‘Game of Thrones’: A Day in the Life of Jorah Mormont

Alexandra August
TV HBO
TV HBO Game of Thrones Fantasy

There’s hardly anyone in Westeros or Essos who’s lived more lives than Jorah Mormont — and we’re not just talking about his uncanny ability to survive. Hailing from Bear Island, which sits off the western coast of Westeros between the Sunset Sea and the Bay of Ice, Jorah’s arguably covered more territory — literally in terms of distance but also in the occupation he’s held — than any other character. He’s been a knight, a lord, a slave trader, a fugitive, a sellsword, a spy, royal advisor, a slave… and a royal advisor again.

Since we know about the broader strokes of Jorah’s life (his loves, his hates, his trials and tribulations), this article will focus on pulling together the kind of day-to-day aspects of life that Game of Thrones likes to bring to the fore for Sam’s storylines. You know, mucking out the bedpans, that kind of thing. Pulling from both the A Song of Ice and Fire series as well as the show (not to mention bits and pieces from both The World of Ice and Fire and companion cookbook, A Feast of Ice and Fire), we’ve pieced together how Jorah would’ve spent a typical day were he on Bear Island, working as a sellsword, palling around with the Dothraki and serving Daenerys. All men must die… and wash and eat and work and… you get the picture.

Up and Coiffed

Nary a hair out of place.

Handsome, sandy-haired Iain Glen is a far cry from the way Jorah’s described in the books. When Daenerys first meets him in A Game of Thrones, she describes the exiled knight as a short, but muscular middle-aged man whose entire body is covered with black hair save for the top of his head. But both versions of Jorah keep a closely-shaved beard whether they’re living a static existence advising Daenerys in Slaver’s Bay or bouncing around as a sellsword in the Free Cities, either independently or as a member of the Second Sons. On the show, Jorah’s always featured sporting well-groomed facial hair, that you might at times call designer stubble. Clearly, beard-trimming — with whatever blades are at his disposal — is a big part of his morning routine. Or that’s all the beard he’s able to grow, of course – even when Jorah and Tyrion are captured by the slavers and sent to fighting pits, Jorah’s beard stays pretty short.

As for the rest of his person, Jorah spent a fair amount of time with the Dothraki and adopted, or at least learned about, many of their ways. Since the horselords spend so much of their time in the arid climate of the Great Grass Sea, they typically ‘wash’ by sand-scrubbing, and Jorah no doubt aped this custom during his time with them and took advantage of bathing when possible. Sand makes a great exfoliant, so presumably those Dothrakis have beautifully smooth skin — as Jorah would have too, before his brush with greyscale. It’s likely that in the wake of Samwell ridding him of the aggressive disease, he applies a daily slathering of an emollient, or even medicated ointment, to keep the affected skin moisturised, protected and infection-free.

Suited and Booted

Wondering what to wear to a deadly cocktail party? Jorah nails it.

Depending on the weather and his duties, Jorah will dress for the day ahead appropriately. For less formal occasions and warmer climates, he’s often seen in a loose linen shirt and leather pants, occasionally with a turquoise neckerchief and almost always with leather cuffs, a longsword and dagger at his waist and, without fail, a silver ring on his right ring finger.

In the video below, Iain Glen says he’s rather partial to Jorah’s “yellow, golden shirt”, seen in the picture above, which he says he “wore forever”. We’re taking that as a sign that Jorah was also quite taken with it — suggesting a certain amount of pride in his appearance — and just as reluctant as Glen to give it up when the greyscale took hold. With a queen by his side to woo, it’s important he’s looking his best.

He’s also seen sporting familiar northern fashion like long-sleeved wool shirts accompanied by long-sleeved tunics and a cloak. He and Viserys stood out drastically among the Dothraki during their time with the Khalasar in Season 1 as the only two men dressed in the Westerosi style. Luckily for Jorah, he fits in more fluidly in other ways even if he doesn’t always dress as comfortably as his Dothraki companions.

