Beyond the Wall: Jorah the Andal, or Jorah the angel on Dany’s shoulder?

Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones

Beyond the Wall returns from its one-week hiatus, and focuses on the relationship between Daenerys Stormborn and Jorah Mormont. Remember though that the FriendZone is a SpoilerZone!


It could be said that Game of Thrones has been treading water these last few weeks, as the show begins to set itself up for the push to the finale. We — or one of us particularly — might have had some problems with last week, but we were unable to come together to work on our post. We are back this week, and were glad to have “Mockingbird” to look at. This week’s episode was filled with several great character beats, which often make for better television than some of the big set pieces we are likely to see in the last three episodes (Which, as a reminder start in two weeks as Game of Thrones takes the weekend off for Memorial Day in the United States).

If you don’t know why ASOIAF fanboys across the world cried out in anguish when Petyr didn’t say the words, “Only Cat,” then this post is not for you.
One of those great moments was between Jorah and Daenerys. Jorah attends to his queen just moments after he realizes she’s spending some special quality time with Daario. He’s able change her course, specific to the type of justice she wanted to show the masters of Yunkai. While Jorah seems to be relegated to permanent “friend-zone” status, this moment showed that Dany still holds his council in high regard.

But first, our regular SPOILER WARNING: Beyond the Wall is a column intended for those that have read the A Song of Ice and Fire series at least once (But, three or four times is OK too). So, if you don’t know why ASOIAF fanboys across the world cried out in anguish when Petyr didn’t say the words, “Only Cat,” then this post is not for you.

Ivey: So while there were few “big” moments in “Mockingbird” (unless you like watching people fly), it was one of my favorite episodes in a couple of weeks. From three great conversations with Tyrion (I particularly liked how the dynamic between he and Bronn allowed for a great piece of subtle acting) to Arya going a little too deep with her discussion of “nothing,” each scene had great weight. I particularly liked the conversation between Dany and Jorah.

Ivey: The fact that Jorah is still around in Meereen is one of my favorite smaller changes that the show has made to the narrative.
To me, the fact that Jorah is still around in Meereen is one of my favorite smaller changes that the show has made to the narrative. Count me in the crowd of folks that believe that Dany might follow in her family lineage and slip into a little madness before this story is complete, and I think Jorah is — at least for now — the anchor that keeps her away from that. His argument was reasoned, and he was able to dissuade her where Barristan Selmy was not in a previous episode. If Jorah was met with same “justice” that Dany intended for Yunkai, he wouldn’t still be living. She was hellbent on having her justice until he intervened.

Bob: I don’t see her need for justice in this case a sign of impending madness. Certainly, the story may turn in that direction, but compared to what we know of Aerys and even her brother, Dany comes off as a particularly sane individual. It’s been nice having Jorah around during this part of the story, and I always found her casting out of the exiled knight a bit of an over-reaction on her part.

I think I just look on the story decision from a much more practical standpoint. From a TV show perspective, it makes a ton of sense. I fully expect that Jorah will be kicked to the curb by the end of this season, but delaying that plot point has meant there will be much less down time for the character before he can hook up with Tyrion (who has a lot more story to get through before heading across the narrow sea).

Bob: I also think that we have seen Dany make very forgiving and merciful decisions, even in just the past few episodes.
I also think that we have seen Dany make very forgiving and merciful decisions, even in just the past few episodes. As we saw in her audience room, she was just and fair to the goatherd and was even convinced to rethink her “justice” for the masters of Meereen. If you recall, it was not Jorah who made her change her mind that time, it was Hizdahr Zo Loraq. Maybe we should be talking less about Jorah’s influence and more about Dany’s penchant for being talked out of her big ideas.

Ivey: But she served that justice with Hizdahr’s father already. The man was crucified in the same manner that the Meereenese masters salted Dany’s road. Allowing for his burial was much more about her attempt to begin to control a city she is to rule. I think that’s a big difference from what Jorah talked her out of this week, the outright slaughter of the masters in Yunkai (though, personally I think she’s already given them their one chance, but that’s a different story).

She’s said before this season that Jorah is her most trusted advisor. Sure, Daario is becoming her paramour and Selmy is her protection, but Jorah has been with her the longest. He earned his place when he stood aside and watched her enter Drogo’s pyre, and has solidified it time and time again. We know that soon, however, she will send him off, as a reaction to his spying for Robert Baratheon (Another rash move). I believe Jorah in many ways serves as Dany’s conscience, something she’ll desperately miss once it is gone.

His spying is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. In the novels, he was outed by Selmy when the old knight revealed his own identity. Since we never met Arristan the Bold, Jorah’s betrayal will have to be revealed in another way. We saw Tywin writing letters earlier this season … will that be how Dany finds out in the series?

Bob: I think that is a safe bet, though I’m a little suspect as to why the heck Dany would believe anything Tywin Lannister has to tell her. Though, Selmy will be there to back up the story if he sees fit.

It’s not often you and I disagree this much, but I think you’re quite wrong about Dany’s motivations with Yunkai being different than the situation with Hizdahr. I think they are almost exactly the same thing. In both cases, she had meted out her justice and in both cases she was talked out of reinforcing that justice. I think her decision regarding Yunkai was all about “ruling” and not fighting, as she has been talking about since she took up residence in that big pyramid. It was about control and building trust, and working the diplomacy of the situation. She has shown that she can sack a city and kill people, she needs to convince herself that she is ready to rule.

Ivey: Yunkai’s latest transgression — returning to slavery — hasn’t been met with any kind of justice yet. I agree that her actions previously with Hizdahr and the goatherd showed a measured hand, but I’d argue that they are much different situations. Her reaction to Yunkai was not, deciding to kill the masters first, ask questions later. Selmy couldn’t keep her from crucifying the masters of Meereen, but Jorah could avert the slaughter of Yunkai’s. What happens when he’s not around the next time?

Bob: We’ll just have to see. Is she growing as a character and learning to rule? Or does she really just need an angel on her shoulder talking her down from her Targaryen instincts?

Photo Credit: HBO

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