Game of Thrones Season 8 is upon us, which means one thing: resolutions. We’ll finally discover who winds up on the Iron Throne at the end, what happens with the Night King and his undead army, and which characters will survive. But before we get those answers, the Ringer staff decided to try to speak a few things into existence—namely, the couples (and throuples) we want to see together when the Westerosi dust settles. Here’s who we’re shipping in the final season of Game of Thrones:
Daenerys Targaryen + Jon Snow
Kate Knibbs: I’m a simple woman. I like to sit on my couch in sweatpants, drink a cold beer, and watch hot fictional characters hook up. In other words: I am Team Targaryen Incest. The show botched the buildup to Jon and Dany falling for each other—the chemistry and relationship arcs between Jon and Ygritte and Dany and Drogo felt a lot more organic. Jon and Dany have zero scenes of lighthearted flirting or personality-based bonding and a weirdly large number of scenes dwelling on the state of her womb. But I’m still invested in this relationship because I want so much for Jon and Dany to be happy. Plus, the relationship does make sense. A marriage plot neatly solves the succession issue and gives the show a chance to do a delightfully corny “bend the knee” proposal scene. I’m ready to cheer for them as a couple … and to cry when things inevitably go horrifically wrong.
I would be absolutely shocked if both Dany and Jon make it out of this show alive, and so it does feel like I’m setting myself up for heartache by rooting for their relationship—but why bother watching Game of Thrones if you don’t want to be emotionally devastated?
Jaime Lannister + Brienne of Tarth
Megan Schuster: The appeal of Jaime and Brienne is basically the appeal of 90 percent of romantic comedies: Hunky dude + pretty girl who doesn’t know she’s pretty + situation that throws them together = unexpected love. The formula is simple and repeatable, but I have to admit it gets me every time. Brienne, deep down, just wants somebody who sees her (preferably a hot somebody), and Jaime was the first man (outside of Renly, who doesn’t count because he got axed by a shadow baby) to really do that. Now that Jaime has ditched Cersei and is heading north, it seems like a Brienne-Jaime reunion is inevitable. Now all we need is for Brienne to take off her (metaphorical) glasses, for Jaime to turn dramatically while the music swells, and for the two to live happily ever after—well, as happily as anyone can live with an army of the dead hunting you.
Jon Snow + Sansa Stark
Kate Halliwell: It’s hard to imagine watching Game of Thrones and thinking, “OK, but what if there was more incest?” Unfortunately, that seems to have been the exact reaction of a concerning number of fans, who latched onto Jon and Sansa’s relationship upon their Season 6 reunion and invented something romantic. “Jonsa,” as is the portmanteau, has become a staggeringly popular Thrones ’ship, as demonstrated by the fan fiction site Archive of Our Own (a revealing resource when it comes to analyzing the popularity of TV relationships). Jonsa is currently sitting at 4,573 pieces of individual fan fiction on the site, well over the next most popular Game of Thrones ’ship, Jaime and Brienne. On a certain level, I understand the appeal. Kit Harington and Sophie Turner have way more on-screen chemistry than Harrington and Emilia Clarke, though that’s a pretty low bar to clear. And the characters’ reunion in Season 6 is one of the series’ best. But this should in no way become canon: Tumblr and AO3, Jonsa is all yours.
Cersei + Jaime Lannister
Alison Herman: The couple that started it all should also be Game of Thrones’ OTP. Think about it: What other pairing better embodies Thrones’ moral relativism, or its ability to imbue seemingly stock characters with hidden reserves of nuance? When we met these two, Cersei and Jaime were the shitty popular kids who got away with (literal and also attempted child) murder and gave the world Joffrey. Seven seasons later, we now know Jaime to be a genuine man of principle, one guided by a solid moral compass and a genuine fidelity to the love of his life. Cersei … well, she’s a bit tougher, but being treated like a piece of meat by men significantly dumber than you your entire life will do that. At least you can’t say she doesn’t love her children?
