Brienne of Tarth Featured Game of Thrones Interview

Kristofer Hivju on Tormund’s love for Brienne and the coming fight in the North

We’re more than halfway done with Game of Thrones Season 6, and while there have been some memorable moments, nothing seems to have lit the internet on fire like Tormund Giantsbane’s instant crush on Brienne of Tarth. Actor Kristofer Hivju chatted with The Hollywood Reporter about the genesis of that infatuation, as well as what else is on Tormund’s plate for the rest of the season.

Apparently, Hivju has been wanting something like this for Tormund for a while. “I asked David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] about this last season,” he said.

“Who is Tormund with? Where is his wife? Where are his kids?” Because we went to Hardhome, and since I’ve been talking about my kids, then there’s probably a wife. But they said to me, “He’s probably more of a bachelor kind of guy.” (Laughs.) So when I read the [scenes with Brienne], I was like, “Yes! Finally! There’s a love interest!”

Maybe Tormund’s wife died? Lord knows there are enough dangers north of the Wall. In any case, Tormund’s attraction to Brienne is instantaneous, as anyone who saw “Book of the Stranger” could tell you.

I don’t think Tormund differentiates between love and lust. That’s one thing to him. It’s one big bowl of nice things to him. (Laughs.) It’s definitely “love-lust at first sight”…But the great thing about them is, if they fought, you don’t know who would win. That’s a great start of a relationship.

Tormund Giantsbane Official

Hivju confirmed that Brienne’s strength is part of what attracts Tormund. Their instant chemistry has certainly captivated fans, and it might have something to do with the chemistry between Hivju and actress Gwendoline Christie. As Hivju says, “We’re similar actually, me and Gwen. We don’t go silent in the halls. If we are in the room, you will hear us, and you will feel us. We take up a lot of space, both of us. When you have both of us in the same room, it’s almost like there’s no more space for anybody.”

With Brienne leaving for the Riverlands, it’s unlikely the two will meet again this season, but if Benioff and Weiss listen at all to the fans, they’ll find a way to give these kids at least one more meet-up before the show is over.

But there’s more than romance in Tormund’s future. There’s a fight brewing in the North, and at the moment, Tormund “supports Jon fully and without question,” in part because he respects Jon as a leader, in part because he knows the White Walker threat is real and that Jon wants to stop it, and in part because if he doesn’t support Jon, Ramsay Bolton will wipe the remaining wildlings out.

These 2,000 warriors with their families, it’s the rest of the Free Folk. If they die, there is no Free Folk. They have some places to stay right now. They’re in The Gift. But even in episode four, Ramsay Bolton was threatening all of these people. When you enter Westeros, you have to play the game.

According to Hivju, Tormund never thought he would be playing the game. He was happy to help Mance Rayder lead, but now that Mance is gone, Tormund finds himself thrust into a leadership role—you can see him giving a stump speech to a bunch of wildlings in the trailer for this Sunday’s episode, “The Broken Man.” “I think it’s growing on him,” Hivju said. Still, time is not on his side.

[T]he Free Folk are the hardest people in the world to lead — or at least in this world. It’s in the definition of who they are. They’re the Free Folk. So I can say this: Mance Rayder spent how long, 19 years to gather them all? I don’t have 19 years. (Laughs.) I have less than 19 minutes!

Head to The Hollywood Reporter for more with Hivju.

Ramsay at Winterfell Season 6 Official

Sticking with actors who play Northern characters, The Independent caught up with Iwan Rheon, who plays the traitorous Ramsay Bolton, who’s been oddly quiet for the past two episodes. It seems that Rheon is still getting hate for Ramsay’s rape of Sansa Stark last season, one of the most controversial moments in a series famous for them.

I understand why the reaction’s there because people have watched this girl grow up and they love her. But at the same time there was such an intense backlash about it, and it isn’t the worst thing that’s happened on Game of Thrones. You know, burning a child… nobody seems to go mad about that.

He says he first realized the depth of fans’ feelings for Sansa during the Season 6 premiere screening in Los Angeles. “There were a lot of fans there watching,” he says. “In that moment in episode one when Brienne finally rescues her, there was a big cheer and you felt the collective relief.”

I think it’s great for her to get that empowerment back. It’s great for Alfie [Alfie Allen, Lily Allen’s brother] as well, who plays Theon to finally get out of the clutches of Ramsay, and it’s nice for him not to be tortured all the time.

When prompted, Rheon was smart enough not to reveal whether his character will appear in Season 7, but did say that, should Ramsay ever die on the show, it better be epic. “It would be a shame if he just fell down some stairs or something,” he said.

Looking toward his career post-Game of Thrones, the actor doesn’t want to be typecast, even as scripts for psychopathic roles flow in. He may have to tackle that one step at a time, though, as his next big movie role is in the satirical Adolf the Artist as…a young Adolf Hitler. Why ever would producers think of him for that part?


