Bloodmagic or blood sorcery is a type of magic rooted in the use of blood and sacrifice. It is considered the darkest and most powerful sorcery. Practitioners of bloodmagic are known as bloodmages, as well as maegi.
According to legend, Azor Ahai succeeded in forging Lightbringer by working on it for a hundred days and a hundred nights, and tempering the steel by plunging the blade into the heart of his beloved wife, Nissa Nissa.
Septon Barth, in his Dragons, Wyrms, and Wyverns: Their Unnatural History, speculated that the bloodmages of the Freehold employed wyvern stock to create dragons. Meanwhile, in the flesh pits of Gogossos, bloodmages mated beasts to slave women to bring forth twisted half-human children.
Bloodmagic, along with necromancy and divination, is rumored to be practiced in Qohor. According to Maester Pol, the spells required to rework Valyrian steel involve blood sacrifice, including that of infant slaves.
According to Old Nan, Harren Hoare, King of the Isles and the Rivers, included human blood in the mortar of Harrenhal, which is now said to be cursed. Danelle Lothston, the mad Lady of Harrenhal, is said to have bathed in blood, held feasts of flesh, and practiced dark arts during the reign of King Maekar I Targaryen. According to tales of smallfolk, giant bats from Harrenhal would bring bad children to her.
A Game of Thrones
Mirri Maz Duur tells Daenerys Targaryen that she knows spells capable of saving a man from death, but warns her that only death may pay for life, and death may be cleaner. To save the life of the dying Khal Drogo, Daenerys's husband, Mirri sacrifices Drogo's stallion and, unbeknownst to Daenerys, her unborn son Rhaego. However, the spell only restores Drogo's body, leaving him in a catatonic state.
Daenerys has a funeral pyre built for Drogo, and orders a horse killed. Mirri believes Daenerys is trying to resurrect Drogo through bloodmagic, and insists that without the spells the blood is nothing. She even offers assistance in exchange for release. Daenerys has the horse, Drogo's body, her three dragon eggs, and Mirri Maz Duur placed on the pyre. After the pyre is lit and Mirri dies in flames, Daenerys walks into the inferno. After the fire dies down to ashes, not only is Daenerys found alive, with only her clothes and hair burned away, but also the eggs have hatched, and the first three dragons in more than a hundred years have been born. According to George R.R. Martin, Daenerys's use of magic was instinctive, made up as she went along.
A Storm of Swords
While King Stannis Baratheon is fighting the battle of the Blackwater, his wife Queen Selyse Florent has the red priestess Melisandre burn alive Lord Guncer Sunglass and the sons of Hubard Rambton, as a sacrifice to R'hllor.
Melisandre pleads to Stannis to give her Edric Storm, bastard son of the late King Robert I Baratheon, as there is power in king's blood, and she believes Edric's sacrifice will "wake the stone dragon." Stannis refuses, but Melisandre is able to leech some of Edric's blood. She has Stannis cast the leeches into the fire of a brazier, while stating the names of the "three false kings", Balon Greyjoy, Robb Stark, and Joffrey Baratheon. In time, Balon falls from a bridge at Pyke, Robb is killed at the Red Wedding, and Joffrey is poisoned at his own wedding feast.
A Feast for Crows
Queen Regent Cersei Lannister recalls that during her youth, she, Jeyne Farman, and Melara Hetherspoon visited Maggy the Frog outside a tournament in Lannisport. Although Jeyne fled in terror, Maggy tasted the blood of Cersei and Melara, and told the girls their futures.
A Dance with Dragons
During Stannis's march on Winterfell, his army is trapped by a blizzard in a crofters' village a few days from Winterfell. In an attempt to end the storm, queen's men sacrifice four Peasebury men accused of cannibalism.
- Melisandre of Asshai, a red priestess of R'hllor and a shadowbinder
- Mirri Maz Duur, a Lhazareen godswife of the Great Shepherd and a maegi
- Maggy, a fortune teller from Essos and a reputed maegi based at Lannisport
- Yna, a whore at the Happy Port in Braavos
This is bloodmagic, lady. Only death may pay for life.
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- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 36, Cersei VIII.
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- George RR Martin in Conversation: HOW Interviews GRRM!
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- So Spake Martin: Amazon.co.uk Interview (July 2, 2000)
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- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 9, Davos I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 62, The Sacrifice.