Whatever one thinks of its individual components, it’s the quality of Cersei and Jaime’s relationship that sets it apart. Game of Thrones is filled with relationships born of political convenience, overt domination, and just plain proximity. Cersei and Jaime, meanwhile, break pretty much every taboo there is because they genuinely love each other, a purity belied by their occasional cruelty and bloodlust. Headed into the final season, the two appear to be on opposite sides of a rapidly escalating civil war, but hey—Cersei’s pregnant! What better opportunity for a fresh start?
Brienne of Tarth + Tormund Giantsbane
Danny Heifetz: The Tormund-Brienne-Jaime love triangle is best understood as a Westerosi high school drama. Brienne is the tomboy who eschews makeup, dresses, and the color pink for sports. She has a crush on Jaime Lannister, the coolest, richest, and hottest kid in school with a bad-boy reputation. Jaime shows Brienne his sensitive side, and, wait, are these … feelings? Still, she can’t help feeling that Jaime is way out of her league, and rather than disrupt the status quo, she buries her feelings. Then this guy shows up:
The new kid in school is large, hairy, and smitten. He eats his lunch with his hands, slurps when he drinks, and jokes that he doesn’t need napkins when he has sleeves. He’s as far down the social ladder from Brienne as Brienne is from Jaime. Tormund’s crush on Brienne is unrequited and creepy, but it is genuine. Feeling comfortable in his own skin is the one thing Tormund has that Jaime doesn’t, and when it comes to love, that makes all the difference. Brienne is obsessed with the idea of Jaime, but the person who will treat her right is staring her in the face. Hopefully this season, Tormund stops the creepy staring so Brienne can finally see him for who he really is.
Podrick Payne + Sansa Stark
Shaker Samman: Game of Thrones likes to test the limits of viewers’ understanding of the show’s world. How could Jon Snow, supposedly a Stark, break bread with Daenerys Targaryen—daughter of the king who burned Jon’s ancestors alive? We’ve been taught to be familiar with the incestual relationship between Cersei and Jaime, but isn’t that all still a bit unnerving? And uh, what exactly do Missandei and Grey Worm do? In that same vein, I present the most logically head-scratching couple the Seven Kingdoms could possibly offer: Sansa Stark and Podrick Payne.
Noble Pod the Sex God may be blood relatives with the muted brute who killed Sansa’s father, but over the course of the series, he’s shown himself to be a kind, caring gentleman. Sansa has suffered through two vile paramours—Joffrey and Ramsay—and while she grew from those awful couplings, steeling herself into becoming one of Westeros’s great players, she deserves to find someone she can trust. And I can think of no better man for the job than the most loyal squire in all of Westeros.
Yara Greyjoy + Daenerys Targaryen
Miles Surrey: Let’s consider the eligible bachelors for Daenerys. One is a mopey Northerner who, while handsome, is also her literal nephew; another is a perpetually friend-zoned knight who’s washed and nearly died from eczema; the other was so uninteresting she didn’t even feel bad about ditching him in Meereen. Dany will inevitably end up with someone if she survives the trials of Thrones’ final season—all the better for her claim to the Iron Throne—but her boo shouldn’t be Jon, Ser Jorah, or Daario. Give us more Dany and Yara Greyjoy.
The two first met in Season 6, when Yara and Theon joined forces with the Dragon Queen and provided her army with a proper armada. (Well, at least it seemed like it at the time.) While the Greyjoy siblings were totally overmatched on the high seas by their uncle, Euron, the one bright spot from this alliance was the, um, charged glances between two would-be queens. Dany hasn’t been ensorcelled like this since Khal Drogo:
There are quite a few obstacles in the way of Yara and Dany reuniting—and [clears throat] uniting between the sheets. Yara is being held captive by Euron, putting her in one of the most precarious situations among the surviving heroes. Meanwhile, Dany doesn’t yet know she’s slamming her nephew, and while a witch told her that she couldn’t bear children, who’s to say that wasn’t a bold-faced lie? (Also: Thrones isn’t nearly spicy enough to realistically give us this ’ship.) But if Dany is going to preside over Westeros when the White Walkers and Cersei have presumably been taken care of, who says she needs to rule alongside a dude? Why not give Dany someone who’s, in her own words, “Up for anything, really”?
