Game of Thrones Finale May Have Killed Off a Major Character Without Anyone Noticing
Note: contains spoilers for the final season of Game of Thrones.
No matter what you think about the divisive Game of Thrones finale, there's no escaping the fact that showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss lived up to the cutthroat nature of George RR Martin's books. The author had already promised a bittersweet ending, with Benioff and Weiss seeming to take that threat one step further.
While the finale was relatively light on shock deaths compared to the veritable casting cull that swamped season eight, it turns out the writers may have snuck in one more devastating demise before the final credits rolled.
Jacob Anderson’s Grey Worm sailed off to a happier life in Naath—but did he also sign his own death warrant?
Although the condensed nature of HBO's show means Game of Thrones didn’t visit as many far off lands as Martin’s books, fans have probably heard all about Naath. Remembered as the birthplace of Missandei, Daenerys Targaryen's loyal handmaiden always planned to return there—before having her head lopped off.
In season eight's second episode, Grey Worm asked Missandei: "I am loyal to my queen. I will fight for her until her enemies are defeated, but when the war is over and she has won, do you want to grow old in this place? Is there nothing else you want to do, nothing else you want to see?"
The former slave had a pretty simple response and referred to her homeland: "I'd like to see the beaches again."
Given Grey Worm's love of Missandei, he wanted to honor her memory and take the Unsullied to protect Naath from a similar life of slavery. Sadly, the peaceful nature of the Naathi isn't matched by the Island of Butterflies' deadly secret.
According to Archmaester Ebrose in Martin's saga, there's a very good reason why the determinedly pacifist Naath has never been properly conquered. There is a horrific plague known as "butterfly fever" that grips strangers but leaves the Naathi unscathed.
The A World Of Ice And Fire companion book explains why Naath isn't all butterflies and long summer's eves. Alongside the quote, "strangers... do not live long upon the Isle of Butterflies", the book expands on the grim fate that awaits Grey Worm and the rest of the Unsullied.
Starting with a fever, the symptoms develop into painful spasms and manic dancing. The final stage sees the afflicted start to sweat blood and their skin peel away from the bone – so it could be time to take Naath off your TripAdvisor favourites.
Safe to say, Naath's butterfly fever didn't go unnoticed by eagle-eyed readers of the books:
It would be relatively easy to explore what happens to Grey Worm and the Unsullied next, but with HBO already shutting down the idea of any sequels/continuations after season eight, it looks like fans will be left wondering about Grey Worm's potential fate.
That being said, it's important to note that Game of Thrones never mentioned this dark underbelly of Naath on screen and it's unclear whether Benioff and Weiss ever took it into account.
Still, it sounds like a pretty horrible way for Grey Worm to go.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.