Warning: The following contains spoilers for the Game of Thrones Season 7 finale.
The Game of Thrones season 7 finale left one fan-favorite character’s fate in question – so, did Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) die? For seven seasons now, fans of Game of Thrones have watched the various players in Westeros and beyond vie for the Iron Throne, with most meeting their fate at the hand of one of their enemies. In the game of thrones, you win or you die – and the showrunners of Game of Thrones have proven time and time again that they aren’t afraid of killing off characters. Still, for much of season 7, Game of Thrones has followed the three major rulers in Westeros: Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) – though the latter’s true parentage was revealed in the season 7 finale.
Of course, while season 7 may have started with two of these three rulers simply focused on the Iron Throne, everyone became apprised of the real situation – the war between life and death – during a massive meeting at the Dragon Pit outside King’s Landing where Jon presented proof of the Night King’s army to Cersei and those assembled. While the meeting seemed to be a step in the right direction, with all three rulers of Westeros on the same page about joining together to face their one true enemy, the Game of Thrones finale, ‘The Dragon and the Wolf’, closed with a massive setback for the side of man.
In the final moments of the extended Game of Thrones season 7 finale, the Night King rode his Wight-dragon to the Wall and took it down, allowing for his army of the dead to cross into Westeros. Of course, as the episode reminds viewers just before this happens, Tormund Giantsbane and his Wildlings have been helping the Night’s Watch to man the Wall. Tormund has been stationed at Eastwatch by the Sea, where he stayed behind after Jon had collected the Wight to show Cersei. However, just before the Wall actually falls, Tormund is shown on top with Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer), where the two watch as the massive structure begins to crash down. So, did Tormund and Beric die?
By all accounts, they both likely should have died. Based on what we know, they were on top of the Wall when the Night King began his attack and though they were the ones to raise the alarm and tell their men to flee, they were still on top of the Wall when part of it collapsed. There’s no way anyone could survive that fall, especially not amid the falling debris of ice and rock that made up the Wall. The situation seems to spell certain doom for both Tormund and Beric. That said, there’s enough doubt in the sequence that many continue to wonder if Tormund and/or Beric could have survived.
First off, we didn’t actually see Tormund or Beric die. Last we see of the two, they’re on top of the Wall watching as the ground before them collapses under the Wight-dragon’s ice fire. Certainly, the obvious logical conclusion is that the ground continued to collapse until they fell to their deaths, but when the scene switches to a wider view of the Wall, after the Night King and his Wight-dragon have completed their destruction, there are portions of the Wall left standing. That makes sense since the Night King didn’t take down the entire Wall, just enough so that his army could pass into Westeros. Could Tormund and Beric have survived on top of one of the portions of the Wall still left standing?
As fans of Game of Thrones well know, the show doesn’t often shy away from grisly or gruesome death scenes – this episode alone featured a major character get their throat slit. And the rule of television remains: Unless viewers see a character die on screen, there’s still a possibility – however slim – they could return. By that logic, since we didn’t see Beric or Tormund explicitly die, it’s possible either or both somehow survived the attack on the Wall.
That said, the destruction of the Wall is a massive turning point in the Great War, as Jon calls it. It’s entirely possible that the showrunners, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and the episode’s director, Jeremy Podeswa, simply chose to focus more on that aspect of the attack – but that doesn’t make it any less deadly for Beric and Tormund. Beric even seemingly foreshadows both the Wall’s collapse and, potentially, his and Tormund’s death when he makes note of how far the fall is from the top of the Wall. Is this explicit confirmation that the two fell to their death? Or simply foreshadowing of the Wall itself falling?
Further, if Tormund and Beric did somehow survive the attack, they’re either stuck on top of the Wall – since the Night King destroyed all of Eastwatch and its ways of navigating the massive structure – or they’re potentially injured amid the rubble. Even if they are alive and on the ground, there’s an army of the dead between them and their allies at Winterfell. While it’s certainly possible that Tormund and Beric could outpace an army, and evade a Wight-dragon, the question remains of how either or both of them could have survived the destruction of the Wall.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer the question of whether Tormund and/or Beric died. Game of Thrones has far surpassed George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books on which the show is based, so there are no clues to be gleaned there. Certainly, Beric has proven tough to kill, but that’s largely because Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye) was able to resurrect him. However, since Thoros was killed on the mission North of the Wall in the penultimate episode of season 7, that’s no longer an option.
In terms of whether Tormund and Beric survived the attack on the Wall, it’s possible that they died and their deaths simply weren’t shown, which would be a disservice to the viewers. The pair may be lesser supporting characters in the overarching story of Game of Thrones, but they’re important enough to warrant at least confirmation of their deaths. So, it’s also possible the pair somehow survived and will resurface in Game of Thrones season 8. Of course, there’s another possibility: They died and become members of the Night King’s army, forced to fight their former friends and allies when the Great War comes to a head in Game of Thrones season 8. Until the show or the showrunners offer concrete confirmation, we’ll have to wait and see to find out just what happened to Tormund and Beric in the Game of Thrones season 7 finale.
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