Last week I spoke about the way Game of Thrones engages with feminism, specifically through its use of Daenerys Targaryen to portray the ultimate western feminist “badass” fantasy: an alpha male lover, tremendous power/influence, dominion over men and tremendous unearned privilege were all part of the equation there.
Today I want to discuss how Game of Thrones depicts the counterpart to this fantasy: the ultimate beta male/white knight, the nightmare that accompanies the feminist dream.
Ser Jorah Mormont is a an exiled Westerosi knight who has advised Daenerys since her wedding with Khal Drogo. On paper, he’s an OK guy: he looks alright, is a skilled fighter, possesses vast amounts of knowledge and comes from a solid “highborn” (noble) pedigree. He’s also loyal, patient and devoted, qualities that enable him to make Daenerys’ transition into life as a Queen possible and keep her alive in the process. It isn’t implausible to conclude that she would be dead without him.
The problem is that, during this process, he put Daenerys on a tremendous pedestal and subsequently became one of the more cringe-worthy cases of betatude on television today. How so?
1. He is the ever-present servant.
The man is always present and ever diligent in service to his queen, constantly professing his subordination to her and his will to serve her loyally and eternally. He seems to verbally reaffirm this commitment in just about every other episode.
You could say that he’s just doing his job. The problem, of course, is that he sees Daenerys as more than a boss, and women do not respect men that are easily controlled. Mormont’s position as the “ever-present servant” to his beloved queen sets up a cringe-worthy dynamic in which his pedestalization and the romantic tension it creates clashes with his subservient role and Daenerys’ innate tendency to be sexually repulsed by it.
2. He pines silently for a single woman.
Jorah has been out in the non-Westerosi world for many years now and understands it very well. He’s an exotic, respected and knowledgeable traveler who, if he wanted, could probably enjoy a number of sexual options across the many lands he has traveled.
Aside from the pay-for-play scene (whores are well used in the show by men with less to offer than him), there are probably plenty of attractive non-working girls in Essos who could have given it up or, if he so chose, started a family with him. Mormont spent an inordinate amount of time among the Dothraki, a people whose women are not portrayed as sexually conservative or shy in the story.
Instead of taking advantage of this, Mormont chooses to pine for Daenerys, the only girl who seems to exist across the many lands he travels with her. He doesn’t explore other sexual options and instead spends his time wishing, hoping and then heaping profuse amounts of praise upon his princess (and often getting out-dueled for her affection).
The result of all this, of course, is a sexually frustrating existence of the kind familiar to many a beta male.
3. That woman wants little to do with him, and it shows.
Women hate beta males. Daenerys Targaryen, mother of dragons or not, is a woman, and Jorah Mormont is most certainly a beta male. This sets up a number of cringe-inducing interactions in the story as Jorah’s thinly veiled infatuation and very clear devotion to his queen meets with her natural tendency to want nothing to do sexually with such a man.
Aside from any natural repulsion to betas (the evolutionary sources of which are well documented in the manosphere), Daenerys’ conditioning may also explain her inability to warm to Jorah Mormont. After all, her first romantic and sexual experiences came courtesy of this guy:
How can Jorah be expected to compete with that?
In pursuing the goal of self-improvement, it is important to keep a metaphorical map in mind. This map should track your destination, your current location and the points behind you that you seek to distance yourself from.
Jorah Mormont represents one of the points that should always be in your rearview mirror. He is everything that the male concerned with self-improvement should strive not to be: supplicating, needy, plagued with oneitis for a woman who asserts near total control over him and easily overshadowed by more substantial men.
It is in the interest of every male concerned with self-improvement to consciously avoid falling into these patterns of behavior. A Mormont-esque lifetime of sexual frustration awaits those who fail to do so.