Love is in the air! But who would have guessed that the biggest ray of sunshine in the Game of Thrones universe would be the unexpected pairing of Brienne and Tormund? It's the relationship we never knew we needed until right now, and man, fans are eating it up! This includes me, a viewer desperately clinging onto any ray of sunshine this show can throw my way. After the very significant death of a very significant sweetheart, I was happy to see that sly flirtation was alive and well in the North. Joining the (patent pending) Tarthbane fandom is Brienne herself! Actor Gwendoline Christie shed some light on why she loves the idea of Brienne shacking up with Tormund:
He’s a wildling, he’s very sensual and animal-like and very forthright with his emotions and feelings — which is really the opposite of [Brienne]. I enjoyed trying to navigate that and the beauty of her embarrassment. She can totally deal with the situation, and with him, but she’s just so embarrassed about it.
I can't even deal with all the feels, people! This pairing is just the cutest. Even though we've only had brief glimpses into their potential relationship, what we've been given so far is not only a ray of sunshine, it's a great development for Brienne. Tormund is perfectly matched for Brienne: a man who understands the impulse to fight and to protect while being her perfect opposite his in open and direct affections. Just as Christie says, Tormund could push Brienne into fun but unfamiliar territory.
While their romance is still blooming and it may appear one-sided, it's so dang cute. For Brienne, the one Game of Throne character who has been pushing back against typically gendered roles in this universe, it's interesting that she be shown as an object of romantic desire. Romantic is the key word here. Not lustful, not wolfish and certainly not violent desire. Romantic, tender, traditionally soft desire and coming from a Wildling, no less, is important because it indicates the kind of love Brienne deserves.
As a woman who rightfully chose her own path — the path of a fighter — this kind of romantic attention indicates that not only can an androgynous woman still be loved, but she can be loved sweetly. Just because she is clad in armor or sports short hair does not mean she should have been resigned to celibacy. In a world that has, up until this season, often treated it's women as fodder for the sexual appetites of men, it's refreshing to see glimpses of real affection that hasn't sprung from a calculated union.
Now, it's not exactly that Brienne needs a romantic partner. Hell no! She's proven she can take care of herself time and again. If anything, Tormund could unlock hidden or buried emotions, letting Brienne blossom even further and come out of her warrior shell a bit. The simple push-and-pull of emotions here, with Tormund simply openly fawning while Brienne tries to deal with the feels, is so kindergarten but so refreshingly sweet.
Whatever happens this season, I have a strong feeling we haven't seen the last of Tarthbane. I hope that Brienne opens herself up a bit more to Tormund and Tormund, in turn, treats that queen right! She deserves only the best because she is one of the best. Let's hear it for #TeamTarthbane, y'all!
Images: Helen Sloan/HBO; Giphy