In Game of Thrones Season 5, Ser Jorah Mormont sailed through Old Varlyia with Tyrion Lannister, a captive he hoped to give to Daenerys Targaryen in hopes of getting back into her good graces. As they passed through the ruins, Tyrion and Jorah were attacked by Stone Men, men whose bodies are completely covered by a degenerative disease called greyscale, and whose minds have been corrupted to the point of insanity.
Tyrion was thrown overboard and pulled underwater. When he finally awoke, he was on a beach, looking at the ruins in the distance. We then learned that Jorah Mormont had contracted greyscale from the Stone Men.
It’s a death sentence, and he knows it. In Season 6, when he’s finally reunited with Daenerys, Jorah doesn’t allow her to approach him, and even goes so far as to tell her that he will end his life before the greyscale drives him mad. But Daenerys doesn’t accept his resignation, saying:
"You swore to obey my commands for the rest of your life. Well I command you to heal yourself, and then return to me."
How will Jorah heal himself? The show may have hinted at an answer.
We know of only one other character from Game of Thrones who has survived greyscale: Princess Shireen Baratheon. But in that case, the disease was caught early, and her parents spared no expense in halting its spread. Jorah has had greyscale for some time now, and based on what we saw in “The Door,” it’s spreading rapidly.
But there might be another option. In Game of Thrones Season 2, Daenerys’ broken khalasar finds its way to the city of Qarth, where they are taken in by one of the Thirteen, Xaro Xhoan Daxos. While there, Daxos and the warlock Pyat Pree conspire to take Daenerys’ dragons, and in her panic, she sends Ser Jorah to find them. During his search, Jorah approaches a mysterious woman in a lacquered mask. Her name is Quaithe, and she seems to have some sort of supernatural ability. For example, she seems to know that Jorah was spying on Daenerys for King Robert (“Will you betray her again, Jorah the Andal?”), and tells him that the dragon thief is with Daenerys at that very moment, implying that Daxos and Pree were behind it.
What does this have to do with curing greyscale? Well, when Jorah visits Quaithe, she’s carving elaborate tattoos into a man’s back. “This man must sail past Old Valyria,” she says. “All who travel close to the doom must have protection.”
What kind of protection is she giving him? She may be talking about some kind of mystical protection, or the tattoos could have a more practical application: protecting the bearer from the Stone Men known to live in Valyria, and the disease they carry. And if Quaithe knows how to protect men from greyscale, she may know how to cure it. Could Jorah seek her out?
Jorah fends off stone men.
“Fire made flesh”
There’s another part to this theory. When Jorah first meets Quaithe, it’s at a party thrown for Daenerys. She tells him:
"I am no one, but she is the Mother of Dragons. She needs true protectors, now more than ever. They shall come day and night to see the wonder born into the world again. And when they see they shall lust. For dragons are fire made flesh. And fire is power."
Perhaps the key to Jorah’s cure will be to seek out Quaithe, who will tell him he must have one of Daenerys’ dragons breathe fire onto his greyscale-inflicted arm to cure it of greyscale. This would indeed be a heroic ending the ultimate quest for a man who has dedicated his life to a woman he once betrayed; a woman he now loves.
In A Dance with Dragons, we see a similar situation, with different characters. Victarion Greyjoy (the Lord Captain of the Iron Fleet) captures a priest of R’hllor named Moqorro, who uses some type of blood and fire magic to heal a festering wound on Victarion’s hand, a wound that could have turned mortal. Moqorro performs a ritual that chars Victarion’s hand and arm, but leaves the man alive and more fierce than ever. Since Victarion was left out of the show (along with Jon Connington, who contracted greyscale by saving Tyrion in the books), perhaps Jorah take his place, at least so far as his diseased arm is concerned.
We’ll be on the lookout for signs of Quaithe in Game of Thrones Season 7. If Jorah can reach her in time, perhaps he can rejoin Daenerys and help her conquer the Seven Kingdoms.