|World of Westeros - People|
|Thursday, 20 May 2010 01:40|
He was an older man, past forty and balding, but still strong and fit. Instead of silks and cottons, he wore wool and leather. His tunic was a dark green, embroidered with the likeness of a black bear standing on two legs.
— A Game of Thrones
Ser Jorah is the exiled son of Lord Jeor Mormont and a former bannerman to Winterfell and House Stark. He was anointed by the High Septon himself. Ser Jorah is a strong man who is not particularly handsome, with big muscular arms and a barrel-chest covered with a thick mat of wiry black hair. For a man his size and strength, Jorah can be surprisingly agile and delicate. Half his left ear is missing, cut off by one of Khal Drogo’s former bloodriders. In battle, he wears a chain mail coat, gauntlets, greaves, and a visored great-helm of grey steel, and uses a longsword with grim efficiency.
Former Lord of Bear Island, Jorah has been married twice. First he was dutifully wed to a Glover woman who died in childbirth. Later, he married a highborn lady for whom he ran his house into poverty.
Five years ago, desperate for coin, Jorah sold captured poachers to a Tyroshi slaver rather than giving them up to the Night’s Watch. When Lord Eddard Stark journeyed to Bear Island to judge him for trafficking in slaves, Ser Jorah fled to the East. He fled as far away as Vaes Dothrak, where he came to appreciate the ways of the Dothraki.
A practical man, Ser Jorah adapted as best he could to his new life in exile. When he first encountered the Dothraki, he thought of them as wild, half-naked barbarians who could never stand up to trained knights. Ser Jorah maintained an open mind, however, and came to recognise the savage power of the Dothraki. Although a careful fighter himself, Ser Jorah realised that the Dothrakis’ reckless abandon makes them fearsome, unfliching warriors. Since then, Ser Jorah has taken the time to learn their language and become familiar with their customs. He is well aware that the Dothraki do things differently from those in the rest of the world. Those who would deal with them must be patient and respectful of their ways.
The Dothraki call Ser Jorah “the Andal” with grudging respect, though they mock his practice of wearing armour — a custom they find both cowardly and impractical in the fierce heat of their land. In other ways, he has completely embraced their culture. He favours their mode of dress (outside of battle), though his skin and bald head are often burnt by the harsh sun. Pragmatic and philosophical, Ser Jorah is a tortured man who was wounded by love and the loss of his second wife. He longs for his old home of Bear Island in the Seven Kingdoms and wishes that his life had taken a different turn. Ser Jorah is full of self-loathing for his tragedy and exile, yet he still despises Eddard Stark’s justice, a code that has cost him so much. Tortured by his memories, Jorah seeks to find a way to return to the Seven Kingdoms. His efforts reach the ears of Varys, who puts him to work as a spy reporting on the activities of the Targaryens in exchange for a future reprieve from the king.
Initially, he swears to serve Viserys Targaryen — likely as a way to spy from close at hand — and earn Viserys’s trust and confidence. He immediately sees through Viserys, dismissing him as a fool who will never rule. He slowly grows to fall for Viserys’s sister Daenerys, however, and so takes a place in her household.
Ser Jorah acts as a counsellor for both of the Targaryens while they abide among the Dothraki, advising them on how to deal with their new people. Only Dany has the wisdom to learn from him, though. Ser Jorah is a bridge between the two worlds for her, knowing far more about both her Targaryen history and her new life as khaleesi than she does. He is happy to talk with her and becomes a trusted confidante. Ser Jorah’s wedding gift to Dany are several books of histories and songs of the Seven Kingdoms, a gift she treasures greatly. His advice to her, such as telling her to ride the silver filly, helps give her the knowledge and self-assurance that Viserys never imparted.
Ser Jorah is drawn to Daenerys, who resembles his second wife. He is forced to choose between Viserys and Daenerys after an incident at the edge of the Dothraki sea, when Viserys orders Mormont to strike Daenerys and kill her guards. It is not a hard decision to make; Ser Jorah sees Daenerys as his khaleesi and his Queen, while he considers Viserys to be less than a shadow of a snake. He turns against Viserys and allies himself with Dany.
Ser Jorah hates himself for swearing to serve Viserys, especially for the false purpose of spying for King Robert. By abandoning one more oath and following Daenerys directly, he may be emerging from darkness to a cause he can truly believe in once again.
At Daenerys’s side, Ser Jorah grows to love her as a subject loves his Queen. He also yearns for her as a lover, though, and burns with the unrequited love a man feels for a woman he cannot have. He turns from spy to loyal follower, staunch defender, and wise (though jealous) counsellor.
When Khal Drogo is near death and Daenerys’s labour pains threaten her own life, Ser Jorah is desperate to save her. He takes her to the healer, Mirri Maz Duur, disturbing her terrible ritual to save Khal Drogo. In doing so, he inadvertently sacrifices Daenerys’s unborn child to save her, an act for which he bears a terrible guilt when the child is delivered stillborn. When Daenerys forms her own khalassar, Jorah binds himself to her destiny, pledging to defend her to the death as the first of her Queensguard. In reward for his loyalty, she promises him a dragon-forged sword of Valyrian steel.