After each episode of Game of Thrones Season 5, Slate staffers ask: “Who is the worst person in Westeros?” But assistant editor Miriam Krule and editorial assistant Laura Bradley want to know: “Who are the best couples in Westeros?”
Miriam Krule: When you and I chatted about Episode 2, we rightfully named Dany that week’s WPiW, but we also got to talking about what we really wanted to chat about: the best relationships in Westeros, real and imagined. What better way to celebrate the erotic and doomed loves of Westeros than speculating about them—and then coming up with even better ones? Laura, what’s your dream GOT relationship?
Laura Bradley: My dream GOT relationship is actually one of the least prominent ships—and by that, I mean you can barely find anything for it, even on Tumblr! (The ones I’ve seen most have been Brienne and Jaime, Dany and Jon, Dany and Jorah, and, oddly, Sansa and The Hound.)
But I’d argue that Sansa and Daenerys would be a wonderful pairing. Consider their stories: Both have been grossly abused, and have had to find their confidence—with occasional help from some old guy. Sansa has the political skills Dany sorely lacks, and Daenerys has the fiery, outward charisma that’s been missing in the more stoic Sansa we’ve seen recently. Basically, if the ship were ever actually built, it’d totally sail itself.
Krule: But at this point, how many people on the show are “in love” vs. just politically tied to each other? (Tommen may be in love with Margaery, but we all know she’s just using him—and he wasn’t so great at showing his love when she was being taken away in chains.) Aside from Grey Worm and Missandei, are Jaime and Cersei the only real love story right now? Because that would be … tragic. Sansa’s marriage to a sociopath is one night old and already terrifying, as is the prospect of Jon Snow being seduced by Melisandre. Gone are the days full of romances (Robb Stark, Ygritte)—I guess you could count Sam and Gilly, but that’s still platonic, right?
Bradley: Alas, the world of Westeros really does love to break up its couples—either through death or long-distance travel.
Krule: It was kind of ominous that we once pegged Daenerys as the Worst Person in Westeros, because she strikes me as the perfect person to ship—she has a terrible storyline, so the only thing to do with her is imagine better ones with better lovers of course (um, surprise engagement to Hizdahr zo Loraq included). Like the Tumblr shippers you mentioned, I see her with Jon Snow in a (possibly fitting, some speculate) relationship: These characters are basically opposites put in the exact same position and, duh, they have the best hair on Game of Thrones. But we all know Jon Snow will never love again, at least not like he loved Ygritte. So if I’m going to board a Dany ship—and it will take a lot to make me board a Dany ship— I’m going to have to agree that it’s with Sansa.
Truth be told though, I’m most interested in shipping my favorite character: Arya. I’m ready for her to pair up with Oberyn’s fierce spear-throwing daughter Obara. Arya’s had a stunted childhood and is on her way to becoming a psycho killer. She could use some time in the sexually liberated Dorne, and who better than Oberyn’s progeny to teach her that there’s more to life than revenge.
Bradley: I could totally get behind Obarya. Arya could really use some distraction, and Dorne’s as good a place as any to get it. I also get the sense that Obara has one of the few personalities strong enough to handle Arya’s intensity!
Can I just throw in for Tommen and Shireen, King Stannis’ daughter? By blood, they’re not related, since Tommen is Jaime’s kid and not the late Robert’s. Those two are possibly the nicest people in all of Westeros. Not to mention it’d be SO DAMN CUTE. Tommen could use a woman in his life who isn’t trying to manipulate him. Besides, it looks like Cersei might be doing away with his current wife soon, anyway. What say you—Tomreen?
Krule: Oh, I’m firmly against that. Shireen is tough and can do way better than Tommen even if he is the current king. (Imagine how her father would react to that.)
No, for Shireen the only person who would work is … Bran! Like Dany, he’s in desperate need of saving, and now that his true soulmate, Jojen, has died, he’s ready for Shireen to console him.
Bradley: To be honest, I have never shipped Bran with anyone. But he’s definitely also a sweetheart who could be great for Shireen. And if you can’t be Queen of Westeros, Queen of the North ain’t so bad, either! Do you think anyone’s still holding out hope for Brienne and Jaime?
Krule: I will confess that I was very into Brienne and Jaime for the duration of their travels, but their love is a pure love, one of respect so mutual it may never turn into desire. Also, Jaime will never betray his lover/sister. But Podrick and Brienne have potential. She has lots to teach him.
I will say, I’d like to see Tyrion happy. Imagine a world where he pairs up with Dany. (I seem to just be tying Dany to anyone and everyone who isn’t Daario.)
Bradley: Pod and Bri would be a great couple! I think she has a lot to offer him skill-wise, and he has a lot to offer her emotionally. I can’t see Tyrion with Dany, though. I think he liked Shae because there was something whimsically thoughtful about her—something I don’t see in Dany, who is very goal-oriented. Oddly, in another world, he and Sansa could have perhaps been a great match. But there’s just too much baggage between those families to even consider going there.
Krule: So even in our world of shipping we can’t find a match for Tyrion?
Bradley: Maybe I, like Tyrion, am still processing the loss of Shae. She might be a terrible backstabber, but I still kinda miss her sass.
Krule: No time to mourn when you’re shipping. Any last words before I go off to write my Tyrion fanfiction?
Bradley: Only that I hope you’re not one of those freaks who ships him with Cersei!