Kristofer Hivju opens up about Tormund’s Season 8 return after uncertain cliffhanger

7x07 Tormund Beric Eastwatch

Season seven’s last scene left us with Tormund and Beric running for their lives from a collapsing Wall, as the army of the dead passed through the breach at Eastwatch. We didn’t get to witness their fates, but would the writers have killed Tormund Giantsbane and Ser Beric Dondarrion off-screen? I think not! Now that Tormund’s return has been confirmed by the trailer (though, interestingly, not the character posters), we can now read actor Kristofer Hivju talking about his character’s return in this final season.

During this uncommonly long off-season, Hivju had to be extra-cautious about not being sighted in Belfast, even refusing to take selfies, as he reveals to EW. “We didn’t see him die; season 8 could have started episode 1 with dead Tormund,” Hivju explains.

Hivju hopes his return causes delight in the fandom, whose fervor he’s only recently been made fully aware of: “I sat in a bar when I was shooting The Fate of the Furious and I watched an episode of Thrones with diehard fans, and it was like seeing a sporting event. I didn’t understand the impact of the show until watching it with other people. It was the episode where [the Hound] came back, and there was this roar. I’m going for that.”

Tormund (Kristofer Hivju), Beric (Richard Dormer) and Edd (Ben Crompton)  in the season eight trailer

Tormund (Kristofer Hivju), Beric (Richard Dormer) and Edd (Ben Crompton) in the trailer

“He wants closure,” Hivju says about Tormund’s motivation this season. “All the Free Folk grew up with the horror stories of the White Walkers, like that story Nan told Bran in season 1 with the ice spiders — except having seen them. This has been the terror of their worst nightmare as long as they’ve existed. Tormund has confronted them many times. This is the nightmare moment where you have to face centuries of bad dreams.” I’m sorry, that’s all very dramatic—but did Hivju say Tormund’s faced ice spiders?

“Everything has an end,” Hivju proclaims, regarding his feelings on being done with Game of Thrones after so many years. “Everybody is exhausted and nobody is tired. It’s a long, intense journey, and extremely satisfying; it’s so seldom to have this positive drive through every season, from your first day to your last day. Everybody wants to up their game and make it even better. We feel like we’re always competing with ourselves. So it’s satisfying to end it and we’re ending it when everybody still loves being here.”

If you want more from this Bane of Giants, read the interview at Entertainment Weekly.

30 responses

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    1. Awesome is as Awesome does! Tormund is too great to kill him off-screen by falling off the Wall. Remember people trying to prove they fell using the angle and direction the shots were? I was like, “Nuh-uh! No friggin’ way they’re dead!”

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    2. Roberta Baratheon:
      I’m so glad he is still alive, but that doesn’t mean he is safe in Season 8!

      I don’t see him surviving. Maybe NK turns him since it sounds like he’ll resurrect some people close to Jon.

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    3. Clob,

      Yea, I remember that. It was much ado about nothing. I have no idea why anyone actually thought they were dead at the end of season 7. Like they’d actually kill off Tormund and Beric that way. Did they think the Lord of Light brought Beric back that many times just to have him killed off-screen when the Wall fell? Geez.

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    4. I’m imagining it now. The Night King sends in his first wave of wights to attack Winterfell, and after a hard battle the living manage to repel them with everything they’ve got. Things are looking hopeful. Jon looks down from the battlements at the Night King. The Night King stares back, and raises his arms like he did at Hardhome. Long white legs begin to punch up out of the snow all around him, pulling themselves above ground… Ice spiders… Hundreds of them… Followed by another wave of wights and giant wights. Then the real battle begins…

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    5. Undead Elephant:
      I’m imagining it now. The Night King sends in his first wave of wights to attack Winterfell, and after a hard battle the living manage to repel them with everything they’ve got. Things are looking hopeful. Jon looks down from the battlements at the Night King. The Night King stares back, and raises his arms like he did at Hardhome. Long white legs begin to punch up out of the snow all around him, pulling themselves above ground… Ice spiders… Hundreds of them… Followed by another wave of wights and giant wights. Then the real battle begins…

      Can we get undead elephants too? Maybe some gold cloaks go down and NK raises them into his army as well?

      I could see it playing out somewhat like you said. I think the NK will send in a portion of the AotD and then after the wreck havoc and tire out our “heroes” he’ll bring in the rest of the calvary.

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    6. Jack Bauer 24,

      I am hopeful for undead elephants but I have a feeling the Golden Company will be saved for the King’s Landing showdown. Hopefully I’m wrong, I would love to see a Battle of the Five Armies type scenario where the Golden Company are forced to team up with Team Stargaryan to fight off the Night King, but this would just weaken Cersei and I feel like like they are setting her up to be the final big bad. But who knows, maybe the Night King will still be in play during the King’s Landing showdown.

