Most of us don’t think of Game of Thrones as a show about friendship. War, power, dragons, yes. Friendship? Not so much. Still, taking a cue from this Nerdist article, “Five of the Greatest Partnerships in Game of Thrones,” I’ll argue that these bizarre, unlikely, dysfunctional, and ultimately powerful friendships actually make up the best moments on the show — whatever side you’re rooting for. And, these partnerships can also teach us a thing or two about working together across points of view, skill sets, and backgrounds.
Arya Stark and The Hound
Sure, this duo started out as captor and captive, with Sandor “The Hound” Clegane taking Arya to her mother to collect a nice ransom. Yes, The Hound is and will remain on Arya’s kill list. But, over the course of their travels together they end up becoming mutually reliant on each other — when The Hound calls Arya his “travel companion” you kind of believe it. Later he fights Brienne of Tarth to the death in order to protect her from the Lannisters. In season 7, The Hound reveals he still cares for Arya and wants her protected.
Arya’s feelings are slightly more mysterious, but either way they depend on each other for a good while, and Clegane is formative in her role to becoming the assassin she becomes. Take away all the darkness, and you’re left with a mutually beneficial partnership that we can all relate to.
Daenerys Targaryen and Jorah Mormont
Jorah started out as a spy, sent to keep Westeros informed of Daenerys’ potential as a threat. But pretty much immediately, he realizes that she is the true and rightful queen and serves her faithfully. But like any good partnership, he doesn’t just do what she says. He argues with her, he advises her, and she listens to him and seeks his advice. We all have friendships like this — we all need cross-departmental collaboration, insight, and support. And Daenerys and Jorah keep each other honest and strong. These two make great role models for any working friendship.
The Internet loves Ser Jorah Friendzone, but she holds him in higher esteem than almost anyone else. Even after she finds out he was a spy and exiles him. Dany is dealing with some powerful stuff — dragons, fire, conquest — and she’s pretty darn lucky to have Jorah by her side.
Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly
What a classic duo. Jon Snow is all brawn and nobility, Samwell Tarly brains and bravery. Together, the two bring out the best in each other. Sam studies at the Citadel and discovers a giant reserve of dragonglass at Dragonstone, which leads Jon to go to Daenerys and forge an alliance that might actually defeat the White Walkers. Jon goes to Dragonstone and convinces the Khaleesi to join his cause.
Not to mention the times that these two, each experts in a different field, helped each other be braver, stronger, and fiercer. This is what friendship, and good partnership is all about.
What Will Happen Next?
Season 7 left us with many more unlikely and long-awaited pairings (cough, Jon and Dany, cough). It also left us with the clearest and most potentially unifying goal: The Night King. I’ve been taking the show as a life guide for the past several years, and I can tell you that forging unlikely but complimentary friendships have made all the difference. Will these pairs come together and defeat the White Walkers?