On the show and in the books, Jorah’s rarely shown wearing armor. He is a knight, but northerners tend to eschew armor in favor of boiled leather jerkins, chainmail and wool. In the books, he’s dressed this way when he first meets Daenerys in Pentos in A Game of Thrones, with the black bear sigil of Bear Island resting on a green tunic. Similarly, we rarely see him armored unless he’s attending Dany at a high-profile function, like her purchase of the Unsullied in Season 3’s “Valar Dohaeris” at which he wore a leather jerkin adorned with the Bear Island sigil and shoulder plates.

Quick Breakfast

After he’s dressed for whatever the occasion calls for, it’s probably time for a simple breakfast. Jorah’s never been a particularly ostentatious man (Illyrio Mopatis he is not), and he was clear about his lifestyle at Bear Island being less than luxurious when he described the unhappiness of his second wife, Lynesse Hightower. The simple cuisine of the island was chief among her complaints.

Bear Islanders’ primary occupation is fishing, so seafood is in abundance and there are also deer to hunt. There’s next to no agriculture on the mountainous island, but it’s likely they were able to grow root vegetables and certain fruits. We can’t know specifics because the books have yet to actually travel to Bear Island, but considering its northern climate, it’s likely Jorah and his people ate similarly to the Night’s Watch and/or those at Winterfell . Breakfasts there are typically simple, consisting of rustic bread, hard boiled eggs and some kind of protein.

But during his time traveling with the Dothraki, breakfast gets even more simple. During “The Kingsroad,” he hands Dany a piece of horsemeat jerky to munch while they ride, and given how nomadic the Dothraki are, it’s likely that jerky served as the main portion of Jorah’s breakfast, whether he liked it or not.

Commuting

"I wish George had written us some cars."

At any stage of his life – Lord of Bear Island, mercenary soldier, advisor to Daenerys – Jorah’s primary mode of transportation has been horse. Getting to and from his many, many jobs before and after his exile from Westeros primarily would’ve involved horseback riding. He was known to sail (away from Bear Island with Ned Stark on his heels, and back again with Dany’s army), and, along with the “Beyond the Wall” crew, he did ride Drogon that one time. But considering Jorah manages a household of one once he arrives in Essos, the only transportation he needs is a single horse, and that’s what we always see him using. And there’s certainly no suggestion that horses have been spoiled for him since riding a dragon, unlike a certain Jon Snow.

The Daily Grind(s)

Jorah’s worn a lot of hats in his lifetime. During his time as Lord of Bear Island, he was responsible for the management of his castle, Mormont Keep, and the Bear Island populous. Because fishing is the island’s main enterprise, the male population often heads out to seas for lengths of time, which leaves the women left behind vulnerable to raiding parties of Wildlings and the Ironborn. While the women of Bear Island developed a warrior culture and took part in their own defense (all hail Maege and Lyanna), it would have been Jorah’s responsibility to assist in the protection of his people – whether that was by attempting to broker diplomatic solutions or aiding in martial defense.

After marrying his second wife, Lynesse, he bankrupted himself in bowing to her materialism in an attempt to alleviate her boredom. When she returned with him to Bear Island to discover she and Jorah were rich… in love. Once the two fled to the Free Cities after Jorah got caught engaging in the slave trade, Jorah made his living as a sellsword. He doesn’t talk a whole lot about that part of his life in the books or in the show, but Bronn has a lot to say about the life of a sellsword in a supplementary Histories & Lore video. He points out that joining a company like the Second Sons would be lucrative, but there would also be a lot of shuffling around in the heat, marching on someone else’s campaign. Jorah also worked as an independent sellsword which meant he was essentially hired muscle for any lord who had a need for his services, and his day would consist of completing whatever combat-related task was set before him.

Jorah knows poisoned wine when he smells it.

But we know Jorah best from his time as Daenerys’ bodyguard, advisor and slightly creepy admirer friend. While he worked as a spy for Robert Baratheon during the first portion of their relationship, Jorah’s day included acting as her friend, but also keeping a watchful eye on the last Targaryens as they not-so-secretly planned to overthrow the usurper as soon as possible. In between teaching Daenerys about Dothraki customs and warning Viserys about acting a fool, Jorah would’ve also had to document important events like Dany’s pregnancy and send scrolls across the Narrow Sea to Varys’ waiting hands.

