A lot things happened in last week’s episode that people want to talk about a lot more — and oddly I think that particular one was one of the better shot, edited, and acted scenes in a episode that was otherwise kind of a disaster — but I wanted to go into some other directions, namely that of a line by Tyrion regarding Jorah Mormont. I think for TV watchers it would be easy to forget that Jorah is the son of Jeor, and the Valyrian sword Jon Snow wields, Long Claw, was Jorah’s sword that he left behind before he went into exile. Also, if you recall, a couple episodes back Stannis was telling Davos about how a ten year old Northern Lord sent back a letter in response to him desiring their allegiance, and basically telling him they only recognize one King in the North (a Stark) — that little girl, Lyanna, (in the TV show) is a Mormont and is Jorah’s cousin replying for the House that Jorah used to be the head of.
I want to say that perhaps nothing in this season for me has been more boring than the dialogue about reopening the fighting pits. I have to confess that while I love Emilia Clarke as much as the next guy, I’m not really seeing how anything in Mereen is big picture, something I thought Daenerys would have refocused on herself when she had a visit from Drogon a couple of episodes back, not to mention when Ser Barristan fell fighting a bunch of losers in an irrelevant city. I think TV watchers have been given enough to have a similar perception of Jorah’s ability as a fighter as readers. He’ a veteran, capable, not craven, and trained as someone would be given his station, the one time Lord of Bear Island, and sworn to Ned and House Stark. He’s not a prodigy like Jaime or Loras, or a legend like Barristan, but he’s every bit a man in a man’s world and he’s had some highlights in that regard. At the very least, he’s a survivor, at least as much in the way I think most of us regard people of the more rugged North.
First, I thought the discussions of fathers between the two was probably the most poignant of the entire episode, but in an attempt to save the life of Jorah, or at least get him to Mereen, Tyrion, while hyping Jorah’s prowess as a warrior mentions The Tourney at Lannisport. We will get to that in a moment.
Prior to that tourney, Jorah took part in the Greyjoy Rebellion, a part of the Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark led army at the Siege of Pike. It was a fierce battle, and in the books we are told that though Thoros of Myr (remember him? He was the guy who brought the guy The Hound killed back to life) was the first to enter the breach with his flaming sword, young Jorah Mormont was not too far behind. For his bravery Jorah was knighted by The King himself. He was getting a little fame.
To celebrate Robert’s victory a tourney was held at Lannisport, which is the second major city, though the biggest, of the Westlands controlled by House Lannister. In that Tourney, the then Jorah, as Tyrion said, defeated Jaime Lannister, after breaking nine lances against him and was given the victory over whom I’d imagine was a heavy hometown favorite. It should be noted that his father took the Black of the Night’s Watch because he had such a strong heir in Jorah to leave Bear Island. Kind of the opposite of what Randyll Tarley thought of Sam. Upon winning, Jorah crowned Lynesse Hightower his queen of love and beauty. I mentioned the Hightowers in my post about House Tyrell, they are a very powerful and rich house, Lords of Oldtown, of which Lynesse was the youngest daughter. After his victory in the tourney Jorah asked for her hand in marriage and got it. It’s said she kind of looks like Dany, so she was a looker. Things didn’t work out, she was a rich girl stuck in the desolate north, particularly on Bear Island, and her habits got Jorah exiled as Ned Stark was coming for his head. Ironically when watching this episode, it was for slaving.
Jorah is a survivor and and worked as a sellsword in exile before Dany came along and served her very well afterwards, including defeating the Yunkai and storming the Mereen sewers and helping capture the city. Survivors, in the way Bronn is (whose skills are also a bit upjumped for the tv show) in a world like this should never be underestimated. I’m not sure how this will translate in a fighting pit, but I doubt he goes down soft. In a different world it would be Jorah telling Stannis there is only one King in the North, in this one he’s a part of a duo of exiles heading toward a Targaryen Queen.