Game of Thrones left a lot of lingering questions after its series finale, but at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend, star Jacob Anderson answered one that many had put out of their minds. Anderson played Grey Worm on the beloved show, the captain of the Unsullied slaved army that served Daenerys. The soldiers were all castrated in their training, but Anderson finally revealed precisely how.
The panel was more or less a retrospective on Game of Thrones, and how it became a dominant cultural force over the last decade. In the course of the discussion, the cast members present were asked if they had ever learned any important back story for the book series author George R.R. Martin or showrunners that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss that had never made it into the show itself. As the books are ongoing, answering this question could have been dangerous, but Anderson picked one disturbing tid-bit he thought was harmless.
"I got told one thing — last time I'm ever going to say this: d—, no balls. That is what they told me."
This drew a gasp of shock and laughter from the crowd, according to PopCulture.com's sister site Comicbook.com. In the story, the Unsullied were castrated to ensure obedience and prevent distraction in war. However, as they were still expected to march, fight and defend their masters for years to come, many fans — and even characters have often wondered to what extent they might truly be disfigured.
This question has come up within the story nearly as often as it has in the fandom, as Martin's characters tend to be macabre and unashamed. In Season 4, Daenerys asks Misandei if the slavers "take all of it," clarifying: "the pillar and the stones." At the time she does not know, though a few seasons later she and Grey Worm become lovers. She does not illuminate the audience on this mystery.
In spite of what Anderson was told on set, the books are actually quite clear about the Unsullied castration. When Daenerys is shown the slaves in Astapor in A Storm of Swords, she is told that they actually lose every part of their sexual organ to make absolutely certain that they cannot perform. This is just one of many ways in which the books and the show have split canonically — if one of the most gruesome.
Perhaps the detail was thought inconsequential on the show, as even Anderson seemed to regard it as a joke. After his revelation, co-star Liam Cunningham — who played Davos Seaworth — tried to turn it around on him.
"That's actually how Jacob was described, not his character," he said to general laughter.
Stay tuned to PopCulture.com for more from the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con International.