- "Plenty of little men tried to put their swords through my heart. And there's plenty of little skeletons buried in the woods."
- ―Tormund to Jon Snow
Tormund, often called Tormund Giantsbane, is a major character in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh seasons. He initially appears as a recurring character in the third season. He is a renowned leader and raider among the Free Folk and one of the key leaders behind Mance Rayder. Tormund respected Mance as the King-Beyond-the-Wall and suspected he was the man to lead them through the Long Night. But as time passes and Mance is killed on the orders of Stannis Baratheon, he believes the prophesied warrior is his enemy-turned-friend Jon Snow. He is played by Kristofer Hivju.
Tormund is a trusted leader in his own right of a large warband of wildlings. He has joined his forces to those of King-Beyond-the-Wall Mance Rayder, and now functions as one of Mance's most trusted lieutenants. Tormund is not just a capable leader, but also a very dangerous fighter. This is proven during the Battle of Castle Black, where he killed multiple Night's Watch brothers and clearly outmatched Ser Alliser Thorne in single combat.
He boasts of having bedded a she-bear, which he calls Shella. Ygritte insists that everyone knows he just made this story up.
Tormund has two daughters, though he hasn't mentioned if he has any sons.
Tormund accompanies Mance, along with Orell, Ygritte and Jon Snow, to the Fist of the First Men, where they see the mutilated horse corpses left behind by the White Walkers after their attack against the Night's Watch. Mance commands Tormund to climb the Wall along with twenty raiders, and Jon Snow as well, and wait for his signal to attack Castle Black from behind.
As Tormund's party comes closer to the Wall, Tormund questions Jon about the "crows" patrolling the top of the Wall spotted by Orell's eagle. Jon explains that the patrols are two Builders and two Rangers. Orell then questions Jon about the castles still manned by the Watch and the number of men in the garrison of Castle Black, disbelieving Jon's claim that a thousand men defend it. When Orell and Ygritte, who defends Jon, are about to start a fight, Tormund puts a stop to it throwing Orell away. Tormund tells Jon he likes him but will kill him nonetheless if he's lying. Jon remains adamant on his lie, but Tormund remains doubtful.
Tormund's party camps at a patch of the Haunted Forest that has been left unchecked and grown close to the Wall. Tormund comments to Jon that, once, crows would cut down any the trees within a mile of the Wall. When Jon asks Ygritte if she's ever climbed the Wall she confesses she hasn't, but Tormund has done it many times. After a few minutes, Tormund approaches Jon again and gives him a climbing pick. He advises Jon to sink it deep into the ice of the Wall and make sure it holds before taking the next step. He then jokes that if he falls, he better not scream because he wouldn't want that be the last thing Ygritte remembers about him.
Tormund's party breaks into four smaller groups to climb the Wall. Tormund leads one of them, with Orell, Yrgitte, and Jon sharing the same rope. Tormund's pick breaks a piece of ice that causes Jon to briefly lose his footing. The Wildling leader jokes that he wanted to see if he could take a hit. The raiding party climb further, but a portion of the Wall breaks down, taking one of the groups to their deaths. The ice keeps breaking and Tormund nails his pick hard to prevent them from falling, but Ygritte and Jon do drop, and end up dangling in the air. Tormund holds the rope with one hand but Orell begins cutting the rope to prevent Jon and Ygritte from bringing them down. Jon reaches the ice just as Orell cuts Ygritte loose. Later, the group reaches an abandoned watchpost of the Night's Watch. Ygritte and Jon reach the top as Tormund gathers his rope.
Tormund and the raiding party climb down from the Wall and begin their march to take Castle Black unaware. Some time later, the party encamps in a forest area of the Gift. Tormund jokingly gives Jon some advice on how to properly have sex with a woman before ordering the group to begin the march again.
