Why does nobody want milk of the poppy?

  • I've been rewatching Game of Thrones and have noticed that everytime someone is offered milk of the poppy they refuse it, If memory doesn't fail me, some examples would be: King Robert, Jaime Lannister and Maester Luwin.

    Why do characters refuse milk of the poppy? I thought it was some form of anesthetic? Does it have nasty side-effects? Can it make you die? Or is it just to make the characters look tough?

    Milk of the poppy is literally intended to be an opium-based drug. It affects memory, lucidity, is fatal if dosed incorrectly and is highly addictive; http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Milk_of_the_poppy

    Because real men like to suffer!

    Because drugs are bad, mmmmkay.

    If I remember correctly, Luwin preferred a *coup de gras* over painkillers, at least in the TV version.

    Dangit, why'd you have to ask this? Now I have a craving for some milk of the poppy all of a sudden...

    If anyone doesn't want their share of opium, I'll be glad to take it off your hands.

    What is with these useless comments? Ask a question about fictional drugs and suddenly everyone thinks they're on reddit...

  • Torisuda

    Torisuda Correct answer

    6 years ago

    In the book, several characters do accept milk of the poppy. No less a person than Eddard Stark takes it, after he's attacked by Jaime Lannister in King's Landing towards the middle of A Game of Thrones.

    I do remember several times in the books when characters refuse it, often because they need to have their heads clear for some reason. I think the show creates the perception that everyone is always turning it down because when people take it in the books, it's usually mentioned in the narration; in the show, that all gets cut because it's not that important to the plot.

    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.

    @Parrotmaster Because it's heroin?

    @Parrotmaster That is incorrect. In the book (ASOS) Jaime does not want milk of the poppy because he is afraid that Qyburn will cut off his arm if he falls asleep. There is nothing in the book that says Jaime is afraid of addiction, or even any mention that milk of the poppy is addictive.

    @TLP It's an opiate.

    @JFA It is still not in the book.

    @TLP, yes it is, in the book it is called "milk of the poppy", so it's an opium-based drug.

    @JonHanna Well, you are talking about something completely different, so if you read the comments above, things will perhaps become more clear. Its not in the books that poppy is addictive. They have tobacco in *Lord of the Rings*, but just because someone there does not want to smoke does not mean they are afraid of lung cancer.

    I vaguely remember the books implying in some way that milk of the poppy was addictive, but I don't remember anyone ever refusing it for that reason. There was the time with Jaime that @TLP mentions, and the incident I was thinking of, when Robert refused it after he was gored by the boar because he needed to dictate his will to Ned. In general, I don't think Westerosi culture would look at addiction in the same light as ours does; look at their attitudes towards alcohol, for instance.

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM