WARNING: This article will contain major spoilers for the current season, and previous seasons, of Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones is about many things — power, loyalty, and lust among them. But from the opening scenes of the first episode, one of the major themes of the show has been romance. Game of Thrones has offered up examples of unrequited love, marriages of convenience, incestuous relationships, abusive relationships, loving relationships that ended violently, teen crushes, and everything in between.
As of this writing — following the end of Season 8’s “The Long Night” — there are still a handful of relationships which are developing, broadly hinted at, or likely going somewhere. Those loose ends will have to be tied up by the end of the series. A look at those relationships seems to be in order.
Sam and Gilly.
This relationship looked doomed from the beginning. Sam was a Brother of the Night’s Watch, and had vowed not to take a wife. And even though they have consummated their relationship, Sam has continued to treat Gilly — and Little Sam, who is not his biological offspring — more like charges to be kept safe, rather than wife and son.
However, the Night’s Watch is no more. The Wall is ruined, the wildlings have made peace with the North, and the White Walkers are destroyed. That means that, for all intents and purposes, Sam is free of his vows to the Night’s Watch. He can take Gilly as his wife, and claim Little Sam as his son.
There’s another wrinkle. Sam is the only male heir to House Tarly, his father and brother having been killed last season. Once all of the dust has settled, Sam and Gilly may very well become Lord and Lady Tarly.
Tormund and Brienne.
In perhaps what has been the most one-sided romance in the show, Tormund Giantsbane continues to crush on Ser Brienne of Tarth. Meanwhile, she continues to treat him with either open disdain or a knowing look, depending on the camera angle. Tormund has openly gushed over Brienne in his recent remarks.
“If I were a king, I would knight you ten times over.”
Fans will be tremendously disappointed if both characters live to see the end of the series without having sealed the deal, so to speak.
Sansa and Tyrion.
Episode 2 hinted at the love between Sansa and Theon, but with Theon having died, that avenue of exploration is closed. Episode 3 showed some tender moments between Sansa and Tyrion, however, and even hinted that they may get married — again.
If they did, their union would create a powerful alliance between the Lannisters and the Starks.
Arya and Gendry.
What started as a giddy schoolgirl crush turned into an actual relationship in Episode 2, titled “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.” And since both characters survived the Battle of Winterfell, there will need to be some resolution of their relationship moving forward.
At first glance, their relationship would also appear doomed. Arya is, after all, the second daughter of a noble house, and Gendry is a bastard.
However, in the Game of Thrones universe, the monarch has the power to legitimize a bastard — something that happened in a previous season. Jon or Dany — or whomever ultimately takes the Iron Throne — could legitimize the bastard son of Robert Baratheon, opening the way for Arya and Gendry’s marriage. Doing so would also reunite House Stark and House Baratheon.
A few other characters remain uncoupled. Bran Stark, for example, is now a teenager — old enough to be married, according to the norms of the Game of Thrones universe. Of course, Bran Stark is no longer Bran Stark, so he may reach the end of the show a single man, or spirit.
Similarly, Bronn of the Blackwater has long been waiting for that castle, title, and wife promised him — and denied him — by the Lannisters. Will King Jon or Queen Daenarys make good on that promise?