Amidst the betrayals, violence, and brutality in Game of Thrones, there are also moments of levity. People still tell jokes when the world looks dark and bleak; in fact, that’s probably the best time for laughter. Some of the funniest scenes of the series have come about because of unlikely pairings. When characters end up working with people they don’t like or people who are completely different from them, we win. As relationships develop, they learn more about each other and themselves and provide us with unexpectedly touching moments and memorable zingers.
We’ve rounded up five of the most enjoyable team-ups in the series. Warning: from this point on, there are spoilers up to the most recent episode, “Mockingbird.”
Arya and the Hound
Arya Stark: “You’re the worst shit in the Seven Kingdoms.”
Sandor Clegane: “There’s plenty worse than me. I just understand the way things are. How many Starks they got to behead before you figure it out?”
Arya Stark plays well with nearly anyone she shares the screen with, but her and Sandor Clegane – the Hound – have a special kind of magic. They met all the way back in season one on the road from Winterfell to King’s Landing. As they traveled, Arya was sparring with her friend Mycah. It went sideways when Joffrey stuck his slimy nose in, and the result was that the Hound murdered Mycah. That’s how he ended up on her kill list.
Fate threw them together again in season three when the Hound kidnapped Arya in order to ransom her back to her family. Their relationship started to turn when he pulled her out of the massacre at the Red Wedding. She comes to realize they’re more or less stuck together, and though the Hound is still part of her death prayer, they are almost like friends. Almost. She’s learning to improve her killing skills from the Hound, and he’s seeing Westeros through her eyes. Whether the change in perspective will have a lasting effect on him is another matter.
Arya and the Hound seem to have the smallest bit of pity for each other, even if they wouldn’t voice it aloud. Arya feels sorry for the Hound because of the way he was attacked as a child by his own brother, and the Hound feels badly about Joffrey killing Arya’s father. But most of the time they just throw insults at each other, and we all win.
Jaime and Brienne
Jaime Lannister: “I will return the Stark girls to their mother, I swear it.”
Brienne of Tarth: “Good-bye, Ser Jaime.”
Taking on a bear together makes you friends for life, as Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth seem to know. While in the employment of Catelyn Stark, Brienne got stuck with returning Jaime to King’s Landing. She followed orders, but she was not pleased. Her disgust for Jaime wasn’t a secret, and he constantly needled her as they traveled.
They argued and bristled at each other and were eventually captured by Locke. You could tell Jaime had developed a begrudging respect for Brienne by then, but he took it a step further and made up a lie to prevent Locke’s men from raping her. That’s the moment when their relationship truly changed. She was there for him after he lost his hand and prodded him when he acted like he’d lost the will to live. Jaime trusted Brienne enough to tell her what really happened when he killed the Mad King…and then there was that bear.
Of all the team-ups that deserve a spin-off series, it’s Jaime and Brienne. Her honor and behavior makes him strive to be a better person. Jaime became likable and with more time around Brienne, maybe he could have gone all the down the path to redemption. He helped Brienne see the gray areas between black and white, and she made him see himself as more than his Kingslayer brand.
Tyrion and Bronn
Tyrion Lannister: “What do you want, Bronn? Gold? Women? Gold and women? Stick with me and you’ll have them all, for as long as I’m around and not a moment longer. But you knew that. That is why you so valiantly took up arms to defend my honor.”
Bronn: “Fair enough. But don’t go looking for me to bend the knee and “m’lord” you every time you take a shit. I’m not your toady and I’m not your friend.”
Tyrion Lannister and Bronn may be the OG partnership in Game of Thrones. Bronn was a sellsword, and Tyrion had coin, so they were basically a match made in heaven. They never put up any pretenses about their friendship, and they looked out for each other as long as it was mutually beneficial. That ended last week. While they like each other and even care for each other on some level, they don’t apologize for who they are.
The duo has brought comedy gold to the show since season one. Whether they’re talking about women or Bronn’s methods for cutting down on crime in King’s Landing, you can always expect to smile. Tyion’s needle sharp wit against Bronn’s bluntness is a match all the gods of Westeros can’t top.
They’ve done each other more than a few favors, too. Bronn has saved Tyrion’s life, and Tyrion helped Bronn become a knight – in title if not personality. Bronn is one of the few people loyal to Tyrion, and Tyrion doesn’t have enough of those. Heck, he doesn’t have many people that even like him. And Tyrion could always rely on Bronn for an honest opinion. The odd couple is now seemingly split up forever, but we’ll still have the memories.
Davos and Shireen
Shireen Baratheon: “You were a pirate once.”
Davos Seaworth: “No, I was never a pirate. I was a smuggler.”
Shireen: “What’s the difference?”
Davos: “Well, if you’re a famous smuggler, you’re not doing it right.”
Davos Seaworth and Shireen Baratheon probably have the least amount of screen time as compared to other team-ups on our list, but the scenes we’ve had with them are golden. Stannis’ right hand man and his daughter are a beacon of light in a depressing and often weird storyline. You get the idea that Shireen has looked up to him as if he were an uncle most of her life. She melted my heart when she brought him a book in the dungeon and started teaching him to read.
There’s more to their relationship than the cute factor. Davos has a hard road to walk, and though he’s thankful to Stannis for being merciful to him, he constantly has to argue with his king about Melisandre. Shireen is a spot of innocence in a twisted place and a breath of fresh air compared to all the Red Priestess has wrought around them.
While the reading lessons were treasures on their own and it was delightful to watch Shireen chide the Onion Knight, her patience with Davos led him to the Iron Bank of Braavos. Davos is not going to be pleased when he learns Melisandre wants Shireen for who knows what.
Daenerys and Jorah
Jorah Mormont: “If we go south to the land of the Lhazareen, the Lamb Men will kill us and take your dragons. If we go west to the Dothraki Sea the first khalasar we meet will kill us and take your dragons.”
Daenerys Targaryen: “No one will take my dragons.”
Daenerys Targaryen has developed from a naive girl into a queen over four seasons of Game of Thrones. She has set her own course, and Jorah Mormont has been by her side through all of it. Sure, he has feelings for her, but he offers advice and counsel because he think she can be the ruler Westeros needs and deserves. They’ve become close friends, and Dany trusts and values his opinions. He always looks out for what’s best for her and her future.
Their difference in age and backgrounds make their relationship unlikely. He was exiled for being a slaver, and she’s vehemently opposed to anyone who has owned slaves. His experience in Westeros and in combat means he can give Dany insight on things she has not experienced. She teaches him, too, and opens his eyes to the fact that are more noble efforts than riding into Westeros and trying to take the Iron Throne. Short of those who are married or family, Dany and Jorah might have the longest lasting relationship in the show.
Which team-up in the series makes you smile? Jump to the comments and let us know.