One of Game of Thrones' fan-favorite pairings may not have a happy ending in sight, according to a new interview with the showrunners. Speculation has been gearing up about what could happen in the penultimate season of the hugely popular show, ahead of the season premiere in a couple of weeks -- and the potential romance between Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) is definitely a big part of that speculation.
The two sparked excitement last season after they met at Castle Black when Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) were finally reunited. Brienne, of course, has sworn to protect Sansa, and Tormund is one of the wildlings that Jon brought back from North of the Wall. Tormund is quite obviously attracted to Brienne (probably because she is such a powerful woman), but his attentions seem to leave this Lady of Tarth more uncomfortable than anything. Now, the showrunners have addressed the fan reaction to this moment, and jokingly say it's put them in a difficult storytelling spot.
In an interview with EW, Game of Thrones showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff talked about the couple, but teased that because fans are so delighted by the idea of a Brienne/Tormund romance, one of the two has to die.
"Weiss: There was the episode where they’re all leaving Castle Black together and there’s a shot — it wasn’t scripted at all — of two of them on horseback and she looks at him and he smiles at her. It’s not something you could ever write. It’s just this moment where this guy is creeping out on her and he smiles in a way that makes her very uncomfortable and she just looks away. I saw it 150 times and every time it made me laugh; it’s purely the two of them.
Benioff: It inspires us because we need to kill one of them now because there can’t be a happy ending or any romantic connection on the show. But we’re not going to tell you which one."
This is obviously not said entirely in seriousness; the show is known for killing off fan favorites and making sure that every character ends up miserable in some shape or form, so Weiss and Benioff are playing into that with this comment.
Despite that, there's a grain of truth in this statement -- with a show as famous for brutal stories of love and loss as Game of Thrones, it's unlikely that there will be a happy ending for these two. And in addition to the show's reputation for misery, Brienne is still (presumably) dealing with her feelings for Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), who she connected with earlier in the series.
Game of Thrones season 7 premieres on Sunday, July 16 @9pm on HBO.