

Falia Flowers is lashed next to Aeron Greyjoy onto the prow of the Silence. He sees that she is naked, pregnant and her tongue has been cut out.[28]


Your Grace must trust in my discretion. Any man who rides with a sellsword company learns to hold his tongue, else he does not keep it long.[29]

Qyburn, to Cersei Lannister

At least rip out his tongue. This man’s lie could destroy us all, Magnificence. [12]

- Shavepate, to Daenerys Targaryen

He speaks treason with his own lips, my lord. Stannis took his thieving fingers. You should take his lying tongue. [4]

- A Frey, to Wyman Manderly

I should tear your tongue out with hot pincers and deliver you to the Dreadfort to be flayed. [4]

- Wyman Manderly, to Davos Seaworth

Lie to me, and I’ll take your tongue. [30]

- Ramsay Snow, to Reek

He will never take my tongue. He likes to hear me plead with him to spare me from the pain. He likes to make me say it. [10]

Theon Greyjoy’s thoughts

For half a groat, I’d gladly have her tongue torn out. [24]

Cersei Lannister

I say you are not lord, no knight, no envoy, only a thief and a spy, a peddler of lies and treasons. I should tear your tongue out with hot pincers and deliver you to the Dreadfort to be flayed.[4]

Wyman Manderly, to Davos Seaworth

I should have the tongues removed from all my friends.[29]

– Jaime, to Ser Ilyn

More and more, he had come to fear that they sailed too far, into strange seas where even the gods where queer...but such doubts he confided only to his dusky woman, who had no tongue to repeat them. [2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 27, Jaime III.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 56, The Iron Suitor.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 19, Davos III.
  5. 5.0 5.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 9, Brienne II.
  6. 6.0 6.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 31, Brienne VI.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 29, The Reaver.
  8. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 45, Catelyn V.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Black Blood.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 32, Reek III.
  11. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 32, Arya III.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
  13. Batlicon Reading notes
  14. 14.0 14.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 23, Jon III.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 23, Daenerys IV.
  16. 16.0 16.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 63, Victarion I.
  17. 17.0 17.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa I.
  18. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 18, The Iron Captain.
  19. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 3, Cersei I.
  20. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 10, Sansa I.
  21. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
  22. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 23, Alayne I.
  23. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 11, Jaime II.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 36, Cersei VIII.
  25. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.
  26. 26.0 26.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 8, Tyrion III.
  27. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
  28. Batlicon Reading notes
  29. 29.0 29.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
  30. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 20, Reek II.