  • When we first see Tormund ‘ s reaction to Brienne riding through the gate at CB, my first thought was… she is his ideal woman!

    Wildlings are not hung up on what is considered beautiful by the nobles of Westeros. Even though Jon’s descriptions of Ygritte in ASOIAF are less than flattering, she is well sought after as a mate North of the Wall. Wildlings respect strength and independence. Wildlings have to be able to survive in harsh conditions, being pretty is low on the list of priorities.

    Like most Wildling men, Tormund desires a woman who can take care of herself in a fight, not some swooning maiden waiting on him to protect her.

    Brienne is tall and strong but beyond that she is a commanding figure in full armor upon a horse. She is obviously the one protecting Sansa and Pod.

    Tormund might be the one swooning if he ever saw her scars from the fight with the Bear! Brienne is one helluva woman!

    • We need some happiness on this show! I’m all for Brienne and Tormund. Everyone’s just depressing on the show now! (Lol ) It’s still great, but damn a little happiness please!!!

      • All in for the most logical relationship to date.I am concerned about Brienne hearing the bear yarn,beastie sex is definitely a deal breaker…..hope she doesn’t, they are perfect for each other.

  • I’ve seen a few comments about the lack of reaction to Shireen’s death, as compared to Sansa’s rape and Hodor’s death for example, and I think it comes down to two things.
    First, and mainly, I think it’s because of the timing of the event within the episode. Unlike Sansa and Hodor, Shireen was sacrificed early on, and that episode finished with Dany riding Drogon, leaving us all on a huge high. Sansa and Hodor happened in the last few minutes of their episodes, leaving us with those feelings/reactions for the week. I can guarantee if Shireen had have been the end of the episode there would have been way more outrage.
    Secondly, in the very next episode, the people responsible for Shireen all met their ends barring Melisandre, who we suddenly badly wanted and needed for Jon’s resurrection.
    So it’s not that the public is okay with sacrificing children at all, it’s that the D&D, rightly or wrongly, preempted most of the backlash with when they presented it.

    • I completely agree. I felt like the burning if Shireen was the sort of thing they would normally end an episode with but they purposely did NOT because they wanted us to sort of get over it and end on a high note. Personally I think that’s one time they should have ended on the horrible moment, for the impact to really last.

      That said, there was plenty of outrage but it paled in comparison to the outrage over Sansa and Ramsay’s wedding night. That outrage could have also been diminished due to the close proximity to the wedding, so people might have been sick of complaining already. And finally, yes, the fact that Stannis and Selyse both died the next episode probably gave us what we wanted for them so we moved on, in a way. Now I’m just waiting for Davos to find out and flip a shit at Mel.

      I thibk there is still plenty of disbekief over it though. There is this quiz that includes a “would you rather die like viserys or burn your own child like stannis?” We were all absolutely horrified at the two people we knew who picked burning their own child. One was my SO and I’m seriously reconsidering having children with him.

      • Also, less of a visceral reaction bc she was a much, much smaller part and people hadn’t really grown to love her the way they had Hodor and have Sansa. They’d built her up a little last year but it wasn’t enough to get her a big following. So logically, burning a child is way worse, but it didn’t matter as much to people because they weren’t as invested in the character.

        Heck, people have cheered over the killing of a child twice now on GoT – Joffrey and Olly. I had normally rational, congenial friends saying they’d kill a child like Olly too. SMH. There’s really not a lot of logic or accountability in how people approach their GoT reactions.

    • Here is the other side to that. I realize this is fantasy but how many people are sacrificed and burned in today’s world. I hope zero.

      On the other hand, how much sexual abuse is done to men and women in this world. I think we relate to Sansa’s situation because it’s more realistic.

      I do remember fans being upset over Shireen but I think it’s seen more as fantasy. Because we just don’t go around burning people or children on purpose.

    • The reaction is all about what happens currently in culture.

      Not so many kids these days burned on pyres but woman still get raped.

      So, its a visceral reaction to the reality in which the show exists in a real world.

  • I do hope Brienne does get laid before all is said and done. And who better by than a man who actually admires her size, strength and skills; things that men in Westeros can’t tolerate, let alone appreciate, in a woman.

  • I’ve never wanted two people on GoT to live happily ever after…until I saw a photo of Tormund gaping at something and immediately knew it was Brienne. I fell hard for them then and there, and am desperately hoping they both survive the wars to come and she takes him to beautiful Tarth, sheepishly shows a grinning Tormund to her father, and they have a million gigantic warrior baby daughters. Sons would be fine too.
    I want this more than I want Ramsay and Walder and Daeny to die, combined.

  • I kinda hope one of them dies now just so I can hear the moans and wails from all of the shippers. Love both characters but I’ll sacrifice em’ if it means I can super-villain laugh at their tears.