Daenerys Targaryen + Daario Naharis + Jorah Mormont
Halliwell: There’s no such thing as a conventional relationship in the Game of Thrones universe. In the face of incest, adultery, and more incest, healthy two-person relationships are few and far between. That’s why, when it comes to Dany’s love life, restricting her to one man seems straight-up antiquated. I don’t even want to talk about Jon; the chemistry there is nonexistent. No, let’s bring it back to the OG Jorah-Daario debate. News flash for Dany: She shouldn’t have to choose! She’s the, well, you can read all of her titles for yourself. If anyone deserves two consorts, it’s her. Besides, throuples are in right now—just ask Bella Thorne.
Euron Greyjoy + Cersei Lannister
Katie Baker: Find you a man who looks at you the way Euron Greyjoy looks at Cersei Lannister while he gifts her with two of her mortal enemies for her torturing/slaughtering pleasure!
I feel creepy admitting this, but I have grown, like, extremely invested in the potential for a strategic sham marriage between these two noted sadists. Every lock has its key, after all. (And Jaime, by now, deserves better!) Will one of them murder the other? Probably! But love hurts, man. In a show that so frequently features couplings that lack shared worldviews, it’s legitimately touching to observe two people who are this simpatico when it comes to their love of power and their lust for revenge. In conclusion, I sure do hope Cersei can get that fickle finger someday.
Sansa Stark + Tyrion Lannister
Knibbs: The last time these two were together, they were in a sham marriage that neither wanted. Sansa’s youth and Tyrion’s love of Shae prevented him from even considering her as a real romantic partner, while Sansa dismissed Tyrion because of his last name and appearance. Now, however, so much has changed that these two would make perfect sense as a couple. They’re possibly the savviest political minds left on the show, they have both been tortured and tutored by Cersei, they’re likely both not super into the Jon-Dany alliance, and they have the most important thing for any couple—a strong preexisting friendship! Sansa has never gotten to be with someone gentle and skilled, and I think she could easily come around to Tyrion now that she isn’t waiting for a prince to sweep her off her feet. And she’s grown up enough that getting together with Tyrion wouldn’t be creepy on his part within the world of the show. Why not renew their vows??
Drogon + Rhaegal
Ben Lindbergh: Jon is probably about to ride Rhaegal into battle, and he and Dany are already riding each other in bed. Wouldn’t it be romantic if their mounts mounted each other too? And by romantic, I mean “similarly incestuous.” Then again, without dragon DNA testing, we can’t technically know that the eggs that hatched Drogon and Rhaegal came from the same parentage. Even if they did, inbreeding is a proud Targaryen tradition.
It would be hard to have the birds-and-the-bees talk with these two, because not much is known about dragon reproduction. (As notorious tease GRRM once said, “Sexing dragons is difficult. More in future books.”) Dragons may not be restricted to a single sex; in A Feast for Crows, Maester Aemon observes,“Dragons are neither male nor female, [Septon] Barth saw the truth of that, but now one and now the other, as changeable as flame.” That suggests that at some point, Drogon and Rhaegal could conceivably have the hots for each other (no pun intended). We’re down to two known living dragons, so even if they are related, it’s imperative that they get together. I wouldn’t want to spoil the mood by applying too much pressure, but the survival of the species is at stake.
Davos + His Wife
Riley McAtee: I really cannot stress this enough: DAVOS IS MARRIED. His wife is mentioned extensively in the books and also in the show. Onion Knight, please put your weird thing for Missandei aside and go back to your wife.
Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.