Tormund Giantsbane

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Tormund Giantsbane
A Song of Ice and Fire character
Game of Thrones
Tormund Giantsbane-Kristofer Hivju.jpg
Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane
First appearance
Created byGeorge R. R. Martin
Portrayed byKristofer Hivju
(Game of Thrones)
  • Tormund Giantsbane
  • Tormund Giantsbabe
  • Tormund Giantstink
  • Mead-King of Ruddy Hall
  • Tormund Thunderfist
  • Tormund Horn-Blower
  • Tormund Tall-Talker
  • Breaker of Ice
  • Husband to Bears
  • Speaker to Gods
  • Father of Hosts

Tormund Giantsbane is a fictional character in the A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels by American author George R. R. Martin, and its television adaptation Game of Thrones.

Introduced in 2000's A Storm of Swords, he is a wildling leader from the fictional continent of Westeros. He subsequently appeared in Martin's A Dance with Dragons.[2]

Tormund Giantsbane is portrayed by Norwegian actor Kristofer Hivju in the HBO television adaptation.[3][4][5]

Character description[edit]

Tormund, better known as Tormund Giantsbane or Tormund Thunderfist, is a famous wildling raider. On his massive arms he wears golden bands engraved with runes of the First Men, which have been passed down by his forefathers. Tormund is armored with heavy ringmail taken from a dead Night's Watch ranger. Like most of the wildlings, he is illiterate. He has four sons Toregg, Torwynd, Dryn and Dormund, and one daughter Munda.

The often jovial Tormund enjoys food and drink, especially ale and mead, and likes cracking dick jokes. He is styled Tall-talker, Horn-blower and Breaker of Ice, Husband to Bears, the Mead-king of Ruddy Hall, Speaker to Gods and Father of Hosts. Mance Rayder named him Horn-blower for the power of Tormund's lungs, as it is said that Tormund can laugh the snow off mountaintops. Although Tormund is said to have slain a giant, he claims to have actually cut open the belly of a sleeping giantess and slept in her for warmth during a winter storm. Tormund claims the giantess, thinking he was a babe, then suckled him for three months in the spring. Tormund also claims to once have drunkenly slept with a bear.

Tormund once thought to make himself King-Beyond-the-Wall, but he was defeated by Mance Rayder. He distrusts the men of the Frozen Shore.


In the books[edit]

Tormund is not a point of view character in the novels, so his actions are witnessed and interpreted exclusively through the eyes of Jon Snow.[6]

A Storm of Swords[edit]

When Jon Snow gets captured, Tormund is among those gathered in Mance Rayder's tent whom Jon is presented to Mance.[7] Jon is later attached to Tormund's war party, with Ygritte and Longspear Ryk joining as well. Tormund is friendly towards Jon, and Jon grows quite fond of him despite the distrust. Tormund joins in the singing of "The Last of the Giants", and advises Jon to sleep with Ygritte.

During the battle beneath the Wall, Jon sees Tormund and two of his sons near a siege turtle. When Jon goes to treat with Mance for the Night's Watch, Tormund is the first to greet him. He brings Jon to Mance's tent and defends Jon's right to speak, and during the negotiation Mance threatens to have Tormund blow the Horn of Winter to bring down the Wall. When Stannis Baratheon attacks the wildlings, Tormund leads a triple line of spearmen but are flanked and routed by Stannis's knights. Tormund escapes capture but his son Dormund is killed by Ser Richard Horpe.

A Dance with Dragons[edit]

With Mance a captive at Castle Black, Tormund becomes the leader of many free folk beyond the Wall. He is forced to kill one of his sons, Torwynd, who dies from a chill and later rises as a wight. Tormund's daughter Munda marries Longspear Ryk, much to his chagrin.

Jon Snow, now Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, and other officers expect that Tormund will besiege the undermanned Wall again. Jon sends Mance Rayder's sister-in-law Val to find Tormund and bring an offer of peace to him, who agrees to the terms and goes to the Wall. The free folk do not like the terms offered by the Night's Watch, but with attacks of the Others constantly decimating their numbers and their people's suffering only increasing, they consent to the terms. Tormund claims there are four thousand who follow him. Tormund has the free folk hand over their wealth and belonging to the Watch, along with a son as a hostage from their chiefs, which Tormund calls as Jon's "blood price". He is the first of the free folks to hand over his wealth, giving over his gold wristbands. Jon states he may keep them if he wishes, but Tormund refuses; he will not let it be said he made the rest of his people give up their wealth while he kept his.

The peace means free folk warriors will garrison the abandoned castles along the Wall to help the Night's Watch defend it from the Others, while the non-martial free folk will be settled on the Gift and the New Gift. Jon re-garrisons Oakenshield as Tormund's seat, and takes Tormund's son Dryn as his page. Another son, Toregg, burns the dead to prevent them from becoming wights.

When Cotter Pyke' Eastwatch fleet report back desperate situations at Hardhome, Jon asks Tormund to march with him on land to rescue the stranded people. However, Jon changes his plans when he receives a threatening letter from Ramsay Bolton, and calls for volunteers to march with him to Winterfell and confront Ramsay. After hearing the letter's contents, Tormund agrees to lead the ranging to Hardhome in Jon's stead. However, after the meeting, Jon is attacked and stabbed by mutineers led by Bowen Marsh.

