Caution: Game of Thrones season 8 spoilers ahead. A knight, a man with a golden prosthetic, and a wildling walk into a bar. It's not the start of a bad joke—it's the second episode of Game of Thrones! The good people over at the GoT writing room know we're in for some serious devastation and heartache, so they made sure to make last night's episode uncharacteristically warm and fuzzy. I personally appreciated the relationship-driven episode, specifically because of its development of the love triangle between Brienne of Tarth, Jaime Lannister, and Tormund Giantsbane.
Are the Night King and his squad of White Walkers (did y'all notice how laid their hair was? what lace?!) about to lay waste to all of Westeros? One hundred percent. But if everyone's going to die, they might as well find true love first, and there is no person more deserving of true love than Ms. Brienne "Tall Glass of Water" of Tarth.
Pretty much everyone in Westeros has been on the receiving end of some tender loving care (including #Jonaerys and our lil sis Arya!), but romance has evaded Brienne for quite some time. She stands at six feet tall—have you noticed that so many guys in this kingdom are vertically challenged?—and she is unbelievably good at wielding a sword, so she isn't the most sought-after gal in town. Mostly because men are afraid of powerful women, but that is another story for another day.
The love triangle between Brienne, Jaime, and Tormund may not be going anywhere because the Night King is literally going to kill them all next week, but can we talk about it? Brienne has the juice and the squeeze, and I don't think that she quite grasps it. On one side, she has the Kingslayer, and on the other, she has Giantsbane. How's a knight to choose?
As a professional shipper of couples and haver of opinions, I have many thoughts re: Brienne's romantic prospects. Both men have this special energy about them, a certain je ne sais quoi if you will, so I totally understand why picking one may prove difficult for Brienne. Fortunately for her, I am great at telling people who to date. Let's do this.
Let's get the biggest con out of the way: He's slept with his sister. Many, many times. Is it a deal-breaker? For us normal folks, of course. For the good people of Westeros, absolutely not; there are much worse things to be than a sister-lover. Jaime could be a White Walker, a Targaryen, or gasp—a person of color, because Winterfell is basically MAGA country at this point (Missandei and Grey Worm, get out while you still can!). But he's just a simple man who fell in love with his sister and did a variety of truly evil things to keep her happy, including pushing a little boy out of a window and paralyzing him for life. Then again, who hasn't done crazy things for love?
On to the positives. Jaime is especially fine right now. He's the kind of fine that makes you do a triple take, the kind of fine that you wouldn't mind waking up to first thing in the morning. I didn't get the hype around him in the early seasons—he was clean-shaven, and I am of the controversial belief that men desperately need facial hair—but season eight Jaime Lannister's strong, square jaw is covered in a salt and pepper beard, a sign of a grown man with grown man energy. He is, simply put, a zaddy.
Besides just looking good, Jaime is also trying very hard to be a good person. Yes, he's spent most of his life playing for the wrong team, but I think it's fair to say that the Kingslayer has come a long, long way since we first met him. Getting your hand cut off will humble a man. Plus, Jaime knows what a girl wants; he made sure to make Brienne's not-so-secret dream come true by knighting her the night before they headed off to battle. It won't matter that she's a knight when the Night King brings total destruction and darkness to Westeros, but still. It's the thought that counts.
If Brienne wants to take a walk on the wild(ling) side, Tormund is absolutely the right pick. Obviously, he's a more than a little rough around the edges—he has been living in the forest for his entire life—but once you get past the layers upon layers of dirt and grime, there's definitely something there. Tormund is big and strong, a man's man who can survive the harshest conditions. Need to start a campfire? Tormund's your guy. Need to build shelter when you're stranded on a deserted island? Tormund can help. Need to fight off a bear in the woods? Give Tormund a call. Now, if you need a man who knows the difference between a salad fork and a dessert fork or someone you can proudly bring home to your mother...maybe not Tormund. But who needs manners in the wild anyway?
What Tormund lacks in social graces and basic hygiene, he makes up for with his hearty enthusiasm for Brienne. From the moment he laid eyes on her at the Wall, Tormund was immediately smitten, and Brienne is on his mind even as he arrives at Winterfell. The first thing he asks when he touches down? "The big woman still here?" My heart. Later, as several members of the ragtag team of soldiers gather around a fire to take in what could very well be their last night, Tormund shoots his best shot at Brienne. Between the story of how he got the name Giantsbane (weird and wildly inappropriate, but I dig it) and his longing, hungry gaze, I'm kind of wishing that Brienne would give Tormund a chance. He'll be a great boyfriend once he learns how to bathe.
At the end of the day, I have to stress that none of this really matters because Brienne is probably going to meet her certain death. If there's anything I've learned from the past seven seasons of Game of Thrones, it's that forming any sort of attachment to anyone on this show leads to their tragic end. I declared my love for Robb Stark early on, and well...y'all know what happened next. And with the Night King knocking on the North's door, undead army and all, the end is nigh. Nonetheless, I'm always down for an end of the world romance, and if Brienne somehow manages to make it through the Battle of Winterfell with her life intact, she's definitely got a few good options. You go, girl.
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.