By James Hibberd
Updated May 10, 2015 at 12:00 PM EDT
Credit: HBO

Note: This piece contains a spoiler from the fifth episode of Game of Thrones season 5.

Is it the beginning of the end for Ser Jorah?

Sunday’s Game of Thrones, titled “Kill the Boy,” concluded with Mormont (Iain Glen) getting quite a shock after fighting with the stone men along the ruins of old Valyria: He’s contracted greyscale, the deadly and disfiguring disease that gradually covers the afflicted. EW exclusively spoke to Glen about the twist, which he first discovered when reading the script for Sunday’s episode.

“I thought, ‘Uh-oh, here comes trouble,'” Glen said. “Then you start reaching out for what this means, and [showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff] are playing their cards very close to their vest on this one.”

Yes, but getting greyscale … that can’t be good, right?

“You wouldn’t think good,” he said. “But in this story, people have died from it and they have been saved from it. So who knows? It’s a slow burn, greyscale, and there are ways to intervene.”

Indeed, Thrones cleverly set-up the topic of greyscale earlier this season by delving into the backstory of Stannis’ daughter Shireen, who contracted the disease as an infant. Last week, Stannis recounted how he marshaled all his resources to find an apothecary who could halt the spread of the disease and eventually succeeded—but not before greyscale scarred his daughter’s face for life. The moment played as a character-building scene, but in actuality it was also helping set up this week’s revelation. “Dan and David are so clever at surprising you, so wherever you think something might lead, it usually leads somewhere else,” Glen said.

Beyond the greyscale twist, season 5 has given Glen a more independent storyline this year, since Ser Jorah has been in exile from Daenerys. “It’s a very different journey this year to being constantly attached to Daenerys — which I’ve loved, but I’m enjoying the freedom of playing different scenes away from her as I’m working my way back toward her,” Glen said.

The shakeup has also meant plenty of scenes with one of Thrones‘ most coveted scene partners, Peter Dinklage, as Jorah attempts to bring his prize captive Tyrion Lannister to Meereen. “There’s nothing complicated or difficult about Peter,” Glen noted about working with the Emmy winner. “He’s a lovely guy. We have a laugh. He’s the type of actor I really like—he can be serious when he needs to be, but then he’s not when he doesn’t need to be.”

As for what’s next for Ser Jorah, the actor will only tease that his character will get a major action scene later this season. “I’ve had bits and pieces of fighting through the course of the seasons,” he said. “I had the one-to-one with the Dothraki bloodrider, and then there was the sequence fighting to get into the city of Meereen. But this season will be the most substantial fighting I’ve had.”

Asked if there’s anything he wants his character to accomplish, Glen’s surprisingly chivalrous answer would make Ser Jorah proud. “I’d like to see Daenerys sit on the Iron Throne,” he said. “I’d like him to help her achieve her success.”

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Game of Thrones

HBO's epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series 'A Song of Ice and Fire.'

  • TV Show
  • 8
  • 73
  • TV-MA
  • David Benioff
  • D.B. Weiss
  • HBO
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