Whipping boy

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A whipping boy in Westeros is a lowborn boy companion of a young lord, prince, or king, who receives corporal punishment for the noble boy's transgressions. The noble cannot be punished by his teachers, generally because he is of a higher status than them, but seeing a friend punished would provide motivation not to repeat the offense.[1][2][3]


Whipping boys are also a custom in the Free Cities.[4]

Whipping girls are also apparently possible, to punish noble girls.[4]

Known whipping boys


In 133 AC, King Aegon III Targaryen was twelve years old when he was assigned a new master-at-arms, Ser Gareth Long. Aegon quickly grew to despise Ser Gareth, and often ignored his instructions, refused to cooperate, or simply walked away. In his former position at Starpike, Ser Gareth was known for his harshness to the boys he instructed; those who did not meet his standards were made to go for days without sleep, doused in tubs of iced water, had their heads shaved, and were often beaten. However, none of these punishments were available to Ser Gareth in his new position, as the king's royal body was not allowed to be harmed. Nevertheless, Aegon had one friend, his six-year-old companion, cupbearer, and food taster, Gaemon Palehair. Ser Gareth asked Lord Unwin Peake, the Hand of the King, to appoint Gaemon as Aegon's whipping boy, and Peake was pleased to do so. Afterwards, any "misbehavior, laziness, or truculence" of Aegon's resulted in punishment for his friend. Gaemon's tears and blood were motivation enough for Aegon, and his skill at arms improved dramatically. However, Aegon's resentment of Ser Gareth only deepened.[2]

A few years later, in 135 AC, Aegon's sister-in-law, Larra Rogare, was accused of conspiring in an assassination attempt on Aegon and his queen Daenaera Velaryon, where Gaemon had died from eating poisoned apple tarts. When King Aegon and his brother, Prince Viserys, refused to give up Larra for arrest, knowing her to be innocent of the crime, it resulted in the secret siege of Maegor's Holdfast. During the siege, the accusers sent various members of the court to cajole or threaten the king into leaving the holdfast. One of these was Ser Gareth Long, but when he attempted to convince the king to yield, the angered Aegon shouted that if he did not, who would Ser Gareth punish? Gaemon was dead, and Ser Gareth would get no blood from beating his bones.[5]

Recent Events

A Storm of Swords

Young Lord Robert Arryn has a whipping boy, as his health is too delicate to receive corporal punishment himself. His mother, Lady Lysa Arryn, threatens Sansa Stark with punishment after Lysa's husband Petyr Baelish kisses her in the godswood of the Eyrie. Lysa says she will find a common girl to take a whipping for Sansa, once she confesses to what she did.[4]

A Feast for Crows

Young King Tommen I Baratheon has a whipping boy, Pate, who was previously the whipping boy of Tommen's older brother Joffrey. When Tommen's mother, Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, asks him a question that he refuses to answer, Cersei threatens to send for Pate and have him beaten until he bleeds. Tommen sullenly relents, and answers his mother.[6]

Later, when Tommen argues with his mother, Cersei again threatens to send for Pate.[6]

Some time later, Tommen again argues with his mother, saying that his wife, Queen Margaery Tyrell, had told him he should be more active in the rule of the kingdom, and Cersei idly comments that Margaery says too much and she would like to have her tongue torn out. This infuriates Tommen, who forbids Cersei from hurting Margaery. Cersei then orders Ser Boros Blount of the Kingsguard to take Tommen to his bedchamber, summon Pate, and force Tommen to whip Pate himself until the boy bleeds from both cheeks. Cersei further orders, that if Tommen refuses or says one word of protest, Qyburn will be summoned and remove Pate's tongue in front of Tommen. Tommen is very subdued afterwards, and Cersei is satisfied that punishing Pate served its purpose.[7]


If you lie to me, I will have no choice but to send for Pate and have him beaten till he bleeds. Is that what you want?[6]

If His Grace refuses, or says one word of protest, summon Qyburn and tell him to remove Pate's tongue, so His Grace can learn the cost of insolence.[7]

And if I will not [yield], who will you punish, ser? You may beat poor Gaemon's bones, but you will get no more blood from him.[5]


  1. Wikipedia: Whipping boy
  2. 2.0 2.1 Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.
  3. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 80, Sansa VII.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 24, Cersei V.
  7. 7.0 7.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 36, Cersei VIII.