The Unsullied are eunuch slave soldiers, trained from a young age in Astapor to unquestioning obedience and martial prowess. They fight in formation as light infantry, equipped with short spears, swords, round shields, and distinctive spiked caps. Their training is brutal, designed not only to teach them how to fight, but to strip away all individuality, empathy, and self-worth. They regularly consume an elixir called the Wine of Courage to deaden their sensitivity to pain. Every day they choose new names at random by drawing tokens from a bucket, each consisting of a color and a type of vermin, such as “Grey Worm”.
Slaves that fail any aspect of their training are killed. Only a third of the slaves to enter training survive to become Unsullied. The results are elite, highly specialized soldiers that fight fearlessly and without question. Though they have a reputation as the best soldiers in the world, Unsullied are not nearly as effective when out of their phalanx formation.
During her campaign in Slaver’s Bay, Daenarys Targaryen purchased every Unsullied soldier and trainee in Astapor in order to turn them on their former masters and take the city. In the aftermath, Daenarys freed all of her Unsullied, who unanimously volunteered to follow her as free soldiers. Daenarys commanded them to pick permanent names and form ranks although it was against tradition. With all the Astapori slavers killed, Unsullied training ceased for a while, until the Butcher King Cleon took control of the city from the council appointed by Daenerys. Cleon resumed training Unsullied, this time enslaving sons of former Astapori nobility.