As fans had always expected, the final season of Game of Thrones was filled with the most major deaths in the show's history. But actually, the show's writers were initially planning on sparing one of the characters that they wound up killing off in Season 8. Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers from throughout the final season of Game of Thrones. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, one of the HBO saga's writers revealed there was an alternative Game of Thrones ending where Jorah Mormont survived through the end of the series. But the writing team later decided to kill Jorah off halfway through the season instead.
Ser Jorah Mormont went through hell (remember that greyscale) throughout the eight seasons of Game of Thrones to always try to protect Daenerys Targaryen. So it only seemed fitting that he would die doing the same thing. At the end of Episode 3 in the final season, Jorah is killed by the horde of wights in the Battle of Winterfell as he shields Daenerys from the onslaught. It is a heroic end for a constantly loyal and brave character, but it actually was not the original plan for Ser Jorah's story arc.
Game of Thrones writer Dave Hill revealed that the original plan was for Jorah to actually survive until the end of the show, and then join Jon Snow and Tormund Giantsbane at The Wall. But trying to squeeze enough plot points into the already packed-tight final three episodes to justify Jorah abandoning Daenerys and finding himself at The Wall proved to be too much, so the writers instead opted to give him a hero's death.
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 Jorah and Tormund. But 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. And Jorah should have the noble death he craves defending the woman he loves.
Honestly, it would be difficult to imagine Jorah Mormont ever leaving Daenerys' side, even if he witnessed her massacring an entire city. Actor Iain Glen himself noted how much he liked Jorah's Episode 3 death, pointing out the blessing that Jorah never had to see Dany go full Mad Queen in her attack on King's Landing.
There’s a sweetness in that because Jorah will never know what she did. That’s probably best. It’s a blessing for him that he never found out what happened to her. And from a pragmatic story point of view, his death served a greater purpose.
As Iain Glen hinted at in his statement, Jorah's death in Episode 3 not only served as a final encapsulation of his loyalty to Dany, but from a plot progression perspective, it also served as one of the major losses that would eventually drive Daenerys to snap two episodes later. Killing Jorah off during the Night King's attack does seem like it was the better move, rather than just shipping him off to The Wall at the end.