I've been watching some arbitrary Game of Thrones. In the episode S01E07, "You Win or You Die", a child approaches Ser Jorah the Andal and tells him that he has received a royal pardon.

Jorah decides to stay with Dany, and he saves her life from the poisoned wine.

Why, if so, at the end of the fourth season he is given a second pardon which causes Dany to send him away?

  • 1
    What with the downvote? – user24620 Jul 13 '14 at 22:40
  • Related: movies.stackexchange.com/q/19935/49 – TARS Jul 14 '14 at 14:11
  • @Christian: Thanks! I should also add that since the pardon was probably written at the time of Eddard tenure as hand, it's unlikely that he would have signed it himself (since he was the one set to execute Jorah in the first place). Since the new pardon carries the seal of the Hand, it's probably a proof that it was forged by Tywin. – user24620 Jul 14 '14 at 14:37
  • Forged? Tywin is Hand of the King and can issue a royal pardon in the King's name. It's not forged. – TheMathemagician Jul 15 '14 at 8:34
  • @TheMathemagician: Just because the government can produce "legal evidence" that you did something wrong, doesn't mean that you did something wrong. – user24620 Jul 15 '14 at 9:39

This is a show-only event, and it is a direct consequence of it being impossible to show Ser Barristan joining Daenerys incognito without the viewers realizing the deception. In the books, it was Ser Barristan who revealed Ser Jorah's betrayal. In the show, it was Tywin who did it by sending an official pardon to Daenerys -- thereby betraying Jorah and weakening Dany by sowing discord between them. The show and the books have been forced to deviate from each other here, mostly because watching is different from reading. I'll try and relate both perspectives briefly:

In the books, Ser Barristan goes to Daenerys in disguise, calling himself Arstan, a squire to the pit-fighter Strong Belwas (a favourite character to many). He does this so that he will be able to observe Dany before swearing his sword to her, to see that she is not mad like her father. In the end, he reveals himself when he saves Dany's life when she is ambushed by Mero of Braavos, aka the Titan's Bastard. This is also when he reveals Jorah as the spy who has been selling Dany's secrets.

In the show, we immediately see that Arstan is Ser Barristan, so it is not possible to keep the illusion from the books. Hence, Ser Barristan cannot keep the secret of Jorah hidden until future seasons, which means in the show, he never knew. Mero is killed by Daario, and the secret of Jorah is revealed by Tywin.

In the end, the show was forced to do quite a few re-writes to make this work. One of my least favourite re-writes was that they changed the designation "old man" from Arstan (Ser Barristan in disguise) to Ser Jorah in the scene with the slaver from Astapor and Missandei:

"Even the bravest men fear death and maiming," Arstan said when the girl was done.

Kraznys smiled again when he heard that. "Tell the old man that he smells of piss, and needs a stick to hold him up."

"Truly, your worship?" [said Missandei]

He poked her with his lash. "No, not truly, are you a girl or a goat, to ask such folly? Say that Unsullied are not men. Say that death means nothing to them, and maiming less than nothing."

But all in all, the show did a good job, and the revelation of Jorah still gets a poignant touch, though it is Tywin who sends a malignant message that destroys the trust Dany has in Jorah. As opposed to Ser Barristan's honour.

This is a good example of how adaptations to a visual media are difficult to perform, and that small changes grow bigger and bigger further along the storyline.

  • Excellent answer, thank you! (I know that the show deviated from the books at this point, I have read many a spoiler, and I agree that they did a good job regardless.) – user24620 Jul 14 '14 at 11:28
  • The visual aspect of Ian McElhinney caused quite a few changes, and this is one of them. Although it does also seem that the show wants King's Landing to be much more afraid of Daenerys. They even believe the rumours of Dragons in slaver's bay. – TLP Jul 14 '14 at 11:30

The second pardon was a deliberate ploy on the part of Tywin Lannister to drive a wedge between Daenerys and one of her most trusted advisers. That is also why it was delivered to the wrong person.

  • Ah, that makes a lot of sense. That clever lion. – user24620 Jul 13 '14 at 20:07
  • Do you have any references for this? – Shevliaskovic Jul 13 '14 at 20:11

Even though there was an accepted answer, I'm going to chime in here.

Not a forgery, not pardoned twice.

  1. Jorah is procured as a mole, to spy on the Targaryens, at first, and, once Dany becomes the family threat, to kill her.
  2. He is promised a pardon once the assassination is done and his work is finished.
  3. The pardon is drafted and signed by Robert, to be handed over and delivered once she drinks the poisoned wine and dies.
  4. Jorah realizes he loves her, changes his mind, stops the assassination and decides to serve her, instead.
  5. Original, signed, but undelivered pardon remains at the Red Keep, which is what Tywin later sends.

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