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‘Game of Thrones’ Meme Bracket: Brienne and Tormund Skate Into the Final Four

A mere 44 votes sent the Night King packing in the Elite Eight. Who will move forward as the tournament nears its conclusion?

HBO/Ringer illustration

Even in the notoriously dark, depressing Game of Thrones universe, love can conquer death. Or, at least in the case of The Ringer’s meme bracket, creepy leering can.

On Wednesday, Tormund and Brienne took down the Night King by the skin of its teeth—44 votes, to be exact—and returned summer to the realm. The battle was tough, the closest the meme bracket has seen to this point, and if this were the NCAA tournament, we’d probably say that Tormund and Brienne won on a buzzer-beater. And deservedly so. While the Night King GIF is iconic—who can forget the chilling moment that he stared down Jon Snow at Hardhome, raised his arms, and brought many of Jon’s recently fallen friends back from the dead?—this is ultimately a victory for one of the show’s most highly regarded ships.

One of the biggest (or at least my biggest) questions entering Season 8 is whom Brienne will end up with. Tormund is an obvious choice for a few reasons: First, he’s made his love for her abundantly clear (see: the GIF in reference); and second, once he gets past the whole freaky staring phase, it seems like he could legitimately make Brienne happy. But of course, there are other contenders. Jaime Lannister for one, who, though he and Brienne have never openly acknowledged any possible feelings for one another, clearly has an immense respect for her—he gave her a Valyrian-steel sword, after all!—and is currently riding for Winterfell. And of course, who can count out Sex God Pod? The show has given no indication that there’s attraction on either side of that relationship, but at this point, it’s basically impossible to ignore one of the Thrones’s biggest romantic free agents.

For now, though, I’ll take this joint Tormund-Brienne victory as a sign that they’re MFEO—or at least MTWTB (Made to Win This Bracket).

There is one downside to their victory, however, and that’s the world being denied a Night King vs. Jon Snow battle in the championship. It feels strange watching Jon vs. Everyone—the winner of the Stark Region—advance when the “everyone” Jon will face in Season 8 is the Night King and his 100,000-plus undead army. But alas, I guess we’ll just have to wait to see how that plays out in a few weeks. At least we’ll have the heat of Tormund’s stare to keep us warm in the meantime.

Outside of Tormund and Brienne, which took the Field Region, and Jon vs. Everyone, we also have Tyrion Dancing and Drogon vs. Loot Train advancing to the Final Four out of the Lannister and Targaryen Regions, respectively. The Drogon-Jon matchup looks to be a tough contest, and it’ll be strange watching Jon square off against the child of his aunt/lover and the sibling of Rhaegal, who maybe, JUST MAYBE, he’ll ride this season. Tyrion Dancing is the last no. 1 seed remaining in the tournament, so Tormund and Brienne will have its work cut out for it this round.

Voting is open now, and you can cast your ballots here, on Twitter, and on Instagram until 5 p.m. Eastern. With all heroes left in the field, which will take home the ultimate prize as meme champion?

Final Four

(3) Jon vs. Everyone v. (2) Drogon vs. Loot Train

3. Jon vs. Everyone: The premiere meme for any and all hot takes. Jon’s charge toward the Bolton cavalry in the Battle of the Bastards works for any controversial opinion because internet users are bloodthirsty spectators and social media is our virtual colosseum. When a great hot take enters the arena, it doesn’t matter who is unsheathing their sword against the galloping hordes of groupthink. It only matters that we are promised blood.

Don’t be surprised if this meme, like Jon, beats the odds.

2. Drogon vs. Loot Train: A highlight tape of Golden State Warriors playoff games.


Which Meme Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 84%
    (3) Jon vs. Everyone
    (9368 votes)
  • 15%
    (2) Drogon vs. Loot Train
    (1730 votes)
11098 votes total Vote Now

(1) Tyrion Dancing v. (2) Tormund and Brienne

1. Tyrion Dancing: Tyrion’s trial in Season 4 is among the tensest scenes of the entire series. The bloopers, not so much.

I assume this is how Paul Manafort walked into his various trials.

2. Tormund and Brienne: The unrequited love that launched a thousand memes.


Which Meme Should Advance?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    (1) Tyrion Dancing
    (4614 votes)
  • 58%
    (2) Tormund and Brienne
    (6561 votes)
11175 votes total Vote Now

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.

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