In the show[edit]

Tormund is played by Kristofer Hivju in the television adaption of the series of books.[8] He is one of Mance's top generals, fierce and terrifying in combat.

Season 3[edit]

When Jon Snow first arrives in the Wildling camp, he initially mistakes Tormund for Mance Rayder, much to Tormund's amusement. Mance directs Tormund to lead a group of Wildlings including Jon Snow and his captor, Ygritte, south of the Wall to await the signal of Mance Rayder to attack the Night's Watch.

Season 4[edit]

After joining up with a clan of the cannibalistic Thenns, Tormund leads the Wildlings in a rampage through the lands south of the Wall, including a sack of Mole's Town. During the Battle of Castle Black, he duels and severely wounds Ser Alliser Thorne, but is brought down by several arrows and taken prisoner. After his wounds are healed by Maester Aemon, Jon briefly approaches him, and he tells Jon that Ygritte loved him, citing Ygritte's apparent desire to kill him as proof. He asks Jon to burn Ygritte north of the Wall.

Season 5[edit]

Tormund is later present at Mance's execution, and is visibly saddened at his friend's death. He is eventually freed by Jon, whom he accompanies to Hardhome, where he attempts to convince the local wildlings to join the Night's Watch in the battle against their common enemy. As Hardhome is overrun by wights, Tormund ferociously fights them off and escapes to the boats with Jon. He later passes through the Wall and into the Seven Kingdoms along with the remaining wildlings.[9]

Season 6[edit]

After Jon's assassination by Ser Alliser and his mutineers, Tormund and the Wildlings are summoned by Edd Tollett to help capture them. Jon is later resurrected by the red priestess Melisandre, and Tormund tells him that some of the Wildlings believe him to be a god. Several days later, Jon's half-sister Sansa Stark arrives at the Wall fleeing her abusive husband Ramsay Bolton. Tormund becomes quickly attracted to Brienne of Tarth and attempts to court her, although she doesn't seem interested by his advances. After Ramsay sends a letter to Jon threatening to exterminate the Starks and the Wildlings if Sansa is not returned, Tormund accompanies Jon and Sansa in gathering men to fight the Boltons, persuading the Wildlings to fight for Jon in return for his assistance. Tormund later participates in the Battle of Winterfell, killing Lord Smalljon Umber, biting off his ear in the process. Following the battle, he is amongst those who declare Jon King in the North.

Season 7[edit]

Jon sends Tormund and the wildlings to reinforce Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, the Night Watch's fortress closest to Hardhome. Some time later, scouts find the Brotherhood Without Banners and Sandor Clegane attempting to pass through the Wall, and interns them in Eastwatch's ice cells. Soon after, Jon, Davos, Jorah Mormont and Gendry arrive, declaring that they need to capture a wight in order to convince Daenerys Targaryen and Cersei Lannister of the White Walkers' existence. Although displeased at having to ally with Jeor Mormont's son, Tormund, the Brotherhood, and the Hound join Jon's allies beyond the Wall. The expedition is successful in capturing a wight, but are soon surrounded by the White Walkers and their army of wights. The group is on the verge of being overwhelmed by wights when Daenerys arrives with her dragons to take them to safety, but one of the dragons, Viserion, is killed by the Night King in the battle. Tormund remains at Eastwatch while Jon, Daenerys, the Hound, and Jorah travel to King's Landing.

Soon after, the White Walkers and their army finally march on the Wall. The Night King, which has reanimated Viserion, uses the dragon to destroy Eastwatch and the section of the Wall behind the castle, allowing the army of the dead to march on the Seven Kingdoms and seemingly trapping Tormund and Beric Dondarrion on top of the remaining part of the Wall.

TV adaptation[edit]

Kristofer Hivju plays the role of Tormund Giantsbane in the television series

Recognition and awards[edit]

Norwegian actor Kristofer Hivju has received positive reviews for his performance as Tormund Giantsbane in the television series. He and the rest of the cast were nominated for Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2014.[10][11]


  1. ^ a b c d e Martin, George R. R. (2011). "Appendix: The Wildlings, or The Free Folk". A Dance with Dragons. ISBN 978-0553801477.
  2. ^ "Game of Thrones Viewer's Guide".
  3. ^ "Game of Thrones Cast and Crew: Tormund Giantsbane played by Kristofer Hivju". HBO. Retrieved December 25, 2015.
  4. ^ "The Official Website for the HBO Series Game of Thrones - Season 4". HBO.
  5. ^ "From HBO".
  6. ^ "Game of Thrones Viewer's Guide". HBO.
  7. ^ "[Re-read] Jon I: Beware the Balrog". Slynt.
  8. ^ "Game of Thrones' Kristofer Hivju on the Wildlings' Role and Tormund's Loyalty to Jon Snow". IGN.
  9. ^ "Tormund Giantsbane". IGN.
  10. ^ "SAG Awards Nominations: 12 Years A Slave And Breaking Bad Lead Way". Deadline Hollywood. December 11, 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  11. ^ "SAG Awards: Lone Survivor, Game Of Thrones Win Stunt Honors". Deadline Hollywood. January 18, 2014. Retrieved September 15, 2016.