Some time afterward, Tormund's party reach the hut of a man who breeds horses for the Night's Watch. Orell advises attacking the man and killing him for his horses and gold. Tormund muses he may have good steel. Jon argues to spare the man and just take the horses, as the Watch will send less men to track down thieves than for a murderer. Tormund hopes for more men as it will be easier to kill them in the open than in Castle Black. Tormund orders his men to spread out to attack the hut. The man escapes after his horses react to a noise made by Jon to warn him.
Tormund and his men capture the man at an abandoned mill. Orell manages to hear noise inside the mill - it's Bran and Rickon Stark, along with their companions - but Tormund dismisses it as thunder from the rain that is just beginning. Tormund then questions the man about where he was riding. The man refuses to answer because he'll die anyway, and Tormund admits he's right. Tormund bares his sword to kill the man, who asks to die standing up, but Orell intervenes and demands that Jon kill the man. Tormund orders Jon to do it, but Jon hesitates. Ygritte carries out the execution after Jon is unable to. Orell goads Tormund into killing Jon to prevent him from betraying them and Tormund relents, ordering his men to kill Jon. Tormund restrains Ygritte when she tries to interfere to protect her lover. As Ygritte rages, he tells her not to die for a crow. Several members of Tormund's party, among them Orell, are killed by Jon as well as Summer and Shaggydog.
Tormund has his raiding party encamped in a stone ravine south of the Wall. Tormund chides Ygritte for failing to finish off Jon Snow; he has enough faith in her as an archer to believe that that if Jon escaped, it was because she allowed him to. Suddenly, their scouts signal that someone is approaching. Styr and a band of Thenn approach them through the ravine. Out of earshot, Tormund comments about how much he hates Thenns. Styr says his party raided a village south of the ravine and gathered meat. He says the meat tastes so much better south of the Wall, and chides Tormund for losing their warg as well as Jon. He reminds Tormund how the Night's Watch are feasting and getting fat at Castle Black. Styr suggests that Tormund taste crow meat before he dies, as a human arm roasts over a fire.
Tormund and Styr lead a raid on a village south of the Wall. When one villager attempts to attack Tormund from behind, Ygritte shoots him before he can strike and Tormund finishes him off. Styr sends Olly to Castle Black as a message to the brothers of the Night's Watch.
Tormund and Styr attack the settlement of Mole's Town. They slaughter all of the inhabitants, which include members of the Night's Watch who were visiting the local brothel. News of this attack reaches Castle Black, which is their next target.
Tormund takes part in the rear assault on Castle Black, being the first one to infiltrate the fortress. He kills many black brothers and then engages Alliser Thorne in single combat. They are evenly matched, but Tormund manages to seriously wound Ser Alliser, who is then pulled to safety by his fellow black brothers. Tormund continues his rampage along the Castle, despite receiving multiple wounds from arrows and swords. After all of the rear assault forces are slain, only Tormund remains and is incapacitated by a crossbow bolt from Jon Snow. He is then taken prisoner for interrogation.
After Mance's forces on the other side of the Wall are defeated by the surprise appearance of Stannis Baratheon, Jon comes to Tormund, who has had his wounds tended to by Maester Aemon. Jon informs Tormund that they will be burning the dead wildlings' bodies and asks if he wishes to say any words in their memory. Tormund scoffs at the idea, telling him that the dead can't hear them. Tormund then asks Jon if he loved Ygritte and explains that Ygritte had truly loved Jon, her constant talk of killing him being proof of that. Tormund solemnly requests that Jon take Ygritte's body north of the Wall to burn it, since that's what she would have wanted. Jon complies with Tormund's wish and soon after has Ygritte's body burned on a funeral pyre beyond the Wall.
Tormund, alongside his fellow wildlings, are present when Mance Rayder is executed by Stannis Baratheon for refusing to bend the knee. He is visibly distressed to see his king and longtime friend executed in such a brutal manner, a burning at the stake. However, before Mance is burnt, Jon mercifully shoots him dead with an arrow, an act that Tormund would remember as honorable. With Mance Rayder dead, Tormund becomes the new leader of the remnants of the wildling army.