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    7. Jack Bauer 24,

      Wight spiders. 🕷Wight elephants. 🐘 Wight Gold Cloaks.👘 Wight giants + Wight rabbit. 🐇
      (“Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall.”)

      I wanna see…

      Wight chickens. 🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓🐓

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    8. “Everybody is exhausted and nobody is tired.”

      I love that.

      If they have ice spiders running amok, they better damn well have more than a cardboard cutout of Ghost.

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    9. Pigeon,

      I’ll happily do without ice spiders, undead giants and mammoths, and Golden Company elephants, if that way we’d be getting lots of direwolf action instead!

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    10. Apparently the scuttlebutt is that’s them arriving at Winterfell after the castle has fallen (second picture). Looking for survivors perhaps?

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    11. isildur,

      That would suck because that could mean they’re not in it or hardly in it until the fourth episode, or end of third. I’m still guessing that T&B are in the first or one of the earliest scenes of the premiere arriving at Castle Black. Hopefully they don’t go “missing” until the season is half over…

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    12. Luka Nieto:
      Pigeon,

      I’ll happily do without ice spiders, undead giants and mammoths, and Golden Company elephants, if that way we’d be getting lots of direwolf action instead!

      I’d be so happy for it. I really have missed the wolves in the show – I know they’re hard to create now that they’re full grown and they can’t just use large dogs/wolves without CGI, but I hope they have for the final year.

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    13. Pigeon,

      The direwolves aren’t CGI creatures. They’re real wolves shot against green screen and then added at a larger scale into their scenes. So, it does involve visual effects, but not as expensive as fully animating a virtual direwolf, with all those fur simulations and movements.

      Anyway, it’s been confirmed we have a fair amount of Ghost this season, at least. Nymeria, who knows. But Ghost, at the very least.

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    14. Luka Nieto:
      Pigeon,

      The direwolves aren’t CGI creatures. They’re real wolves shot against green screen and then added at a larger scale into their scenes. So, it does involve visual effects, but not as expensive as fully animating a virtual direwolf, with all those fur simulations and movements.

      Anyway, it’s been confirmed we have a fair amount of Ghost this season, at least. Nymeria, who knows. But Ghost, at the very least.

      Yes, that’s what I meant, adding effects to the real critters. I often get CGI/visual effects/technical terms mixed up, you’d think I’d get it right by now!

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    15. Luka Nieto:
      Kevin1989,

      Brienne isn’t interested. So hopefully not.

      She has no interest in Tormund.

      However, I expect at least one comical scene with Jaime, Tormund and Brienne.

      I do not expect D&D to miss that opportunity. For that reason alone – I knew Tormund needed to at least get to WF.

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    16. As the last of the free folk leaders, I do believe he’ll survive and head north to start a new colony. I want him with Brienne, but he’s a wild man and she’s actually a lady. Don’t think that’s gonna work. I’m guessing she’s with Jamie a bit, who maybe saves her life.
      But Tormund is going to kick ass with the AOFD and take down some walkers!

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    17. Kevin1989:
      Hope he gets closure with big lady and making big babies.

      I’m holding out hope that her mind could change.
      Long as there’s a satisfying end to “Braime,” of which I have no doubt. I’m not expecting Jaime to survive. Of course Tormund may not either, and she doesn’t need a guy regardless, but…could be nice nonetheless. I feel the same about Arya; never really shipped her with Gendry or anybody else, and she definitely does not need a man–but I wouldn’t be adamantly against it if she wanted it. (Or, Hot Pie!!)

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    18. I recall James Hibberd confirming on twitter just after S7 that Tormund and Beric likely survived the wall falling but also hinting they may not live long in S8. After that I’ve resigned myself to the fact they will likely be some of the first casualties in the final season. I am guessing they don’t make it past the first two episodes and are killed off before the Army of the Dead reach Winterfell.

      Clearly we can see from the trailer that

      they meet the Nights Watch and are in a Castle. So I am guessing it’s either Castle Black or Last Hearth and they are not long before death

      .

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    19. isildur:
      Apparently the scuttlebutt is that’s them arriving at Winterfell after the castle has fallen (second picture). Looking for survivors perhaps?

      I highly doubt that, the trailer is apparently all from the first three episodes, nothing beyond that (this was confirmed by the original leaker who announced the content and release time before it officially dropped). I suspect the shot in the trailer with Tormund and Beric is from episode 1 or 2 and either Castle Black or Last Hearth.

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