50

When Khal Drogo gets wounded by Mago, the Lhazareen healer Mirri Maz Duur offers to help treat the wound to prevent an infection.

But Drogo dies from the infection anyways. Seeing how she felt towards the Dothraki for destroying her sacred temple and raping her, did she deliberately mistreat the infection so Drogo would die?

What do the books say about this?

51

I was thinking about this question when my daughter woke up at 3:30 this morning and I was trying to get her back to sleep. So I've been doing some digging around. I don't think that Mirri Maz Duur intentionally mistreated Drogo in an attempt to kill him.

If you re-read the section where she initially treats him, she boils wine and pours it over the wound. We have seen other maesters do the same thing in treating wounds (Pycelle does this when he attempts to treat Robert Baratheon's boar wound). Additionally, we know that alcohol and heat both have antiseptic properties. She stitches his wound closed with a silk thread. She covers it with lambskin which doesn't personally seem the cleanest method of covering a wound to me, but it serves the same purpose as cotton (which I'm sure they didn't have), and some cultures have been known to use peat as an equivalent to cotton for wound dressings (which actually works better than cotton because it can absorb more than cotton, but it's not as pretty). Then she instructs Drogo to avoid milk of the poppy (which I can only assume to be opium or an opium-like substance if we assume that plants in that world are roughly the same as plants in this world), and alcohol. I don't exactly get why he should avoid a pain-killer, but research shows that alcohol consumption slows wound healing and increases the likelihood of infection (reasonable since we know that alcohol is a bloodthinner). So everything she has done and said up to this point indicate that she is truly trying to heal him.

This leaves only the question of the poultice that she put on him. After he falls from his horse, she informs Dany that the poultice was made of firepod and sting-me-not. I haven't run across any plants that are actually called this, so this is completely conjecture. The poultice could have been the cause of Drogo's problems, but I'm guessing that a firepod is a chile pepper of some kind (and it would makes sense to call it "firepod" if it happens to be a red or orange pepper). Capsaicin has antiseptic properties and would probably burn like hell if applied to a wound. Sting-me-not sounds like a plant in the Urtica genus (stinging nettles and related) which also have antiseptic properties.

So...really, it seems like Drogo's death is caused by Drogo. He removes the poultice and lambskin six days before he falls from his horse because he says it burns, and has it replaced with the soothing mud poultice placed there by the herbwomen--not by Mirri Maz Duur. I don't know about you, but putting mud on a partially open wound is just nasty. Mud is full of bacteria and other microorganisms. It is not going to help the healing process. He was also drinking fermented mare's milk (alcohol!) and had been taking milk of the poppy. This probably dulled his senses and made him unaware of his declining health until it got to the point where he was too sick to know or care. Basically everything MMD said NOT to do, he did.

  • 1
    Looking around, I see a history of people using clay as poultices, they might have antibiotic properties. Google "medicinal clay". So a mud poultice is not absolutely insane, it MIGHT have had some benefits. – swbarnes2 Jun 2 '14 at 20:06
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    That's really interesting. In the show it seems abundantly clear that she killed him with the poultice on purpose. I didn't even consider that she might not have. – DCShannon Mar 8 '16 at 13:34
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    Well, to be fair her own words later make it sound like she did it intentionally, even in the book – Paul Jun 9 '18 at 20:28
19

Mirri Maaz Duur herself did say something to the effect that Drogo was a brute, that he'd killed many people that she loved, and that now he (and his son) would hurt no one else. However, I would not say that it is crystal clear that she did kill him.

She did claim that the khal did not enjoy her first poultice, which she claimed was a "cleansing fire". This rings true enough to me. I believe she applied the "soothing" poultice, but whether this is what killed him, I do not know. It might be that she attempted real healing first, but when Drogo objected, she simply thought "Fine, go ahead and kill yourself, you murdering scum."

It is clear, however, that she betrayed Daenerys when she said she could bring him back. As evidenced by her own words to Daenerys afterwards: Now you see what life is worth. Implying that once you lose everything that makes life worth living, life itself is meaningless.

She turned Drogo into a zombie, indirectly killed Daenerys' unborn child, and gloated about it afterwards. It is clear that Mirri harboured a profound resentment against the Dothraki, and that she did what she could to exact a gruesome vengeance.

