Game of Thrones writer Dave Hill has revealed that one character who died in the episodes leading up to the finale almost made it to series end. The show just wrapped its 8th and final season, and the body count was high, and though fans were certainly anticipating "fire and blood," the divisive ending certainly subverted expectations. Apparently, one of the many casualties along the way was originally meant survive.
After a nearly two-year-long wait for the final chapter in the series, Game of Thrones has finally reached its conclusion. A recent poll suggests that nearly 50 percent of viewers were unhappy with the show’s ending and many have criticized season 8 in its entirety. And no one has been shy about voicing these opinions, including Green Bay Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, who cameoed in episode 5, as well as William Shatner, who has been vocal about his disappointment. Although everyone is entitled to their opinion, Sansa Stark actress Sophie Turner feels that the show's critics have been incredibly disrespectful. That said, it's worth considering how much the reactions might have changed had one of the show's most beloved characters made it out alive - which was originally the plan.
Speaking to EW, Game of Thrones writer Dave Hill explained that Ser Jorah Mormont was actually meant to survive. Portrayed by Iain Glen - who was recently cast as Bruce Wayne in DC Universe’s Titans - Jorah has been with Game of Thrones since the beginning. He served as Daenerys Targaryen’s right hand man, and not even the reveal of his previous betrayal was enough to destroy the bond that had been forged between them. In episode 3, “The Long Night,” the brave knight’s journey finally came to an end. Jorah died valiantly protecting his Queen from the army of the dead, and her face was the last thing that he saw. However, it turns out that this undeniably heroic ending was not part of the initial plan that the writers had for Ser Jorah. Hill stated:
“For a long time we wanted Ser Jorah to be there at The Wall in the end. The three coming out of the tunnel would be Jon and Jorah and Tormund. But the amount of logic we’d have to bend to get Jorah up to The Wall and get him to leave Dany’s side right before [the events in the finale] … there’s no way to do that blithely. And Jorah should have the noble death he craves defending the woman he loves.”
When asked how his character would’ve felt about Dany’s controversial turn in the final episodes, Glen replied, “There’s a sweetness in that because Jorah will never know what she did. That’s probably best. It’s a blessing for him that he never found out what happened to her.” He also implied that his death served a greater purpose as one more devastating development that wound up pushing Dany over the edge.
While certain people can stand to voice their issues with season 8 in a more constructive matter, the criticisms - both about Dany and the overall pacing of the final season in general - are valid. No one would argue that the writers have planted some seeds along the way that Daenerys was not the hero of this story, and Game of Thrones has always made a point of changing the game mid-play. However, like most of this season’s major plot points, Dany’s transformation felt too rushed for some. However, regardless of these problems, Game of Thrones remains one of television’s best shows, and its ending was never going to please everyone. The amount of effort and care going into those final installments is very much apparent, making it obvious that telling this story mattered just as much to cast and crew as it does to fans.