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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?

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    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium – OrangeDog Dec 30 '19 at 12:46
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    An animal? Poppy != puppy. :) – void_ptr Dec 30 '19 at 17:45
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    It's an old name for opium and in GoT it is the equivalent of opium in that world – slebetman Dec 31 '19 at 5:45
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    @void_ptr Most milk comes from animals, so it's not a bad question. – Mast Dec 31 '19 at 17:49
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    @void_ptr Puppies don't have milk anyway! They have to grow up into dogs (bitches) first. – CJ Dennis Dec 31 '19 at 22:01
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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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    +1 for teaching me that the milky sap (which it’s also called) of plants is called latex. Did not know that! – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 31 '19 at 16:39
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    Thanks for the epiphany that English "sap" and German "Saft" (and more obviously Dutch "sap") probably have the same etymology. – Jörg W Mittag Dec 31 '19 at 16:41
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    In (BrE) common usage, "latex" almost exclusively refers to a particular form of natural rubber, which is harvested by "milking" rubber trees (but I don't know how many people know that part). – Roger Lipscombe Jan 1 at 10:06
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    @RogerLipscombe I think that the use of the term latex for the natural rubber of the rubber tree is almost universal in normal language. Using it for other plant-juices is as far as I know never done (maybe by biologists and other professionals, I wouldn’t know about that). – Tonny Jan 1 at 13:56
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    @RogerLipscombe: Indeed; the same is true in AmE. – ruakh Jan 2 at 4:50
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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.

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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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    While I haven't heard the phrase "milk of the poppy" anywhere outside of Game of Thrones, in the real world poppies are used in the production of opium historically and related drugs more recently. – TimothyAWiseman Dec 30 '19 at 17:07
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    Note that in several Germanic languages, the white liquid produced by the poppy pod (called "latex" in English) is actually called "milk juice" ("Milchsaft" in German, "melksap" in Dutch). – Jörg W Mittag Dec 30 '19 at 20:36
  • @TimothyAWiseman There are large poppy fields in Afghanistan, the poppy milk is (elsewhere?) processed to Heroin. – Volker Siegel Jan 1 at 7:08

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