Sam starting the process of treatment for Ser Jorah Mormont’s greyscale in “Stormborn” made for one of the more outright disgusting segments of Game of Thrones in some time (and yes, I say that even while remembering the season premiere’s chamber pot montage).
The sight (and sound) of Sam peeling Jorah’s diseased skin clean off his chest while his patient muffled pained screams was viscerally gross, especially once the scene transitioned with a seamless match cut to a particularly cheeky shot of someone digging into a gushing chicken pot pie. But it was also illuminating as to how one of the most mysterious ailments on Game of Thrones might be cured — and honestly, the answer is a little underwhelming.
Per a study Sam swiped from the maesters’ library at the Citadel, the spread of greyscale can be stopped by peeling off the scaled skin and applying a special salve to the raw flesh of the affected areas. Sure, the man who wrote the study apparently died of greyscale while performing the procedure — thus leading to its ban — but come on. That’s it?
This solution, to be blunt, feels like a bit of a cop-out after Game of Thrones has spent so much time telling us that this contagious disease is essentially an automatic death sentence.
SAM: I think I can cure your grayscale.— Owen Ellickson (@onlxn) July 25, 2017
SAM: By doing the most obvious thing.
SAM: Literally what an animal would try
Who would've know the cure for greyscale is exfoliation— Vann R. Newkirk II (@fivefifths) July 24, 2017
And according to the Game of Thrones production design team — which has released pictures of the book Sam is consulting, along with some of the letters seen throughout “Stormborn” — the salve to be applied post-scale removal is made of, well, some pretty basic stuff.
After seasons of hearing about how devastating greyscale is and how there’s no consistently proven way for someone to save themselves once they’ve contracted this ultimately dangerous disease, Jorah Mormont is about to get treatment through a mixture of skin surgery plus pine resin, elder twig bark, beeswax, and olive oil.
If this most mysterious process weren’t the cure for greyscale, it would also make a pretty delightful candle.