Significance of milk of the poppy in Game of Thrones?

Significance of milk of the poppy in Game of Thrones? - Woman in White Fur Coat

I have seen some scenes where if characters about to die they are made to drink the milk of the poppy. From what animal it has been extracted? Why they are made to drink it?

Best Answer

Milk of the Poppy is pretty much exactly what it says: it is a white liquid which is extracted from poppy flowers by cutting into the un-ripe pods before they blossom:Opium pod cut to demonstrate fluid extractionSource: KGM007 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Note that this is not a Game of Thrones invention. This is a real-life flower which is/was used in the exact same way in real-life as it is in GoT. In Germanic languages, the white fluid is called "Milchsaft" (German), "Melksap" (Dutch), or similar, which roughly translates to "milk juice". So, neither the poppy flower nor calling its product "milk" are unique to GoT. (In English, the liquid is called "latex".)

This "milk" contains opiates (morphine and codeine). The dried form of the milk is called "opium", and is the raw ingredient from which heroin and other opiate drugs can be manufactured.

Poppy is of paramount importance to the history of medicine since it made it possible for the first time to perform surgery without pain. Before the discovery of opium, this was not possible.

In GoT it is used in mostly the same way that it is used in our world:

  • as a painkiller
  • as an anesthetic
  • as a (recreational) drug

We can only guess why GRRM used the term "milk of the poppy", but I can think of a couple of reasons:

  • the normal English term "latex" may be misleading
  • it sounds more "fantastical"

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Why do people in Game of Thrones refuse milk of the poppy?

The reason is because the medicine is highly addictive. They did remove some instances of poppy from the series, but only because they were in the narrative. In the show AND the book Jaime doesn't want it because the drug is highly addictive.

Is milk of the poppy a real thing?

To make poppy milk, one or two glasses of poppy seeds are needed. The poppy seeds are soaked in some hot water for a day or so, changing the water over time, until the seeds become soft. Then the poppy seeds are crushed in a food processor (or with a pestle in a mortar), until a white liquid comes out.

Jaime Lannister - Qyburn \

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Answer 2

It is a drink made from the poppy flowers, and it is basically a drug. In real life, you can make opium from poppies, so I assume, that in the show the same properties of poppy create the painkilling effect as well as an anesthetic in higher doses.

Answer 3

Not from an animal but from a flower. It's a medicine made out of poppy flowers. Game of Thrones Wiki explains it pretty well:

Milk of the poppy is a powerful medicine, drunk as a liquid, which is used as both a painkiller and an anesthetic. Higher doses will induce unconsciousness, so patients can undergo surgery. It is commonly used throughout the Seven Kingdoms for those who have suffered severe injuries. Maesters make it from crushed poppy flowers and it has a white color, hence "milk of the poppy".

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