Game of Thrones: There's More to the Unsullied Than You Might Expect
The moment Missandei and Grey Worm fans have been waiting for since these two first met finally happens on Game of Thrones. Before Grey Worm departs to lay siege on Casterly Rock, he and Missandei have sex in what is one of the show's boldest moves yet, because it makes a major statement about the sex drive of the Unsullied.
Fans have had a lot of questions about the Unsullied and their ability to feel sexual desire, and that's totally understandable. The show hasn't fully explained what the process of becoming a member of the Unsullied entails, but Grey Worm does share new information with Missandei before their intimate moment. For Grey Worm and his fellow warriors, life has been cruel right from the start. But it's becoming clear that being eunuchs doesn't have to hold the Unsullied, or the show's other eunuch characters, back from enjoying all the pleasures the world has to offer.
In case you need a refresher, the Unsullied are trained in Astapor. Most of the boys are born to be part of the elite group of soldiers, but some are slave boys who are recruited before the age of 5. Game of Thrones has not revealed whether the Unsullied are fully castrated, but the term eunuch generally refers to a man whose testicles have been removed. We do know this is done to lower testosterone levels in the young boys so that they can grow up with no purpose other than to fight. A Song of Ice and Fire, the series on which Game of Thrones is based, clarifies that the Unsullied are fully castrated, meaning their testicles and penis have been removed. So far, it's unclear if the show is sticking with the idea that they are fully castrated or partially. As a term, "eunuch" applies to both full and partial castration.
The Unsullied aren't Game of Thrones' only eunuch characters; Varys is a eunuch as well. As he tells Daenerys, he had been a slave as a young boy, but he's worked hard to gain a position of power so that he can influence the leaders of Westeros. He seems passionate about helping the poor and other people that are likely to get lost in the great game. Like the Unsullied, Varys was quite young when he became a eunuch. The show's other prominent eunuch character is Theon, who is castrated by Ramsay Bolton in season three.
For the Unsullied, being a eunuch is just a part of their identity. A great deal of emotional conditioning also goes into making these men a group of soldiers known for their efficiency and lack of bloodthirstiness. Grey Worm reveals to Missandei that the masters who train the Unsullied try to find the one thing that makes each boy the most afraid. For example, if it's water, they'll throw the boy in and he'll either swim or drown. The goal is to drive out any weakness or emotion. That doesn't mean the Unsullied are incapable of showing strong emotion or fear, it simply means they have been raised — most of the time from birth — to push these feelings away. Sadly, these men and boys are only meant to have one goal in life, and that is to serve their masters by being the "perfect" soldiers.
There's real world history behind the idea of the Unsullied. While few people choose to become eunuchs, in the past, many have been born into the custom for a number of reasons. Eunuchs were the preferred guards for harems, and some were masterful strategists and soldiers. Others were castrated for religious reasons or for more devastating purposes like being sold into sex slavery. Actual eunuchs wouldn't look like Grey Worm and his fellow ripped soldiers, though; with their sex organs removed so early in life, they would never go through puberty. This would leave them with high voices, make them much taller than most, and they would have less muscle mass.
Game of Thrones isn't showing an entirely accurate depiction of a eunuch who underwent castration at an early age, but that doesn't make Grey Worm or the Unsullied any less fascinating. It also doesn't take away from the powerful statement the show made by not only allowing Grey Worm to express his love for Missandei, but also making it clear that, yes, the Unsullied can be intimate with another person. These men may have been trained to be warriors and nothing else, but now that they have their freedom, they can explore their wants, desires, and feelings. Barring a catastrophe at Casterly Rock, this could be just the beginning of Grey Worm's well-deserved exploration of his sexuality and feelings for Missandei.