Warning. I’m spoiling stuff here about who has balls and needs balls and wants balls in GOT. No, not Varys. Everybody knows Varys got cut, even my co-workers who have never heard of George R. R. Martin and don’t watch HBO. If you are behind in the books or the TV series and don’t want me to ruin anything for you – and not just about characters’ testicular issues – come back later
A subset of my readers – the ones who are my friends in that world out there that isn’t just on a screen – are rolling their eyes right now and thinking “damn, woman, can’t you talk about anything” without bringing up balls? I like to think I am a witty creature, but the truth is sometimes my humor is much like that of a mischievous 8-year old boy. Balls make me laugh, so I talk about them a lot.
But hear me out anyway.
It is no secret that eunuchs run rampant in George R. R. Martin’s fantasy world. There’s a whole army of them across the Narrow Sea, hanging out with The Mother of Dragons. Back in King’s Landing, Varys slithers about trying to gain everyone’s trust by sharing his “day I lost my balls” story in excruciating detail.
But in the books, the dudes without do-dads really don’t get much in the way of relationship storylines. Someone involved in the HBO series must have felt bad for them, because in the TV series, these guys are coming as close to getting some action as they possibly can.
First, we’ve got Grey Worm, Head Eunuch of The Unsullied. I like him well enough in the books. He’s focused and strong. He’s loyal. He’s tough. He’s never tempted to stray from his duties by the chance of getting laid.
On the show, Grey Worm develops a sort-of-something-maybe-more-than-friends relationship with Missandei. In the books, Missandei is a child, but HBO aged her up to adulthood. Until this whole plot twist, I thought they just wanted more females showing boobage. But it seems they are actually building a storyline for her and Grey Worm, making them more human, interesting characters in the process.
I wasn’t buying the storyline at first. It began with Grey Worm catching a glimpse of Missandei standing naked in the river. She senses his gaze and anxiously covers herself. Puh-leeze. You can’t hang out naked in a river and not have some guy checking out your stuff. Not every dude on this side of the sea is a eunuch.
But in their subsequent scenes, the affection between Missandei and Grey Worm started to grow on me. I felt for her when she wondered aloud about whether his pillar was gone or just his stones. What a thing to have to worry about in a potential new relationship. In our world, we just have to hope our dates aren’t crackheads, porn addicts or serial killers.
I’m curious to see where HBO takes these two next season. Will Grey Worm have a pillar? Will it matter without stones? Either way, I’m more interested in these two characters than I was in the books, although I liked them both in print too.
Another character who grows an unexpected set of balls in the TV series is Sam Tarly. Sam is not a literal eunuch, of course. But he’s seriously lacking in testicular fortitude. In both the books and the series, he falls for Craster’s daughter-wife Gilly. But in print he comes nowhere near as close to acting on his impulses as he does on the show. In both, his feelings for her help him find a latent bravery buried deep inside his layers of Sam-ness. But his growing courage is much more evident on the show. During the battle with the Wildings, he actually inspires courage in others. Not only that, but he puckers up and gets himself a kiss from Gilly. I know that’s not much action in a show where Oberyn is boinking everything, Cersei is doing her brother and her cousin, and Littlefinger is giving out whores like candy. But this is Sam we’re talking about.
Like Missandei and Grey Worm, I’m curious to see what HBO does with Sam and Gilly next season. A set of phantom balls and a bit of testicular fortitude have added some spice to these characters for me.
And here I thought balls were only good for making me laugh.