A kiss years in the making.
Warning: This article contains spoilers from the latest episode of Game of Thrones, “Stormborn.”
Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones was packed with important reveals, symbolism, and death. But one moment stood out from the usual tension and slaughter: a shockingly tender love scene between Grey Worm and Missandei.
The two former slaves have been prominent side characters for several seasons now, and they have built up fan followings despite their minor roles. The blossoming romance between them has been building since season 4, so when the escalating tension between them finally came to fruition in Sunday’s episode, fans were delighted.
— ◤Lana (@Torres3203) July 24, 2017
Grey Worm: "Missandei, it's hard to me to say goodbye to you."
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Game of Thrones is often sexual, but real romance and intimacy are exceedingly rare. Sex is used more often as an expression of power—and the series has been criticized more than once for its depictions of rape.
Perhaps that’s why this delicate love scene—not found in the books—between two former slaves touched fans’ hearts. The scene starts with Missandei approaching Grey Worm vulnerable and hurt that he planned to leave for war without saying goodbye. The interaction culminates in the hardened warrior finally admitting that he has feelings for Missandei. You can almost hear the fanbase cheer as the two share a passionate kiss that has been a long time coming.
A close-up of Grey Worm’s hand, full of tension and fear before slowly relaxing, encompasses the struggle and weight that these complex characters carry with them. It hints at Grey Worm’s body insecurity—he was castrated as a slave—without letting it be prohibitive. Missandei makes it clear she wants to see and be with her lover as he is. It’s a moment they reclaim power over their bodies and desires after living for so long as someone else’s property. The sex itself is gentle and tender—an expression of love wholly unlike anything we’ve seen so far on the show.
In a world where the common man tends to be cannon fodder, giving these two this beautiful, human moment that served only themselves—not some ruling house—was pure, simple, and perfect.
Unfortunately, this short break from the onslaught of war will surely not last long. This is Game of Thrones, after all, and the night is dark and full of terrors