Amid all the blood and nudity, Game of Thrones gave us a little romance to root for this season. The last two episodes of Season 6 found Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) making eyes at Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) when she arrived at Castle Black, which quickly set the internet on fire. There were Brienne and Tormund memes, there were montage videos; it was the beginning of a beautiful warrior relationship (at least if fans had their way).

But beyond his phenomenal eyebrow acting, Hivju’s Tormund is also the leader of the Wildlings, who we know will aid Jon Snow in his battle against Ramsay to take back Winterfell. I caught up with Hivju over the phone to talk about Tormund’s crush and his work on the latest season. The Norwegian actor told me his preferred Brienne and Tormund shipper name – enough of this Torienne nonsense – being lied to by Kit Harington, and his upcoming role in Fast 8 alongside Charlize Theron.

One of my favorite parts of this season is Tormund’s crush on Brienne.

That was unexpected, huh? [Laughs]

What was it like to play those scenes with Gwendoline Christie?

We had a lot of fun with it. She’s a great actress and she’s a walking, laughing machine. It was a day of doing that. Some of the scenes are deleted. But we had a lot of fun and nobody saw that coming.


What’s in your deleted scenes?

Ah, you’ll see when the extra material comes out. The only thing the show says about Tormund’s family is he says in “Hardhome” that “Jon Snow is prettier than both my daughters.” So he has kids, but we haven’t seen him – he’s been so occupied with war that he hasn’t been able to think about girls. So finally there was a match for him walking in Castle Black.

Will we see him reunite with his kids?

It’s a good question because it’s not answered somehow. Probably. Well, it’s just a theory then because it hasn’t been defined yet. But I supposed when we’re at “Hardhome” he would have gotten [them] out into the ships. And there is a scene in [Season 5] Episode 9 I think where we stand in front of the Wall waiting for Ser Alliser to open the gates, and there’s a kid there that I embrace. But that’s not really defined yet. We’ll see!

What’s your shipper name for Tormund and Brienne? Some say Briemund, others say Torienne.

Briemund the Tarth Bane. I think that’s the one. [Laughs]

The big reveal this season was of course Jon Snow’s return. What was it like when you found out Kit Harington was actually returning?

Well I must say that Kit Harington is a brilliant liar. He made a huge drama, he even had a speech and said like, “I’m so grateful to be on this show” and “nice to work with you all.” And Maisie [Williams] one night, she went up to him and she took him by the ears and she looked him deeply into the eyes and she said, “Is it true? Are you dead?” And with tears in his eyes he said, “Yes Maisie. I’m sorry, but I am dead. I’m not coming back.” So he was a brilliant liar to all of us. He really kept that. But of course when we read the script for this season we all knew what was going to happen. Then we had the shared lie.

What was it like to keep that secret?

It’s a funny thing. There are many things he have to [keep secret], but that sequence was so obvious and people were asking about it all the time. It became a sport answering when people asked.


Would you say that’s the one of the hardest parts of being on this show, having to keep all these secrets?

People want spoilers, but they don’t want spoilers. People want to know what’s going to happen, but they don’t want to know what’s going to happen. So it’s actually, to ruin the show, I can tell you in like two sentences what’s going to happen the rest of the season and I will destroy that season for you. But what I think is touching is that the day after [Jon Snow] returned, the internet, it was difficult to know, because the fans are so careful of not spoiling each other. So I think that’s pretty unique. […] Of course Entertainment Weekly did it on the front page, but still I think that tells something when millions of people don’t want a spoiler to take away that experience. That’s a great thing.

Are there bigger things coming this season fans will freak out over more than Jon Snow?

Well I hope so and I expect so. It’s always something. But that’s the fun thing about this. There’s no books to read, so nobody knows what’s going to happen. It has the element of a sports event. It’s cool for the people who have invested so much in the books and now they can watch the show as everybody else.

Do you watch the episodes as they air?

Yes, of course. That’s the only way to see it.

Have you seen Episode 5 already?

Actually that’s the next thing I’m going to do tonight, because I’m in Norway and it’s late.

From this point on, are we going to see Tormund head to the Northern houses with Jon or will he go with Brienne to the Riverlands?

Well, do you want me to say? I can’t say that.

I mean, I do, but that’s up to you…

[Laughs] No, but it’s like, the one thing I like this season is he suddenly gets involved in the political aspects of this world. Not only to save his people, but he has to muscle because he has his army. So I won’t tell you.

We know the season is building towards a big battle. What can we expect from fight scenes with Tormund?

Uh yeah, the trailer shows that as well so I can say that Tormund will fight this season. But I won’t say to whom I’m fighting. But it’s always interesting to see what kinds of fights there will be.

You’re also in the new Fast 8.

Yeah. I just came back, I started to shoot one week ago.

What can you say about your character?

Charlize Theron’s character’s name is Cipher and I’m her like, henchman, bodyguard, helper, co-worker kinda guy. We will try to make life as difficult as we can for the rest of the gang.

Do you have any experience racing cars?

Well, when I got the part I took a ride in my car and I was stopped by the police and they gave me a ticket. So it was a very brief period of joy. [Laughs]

Lastly, how likely is it Tormund will return next season?

We’ll have to see how it all ends, right? Valar morghulis, all men must die. You never know. I don’t know how many speaking characters die this season, so it’s a dangerous show to be on.