There were a lot of gutting character deaths in Game of Thrones' final season, but the ending might have been very different if the writers had stuck to their initial plans and allowed one fan favorite to walk away from the action unscathed.
One of the HBO drama's writers, Dave Hill, revealed to Entertainment Weekly that Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) was on the writers' wish list to survive the series, as they originally wanted him to once again join Jon Snow (Kit Harington) beyond the Wall in the finale when it was all said and done.
"For a long time we wanted Ser Jorah to be there at The Wall in the end. The three coming out of the tunnel would be Jon and Jonah and Tormund," Hill explained. However, the writers decided that if the Bear Island exile had survived, it would have been counterintuitive to their plans to make Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) the Mad Queen who had to be put down by her lover-slash-nephew.
"The amount to logic we'd have to bend to get Jorah up to The Wall and get him to leave Dany's side right before [the events in the finale] ... there's no way to do that blithely," Hill said. "And Jorah should have the noble death he craves defending the woman he loves."
Indeed, Ser Jorah's final moment was one of the most satisfying and true-to-character deaths of the entire season, and it would have made little sense for him to leave his Khaleesi — especially since his demise was part of the catalyst for her decline, since it meant losing one of her most devoted and trusted friends. If it had gone the other way, with Jorah bearing witness to Dany's most horrific deeds, the experience would have been even more devastating for him and for all of us.
So the old Valyrian adage proved true here, too: Valar morghulis.
Head here for our complete coverage of Game of Thrones' final season.