  • After Sansa’s horrendous experience with men, my sweet Pod is what she needs.

    • Sansa never wants the right men… she has horrid judgement. She swooned over Joffrey and Loras because they were handsome. She would have been miserable with either of them. Joffrey was psychotic whereas once she figured out Loras was gay… she would have been miserable.

      When she meets Ramsay, she gives him the same look she gave Joffrey, happy that despite his Father, he appears handsome and gallant. Guess what, he is psycho!

      Tyrion is the only one who treated her with compassion, kindness and tried to protect her. Yet she rejected him simply because he was a Dwarf.

      Sansa is shallow and gullible. I doubt she will find much happiness in marriage or romance.

      • Not to mention her relationship with Baelish. She says she wants him gone from her life, yet she contradicts herself by taking his advice and not having him killed. She is so out of touch with her own passions, she can’t connect with the right man.

        • Agreed Moonlight,

          Many viewers and Sansa herself seem to think she can manipulate LF. That is so not going to happen. He may have loved Cat in the past, but really his quest for power stopped being about Cat a long time ago.

          Yes LF has a soft spot for Sansa, but that only goes so far. He will sacrifice her if he has to.

          Sansa keeps thinking she is playing the game. Really she is being played.

      • The Red Woman, Sansa is young, just 17-18 in the show. She’s just a teenager and still learning.

        Also, you may have forgotten that she was actually *forced* into a marriage with a man much older than her and whose family had murdered hers.

        Yet people still give her crap for never warming to him.

        She’s not obligated to fall in love with him just because he was good to her.

        • Sansa fan,

          I do understand that Sansa is young, but honestly women have been getting married between the ages of 13-18 for all of human history. I see some very young brides in my area.

          I understand her not falling in love with Tyrion for the reasons you mention, but she always makes it about him being a dwarf or ugly… not the family connection. Her conversations with Margaery make that abundantly clear.

          On the flip side, Ramsay was also from a family who killed her family as she states to LF in S6 E5. Yet she was much more willing to entertain being his wife that Tyrion’s.

          That’s one thing I wish they would address from Sansa’s POV chapters in AFFC, while in the Vale and engaged to Harry the Heir, she comes to realize that since arriving in KL, the only reason anyone has ever cared about her, was so they could use her Name for their own ends. She realizes that no one will ever want to marry her or love her for her own merits, rather they have designs on her name and titles.

          That is one reason I could see Sansa becoming the Queen of the North and refusing marriage, much as Elizabeth Tudor did. Once Jon is revealed as an Heir to the Iron Thone, R+L=J, they could rule the Seven Kingdoms together.

    • Mrs. Podrick Payne, I am all for a Sansa/Pod the Rod match. She deserves a little happiness.

  • Who would want to be killed off in a silly fashion? Who wouldn’t choose some kind of spectacular finale for their character? This is one area that parallels with the real world, apart from there being no writers as decision-makers. That’s in the entertainment world only.

    Maybe tripping up while mounting his horse would be as apt as anything for Ramsay. As long as his dogs leap and devour him before help arrives. But that still reads as poetic, therefore not likely to happen.
    Let’s see. Could he be stabbed in the back when he gets the better of…. let’s go with Tormund? Perhaps it’d be Brienne delivering the fatal blow. Cue – rainbows, doves and kisses amid anthemic love song.

  • Why all the concern whether Tormund is “married,” or has another woman? This is Westeros, people! Plus, it’s Westeros north of the Wall (essentially). A man wants a woman, ANY woman, he tries to take her. Whether or not he’s married, engaged, has exchanged friend bracelets, or whatever.

    That said, book Tormund was married and had a number of sons. Don’t recall how many other women he had, although purportedly he romanced a bear and a giant – and they still miss him.

  • Things change,in the beginning Hound was the most hated wanted his death,then he save Loras,Sansa and Arya.Now most off us want to see him alive and kill the mountain.

  • Chemistry? It’s funny because they DON’T have chemistry. Brienne is certainly not interested, even a little bit. People realize this, right? lol

    • I think that is part of what people like about it. Tormund is so comic in how he shows his intrest. Edd’s reaction is priceless.

      Brienne is not used to a man showing a sexual intrest in her. So she is very uncomfortable with his leering. That awkwardness really sells the comedy of it.

      Let’s face it, how many relationships start comically! Brienne needs someone who could best her in battle, much like the Viking saga between Brynhild and Sigfried. But I also think Brienne needs someone who can make her feel sincerely desired. I bet Tormund could manage.

    • I think Brienne is interested in Tormund. She doesn’t know what to do with it YET! Lol

      I think if Brienne didn’t like what Tormund was doing, she would have let him know by now! She hasn’t . She’s obviously just as smitten! Lol