Total Nerd Everything You Need to Know About Greyscale & the Stone Men  

Lisa Waugh
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Those seeking a cure for greyscale, may also contract SPOILERS! So don’t get touched! 

What is greyscale? As we see from the advanced Jorah scales, that greyscale is rapidly traveling up his arm. Not a good sign for the man who saved the Mother of Dragons’s life a couple of times and would settle for a good long hug. As he prepares to slink off and die of the disease and a broken heart, Daenerys commands him to seek a cure for his affliction. Great! Since greyscale is considered a death sentence, this is not going to be easy for the loyal knight. But if Khaleesi commands it, he’ll do it.  

Legend holds that greyscale the result of Garin’s Curse, a ruler of the Rhoynar who called upon the river’s Mother Goddess to destroy the Targaryen invaders. She responded by drowning the them. It’s said that the mist and fog created by the drowned dragon lords caused the deadly disease.

The Stone Men in Game of Thrones are examples of the last stages of the disease where the body is turned almost completely to stone, the brain affected by the calcifying process in the form of madness. These Game of Thrones scales are bad news. And if Gilly's sisters became White Walkers, that could be even worse news. A greyscale wight army?! What?!

So how does Ser Jorah tip the grey scale in his favor? Well, he could seek out the Shrouded Lord who is rumored to rule the Sorrows. Going straight to the source may do the trick. Or it could turn Jorah into a stone temple knight in a First Men minute. What about these Red God people? Does R’hllor hold the key?

If a goddess from the cold and damp brought about greyscale, could the Lord of Light burn it away? Well, guess who just made herself known to Tyrion and Varys in Meereen? Kinvara. She’s older than Melisandre and probably just as cute in the buff. Maybe just one prayer in High Valyrian, some burnt parts in a brazier, and POOF, Jorah is not only good as new but he’s also got a stronger arm. Then he can slap Daario for making ageist cracks about his ability to “ride the dragon.”

First, let's look at the origin of greyscale and then get down to everyone's favorite thing: theorizing. There are many theories dropping down from the Bridge of Dream about GoT greyscale so let’s look the most stony and plausible of them.

What Is Greyscale?

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It’s a mysterious disease George R.R. Martin created that turns the infected person into stone, calcifying the skin and internal organs, causing madness, and eventually death. It’s a cruel, slow-advancing disease.

It most often affects children and especially those living in cold and damp climates. Children have more of a shot at survival. Adults are not so lucky. It’s very difficult to cure greyscale in adults.

At first the skin may develop small fissures, resembling cracks in ice. In others, the infection may look like scales. Advanced stages make the person appear to be made of stone.

Where Did Greyscale Come From?

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The Valyrian Freehold sought to expand its territory and attacked the Rhoynar, a vast network of city-states along the Rhoyne river.  

Prince Garin the Great of Chroyane (once a rich and glorious festival city) managed to make a serious dent in the war with the Valyrians, but he and his 250,000 men were ultimately defeated. The men of Volantis captured Prince Garin and suspended him in a golden gage, making him watch as his people were burned by dragon fire.

Garin prayed to Mother Rhoyne, a goddess believed by the Rhoynar to be the embodiment of the Rhoyne river. The men laughed but later that night the waters rose and drowned the enemies of Chroyane. The legend holds that because the Valyrians were fire born, their breath rises from beneath the waters, creating the infamous fog that confounds sailors and shrouds the ruined city in the Sorrows.

This mist of the drowned dragon masters and fire lords may be the cause of greyscale. The curse may also have played into the Doom of Valyria. Tyrion believed greyscale was merely a disease, but he hadn’t seen a dragon yet.

Did Stannis Bring Greyscale to Dragonstone?

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According to this theory, King Aerys II had Steffon Baratheon (Robert, Stannis, and Renly’s father) go in search of a biological weapon to use against invaders. Steffon doesn’t make it back, but Stannis later excavates his ships from the journey and finds the weapon - greyscale. Then he accidentally gives it to his daughter, Shireen. He feels so guilty he asks a red priest or priestess to cure her.

Is this why he is so on board with Melisandre? He’s seen the work of R’hllor before?

How Do You Get It?

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By coming in direct contact with someone who has greyscale. If you believe Stannis’s story that Shireen got her greyscale from an infected doll he bought from a passing Dornish ship, then everyone should be terrified. However, some think he made up that story.