But most importantly, she was the catalyst that woke the dragon in Daenerys and inspired her to perform her ritual that hatched her dragons. If not for her, that might never have happened.

17

It's an interesting question, and one that I pondered on for a while after I finished the book.

In keeping with the spoiler hiding

I always felt that the cause of the infection was the poultice, which was why it was so uncomfortable. The link below, however, disagrees, and postulates that Mirri simply knew that Kahl Drogo wouldn't listen to her instructions anyway, so it didn't matter whether the poultice was faulty or not.

There was a discussion around this here, but it appears broken now (thanks TLP)

  • 1
    Wow, that's a fantastic discussion that I'd totally missed. Thank you for posting the link! – Owen Blacker Feb 4 '12 at 11:51
  • The link in this answer is broken. – TLP Nov 25 '13 at 2:59
  • What does TLP stand for? – Chloe Apr 12 '16 at 11:49
12

Slight spoiler:

In the books, Drogo took off the poultice that Mirri Maz Duur made for him, because it itched, and replaced it with a cooling one made from mud. So it's hard to see how she can have been responsible for his death.

3

I think Meg Coates has the strongest argument here.

While it's true that Mirri Maz Duur had motivation to harm Khal Drogo, the evidence points to her being an opportunistic killer rather than a strategic murderer with a long-term scheme. The risk vs. reward of poisoning or intentionally mistreating the Khal while being monitored by someone with an unknowable amount of experience with the more advanced healing of the West would have been against her. Additionally, using magic clearly requires intensive ritual and sacrifice, neither of which would have gone unnoticed were Mirri Maz Duur to call upon magic to curse the Khal.

It's a very important theme in this show that the relatively old methods, moving into current time, to use magic are inconsistent and often very monkey's paw-ish -the Lord of Light seems to be in between a consistent exchange of utility for sacrifice and empty magic tricks- such that many don't even believe in magic anymore. The arrival of dragons, the white walkers and the children of the forest are unique new sources of very present magic users.

The distinction here is important, Mirri Maz Duur is a third degree murderer whereas Cersei Lannister is a first degree murderer, at least relatively speaking.

0

If she was willing to murder an unborn child, indirectly though it may be, with blood magic... who is to say that she couldn't have used the same sort of magic to curse the man in the first place. I highly doubt she expected to live after her little tricks, so sacrifice for revenge would seem acceptable. In addition, if the rite took some measure of time it would make sense to treat the Khal correctly in the beginning. There are large stretches of her time that aren't really accounted for. Magic in the world isn't really spelled out. Sometimes, it is easy to see, and sometimes it is subtle. Like the red woman and the maester's poison.

0

There is almost no doubt that something Mirri Maz Diur did was malevolent (or at best, wrong) when she treated Drogo's wound. Drogo walked into the blade, and afterwards said it was just the bite of a fly, showing how Drogo thought little of the wound. He had most likely dealt with similar wounds many times before so why did this one kill him?

0

Why would anyone see their entire family slaughtered, be captured as a slave and then be so darn helpful?

She had a trick up her sleeve from the start, she just needed to know how foolish Danny was, and how far she could go. We can't tell for sure if the poultice was the problem because Drogo did not follow the 10 day instructions.

It is clear that the Maegi saw how foolish Danny was in trusting her the first time and took full advantage the second time. I also think she was cunning in telling them that she could help deliver her son. In the books that worked against her when she went into labor, Jorah felt he had no choice but to carry her into the tent, and she lost the child.

She should have just waited for their healers to help Drogo. Instead she lost a whole Khalasar, a child, a husband etc.

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    Welcome to SFF.SE. While does answer the question to an extent it might need some formatting and grammar edits to make it better. Please take our tour to see the kind of answers we are looking for. – Skooba Oct 21 '16 at 13:34
-1

well seeing as itching is a sign of infection I would say she sabotaged the wound why else would she go through the trouble to treat him before anyone else? or even mention she was a healer? she had no love for these people or the man who lead them.

  • 3
    Itching isn't always a sign of infection... so I'm not sure I understand your argument. – curiousdannii Jul 3 '14 at 22:09

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