THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – [Warning: This story contains spoilers through episode six, season six of HBO’s Game of Thrones.]
Love rarely lasts in Westeros. Ask Robb Stark (Richard Madden), who lost everything, life and wife included, because he followed his heart. Look no further than his half-brother, Jon Snow (Kit Harington), who cradled forbidden flame Ygritte (Rose Leslie) in his arms as her fire went out.
The examples of successful romantic relationships are few and far between — and yet, this cold reality hasn’t stopped Game of Thrones fans from hopping all aboard the good ship Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), one of the rare glimmers of levity in an otherwise extraordinarily bleak series.
Tormund’s crush on Brienne isn’t exactly a central plot, nor is it even reciprocated by Brienne herself, but it’s nonetheless a bit of respite in the thick of darkness. Winter is coming, as Tormund knows all too well, having suffered through the hardships at “Hardhome.” What’s more, there’s trouble brewing south, as Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) amasses his forces at Winterfell, preparing to assault Jon Snow and all of his allies, Free Folk included. Not even Tormund has time for matters of the heart — but his fleeting moments with Brienne are a welcome distraction all the same.