Night soil

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Night soil, or nightsoil,[1] is a euphemism for human or animal excrement. It is sometimes applied to weapons such as arrows to turn the wounds they inflict septic.


King's Landing grew too fast and without any planning in the early days of the rule of the Targaryen dysnasty over Westeros. As a consequence, mud, manure, and nightsoil were everywhere in the city. King Jaehaerys I Targaryen greatly improved the salubrity of the streets by a series of construction projects he ordered during his reign.[2] Despite Jaehaerys's efforts, nightsoil is still thrown in the street from windows two centuries and half later,[3] leaving a stink in the city,[4] and its gutters.[5]

Recent Events

A Clash of Kings

Daenerys Targaryen refuses to buy brass from a brass-seller in the Port of Qarth, stating she has no uses for it except carrying her nightsoil.[1]

A Feast for Crows

When walking to his meeting with the Alchemist, Pate barely avoids being spaterred by night soil from a woman who empties her pail to the street from her window overhead.[6]

Cersei Lannister complains to the High Sparrow about the night soil the sparrows and their animals have produced around Blessed Baelor's statue in the plaza outside of his Great Sept. The High Sparrow retorts the holy place was only befouled by the execution of Lord Eddard Stark ordered by her son.[7]

At the Second Siege of Riverrun, Edwyn Frey suggests that Riverrun will fall, if Ser Brynden Tully dies. Thus he proposes to stage an attack on the castle, then target the Blackfish with archers whose arrows will be smeared with night soil when he comes to lead the defense. The proposal is dismissed by Lord Karyl Vance and Ser Lyle Crakehall, who consider such an approach ignoble.[8]

During one of his tantrums, Robert Arryn empties his chamber pot upon Maester Colemon. The maester is forced to leave to wash the night soil from his hair and change his robe.[9]

A Dance with Dragons

According to Prince Quentyn Martell, the Adventure stinks of urine, rotting flesh and nightsoil.[10]

During his imprisonment under Ramsay Snow, Theon Greyjoy is forbidden to bathe and is caked from head to toe in filth and excrement.[11]

Lord Commander Jon Snow visits the Free folk camp at Mole's Town, and reflects on the smell of unwashed bodies, soiled clothing, nightsoil and urine. Jon disapproves of his men making japes about the "stench of the savages", however.[12]

During her walk of atonement, Cersei Lannister's foot slips on what she suspects to be nightsoil making her fall on the ground.[13]


Edwyn: Once Ser Brynden dies, Riverrun is ours.
Emmon: Mine. Riverrun is mine.
Karyl: Will the night soil be your own contribution, Edwyn? A mortal poison, I don't doubt.[8]

The morning air was thick with the old familiar stinks of King's Landing. She breathed in the scents of sour wine, bread baking, rotting fish and nightsoil, smoke and sweat and horse piss. No flower had ever smelled so sweet.[13]

—thoughts of Cersei Lannister