Torture is the act of deliberately inflicting physical or psychological pain on a person in order to fulfill some desire of the torturer or compel some action from the victim. It is also referred to as "tickling" or "being put to the question".
The dungeon of the Red Keep's lowest level is used for torture. It is supposedly safer to go through the fourth level of the dungeons in darkness, because there are things one would not wish to see.
The Dreadfort is ill-omened, for it is said that the Boltons still keep torture chambers and a special room where they hang the flayed skins of their enemies, including several Kings in the North from House Stark.
Methods of torture include:
- burning with red hot irons,
- tongue mutilation
Tyanna of the Tower alleged to King Maegor I Targaryen that Queen Alys Harroway had slept with twenty men, and the king had the accused tortured. Prince Viserys Targaryen was questioned to death by Tyanna.
The Lord Confessor was a position of in the royal court in the Seven Kingdoms under the rule of House Targaryen. The Lord Confessor served as the royal torturer and was overseen by the King's Justice. Larys Strong joined the confessors and eventually became Lord Confessor. After the fall of King's Landing during the Dance of the Dragons, Ser Tyland Lannister was blinded, mutilated, and gelded for having refused to reveal where he had hidden gold. During the regency of Aegon III, Lord Thaddeus Rowan was tortured by Lord Confessor George Graceford. There has not been a Lord Confessor since the reign of King Daeron II Targaryen.
A Clash of Kings
The Tickler is one of the Mountain's men, the group that captures Arya Stark, Gendry, and Hot Pie in the riverlands. The Tickler tortures smallfolk on the orders of Ser Gregor Clegane, trying to gain information on the whereabouts of Lord Beric Dondarrion and any food and valuables they might know the locations of. For this, Arya adds him to her list.
A Storm of Swords
Lord Roose Bolton delivers a piece of Theon Greyjoy's skin to Robb Stark, King in the North, and his mother, Catelyn Stark. Blamed for the sack of Winterfell, Theon is reportedly being flayed alive by Ramsay Snow, the Bastard of Bolton, at the Dreadfort.
At the inn at the crossroads, Sandor Clegane warns the innkeeper that the Mountain's men plan to torture him to find out where he keeps his gold. Gregor cuts off Vargo Hoat's limbs piece by piece over an extended period of time.
A Feast for Crows
Qyburn joins the court at King's Landing. Queen Regent Cersei Lannister has Qyburn torture the Blue Bard in the black cells, to convince him to give evidence against Queen Margaery Tyrell. The torture so breaks his mind that even after the Blue Bard is delivered to the High Sparrow and whipped, he persists in the story that Cersei and Qyburn had taught him.
During his torture, the Blue Bard is forced to list those he claims are Queen Margaery's secret lovers. Among them is Ser Osney Kettleblack who, under Cersei's instructions, goes to the High Sparrow to confess. The High Sparrow has Osney tortured to verify his confession. Under that duress, Osney tells a different story, which implicates Cersei in the death of the previous High Septon and in having sexual relations with Osney.
A Dance with Dragons
Falyse Stokeworth dies screaming in the black cells due to Qyburn's torture and experiments. Lord Regent Kevan Lannister visits Cersei in her cell, and tells his niece that Qyburn is still in charge of the dungeons where most of the accused lovers of Margaery are held. Cersei is pleased to hear this, as Qyburn can do wonders and horrors with his torture.
Old Bill Bone tells Frog (Prince Quentyn Martell) that Pretty Meris can stretch out a man's dying for a moon's turn. Books tells Frog a rumor that Daenerys has had envoys tortured. When Ser Gerris Drinkwater, Ser Archibald Yronwood, and Quentyn discuss the possibility of deserting the Windblown, Gerris's mentioning of being given to Meris as punishment gives Quentyn pause.
According to Ser Justin Massey, Ser Clayton Suggs would gamble with the torturers at Dragonstone and lend them a hand in the questioning of prisoners, especially if the prisoner were a young woman.
Penny tells Tyrion Lannister that her brother Oppo decided they should leave King's Landing before someone wondered if they had had some part in the death of King Joffrey I baratheon and decided to torture them to find out. Outside Meereen Tyrion witnesses a group of Tolosi slingers torture and kill three slaves.
Theon is mentally and physically broken by Ramsay and lives in terror of him.  Asha Greyjoy, who is a captive with Stannis Baratheon's army, barely recognizes her brother at the crofters' village.
—Arya Stark's thoughts
The skin from the little finger of Theon Greyjoy's left hand. My son is cruel, I confess it. And yet ... what is a little skin, against the lives of two young princes? You were their mother, my lady. May I offer you this ... small token of revenge?
Daenerys: Skahaz, keep each apart from the others and put them to the question.
Skahaz: It will be done, Your Worship. Would you have me question them sweetly, or sharply?
The Tattered Prince takes a dim view of deserters. He'll send hunters after us, and Seven save us if they catch us. If we're lucky, the'll just chop off a foot to make sure we never run again. If we're unlucky, they'll give us to Pretty Meris.
References and Notes
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 22, Arya IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 77, Tyrion XI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 29, Davos IV.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: East of Ib.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Bones and Beyond: Asshai-by-the-Shadow.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 10, Sansa I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 12, Reek I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands: House Lannister Under the Dragons.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Black Blood.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 11, Jaime II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Bones and Beyond: Yi Ti.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: The Basilisk Isles.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands.
- Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 27, Jaime III.
- Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
- Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon IV.
- The Mystery Knight.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 26, Arya VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 49, Catelyn VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 74, Arya XIII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 39, Cersei IX.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei X.
- A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 54, Cersei I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 25, The Windblown.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 62, The Sacrifice.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 33, Tyrion VIII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 47, Tyrion X.