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Eunuchs

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Gelding-knife

A gelding knife employed by Ramsay Snow

"I'm not killing you, just making a few... alterations."
―Ramsay Snow to Theon Greyjoy[src]

Eunuchs are men who have had some or all of their sexual organs removed in order to make them more efficient servants, as they are not distracted by lust or sexual matters. The practice is considered cruel in Westeros, where eunuchs are mistrusted; men are typically only castrated or gelded in the Seven Kingdoms as punishment for serious crimes such as rape. However, it is considered acceptable in many parts of Essos, as part of the vibrant slave trade which exists in many areas. Slave-eunuchs are a common sight in Essos, and the famous warrior-eunuchs produced in Slaver's Bay known as the Unsullied are among the most disciplined soldiers in the world.

In the series

Season 1

Grand Maester Pycelle expresses distrust of and disgust with Varys, and is annoyed that a eunuch is serving on the king's small council.[1]

Petyr Baelish talks to Varys about his disfigurement as part of a verbal sparring match, asking where his testicles are located. He notes that Varys is from the Free Cities.[2]

Season 3

Daenerys Targaryen travels to the slaver city of Astapor to hire an army of Unsullied, slave soldiers who have been turned into eunuchs to improve discipline. Lacking male organs, they do not take part in rapes.[3]

Varys explains the story of how he was castrated to Tyrion Lannister. A sorcerer removed his genitals - both shaft and testes - and burned them in a brazier as part of a magical ceremony.[4]

Known eunuchs

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, different regions are known to make eunuchs in different ways. Some only remove the testicles but leave the shaft of the penis intact, while others remove all external genitalia, both the penis and testicles. The slaver-city of Yunkai, for example, is known to make eunuchs by removing only a slave's testicles, but the slave-masters of Astapor make eunuchs by removing everything, shaft and testes, such as when they make the Unsullied. A eunuch with only the testicles removed but not the shaft will still lose the will to partake of sexual activity, but other slave-masters like to be sure by removing the shaft as well.

References

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