Iain Glen discusses Jorah’s love for Daenerys and the death of Viserion


Jorah Mormont is unique among Game of Thrones characters, since other than Daenerys herself, he’s the only major player still around who was present when her dragons were born. That history gave Jorah a unique perspective on witnessing the death of Viserion in last Sunday’s new episode, “Beyond the Wall.”

Glen spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about watching Viserion go down:

"I think for Jorah, the dragons have always been to some degree indestructible, having seen them grow from these baby newts around the naked body of his adored queen, into these vast killing machines. It turns out, they’re vulnerable. There’s a question mark there. I think he’s feeling a fear of the consequences. I think he’s also very sensitive to how they’re her children in her mind. She has a very profound connection with these dragons, which goes right to the center of her soul. He’s very aware of the consequences for her."

Of course, off screen, the dragons are simply tennis balls on sticks, which can be hard to work with, but Glen has learned to make due. “You become accustomed to it as an actor,” he said. Tennis balls are hardly as ferocious as full-grown dragons the size of 747s, and we applaud the actors for looking awed and feared around them.

And what about Jorah’s unrequited love for Daenerys, an obsession that long ago earned him the title of “Lord Friendzone”? Glen thinks Jorah has settled into it.

"I do think in some way, emotionally, Jorah has moved on from hoping, really, for any physical reciprocation. His love for her and his adoration of her and her abilities and capabilities remain undiminished entirely. But I think having gone through the nightmare of her rejection, and then having gotten very dangerously ill, for her to offer her forgiveness and plead with him to find a cure for himself so he could be back by her side, I think having gone through that whole traumatic emotional revolution, he’s at a point where he’s just glad to be in the fold and back where he feels he belongs: beside her."

With this in mind, Glen thinks that Jorah insisting that Jon keep Longclaw is, in some way, him offering his approval of the new romance Dany seems to be starting up with Jon. (The bit about Jorah hoping Jon pass it down to his children pounds that point home.) But there was more to it than that.

"I think it’s also a family thing. He was rejected by his father because of what he had done, and why he was exiled right at the beginning of the story. Fundamentally, he’s a very honest man. He doesn’t feel it’s right, that he should be gifted this back by Jon, who was gifted it by Jorah’s father who he had lost favor with. He’s being very honest about it. He’s tacitly showing his appreciation of Jon, that he believes he’s a leader. He’s admired him. They’re getting to know each other."

Poor Jorah. Poor good, honest, friendzoned Jorah.

Regarding season 7, Glen said he was very when he first read the scripts, so much so that he went above and beyond.

"I’m like a fan when it comes to what Game of Thrones pulls off. I kid you not: when I read these episodes, way back when, I immediately wrote to [showrunners] Dan [Weiss] and David [Benioff] and said I thought they were the best episodes they’ve written as a group for a season. Everything just accelerates forward. There’s no sense of treading water, no sense of milking this. I really admired the speed with which they propelled this story forward, everyone’s stories."

Glen admitted that he felt parts of season 7 would be “unfilmable,” especially “Beyond the Wall.” And while Glen had yet to see the episode at the time of the interview, we can assure him that it made it on film, however much some fans wish it weren’t so — RIP Viserion.

Next: 'Beyond the Wall' director Alan Taylor admits the episode was 'straining plausibility a little bit'

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