Once Stannis leaves the jurisdiction of the wildling prisoners to Lord Commander Jon Snow, he suggested that Tormund might be more open to forming the same alliance Mance Rayder rejected. Some time later, Jon meets with a chained Tormund to discuss what will happen with the wildlings next. Jon offers Tormund lands south of the Wall for the wildlings to settle after they have rounded up the surviving Free Folk north of the Wall in return for their help in defeating the White Walkers when they march on the Wall. Tormund is reluctant at first, and after Jon unchains him, he discloses that most of the remaining Free Folk who are north of the Wall are at Hardhome. Jon offers him horses and men to bring them back, yet Tormund states that they will also need ships in order to bring all the wildlings to Castle Black, and that Jon must accompany them to assure the Free Folk they will not simply set fire to all the ships and kill them all. Jon agrees and says he will borrow the ships from Stannis, which he later does, just before Stannis abandons Castle Black and marches on Winterfell.
Tormund and Jon, along with other members of the Night's Watch and the Free Folk, arrive at the Wildling town Hardhome to convince the rest of the Wildlings to join them in the upcoming war against the White Walkers and their armies of Wights.
Insisting on never being an ally with a Crow, The Lord of Bones insults Tormund for being at the side of Jon Snow, causing Tormund to beat his former ally to death with his own staff. The Wildling elders decide to gather in the Townshall to hear Jon, who quickly proposes an alliance between the Free Folk and the Night's Watch in the face of their common enemy, the undead. Having not seen Mance Rayder since he was taken prisoner at The Wall, the Wildlings question his whereabouts. Snow reluctantly informs them that he is dead and that he shot him personally, with an arrow. This angers the group, but as they move in to kill him, Tormund vouches for him, describing how Rayder was about to be burned at the stake as a warning from Stannis Baratheon, and how Snow defied Stannis by ending his life quickly instead of humiliating him. Some leaders are convinced, but others begin to leave.
A few hours later Tormund is helping the Night's Watch load the boats and Jon queries how many wildlings have boarded estimating about 5,000 and worried that they are leaving too many behind. Tormund says he's not good at counting but that the wildlings are stubborn however, more will join because "they're running out of food and there's nothing to hunt".
A large host of undead wights then storm Hardhome and start breaking through the gate and wall seperating a small segment of Hardhome. Jon and Tormund fight alongside others to give as many people as possible an opportunity to make it to their ships. Edd Tollet, Wun Wun, and others are trapped inside the townhall, which is set upon by wights and catches fire – in the confusion, the bag of dragonglass weapons is lost. On top of a hill overlooking Hardhome, multiple White Walkers mounted on undead horses observe the battle, including The Night's King. The White Walkers deploy another large host of wights, hurling them over the cliffs above Hardhome. Jon, Edd, Tormund and the remaining defenders flee for their lives. Flanked by Wun Wun, who wields a burning log as a club before walking into the sea with them, they manage to get to the last remaining boat and quickly row out to a safe distance. As Jon and the others look on in horror, the Night's King raises his arms triumphantly; all around him, the slain wildlings rise up as undead wights.
Days later, Jon, Tormund, and the surviving few thousand wildlings from Hardhome, arrive at the Wall, presumably in two groups, before the gates of Castle Black and are allowed through by a very reluctant Ser Alliser Thorne.
In response to Jon Snow's death at the hands of mutineers led by Alliser Thorne, Eddison Tollett leaves to find Tormund and the wildlings and get their help in the coming struggle for their lives against Thorne and his men.
After Edd finds him, Tormund leads the wildlings to attack Castle Black. Once inside, Tormund quickly kills a brother who attacks him, and with help from Wun Wun, the rest surrender without a fight. After the mutineers are detained, Tormund examines Jon's body, then asks Davos to burn it as quickly as possible. Later, Tormund witnesses Melisandre attempt to resurrect Jon, and is the first to leave the room when she seemingly fails, seconds before Jon awakens.
