In Season 5, Episode 4 titled Sons of the Harpy, Stannis Baratheon explains to Shireen how she contracted greyscale when she was an infant:

Stannis gets up from his table and explains that not long after Shireen was born, a Dornish trader arrived on Dragonstone and, having heard of Shireen's birth, gave a wooden doll as a gift for the newborn girl. Unfortunately, the doll was contaminated with greyscale, and by the time that was discovered, Shireen had already contracted the disease. Everyone claimed Shireen would die of it sooner or later, and urged Stannis to send her to the ruins of Valyria to live out her days with the "Stone Men" before the disease infected the rest of the castle; Stannis says he told them all to go to hell and summoned every healer, apothecary and Maester he could to save Shireen.

Is there any evidence that the doll was intentionally infected with greyscale by one of Stannis Baratheon's enemies?

  • No there is no such indication. Neither in the books, nor in the Show. But Oberyn Martell did study at citadel for a time until he got bored so presumably he must have studied the disease. Making a doll into a bio-weapon seems unlikely. And he had no cause other than avenging his sister's children by murdering the first child born in post-rebellion Baratheon family, which was shireen.
    – Aegon
    Jul 28, 2017 at 7:30
  • @Aegon Oberyn studied at citadel in regards to how the doll was infected with greyscale or the disease itself? Jul 28, 2017 at 7:44
  • the disease itself like all aspiring Maesters do. He was however exceptionally gifted and forged his links quickly so it is possible he could have learnt a way to weaponize it. But it is unlikely. Oberyn doesn't want to kill Cersei's kids in the books, he wants Tywin. He's a twisted albeit kind of an honorable man and there is no honor in doing that to a child, even if its Robert's niece.
    – Aegon
    Jul 28, 2017 at 7:54
  • Hmmmm...I'm just not sure what Dornishmen would want to do this. The other possibility may be that it was meant for Stannis in hopes that he would touch the doll first. Or...it could just be bad luck. ;) You could always put your thoughts into an answer :) It's just weird that they had to include that it was a Dornish trader. There must be some reason behind that. Maybe I am overthinking ;) Jul 28, 2017 at 8:00
  • 2
    I'd leave it to someone who knows shows-deviations well (I sometimes tend to mix show with books). One thing to note is, this isn't how it happened in the books. It's the Damp environment of Dragonstone which is assumed to be the reason behind Shireen's affliction. So I doubt GRRM has any plans of adding the Dornish conspiracy angle to the real story.
    – Aegon
    Jul 28, 2017 at 8:06

1 Answer 1


Short answer: No. There is no evidence. As someone also added, this is not how it happens in the books in the first place.

Let's stick to show and elaborate a little this Dornish trader story. Also as other noticed, Oberyn is not a kind of man that would kill let alone infect innocent child for some distant revenge. He hates Tywin and Mountain, and instead of killing already defeated Mountain he still wants confession because he wants to be sure whom to blame. To focus his anger on leader of rebellion who surely didn't give such command, then do something against not even his brother but his newborn niece is just mental. He waited for years and still wants confession whom to blame, no way he would do that.

Would any other Dornishman want this? Seems unlikely. We don't know that Stannis had any personal enemies who would want something like that happen to him. Would someone be disgusied like Dornishman or was it faceless man? Still, no reason to do it to Stannis.

Politically, also no point. Stannis rules Dragonstone and some surrounding islands and fisher villages. It is not juicy at all. If he remains without heir, lands go to his brothers or nephews. Nobody else can't jump in. Not even pointy beard Littlefinger seems likely to have any interest in Dragonstone. Plus at the time of her birth it is not certain that she would be his only child, so makes no sense really.

I gave it some tohugh and here is the only wild theory why would someone actually want that: if someone actually wants her exactly and knows how to cure grayscale. This would be the only way to get newborn baby of lord of Dragonstone. Kidnapping her is pretty much impossible, plus it makes much of fuss. If someone needed Shireen because she has king's blood or whatever and wants to do it secretly and knows how to treat grayscale, this would be a way to get her eventually dropped to Valyria and she would be forgotten. Nobody would know if somebody waited there, snatched her and healed her. We could hypotesize about various people who would treasure such possesion as Baratheon princess with Targaryen blood and most likely they wouldn't be from Westeros :)

If this still sounds unlikely and makes no sense, well same here. Like I said, this is just a wild theory I could came up with. Most probably it wasn't intentional.

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