Once he fell madly in love with Dany, he abandoned spycraft totally and dedicated himself fully to helping her in whatever capacity she needed. He physically protected her whenever necessary, but also offered considerable wisdom and counsel as she slowly, but surely conquered her way across Essos and earned a string of impressive titles year after year. The Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains and all-around Unburnt kween depended on Jorah’s diplomatic counsel, strategic and cultural expertise, and friendship, as she grew into becoming the ruler she’s become in Season 8.

That period was cut short after the arrival of Barristan Selmy who outed Jorah for his early deception. After that, his daily routine involved a lot of booze and blond prostitutes until he was finally accepted back into Dany’s service once more and resumed his post as her advisor and champion.

Time For Training

Jorah has an excellent reputation as a swordsman and a fighter. He was the breakout star of the Greyjoy Rebellion earning his knighthood after being one of the first men to run through the breach during the siege on Pyke. He was able to make a decent enough living as a sellsword during his time in the Free Cities and the Dothraki have a great respect for his swordplay, though they have zero use for the weapons he prefers.

TL;DR? Jorah Mormont is no joke in a fight. That, in addition to his muscular appearance in the show and novels points to an undeniable fact: Jorah Mormont is probably a gym rat.

Okay, so there aren’t any gyms anywhere in Westeros or Essos, but there’s no way Jorah keeps himself that cut and good enough with edged weapons without practice. There’s no doubt practicing swordplay and staying fit in general isn’t a part of his daily routine, and considering he spends nearly all of his time in close proximity to fierce warriors, be they horselords or Unsullied, there’s probably no shortage of workout buddies.

Night School

One of Jorah’s most valuable qualities is his status as an armchair anthropologist. During his time in exile (and possibly while living on Bear Island), Jorah clearly made it a point to learn as much as he possibly could about the cultures populating his new existence. In Episode 3 of Season 1, we see him engage in conversation with one of Dany’s bloodriders, Rakharo (RIP) as the two compare the relative pros and cons of Westerosi longswords versus Dothraki arakhs. He’s shown countless other times whispering in Dany’s ear about the customs of the regions they visit and he even gifts the Dragon Queen with histories and songs of Westeros. Jorah clearly sees the value in educating himself outside of work and adding to his skillset whenever possible.

While most of his daylight is spent in an active position, it makes sense that he spends some of his nights indulging in books or socializing with whatever foreigners he happens to be surrounded by. He and Littlefinger couldn’t be more opposite, but they do share one opinion: Knowledge is power.

At Last, A Quest

He makes it look easy.

No day for Jorah Mormont would be complete without some kind of harrowing quest to prove himself worthy of serving his love, to bring her a priceless gift, or both. When we say ‘love’, we’re referring to both Lynesse and Daenerys. Jorah can’t help himself when it comes to making the women in his life happy, even when it costs him dearly. Meeting Lynesse’s demands bankrupted him of money, honor and dignity, and serving Dany cost him half an ear, won him greyscale and very nearly got him turned into a zombie. But none of that stopped him from being the gallant knight that he is at heart and trying to win over the women in his life with various feats.

When he spots Tyrion in a brothel in Volantis in Season 5’s “High Sparrow“, he’s quick to scoop up the dwarf in the hopes that the valuable Lannister will curry her favor. When that doesn’t work, he sells himself into slavery, ostensibly questing for his own death, given his refusal to live without her. When she disappears on the back of Drogon, he teams up with Daario to rescue her from the heart of the Dothraki horde, and finally, in Season 7, he travels north of the Wall on a wing and a prayer to bring back a wight so that Dany and Jon might negotiate better with Cersei. Setting off on a quest to retrieve something or someone against all odds is as much a part of Jorah’s daily life as eating, drinking or sleeping.

The very, very long ‘typical’ day of Jorah Mormont wouldn’t be complete without a spot of utter self-sacrifice.

Alexandra August