Warning: This article contains minor spoilers for Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones isnt exactly known for its epic romances, especially when the longest, most stable, canon relationship of the series is one of incest. But an episode filled with uncharacteristically happy moments gives us hope.
Yes, this is the episode that finallyreunited two Stark children after so many close calls. But Book of the Stranger is also the episode that introduced us to the character pairing we never knew we needed. Tormund Giantsbane has seen what wights and White Walkers can do (and has even fought them alongside Crows), but Brienne of Tarth is something else. Shes unlike anything hes ever seen, but he doesnt look at her like most men from Westeros do; hes seen a woman fighter before.
In about a minute of screentime together, people were already hopping aboard TarthBanea ship (read: romantic paring) that didnt exist before now because Tormund and Brienne have yet to meet in the books.
Its also a ship thats almost certainly doomed, and not just because its Game of Thrones were talking about here. The episode description for next weeks episode, The Door, suggests that these two new lovebirds are about to be separated, and probably for good.
Tyrion seeks a strange ally. Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) learns a great deal. Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) goes on a mission. Arya (Maisie Williams) is given a chance to prove herself.
We knew this would happen, even just based off the trailers. Tormund is very much in the middle of the Battle of the Bastards, whereas Brienne and Podrick Payne end up in the Riverlands. And considering how Game of Thrones goes, nobody stays happy for long.
There isnt much Brienne/Tormund fanfiction just yet, but here are some places you may be able to start. And remember, theyll always have Castle Black.
1) Tormund tells Brienne about the time he (allegedly) fucked a bear
In A Storm of Swords, Tormund tells Jon Snow a hell of a tale about the one time he had sex with a woman who appeared to turn into a bear the next morning. Its outlandish and absurd, and Ygritte calls him out on it in the show, although some believe the woman in question is Maege Mormont, who claims that the Mormonts are skinchangers.
Meanwhile, Brienne’s encounter with a bear was much less pleasant by all accounts.
But if it is true, how on Earth does one break that to a potential loverone who was taught from birth that the most important thing she owns is her virtue?
2) High school AU
Weve already seen the Game of Thrones high school twist, but that didnt take any of the more minor characters into consideration. Brienne has already faced high school-level cruelty because she wants to fight like the men, and her attempts at romance have failed: She wasnt Renly Baratheons type, and hes dead; Jaime Lannister is like the popular star athlete who befriended her on the down low and got her a really nice going-away present (but didnt want anyone else to know about it).
Nothing like a stare down says love at first sight.
3) They save each other’s backs during the Battle of the Bastards
This wont happen in the show, but theres nobody as capable as these two. Jon and Sansa might be playing politics with the North, so its up to Brienne and Tormund to take charge in the fight against the Boltons.
Maybe Briennes about to get stabbed in the back while trying to fend off someone from killing Podrick, whom shes become really fond of, or maybe Tormund lost his sword and its Oathkeeper that keeps another one from gutting him. Theyve easily got this.
4) Bonding over the potential incompetence of the Stark kids
Brienne mightve once again pledged her loyalty to House Stark, but its not the easiest of charges. Meanwhile, Tormunds known Jon for some time now, and most of their encounters involved other people getting killed, and we already know he has plenty of witty remarks to say about the size of Jons penis.
Theyre just soldiers in this hopeless war that they dont have a personal stake in. And while they may fight until the bitter end, they dont have to do it without any secret complaints over a hot fire and plenty of furs to keep them warm. And maybe some mutton?
5) What was left unsaid
We must give proper credit to Gwendoline Christie and Kristofer Hivju. Because without their expressions, we wouldnt be able to overanalyze what mightve been going through their minds when they first caught eyesand again as his eyebrows raised in her direction during his meal.
They’re soulmates, I tell you.
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