When Jon awakens and is clothed by Davos, Tormund sees Jon coming from the room and explains that the wildlings think that he is a God. Tormund then remarks how he knows Jon isn't a god as no god would have a penis as small as his. He proceeds to hug Jon and welcomes him back. Tormund later watches the execution of the mutineers in the crowd.
When Sansa Stark arrives at Castle Black with Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne, a surprised Tormund can't stop staring at Brienne, then witnesses Sansa's reunion with Jon, her half-brother. Tormund later shares a meal with Jon, Sansa, Brienne, Podrick and Edd. As he eats, Tormund gives Brienne a flirtatious glance. When Jon reads a letter from Ramsay Bolton, Tormund stops eating and listens intently, visibly angered at Ramsay's threats to him and his fellow wildlings. Tormund asks Sansa how many men Ramsay has. Sansa claims he has around five thousand, and Tormund tells Jon that from the thousands of wildlings they saved from Hardhome, only two thousand are able to fight.
Tormund attends a war council with Jon, Sansa, Davos, Brienne, Podrick and Edd, remaining silent while listening to Jon, Sansa and Davos's strategies. While leaving Castle Black, Tormund again gazes at Brienne with lust, leaving Brienne uneasy. Tormund assists in convincing Dim Dalba to join Jon and Sansa's cause, bringing with them the force of the wildlings, still in debt to Jon for saving them at Hardhome.
During the Battle of the Bastards, Tormund once again fights alongside Jon. When they are surrounded by the Umber pike phalanx, Tormund panics and sends his wildlings towards the hill of corpses. This unintentionally causes Jon to be trampled by the stampede, nearly suffocating him. As the Stark forces are about to lose, the Knights of the Vale arrive, smashing Umber forces apart. While Lord Smalljon is distracted by the charge, Tormund bites his throat out, then stabs him, killing him.
He, Jon and Wun Wun chase Ramsay back to Winterfell, where he witnesses Wun Wun sacrifice himself to breach Winterfell's front gates so that they can enter. He watches Ramsay shoot Wun Wun dead, and Jon defeat Ramsay in combat.
Tormund is later present when Jon is crowned the King in the North. He briefly disputes with Lord Yohn Royce, claiming that Jon invited him and the wildlings south of the Wall instead of them invading as Royce believed. Although by now a close friend and ally of Jon, he stays true to his beliefs and doesn't take part in hailing him king.
|Season Three appearances|
|Valar Dohaeris||Dark Wings, Dark Words||Walk of Punishment||And Now His Watch is Ended||Kissed by Fire|
|The Climb||The Bear and the Maiden Fair||Second Sons||The Rains of Castamere||Mhysa|
|Season Four appearances|
|Two Swords||The Lion and the Rose||Breaker of Chains||Oathkeeper||First of His Name|
|The Laws of Gods and Men||Mockingbird||The Mountain and the Viper||The Watchers on the Wall||The Children|
|Season Five appearances|
|The Wars to Come||The House of Black and White||High Sparrow||Sons of the Harpy||Kill the Boy|
|Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken||The Gift||Hardhome||The Dance of Dragons||Mother’s Mercy|
|Season Six appearances|
|The Red Woman||Home||Oathbreaker||Book of the Stranger||The Door|
|Blood of My Blood||The Broken Man||No One||Battle of the Bastards||The Winds of Winter|
- "Don't panic, boy. This isn't the damned Night's Watch where we make you swear off girls."
- ―Tormund to Jon Snow
- "I like you, boy, but if you lie to me, I'll pull your guts out through your throat."
- ―Tormund Giantsbane to Jon Snow
- "Thenns. I fucking hate Thenns."
