Game of Thrones image: © 2012 HBO.
As with many games, an individual’s position in the “game of thrones” played in HBO’s hit series of the same name is largely determined by who’s got their back. Allies may be public or private, and can be bound by ties of blood, marriage, sympathy, or shared enmity.
On Day 2 of our 5-day #GOTInvasion series, some members of the Screen Invasion Team explored our favorite Game of Thrones relationships—romantic and otherwise.
Arya Stark & Father Figures
© 2011 HBO
Beginning with her father, the late Ned Stark (Sean Bean), Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) has had an interesting and widely-varied series of relationships with men old enough to be her father or grandfather. From dancing master Syrio Forel (Miltos Yerolemou) and Night’s Watch man Yoren (Francis Magee), to the assassin Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) and the formidable Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), Arya manages find a father figure wherever she finds herself. And, by combining their lessons—which she treats as gospel—with her intuitive street smarts, Arya has bested every opponent she’s faced so far. – Sarah Katz (@sarahdkatz)
Tyrion Lannister & Shae
© 2012 HBO
It’s difficult to find a truly honest relationship in Game of Thrones. Be it Sansa and Joffrey, Robert and Cersei or even Ned and Catelyn Stark, they are mostly built on deceit, hatred or ulterior political motives. That makes it all the more poignant when a couple in HBO’s fantasy epic shares a sincere love for one another. For me, none have offered that more than Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and Shae (Sibel Kekilli). The unloved son of Westeros’s most powerful figure and a prostitute from a faraway land, they may be from different social classes but they’re drawn together by their mutual feelings of not belonging. Their tender scenes together are always a welcome breath of fresh air from the harsh, cruel world surrounding them. – Daniel Sarath (@danielsarath)
Sansa & The Hound
© 2011 HBO
Far from a chivalric ideal, the relationship between Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane (Rory McCann) in Season 2 is a fascinating twist on the “damsel in distress” trope. Surrounded by enemies at King’s Landing, Sansa has little choice but to depend on brutes like Clegane for protection. Yet Clegane personally knows the extent of man’s cruelty and forces Sansa to bear witness to his own scars as a way of steeling her resolve. His impressive monologue about the violence wrought by her beloved father, Ned, is supposed to make a point about Clegane’s nihilistic worldview, but he also betrays his genuine concern for Sansa—especially when he deserts his post in battle and begs the lady to flee the city once and for all. – Eric Ambler (@AmblerAmblog)
Robb Stark & Talisa Maegyr
© 2012 HBO
The King in the North, a.k.a. Robb Stark (Richard Madden), was just going about his business of fighting to the death for his people and family, and along the way he unexpectedly falls for Talisa Maegyr (Oona Chaplin). He’s already set for the run-of-the-mill prearranged marriage, but Robb won’t have it. Robb and Talisa marry in secret. Never mind this being one of the most romantic scenes of the series (on a mostly non-romantic show), this relationship and how the two became married only foreshadows how Robb will rule as king. Maybe he will follow his heart in war, maybe he will do what he knows is right, and maybe he will go against historical ways of ruling to form a new era of the North under his legacy. (Or at least I hope, as I haven’t read the books.) It’s enjoyable to watch Talisa’s presence allow for Robb to show vulnerability and let the audience know how he is feeling. But realistically, Robb is arguably the hottest male on the show—why wouldn’t we want to see our king in a romance for the ages? – Theresa Amrhein (@theresamarieee)
Daenerys Targaryen & Khal Drogo
© 2011 HBO
Despite its business-like origin and rocky start, the marriage of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) & Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) quickly became a union of true soul mates. Their love is present in each look, gesture, and word spoken (ex. their respective pet names: “Moon of my life” and “my Sun and Stars”). Each would—and does—literally kill for the other. It is this unexpected passion that makes their untimely separation so tragic—particularly because it is brought about by each acting out of all-consuming love for the other. Daenerys’ final words to Drogo promise a reunion at the end: “When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east. When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves, then you shall return to me, my sun and stars.” (#2.10 – “Valar Morghulis”) And if any love were strong enough to make good on such words, it will be that of Daenerys and her Drogo. – Sarah Katz (@sarahdkatz)
Did your favorite Game of Thrones relationship make our list?
Share your dynamic duo in the comments below!
Game of Thrones Season 3 premieres on Sunday, March 31 at 9pm on HBO.
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