Things have been pretty bleak for a while for Jorah Mormont on Game of Thrones. He lost the faith of his beloved Khaleesi, Daenerys Targaryen, and when things had a shot of turning around, he got greyscale, a terminal Westerosi disease that eats at the flesh and eventually destroys the mind.
He’s lucky, then, that he met Samwell Tarly, sworn brother of the Night’s Watch, training to be maester at Castle Black. Sam is too loyal, too smart, too fatigued with injustice to let a good man’s life end without at least trying to save it and that’s why he’s this week’s Game of Thrones MVP.
After assessing the extent of Jorah’s greyscale, maester Marwyn determines that it’s too far along to treat.
“You should have cut off your arm the moment you were touched,” he tells Jorah.
When Sam learns who Jorah is that this is the man whose father took such care of him at Castle Black he searches the Citadel library for any possible treatment. Marwyn won’t hear of it, so Sam steals into Jorah’s room by night to attempt the treatment.
If you recall, the treatment involves Sam physically cutting away at the infection on Jorah’s skin, which we get to see clearly by way of many lengthy closeups. Jorah chugs a lot of rum and bites down on a stick to deal with the pain.
Recall, if you will, when we met Sam Tarly. He arrived at the wall shortly after Jon Snow and was immediately ridiculed by his fellow brothers and Alliser Thorne. He considers himself a failure, a fool, an unworthy heir, and someone no woman could ever love. Years later, he has Jon’s friendship and Gilly’s love proving him wrong and bolstering him. He even stood up to his father! This is not the Sam who used to scrub tables and keep his nose down. This is someone who can change the world.
The Sam and Jorah scenes are some of the episode’s best because they aren’t bursting with their own significance. They’re are secondary characters who care immensely about major players in the game of thrones: Daenerys and Jon. With those world leaders are poised to form an alliance against Cersei, their former seconds-in-command are forming their own bond. Sam will always have a soft spot for house Mormont, and if Jorah lives he’ll owe his life to Sam Tarly.
“Have you ever done this before?” asks Jorah, who is in no position to be picky.
“No,” Sam says, because he is also an honest man. “No one else will try, so I’m the best you’ve got.”
You are the best, Sam, and you’re better than anyone deserves.
MVP for “Stormborn”: Samwell Tarly
Finest Moment: Taking a gulp of rum before letting Jorah finish the bottle
Best Line: “You’re not dying today, Ser Jorah.”
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