- ―Tormund Giantsbane
- "You spent too much time with us, Jon Snow. You can never be a kneeler again."
- ―Tormund Giantsbane to Jon Snow
- Tormund: "Snow, did you love her? (Jon doesn't respond) She loved you."
- Jon Snow: "She told you?"
- Tormund: "No. All she ever talked about was killing you. That's how I know."
- — Tormund and Jon Snow about Ygritte.[src]
- "Hard to lead when you're in chains."
- ―Tormund to Jon Snow
- Tormund: "The day I ask my people to fight with the crows is the day my people cut my guts from my belly and make me eat them."
- Jon Snow: "And how many of your people can't fight? The women, the children, the old, the sick, what happens to them? You're condemning them to death? Worse than death because you're too proud to make peace? Or maybe you're not proud. Maybe you're just a coward."
- Tormund: "(Stands up menacingly) Easy thing to say to a man in chains."
- — Tormund and Jon Snow[src]
- "All right, then. But you're coming with me. You're the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, they need to hear it from you. They need to know that the ships they are boarding won't be torched in the middle of the sea. You come with me, or I don't go."
- ―Tormund demands Jon accompany him to Hardhome.
- Alliser Thorne: "You know what I think we should do with you instead of putting food in your belly and a roof over your head?"
- Tormund: "Probably something I wouldn't like very much."
- Alliser Thorne: "No, you wouldn't."
- Tormund: "You must no longer be in charge, then."
- — Tormund and Alliser Thorne[src]
- "None of you saw Mance die. I did. The Southern King who broke our army, Stannis, wanted to burn him alive to send us a message. Jon Snow defied that cunt's orders. His arrow was mercy. What he did took courage, and that's what we need today, the courage to make peace with men who we've been killing for generations."
- ―Tormund to the Hardhome wildlings.
- "I thought he was the man to lead us through the Long Night, but I was wrong."
- ―Tormund Giantsbane about Mance Rayder
- "I saw your pecker. What kind of god would have a pecker that small?"
- ―Tormund to a revived Jon Snow
- "The crows killed him because he spoke for the Free Folk when no other Southerner would. He died for us. If we're not willing to do the same for him, then we're cowards, and if that's what we are, then we deserve to be the last of the Free Folk."
- ―Tormund to the wildlings.
- "You want a fight!?"
- ―Tormund to the Bolton soldiers during the Battle of the Bastards.
Behind the scenes
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Tormund Giantsbane, also known as Tormund Thunderfist, is a wildling chieftain following Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-the-Wall. He serves alongside the Lord of Bones, Styr the Magnar of Thenn and several other chieftains as an advisor and lieutenant to "the Mance". He is a charismatic, hearty, good-humored man and, by wildling standards, has a rough sense of honor. He styles himself Tall-talker, Horn-blower, Breaker of Ice, Husband to Bears, Mead-King of Ruddy Hall, Speaker to Gods and Father of Hosts. He has four sons (Toregg, Torwynd, Dryn, and Dormund) and a daughter (Munda). In contrast, the TV series only mentioned in "Hardhome" that he has two daughters.
Tormund is older in the books than in the TV series: he is described as having a white beard so he is not a young man, but he is also described as large, broad, and still very strong. He wears thick gold bands graven with runes on his massive arms, and a heavy shirt of black ringmail that could only have come from a dead ranger. Tormund likes to brag about his deeds, but he is not arrogant.
While Jon travels with the wildlings, he and Tormund become friends despite Jon's effort to keep his distance from the wildlings. Jon is rather amused to hear Tormund's stories, one of them is about having sex with a woman who was a she-bear (in the show, Tormund tells Ygritte a story about the same subject, but much shorter). Tormund approves of the growing romance between Jon and Ygritte, and encourages Jon to have sex with her. When the Lord of Bones acts hostilely and suspiciously toward Jon, Tormund supports Jon.
