How Jorah Mormont Fits into the 'Game of Thrones' Puzzle
Cured of his greyscale and ready to fight for his beloved Khaleesi, Game of Thrones fan favorite Jorah Mormont is officially back. At the end of the fifth Season 7 episode, "Eastwatch," the golden haired warrior joined Jon Snow and his merry gang of snow bunnies for a trip beyond the wall, where they intend to capture a White Walker in the wild to bring back to King's Landing. It sounds like a nearly impossible plan, but if anyone can pull it off it's Jorah Mormont.
At this point, it feels like nothing can stop Mormont, one of the show's most consistently put-upon and long-suffering characters, from achieving his goals. He's defeated a seemingly incurable disease. He's reunited with the love of his life. He's wearing a cool black cloak again. Iain Glen, the Scottish actor who brings to Jorah to leathery life, clearly relishes the opportunity to not be rotting away in a cell anymore -- or sporting that hideous greyscale make-up.
But, since small victories are often followed by death and humiliation on Game of Thrones, it's worth asking if this could be the beginning of the end for old Jorah? To get a sense of where his story might be heading, let's take a look that some of the burning questions raised by his triumphant return.
What was the point of Jorah's greyscale?When Game of Thrones is over and fans discuss their favorite plotlines, it's unlikely that Jorah's spa retreat to the Citadel will be remembered fondly -- or remembered at all. In fact, beyond the welcome presence of Jim Broadbent as Archmaester Marwyn, the entire Citadel detour, which appears to have come to a close last night when Sam and Gilly made their getaway in a horse-drawn buggy, feels Dorne-like in its importance to the overall plot and execution. The idea of a "Maester Hogwarts" where Sam would learn all the tricks of his chosen trade was vaguely appealing as a concept, but the reality of the plot mostly involved reading old scrolls and cleaning up human feces.
Plus, brutal skin surgery! There was some dark body humor to the way Jorah's medical treatment played out -- I loved that edit from his oozing wound to a gushing meat pie at the Crossroads Inn -- but the "solution" to his problem wasn't particularly novel or clever. Sam read about curing greyscale in a book. Then he followed the instructions in the book. Then Jorah was cured. That was it.
If there was a larger point to the greyscale plot, beyond stalling the eventual return of Jorah and giving Tyrion more time to build a relationship with Daenerys, it was to provide Jorah with another test. Having sold slaves back when he was a Lord, Jorah is on a never-ending path to redemption. Ever since he came into Dany's life -- first as a spy sent by Varys to report back on the Targaryen children -- he's been working to prove his loyalty to her and overcome his past misdeeds. As a metaphor, greyscale works: Jorah has shed his old skin and he is a new man. Too bad it didn't exactly work as a compelling story.
Is he in a love triangle with Jon Snow and Daenerys?As last night's intimate encounter between Jon Snow and Drogon proved, the show is not done revving up the long-rumored romance between the Mother of Dragons and the King of the North. The two may not see eye-to-eye as military leaders, but they've now shared multiple lingering glances. Things are heating up.
That leaves Jorah in an awkward place -- like the third wheel in a rom-com. During his travels with Daario, which remains one of the more fun Jorah adventures, the significantly older man confessed his feelings for Daenerys, who he has sworn to protect with his life. There's always been a creepy-to-some, endearing-to-others undercurrent of romance to the relationship between Dany and Jorah. Depending on the scene, he can come off as a kind-hearted father-figure or a spurned lover. The creepiness was back in full force last night, with Jorah bending down to kiss his Queen's hand and the typically unflappable Daenerys almost blushing upon the return of her "friend." What's the deal with these two?
Judging from his puzzled reaction upon meeting Jorah, Jon Snow also clearly has a sense that there's some intense history there. Like it or not, he's still the protagonist of this rom-com. Perhaps the two will find some time to discuss their feelings while on their snow adventure. Nothing breeds intimacy quite like battling a legion of the undead.
How does he know Thoros?Speaking of the White Walkers, one of last night's curious Jorah moments was his brief exchange with Thoros, the bearded and booze-swilling soldier in the Brothers without Banners. It was a reunion: they both fought in the Siege of Pyke, the last battle in the Greyjoy Rebellion that occurred a handful of years before the narrative of the show. In fact, Jorah described the battle as "a bitch of a siege" to Barristan Selmy way back in Season 3, recounting how he was the second man into the conflict after Thoros, who arrived waving a "flaming sword."
As the promotional materials for Season 7's sixth episode have suggested, there will be some serious flaming sword action when Jon's men meet the White Walkers. Jorah's history with Thoros provides some historical depth to the Dirty Dozen-style team assembled for the White Walker suicide mission. Whether or not we'll get to see Jorah wave it above his head remains to be seen, but it's inevitable he'll have a significant role to play in the ensuing conflict. Why else would he travel all that way?
Will he survive next week's battle?Increasingly, Game of Thrones is a show dominated by youth. In the North, Sansa now lives in the bedroom previously occupied by her parents and feuds with her younger sister Arya. Daenerys and Jon both represent the future, intriguing new possibilities of what Westeros could look like under a new ruler. The type of weary wisdom provided by Jorah is in short supply -- and increasingly less essential.
Is it time for him to make the ultimate sacrifice and complete his redemption arc by dying for his queen? That's felt like his higher purpose since he was introduced way back in Season 1. While some characters are schemers and game-players, Jorah is a warrior looking to regain his honor. It wouldn't make sense for him to survive countless battles, beat a deadly disease, and then live out the rest of his life as an advisor to Dany. Along with Cersei, he's one of the few remaining characters who simply must die.
It's worth remembering the aforementioned scene between Jorah and Barristan Selmy from Season 3. "Just once in my life before it's over, I want to know what it's like to serve with pride and fight for someone I believe in," says Barristan, before Jorah assures him that Dany is that type of leader. Of course, a couple seasons later Barristan got his chance: he dies defending Daenerys. Even if he survives the fight with the White Walkers next week, all signs point to Jorah suffering a similarly brutal fate.