It's best to not expect any real romance between Tormund and Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones season 7. The character of Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) has emerged as a fan-favorite over the show's six seasons to date. A tall, blond, female knight, Brienne is also tall, blond, and a skillful fighter, and a character who abides by an unmistakable code of honor. In a show without many unambiguously honorable characters, Brienne remains one of the few purely sympathetic people in Westeros.
Brienne, throughout the seasons to date, has yet to be given a love interest on Game of Thrones. While some fans of the show have “shipped” Brienne with Jaime Lannister over the years, more recently some fans have wished for a relationship between Brienne and Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju), the wildling leader. On a couple of occasions during Season 6, the two could be seen exchanging glances, with the implication that the redheaded wildling had developed an interest in his blond counterpart. Now, one of the actors is addressing the possibility - and some fans aren’t going to like it.
In an interview with Newsweek, Christie indicated there’s no romance to come between Brienne and Tormund. When asked about the possibility of the two characters’ relationship going to the next level on the show, Christie mostly confirmed recent reports that the Tormund/Brienne flirtation was improvised by the actors, but played so well on screen that the producers left it in:
It was a throwaway moment in the script (“I think it read, ‘Tormund hasn’t seen a woman like her before,’” Christie says), but Hivju made the most of it. “I don’t often laugh during filming,” she says of the dinner table scene, in which Tormund sensuously attacks a chicken leg, his eyes locked on Brienne across the table. “That was really difficult. Because he is so intensely hilarious.” But she answers my question of their future with a question of her own. “Do you think she actually likes him?” she asks. “No,” I say. “Well, there you go!”
Should this be taken at face value? Well, Game of Thrones actors, owing to the creators’ and HBO’s spoiler-phobia, haven’t been very forthright about what we can expect in the new season, which is certainly understandable. Furthermore, entertaining as Brienne and Tormund’s moments were last season, Brienne not being that into him was part of the joke. And finally, as of the end of Season 6, Brienne was last seen in the Riverlands, following the siege of Riverrun, while Tormund remains much further North with Jon Snow, so they’re not even in the same geographical location.
Could the Game of Thrones showrunners surprise us and put the two of them together? It’s possible, and even if it were happening, the actors and producers wouldn’t be admitting it out loud. But of all the things to look forward to in Season 7, a Tormund-Brienne romance probably won’t be one of them.
Game of Thrones season 7 premiere this Sunday, July 16, on HBO and HBO’s streaming platforms.