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Shireen Baratheon, disfigured by greyscale

Greyscale is a dreaded and usually fatal disease that can leave flesh stiff and dead, and the skin cracked and flaking, mottled black and grey and stone-like to the touch. Those that manage to survive a bout with the illness will be immune from ever contracting it again, but the flesh killed by the ravages of the disease will never heal, and and they will literally be scarred for life.

Princess Shireen Baratheon caught greyscale as an infant and survived, but the ordeal left half of her face disfigured by the disease.

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, greyscale generally affects children, especially in cold damp climates. The victims are disfigured but could not be touched by the rarer mortal form of the affliction or the grey plague. The wildlings consider people who survive greyscale unclean.

Greyscale isn't the same thing as leprosy, as the effects are quite different. Still, the greyscale disease is dreaded in Westeros and Essos much as leprosy was in the real-life Middle Ages. A large area around the ruins of Chroyane in the Free Cities is even used as a large-scale colony for those who have contracted greyscale.

See also

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