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Game of Thrones: The Character Pairings ‘Beyond The Wall,’ Ranked

Assessing which brave companion pairings we’d like to see more of on ‘Game of Thrones.’
Game Of Thrones Hound And Tormund
By  · Published on August 25th, 2017

Assessing which brave companion pairings we’d like to see more of on ‘Game of Thrones.’

How many times have you rewatched the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones season 7 this week? For me, it’s been a few. I always rewatch at least once before I write my weekly Game of Thrones explained column and a second time before we record A Storm of Spoilers. This week, I tossed in a third rewatch because while that final battle sequence is awesome, I really wanted to revisit all the walk-and-talk business from the first half of ‘Beyond The Wall.’ There’s so much joy in it.

One of the hallmarks of Thrones‘ seventh season, for better or worse, is the mixing and mashing of characters who have long been on opposite sides of the map. The primary meeting being Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, for sure. But there has also been a number of great below the top line pairings that have brought fans delight. Jon and Gendry commiserating over the friendship of their fathers was unexpectedly charming; Jon greeting Theon Greyjoy with an ‘I should be killing you right now’ stare was tense; Cersei finally coming face to face with Ellaria Sand was particularly unnerving. All of these reunions brought different levels of emotional payoff and served a variety of purposes along the way. But in ‘Beyond the Wall,’ we got a flurry of conversations between characters, some of whom had never met, that dumped exposition by the truckload.

In true Game of Thrones fashion, the execution was all over the map. Which is why I feel compelled to give them a ranking. The criteria for said ranking isn’t simply whether or not the conversation was enjoyable (although that’s part of it). It has even more to do with whether or not we’d want to watch each pair of characters in the future. Because Thrones loves its pairings and in the hypothetical reality that exists in my brain (wherein Thrones has 30 episodes left instead of 7), we might get some new odd couples to add to the show’s legacy.

Let’s begin.

6. Jon Snow and Jorah Mormont

In pairing Jon and Jorah, the show is doing some important story clean-up. The audience needs to be reminded that Jorah’s return to Westeros isn’t a celebratory affair for everyone. He left the country in disgrace, exiled by Ned Stark after being caught selling people into slavery to pay for his wife’s expensive habits. And as Jorah reminds Jon, this broke the heart of the great Lord Commander who raised Jon up from bastard to leader of men. These two share an important father figure and their legacy will forever be interlocked through Longclaw, but that’s about it. The slightly more interesting story would be their somewhat competitive lust for Daenerys, but even that seems like a foregone conclusion at this point. Jorah will always be in Daenerys’ heart, but it’s likely Jon Snow gets to sleep in her bed. Perhaps someday Jorah will wish he would’ve kept the sword to cuddle on those lonely nights.

5. Jon and Tormund

Do all of these pairings include Jon? No, but the less interesting ones definitely do. With apologies to The King in the North, the bulk of his conversations were deadly serious and expository. While Tormund Giantsbane lights up every scene he’s in (thanks in no small part to the wonderful performance of Kristofer Hivju), this is just Jon and his best Wildling bro talking about how Mance died because he was too proud to kneel. Tormund’s insight is spot on and before the episode ends, Jon heeds his advice. But beyond that, they don’t accomplish much beyond what we already know: that Tormund is solid gold at all times.

4. Beric and Jon

“I suppose you favor your mother,” from the Lightning Lord, is yet another reminder that Jon Snow isn’t Ned Stark’s son, but the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. It’s almost like the people of Westeros are starting to figure out the thing readers of George R.R. Martin’s books figured out years ago. It’s a little disappointing that between these two heralded warriors, the best explanation they can come up with for their resurrection is  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, but that’s also the show’s attitude about resurrection at this point. The Mountain is still alive?  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Jon Snow is dead?  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Lady Stoneheart is an important book character and metaphor for Stark vengeance?  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Richard Dormer gets the trailer line (“Death is the enemy.”), but this conversation is otherwise pretty run-of-the-mill.

3. The Hound and Gendry

You know who isn’t run-of-the-mill? Rory McCann as The Hound. Beginning with his reaction to Gendry’s tale of being stripped naked and sexed up for blood magic by the Red Woman and ending with his punchline about how Beric doesn’t complain about being killed six times, it’s enough to remind us that The Hound is the ultimate heckler. He should be in the background of every serious conversation, muttering about how only c*nts name their swords. What we really need is The Hound to be in the room when someone is talking to Bran.

2. Jorah and Thoros

As a book reader, the conversation between Jorah and Thoros was a nice little nugget. And perhaps it’s my Storm of Spoilers co-host Joanna Robinson’s influence, but it was also just a great moment of showing how Jorah Mormont is one of the good dudes of this whole world. Jorah can tell that Thoros is struggling with the injuries he sustained in the zombie polar bear attack and he takes some time to revisit the glory days. The tales of Thoros charging into the breach on Pyke, during the Greyjoy rebellion that was mentioned earlier in the season (when Jamie talked about Euron burning the Lannister fleet) is a legendary tale from GRRM’s books. It’s a nice little send off for Thoros, who by adaptation standards got a relatively short shrift. We’re gonna miss your efficient use of screen time, Paul Kaye.

1. The Hound and Tormund

There is no scenario in which the conversation between The Hound and Tormund isn’t at the top of this list. The fact that they haven’t already greenlit ‘The Kissed By Fire Adventures’ spin-off series in which The Hound and Tormund travel the countryside in search of large women and even larger flagons of ale is beyond me. What are you even doing with your lives, HBO execs? It’s all made even more compelling thanks to this Instagram post from Kristofer Hivju. My body is ready for ‘Kissed by Fire: The Musical.’ Someone send the lightning fast ravens to HBO, Lin Manuel Miranda, and every large Scandanavian extra you can find.


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Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)