In the books it is not Tormund but Styr that leads the wildling party to scale the Wall. Tormund stays behind with the main wildling force, and later he and other lieutenants are sent by Mance to attack several areas of the Wall, in order to draw attention away from the main host and to draw away the defenders. Bowen Marsh falls for the trick and takes most of the garrison from Castle Black.
Tormund does not take part in the repeated attacks on Castle Black. It is not him but Lord of Bones that is captured by the Watch.
When Jon goes to parley with Mance (actually, to kill him), he first meets Tormund. Although they are enemies, Tormund remains friendly toward Jon. He compliments the defenders for putting up such valiant fight against the wildlings despite being outnumbered, and is filled with awe to hear that one-armed blacksmith Donal Noye killed Mag Mar Tun Doh Weg. They go to Mance's tent, chatting leisurely, sharing Tormund's mead waterskin. Tormund is deeply saddened to hear about Ygritte's death, and is indifferent to hear Styr died too. He proudly tells Jon that Longspear Ryk kidnapped his daughter Munda, and they like each other. When they reach the camp, Harma Dogshead and Varamyr Sixskins want to kill Jon, but Tormund protects him, insisting that he has the right to speak with Mance.
When Stannis attacks the wildlings, Tormund leads a triple line of spearmen, but they are attacked on the flank by Stannis's knights and break. Tormund and many of his troops escape. He manages to regather the dispersed wildlings, preparing for new assault.
Some time afterwards, Jon sends Val (Mance's sister in law) to parley with Tormund. Tormund agrees to make peace with the Watch, and surrenders willingly with three or four thousand wildlings. The negotiation between him and Jon is initially unpleasant: he roars and calls Jon a craven, a liar, and a turncloak, curses him for a black-hearted buggering kneeler, a robber, and a carrion crow. Twice he flings his drinking horn at Jon’s head, though only after he has emptied it (Tormund is not the sort of man to waste a good mead). Jon lets it all wash over him, never raises his own voice nor answers a threat with a threat, but neither does he give more ground than he had come prepared to give. Finally they reach an agreement.
One of the terms that Jon demands from Tormund that he and his followers give away their valuables, to pay for the food and shelter the Watch will give them. Without hesitation, Tormund give Jon as a first payment two golden heavy armbands, engraved with the ancient runes of the First Men. Jon feels sorry that such precious items will be melted down by the Braavosi, and suggests that Tormund keeps them. Tormund answers "No. I’ll not have it said that Tormund Thunderfist made the free folk give up their treasures whilst he kept his own".
Jon sends Cotter Pyke to save the wildlings at Hardhome. After receiving a distress message from Cotter, Jon intends to go there with Tormund, but just then he receives the Bastard Letter from Ramsay (or someone who claims to be him). Tormund guesses by his expression the letter contains bad news. He admits he is illiterate: "Tormund Thunderfist had better things to do than learn to make papers talk at him".
Stannis asks Jon what kind of man is Tormund. Jon answers: "Tormund Giantsbane seemed to me the sort of man who would make a good friend and a bad enemy".
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 "Hardhome"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "Valar Dohaeris"
- ↑ "Walk of Punishment"
- ↑ "Kissed by Fire"
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 "The Climb"
- ↑ "The Bear and the Maiden Fair"
- ↑ "The Rains of Castamere"
- ↑ "Two Swords"
- ↑ "Breaker of Chains"
- ↑ "The Mountain and the Viper"
- ↑ "The Watchers on the Wall"
- ↑ "The Children"
- ↑ "The Wars to Come"
- ↑ "High Sparrow
- ↑ "Kill the Boy
- ↑ "The Gift (episode)"
- ↑ "The Dance of Dragons"
- ↑ "Home"
- ↑ "Oathbreaker"
- ↑ "Book of the Stranger"
- ↑ "The Door"
- ↑ "The Broken Man"
- ↑ "Battle of the Bastards (episode)"
- ↑ "The Winds of Winter"