For fans of the show, Game of Thrones is more than a spectacle of war in the middle ages; it's an emotional, interpersonal drama made up of multidimensional characters, complicated relationships, and the often tragic outcomes of romance.
Countless times we see our favorite characters fall in love, only to be ripped apart by political backstabbing or treacherous acts of revenge. While it might be hard to relive some of these moments, it's worth looking back and remembering the most tragic love stories we witnessed on Game of Thrones.
10 Tormund Giantsbane And Brienne of Tarth
Sure, Tormund and Brienne's relationship may have been a tad one-sided, but that doesn't make it any more heartbreaking. We've come to adore both the honorable Brienne of Tarth and the savage wildling, Tormund Giantsbane, over the course of several recent seasons of Game of Thrones.
Tormund's blatant courting was a comedic highlight of season 7 and the early episodes of season 8, but let's face it, that relationship was never going to happen. Still, hearing Tormund cry "My heart is broken" to a dismissive Sandor Clegane made us all feel his pain.
9 Jaime Lannister And Brienne of Tarth
Seeing the honorable Ser Brienne of Tarth beg and cry for Jaime Lannister as he plans to abandon their fleeting relationship is another one of those moments we wish we could erase from our memories.
The show had been building up this relationship since season 3, and just as it seemed clear that Jaime's redemption arc would see him committing to a relationship with Brienne, he screws it all up by trying to ghost her in the middle of the night in favor of his twin sister, Cersei.
8 Ned And Catelyn Stark
From the very first episode right up to Ned's execution in the penultimate episode of season 1, Ned and Catelyn Stark's relationship is constantly being threatened by outside forces. Theirs is a simple marriage, one arranged for political advantage but not without genuine love.
Unfortunately, Ned is compelled by King Robert Baratheon to leave Winterfell, and his family, to serve as the King's Hand in the capital. Needless to say, things don't end well for Ned, and consequently Catelyn, who lives the rest of her life a widow. Perhaps the most tragic part of this relationship is the fact that it ends with Ned and Catelyn hundreds of miles away from each other, and that the next time Catelyn sees Ned, it's when Littlefinger delivers his severed head to her in a dank tent.
7 Daenerys Targaryen And Khal Drogo
Of Daenerys's various suitors throughout Game of Thrones, many would argue that it's the Dothraki leader, Khal Drogo, with whom she shares the most chemistry. Although their relationship seemed wildly unhealthy in its early stages, these two great characters eventually developed a mutual respect and genuine love for one another that made Khal Drogo's death at the end of season 1 that much more difficult to watch.
Daenerys and Khal Drogo's marriage was the only relationship Daenerys seemed genuinely heartbroken to see come to an end, and frankly, we feel the same way.
6 Missandei And Grey Worm
There aren't many innocent characters in Game of Thrones, but Missandei and Grey Worm are undoubtedly two of them. And their love story—of two former slaves—was one of the story's few unadulterated bright spots. However, this is Game of Thrones after all, and perhaps Ramsay Bolton puts it best: "If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention."
True to its reputation, Game of Thrones ends this pure love story in the most disturbing ways possible by having Gregor Clegane decapacitate Missandei as Grey Worm watches in horror. It's also one of the things that pushes Daenerys to make her decision to lay King's Landing low with dragon fire and put into question her own ability to rule fairly.
5 Tyrion Lannister And Shae
Tyrion Lannister is undoubtedly one of the most beloved characters of Game of Thrones, and, indeed, the most sympathetic member of the Lannister family. It's only natural that, after witnessing the torture he endures by his own family, we wanted nothing more for Tyrion to fall in love with someone who truly loves him back. And for a time, it seemed had achieved just that with the commoner, Shae.
Of course, Shae ends up betraying him during the trial for Joffrey's murder, sleeping with his father, and lunging at him with a knife before he's forced to strangle her to death with a chain. Understandably, Tyrion hasn't gotten over Shae and seems incapable of pursuing love in any form.
4 Jon Snow And Ygritte
Jon Snow and the wildling, Ygritte, had such wonderful on-screen chemistry that it's no wonder they're now married in real life. Actually, the fact that they're married is about the only consolation to their on-screen relationship's heart-wrenching end during the Battle of Castle Black.
The brief conversation Jon and Ygritte share as she sighs her final breaths is utterly devastating, as Ygritte rejects Jon Snow's assertion that they'd one day return to "that cave" with a most poignant, "You know nothing, Jon Snow."
3 Jaime And Cersei Lannister
The incestuous relationship between Jaime and Cersei Lannister acts as a catalyst for much of the main conflict in Game of Thrones. As unhealthy, abusive, and reprehensible as their relationship has shown itself to be, the love between the Lannister twins is perhaps the strongest of any two characters in the show.
Through thick and thin, Jaime and Cersei Lannister consistently prove their main motivations to be protecting their relationship and securing a future for their children. And episode 5 of season 8 proved that, just as they came into the world together, Jaime and Cersei were destined to leave the world embracing each other, no matter what anyone thinks (including viewers).
2 Rhaegar Targaryen And Lyanna Stark
Despite only appearing together in one brief sequence in the finale of season 7, Rhaegar and Lyanna Targaryen are two of the most influential characters in the story. Their relationship and secret annulment is the reason for so many integral plot points in the show, including Jon Snow's status as a bastard of the North.
This forbidden love story highlights the tragedy of falling in love outside a planned marriage in the middle ages, where love was often sacrificed for politics. Because of his sister's love for Rhaegar Targaryen, we get to see the extraordinary lengths Ned Stark goes to protect his family, including letting his wife forever believe he had been unfaithful to her.
1 Robb And Talisa Stark
This heartbreaking relationship ends during the infamous Red Wedding, with a pregnant Talisa Stark being stabbed repeatedly in the belly before bleeding out on the floor. Robb's desperation and look of sheer hopelessness as he watches his wife die is an image we'll never forget, and it's made all the more tragic by the fact that if Robb and Talisa had never met, the Red Wedding would never have happened.
Arguably the most shocking event in Game of Thrones, the Red Wedding taught us that at least in Westeros, vows must never be forsaken, not even for love.