Major spoiler for ADWD

I just finished reading ADWD (finally!) and I didn't figure out how Arya managed to kill her first target.

Here is what I remember: she pretended to steal from a guy's purse, creating an occasion to introduce a special coin in it.

Then this guy make a deal with the insurance dude (who is her target), paying him with this coin.

Then the insurance dude die of a heart attack.

Was the coin poisoned? Did I miss something important?

2 Answers 2


Arya noticed that the insurance man always tested the coin he got by biting on it (to see if it was real). She coated the coin in poison, and he bit on it, thus being poisoned.

  • 5
    This method is also used by the Alchemist (Jaqen H'Ghar) to kill Pate in the prologue to AFFC.
    – TLP
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 11:02
  • 4
    @TLP Well, we don't know for sure that the Alchemist is Jaqen, do we?
    – Kalissar
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 11:37
  • 6
    No, all we know is that he had the same appearance as the man he shapeshifted into in Arya's POV in Harrenhal, and that he is a faceless man, or someone using their techniques.
    – TLP
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 11:41
  • 1
    [citation needed]
    – Skooba
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 13:48

The implication from the text is that she pretended to rob one of the mans associates who was delivering coin to him and slipped in her own coin in the process. When the man received the coin he bit it and became poisoned. "Soon after that man's heart gave out."

He would do as well as any and better than most, the ugly girl decided. She hopped off the piling and fell in after him. A dozen strides put her right behind him, her finger knife poised. His purse was on his right side, at his belt, but his cloak was in her way. Her blade flashed out, smooth and quick, one deep slash through the velvet and he never felt a thing. Red Roggo would have smiled to see it. She slipped her hand through the gap, slit the purse open with the finger knife, filled her fist with gold…
The big man turned. "What—"
The movement tangled her arm in the folds of his cloak as she was pulling out her hand. Coins rained around their feet. "Thief!" The big man raised his stick to strike at her. She kicked his bad leg out from under him, danced away, and bolted as he fell, darting past a mother with a child. More coins fell from between her fingers to bounce along the ground. Shouts of "thief, thief" rang out behind her. A potbellied innkeep passing by made a clumsy grab for her arm, but she spun around him, flashed past a laughing whore, raced headlong for the nearest alley.
The kindly man was waiting for her at the House of Black and White, seated on the edge of the temple pool. The ugly girl sat next to him and put a coin on the lip of the pool between them. It was gold, with a dragon on one face and a king on the other.
"The golden dragon of Westeros," said the kindly man. "And how did you come by this? We are no thieves."
"It wasn't stealing. I took one of his, but I left him one of ours."
The kindly man understood. "And with that coin and the others in his purse, he paid a certain man. Soon after that man's heart gave out. Is that the way of it? Very sad." The priest picked up the coin and tossed it into the pool. "You have much and more to learn, but it may be you are not hopeless."
A Dance with Dragons, The Ugly Little Girl

This works because earlier in the story when Arya is watching the man she notices that he always bites the coins to check them.

Yet they brought him money: leather purses plump with gold and silver and the square iron coins of Braavos. The old man would count it out carefully, sorting the coins and stacking them up neatly, like with like. He never looked at the coins. Instead he bit them, always on the left side of his mouth, where he still had all his teeth. From time to time he'd spin one on the table and listen to the sound it made when it came clattering to a stop.
A Dance with Dragons, The Ugly Little Girl

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