'Game of Thrones' Final Path: The Journey of Jorah Mormont

Game of Thrones Ep 5 - Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont-H 2016
Courtesy of Macall B. Polay/HBO

Welcome to Final Path, a regular feature leading up to the final season of HBO's Game of Thrones. In every Final Path, The Hollywood Reporter's resident Westeros expert, Josh Wigler, will offer a character-by-character deep dive of their journey through seven seasons, as well as what can be expected in the upcoming eighth and final season. Up next: Jorah Mormont.

Some characters require many words in the way of introduction. For Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), only one is necessary: "Khaleesi."

No audio aids required. You can hear the way the word rolls off the exiled knight's tongue, a line read so iconic it almost rivals the word itself. Such is the gravitas Glen provides to Game of Thrones through his work as Jorah, a Northerner from Bear Islands who fled Westeros in shame and regained his pride in Essos, fighting alongside a certain Mother of Dragons. Though he was not always accepted in her company, Jorah's arc has always been intertwined with Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), and almost certainly will continue in that trend through the finish line.

Make no mistake: like winter, the finish line is coming, and for Jorah, it may truly be the end of it all. Will Daenerys' number one fan live long enough to see the Dragon Queen win the Iron Throne? Jorah would love nothing more — which is why it's worth wondering if his hopes and dreams will come to pass. This is Game of Thrones, after all, the land of pain and misery. Ahead, we chronicle the pain and misery Jorah has suffered thus far, and all he's likely to suffer next.

Names and Titles: Jorah Mormont of the Bear Islands, exiled Northerner and son of the late Lord Commander of the Night's Watch Jeor Mormont, Captain of the Queensguard to Daenerys Targaryen.

First Appearance: "Winter is Coming," the series premiere. Viewers and Daenerys alike meet Jorah at the same time, during Dany's wedding to Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa). As a tribute, Jorah brings many books detailing the history of Westeros, as well as another gift: his eternal service.

Last Appearance: "The Dragon and the Wolf," the season seven finale. Jorah says nothing at all, but stands firmly at Dany's side throughout the meeting of the minds at the Dragonpit in King's Landing. We should expect much the same from Jorah's remaining scenes: silent but sturdy service.

Best Friends: Who needs friends when you have a khaleesi? Jorah isn't the warmest man in the world, so friends don't come easily, except in the context of the job. So, Daenerys, of course. Gets along well enough with Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), except for the whole debacle surrounding Jorah's brief exile from the crew. These days, Jorah probably even has some fondness for Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), after the hardships they endured on the road together in Essos.

Worst Enemies: Anyone who stands in the way of Daenerys, of course: Lannisters, White Walkers, you name it! If it's in Dany's way, Jorah's a hard pass on letting them live. He's also not a big fan of greyscale, assuming we can classify "disease" as a worst enemy. 

Best Kill: It's a two-way tie: first, there's Qotho (Dar Salim), the Dothraki soldier who wanted to kill Daenerys after Khal Drogo's death. Jorah defeating such a fierce warrior in combat was a great, early way of demonstrating his abilities as a fighter. Then, there's season five's "The Dance of Dragons," in which Jorah competed in a lethal gladiatorial game, and sent a spear sailing through the air right into the heart of an assassin. 

Worst Wound: Greyscale. Jorah contracted the nasty skin infection after coming into contact with a Stone Man of Old Valyria. It was long thought to be incurable, certainly as it advanced in Jorah's case. Enter: Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), who freed Jorah from the disease, but only after an extremely painful and graphic operation. May we never speak of it again.

Critical Moments: Jorah's brush with death by greyscale certainly stands out as a critical moment, but really, it's the entirety of his association with Daenerys — most importantly, his period of exile. Jorah was originally recruited as a spy in the Targaryen regime, planted by the Baratheons. But his loyalty, love and belief in Daenerys eventually overruled the original orders. It wasn't powerful enough to stop Dany from exiling him once she learned the truth, but it was powerful enough for Jorah to claw his way back into her good graces — a place he will remain for the rest of his days.

Unresolved Mystery: Is the greyscale really gone? The main reason why it's worth wondering is the seeming importance of greyscale in the books from George R.R. Martin. In the show, Jorah's brush with the illness takes the place of how it's handled in the novels. A different character suffers from very similar circumstances; this man does not exist in the show universe. The disease, which he keeps secret from everyone, is spoken about repeatedly in a separate storyline as highly dangerous for Westeros at large. No such gravity has been assigned to greyscale in the show, and with only six episodes left, is there really any time to pay it the attention Martin clearly intends?

Final Predictions: Beginning with the greyscale: yeah, it's gone. Kudos to Sam Tarly for reading a book and figuring out how to properly peel scabs, apply ointments, and get rid of one of the deadliest illnesses known to man. Why did the greyscale gunk ever exist in the first place? Who really knows, but with only 432 minutes of Game of Thrones remaining, don't expect it to rear its head again, except in conversation.

And when it comes to conversation, yes, it's going to come up again: Jorah and Sam are going to see each other again soon, as the former man heads up to Winterfell, while the latter is already there. And while it's Jorah who owes Sam a debt of gratitude for curing greyscale, expect Sam to deliver a gift to Jorah: Heartsbane, the Valyrian Sword of House Tarly. Jorah's own ancestral sword currently belongs to Jon Snow (Kit Harington), and there it will remain, despite the King in the North's best efforts to return the weapon to House Mormont. When the White Walkers bring their battle to the gates of Winterfell, Heartsbane will be of better use in Jorah's hands than Sam. 

But how much use will it be? Not enough to keep Jorah alive. Much love and respect to the Northern exile, who has added so much to Thrones throughout the entire run, but Jorah Mormont has to die. The White Walker threat won't mean anything without meaningful casualties, and unfortunately, Jorah is a casualty the story can afford. He would gladly give his life if it meant saving Daenerys, and that is almost exactly what's going to happen, whether in single combat against a White Walker or by jumping in front of a proverbial bullet for his queen.

With that said, there's an argument that Jorah Mormont is unkillable. Certainly, the series has had a few opportunities to take the man out. He side-stepped the veritable greyscale death sentence, for one. He also made it through the entirety of "Beyond the Wall," which would have been a fantastic chance for the show to take Jorah out and give Daenerys an additional reason to loathe the White Walkers. Ser Jorah has almost as many lives as Ser Pounce (no, we are not going to talk about poor Ser Pounce's supposed demise; besides, everyone knows Ser Pounce is actually a Flerkin), so if he makes it out of Thrones alive? It won't be a major surprise — just not the outcome we're betting on.

Last Hope: As with our last hope for Varys, here's hoping for a great interaction between Jorah and Lady Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey). These two Bear Islanders have much to discuss.

Catch up on the Final Path series:

1. Jon Snow
2. Daenerys Targaryen
3. Tyrion Lannister
4. Cersei Lannister
5. Jaime Lannister
6. Sansa Stark
7. Arya Stark
8. Bran Stark
9. Samwell Tarly
10. Theon Greyjoy
11. The Hound
12. Brienne of Tarth
13. Varys
14. Melisandre
15. Davos Seaworth

Follow THR.com/GameOfThrones for continuing coverage. Game of Thrones returns April 14, 2019.