"Get him out of my sight. Throw him in one of the Black Cells."
―Tyrion Lannister[src]

The Black Cells are one level of the dungeons of the Red Keep. They are reserved for prisoners accused of high crimes, such as treason. Cells are completely dark, with no possible light sources (except when jailers enter with torches).

Varys has access to the Black Cells, but dons the guise of a gaoler to enter.


Season 1

Ned Stark is confined to the Black Cells following his arrest. He is visited twice by Varys who tries to convince him to confess to treason in order to prevent war and to save the lives of his daughters Sansa and Arya.[1][2]

Season 2

After learning that Pycelle is an informant for Queen Cersei, Tyrion Lannister has his men Timett and Bronn cut off Pycelle's beard and throw him into one of the Black Cells.[3] Not long afterwards Cersei sends Lancel to demand that Tyrion have Pycelle freed. He agrees to let him go, given that he has made his point, but will not let him return to the Small Council.[4]

Season 4

Tyrion is confined to the Black Cells after being found guilty of the murder of his nephew King Joffrey. On the eve of his execution, Jaime frees Tyrion, so he can escape to the Free Cities. Tyrion first uses the passages in the Red Keep to visit the Tower of the Hand and confront and kill his father.[5]

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire books the Black Cells are the third level of the Red Keep's dungeons. On the upper level are cells with high narrow windows where common criminals are confined together. The second level has smaller, personal cells without windows for highborn captives. Torches in the halls cast light through the bars. The Black Cells themselves are smaller still and have doors of wood so that no light enters them; they are reserved for the most vile and dangerous prisoners. The fourth level is the one used for torture and none who enter leaves alive.