Me and several friends, online and offline, are watching/rewatching Game of Thrones. I skip about half of it and consequently, do not know some of the larger storylines. But this one character, Grey Worm, I know, because I watch all the scenes in Daenerys’s setting.
(Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons…!
I, Ithaka of somewhere around Los Angeles, owner of no land or people whatsoever, and no third title to add, cannot resist her.)
Grey Worm is in Daenerys’s army, and he has some of the most beautiful lines ever. EVER. Here are some examples that I want to be able to look up again many years from now.
(Background info: Grey Worm is a man who used to be a slave. He is one of the “Unsullied,” who are “elite warrior-eunuchs bred and trained in Astapor, one of the three major cities of Slaver’s Bay.” Missandei is a woman who also used to be a slave; she speaks multiple languages; she is with Daenerys.)
Daenerys: What is your name?
Grey Worm: Grey Worm.
Daenerys: “Grey Worm.”
Missandei: All unsullied boys are given new names when they are cut – Grey Worm, Red Flea, Black Rat – names that remind them of what they are: vermin.
Daenerys: From this day forward, you will choose your own names. You will tell your fellow soldiers to do the same. Throw away your slave name; choose the name your parents gave you, or any other. A name that gives you pride.
Grey Worm: “Grey Worm” gives me pride. It is a lucky name. The name this one was born with was cursed. That was the name he had when he was taken as a slave. But Grey Worm is the name this one had the day Daenerys Stormborn set him free.Game of Thrones (the TV Version)
Not only that, one of the comments under this video says:
This is even more impactful in the book, where it’s explained that they’re given new names every day. Every day, each slave is assigned a random combination of a colour and a vermin animal as their name. So “Grey Worm” isn’t just a name he had for years up until Dany freed him, it’s very specifically the name he had on the exact day she freed him.@NoriMori1992
Grey Worm makes me think about time (and this thing called “the order of events”) in a different way. It’s sort of like what I thought about when I was writing the intro for the July Digest: “It’s as if I started blogging precisely in order to trigger the sequence of events that resulted in my getting the inspiration to retire them.” Only, needless to say, his situation is way more extreme than mine, where I’m, you know, just sitting here and comfortably typing. Or not typing.
This one–Ithaka–would have thought that the slave name was cursed, but not so with Grey Worm. The name he had when he was born was the thing that “caused” his slavery and therefore was cursed; the name he had/has since his slavery began (in the TV show version of the story, not the book version) is the one that “caused” him to meet Daenerys Stormborn and therefore was/is lucky.
Here is another line from him–from later, when he and Missandei seem to have a romance thing going on. (Not sure if this thing evolves into actual romance or not. I’m still on Season 4, episode 8.)
(Background info: Grey Worm’s grammar is imperfect, because he is speaking a foreign language, the Common Tongue.)
Grey Worm: The lessons you giνe l in Common Tongue, these are precious to l.
Missandei: “To me.”
Grey Worm: To me.
Missandei: l don’t remember teaching you the word “precious.”
Grey Worm: Jorah the Andal, he teaches l… He teaches me this word.
Missandei: Do you remember the name you were giνen at birth?
Grey Worm: l remember nothing. Only Unsullied.
Missandei: When they cut you, do you remember that?
(Grey Worm shakes his head)
Missandei: l’m sorry. l’m sorry they did that to you.
Grey Worm: Why? Why sorry?
Missandei: lt’s a terrible thing to do to a boy.
Grey Worm: lf the Masters neνer cut me, l neνer am Unsullied. l neνer stand in the Plaza of Pride when Daenerys Stormborn orders us to kill the Masters. l neνer am chosen to lead the Unsullied. l neνer meet Missandei from the island of Naath.Game of Thrones (the TV Version)
Wow. This guy. The practical wisdom. Not something he read in some book. Not some theorizing. But actually living the wisdom.
