There are innumerable ways for characters to die on HBO’s Game of Thrones: beheading, poison kiss, white walker attack, being burned alive as a child, a not-quite accident while hunting, Ramsay Bolton…but, so far, none of the characters on the show have died of the greyscale disease. Actor Iain Glen, whose character, Ser Jorah Mormont, is infected with the usually deadly illness, is a little bit worried that his character’s condition might soon mean the end of his six seasons on the popular show.
They've got a worried actor on their hands. For any actor on the show, most of the time we're just thinking, ‘Please keep me alive!’ I've been very lucky to be a part of the show, right back to the pilot. If I go out in the madness of greyscale, then I'll have thought I've done very well. It's been a complete treat to be a part of the show. They're a lovely group of people. But the greyscale has definitely got this actor worried, I'll be honest about that.
Iain Glen spoke with Vulture about his current arc on Game of Thrones, which saw his Ser Jorah infected with greyscale while leading a kidnapped Tyrion through Old Valyria in Season 5, after they are attacked by a group of sufferers who are known as Stone Men. The show has only seen one character, Stannis Baratheon’s daughter Shireen, survive greyscale, so it makes sense that Glen would think that this means the end of his time on Game of Thrones. The disorder is highly contagious, and those afflicted are sent to live in ruined cities like Valyria.
Shireen was infected with greyscale as a child, and her father refused to give up on her, calling in as many healers as he could find to try and cure his infant daughter. While the left side of her face was permanently scarred from the disease, the combined efforts of those healers was able to keep the affliction from eventually taking her life. Up to the current timeline of the series, it’s unknown what exactly led to Shireen’s cure.
While Iain Glen is correct that this disease has been a death sentence so far, there may be some hope for Ser Jorah. After he helped Dany take over the Dothraki, he revealed his greyscale infected arm to her and attempted to leave her service, but Dany stops him and orders Jorah to go and find a cure so that he can stand by her when she finally takes the Iron Throne. So, with one known survivor of greyscale who managed to live without the disease completely taking over, it is possible that Jorah could find a cure somewhere.
Iain Glen seems to have made peace with the idea that his time on Game of Thrones could be over soon, though. And he made sure to let everyone know how much he’s enjoyed working on the fantasy series and how lucky he feels to have been a part of it. Seeing as how most characters, even important and popular ones, tend to die before too long, to be on Game of Thrones for six seasons is a real accomplishment, indeed. You can watch Ser Jorah try to find a cure for greyscale every Sunday night on HBO.