Sometimes I imagine how much some of my characters might hate me for making them go through terrible things. Well… I take solace in the fact that I always write happy endings. (There. Spoiler.) Or at least, “happy” endings. Happy endings are more difficult to write than sad endings IMO, but if things aren’t going to end “happily,” then what is the point–for the reader, especially? There is enough uncertainty in “real” life. (Who is the writer of this life?) The beauty of fiction is that many random-seeming dots can be connected into a shape, be it a line or a circle or a zigzagging monster, to create meaning. And sometimes, meaning might not come from happiness, but always, it comes from “happiness.” I’m talking about: you might be dying in agony, but still, you’ll do so knowing that you saved the love of your life–or something along those lines. You might not be happy, but you’ll be “happy.” It’s as “happy” as you would’ve gotten alive or dead.
But until such a “happy” ending, the characters don’t know where “The End” is. Well… Neither do I–so that’s another fact that allows me to take solace. I’m not an all-knowing monster. I’m right with them while they’re in the land of the uncertain. Still, sometimes, I imagine how much they must hate me.
Then I see a character like Grey Worm and think, “Wow, was Mr. George R. R. Martin able to stop himself from weeping, as he wrote Grey Worm’s line?” Or was this line not in the book version? Was this written by the TV writers? Whoever wrote this line, didn’t that person weep madly as they wrote it?
This line (these lines) is like the wisdom of existence. The wisdom.
Everything happens for a reason. And there is nothing that isn’t absolutely whole and perfect as is.
Grey Worm is neither a peaceful zombie nor a glorified (and useless) scholar/nobleman. (It seems that Grand Maester Pycelle has that role. Sort of. He’s laughed at by everyone, by Season 4. I wonder when he is going to die.) Grey Worm hasn’t had a significant role until Season 4 episode 8, but he’s had enough screen time to show that he isn’t dead inside in order to be “wise.” He isn’t “stoic.” He isn’t “awakened.” He hasn’t given up. He isn’t pretend-letting-go. He isn’t optimistic/pessimistic. He isn’t positive/negative. He is beyond all that. He isn’t pretend-surrendering. He actually has surrendered fully, to life, and thereby, is “winning.” He is living and breathing.
(As I was looking up the clip for the first quote, I found that there are many Grey Worm videos on Youtube. There was even one titled something along the lines of “Grey Worm being adorable for X many minutes.” So, it seems that his role will be getting bigger in seasons 5-10. I look forward to that. He is adorable.)
Who is the writer of this one’s life? This one, Ithaka?
These days, I think of myself less as solely the avatar (the body). I think of myself as the avatar + its feelings + its thoughts + the past + the future + the present + the eternal here and now + the other characters + the background + the story + the writer. Everything that is perceived, a.k.a. everything that I am aware of, is “I.” More and more, life feels like writing fiction. Life is a story, life is a dream.
And sometimes I consume fiction, and meet a character like Grey Worm, and he seems aware of the writer.
I doubt he thinks of himself as his avatar. If he had, I daresay he would’ve died a long time ago. Would’ve been killed or would’ve killed himself. But he is larger than his avatar. Anybody who can undergo what he went through and still not see himself as the victim, still doesn’t feel sorry for himself, is larger than life. On top of that, apparently, he is also romantic…! He may be unsullied, but romance exists in a larger realm…! It’s beyond romantic romance. It’s a way of life. The guy has style. As the first quote implies, the way he wars for Daenerys has romance. Damn.
One of my favorite characters on Game of Thrones.
I want to be like him, minus the eunuch part. I don’t have the parts to be eunuch-ified, anyway.
I also like most Lannisters. For gods’ sake, be evil if you’re gonna be evil. Be like the Lannisters.
Meanwhile, I have low tolerance for some of the Starks. Those Starks happens to have died by the end of Season 4, excepting Sansa Stark. But she’s beginning to be reborn by the end of Season 4. Yes, Sansa! Go avenge your family!
Another character who is hot is Nausicaä, from “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.” I want to be like her. She is so brave. She is so barrier-less. Limitless. Free.
She is hot. Grey Worm is hot. Tyrion Lannister is hot.