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There's a picture of Game of Thrones' Tormund without a beard and he looks great

Tormund Giantsbane has rapidly become one of Game of Throne's most beloved characters. Ever since a sympathetic Jon Snow freed him in season five, he has been a champion of the wildling characters in the show.

From busting open a guy's head at Hardhome, to fighting in the ensuing PTSD-inducing invasion, saving Jon Snow's ass at the battle of the bastards, and now holding off an entire army of undead alongside the best fighters in Westeros, he's been at the front lines of the show for quite some time now.

And, of course, he has a crush on Brienne of Tarth that fans are shipping heavy. A comedic exchange with The Hound in the icy world beyond the wall has only reinforced it:

"The Hound: "Brienne of Tarth?"

"Tormund: "You know her?"

"The Hound: "You're with Brienne of fucking Tarth?"

"Tormund: "Well, not with her yet, but I see the way she looks at me"

"The Hound: "How does she look at you? Like she wants to carve you up and eat your liver?"

"Tormund: "You do know her!"

The best line comes soon after:

"Tormund: "I want to make babies with her. Think of them, great big monsters. They'd conquer the world.""

Indeed they would. Brienne and Tormund together would be unstoppable, especially now that Tormund is protected by the grace of plot armor. I mean, come on, he's got it. He was held down by a mob of zombies for like ten seconds and didn't get his neck ripped open by wight teeth. It was goofy. But we're glad he's alive.

alt Credit: Instagram

Particularly now that these photos are leaked, we want to see as much of Tormund as possible - perhaps a post-beard Tormund. If he retires in the south with Brienne, maybe in Dorne or somewhere hot, and he has to cut his beard, he would look like this forever. It's a shame he's lived in the frigid wastes all his life, or that beard would be long-gone by now.

He looks like Fabio, or an Icelandic ice-skater. Maybe a guitar player in a Norwegian boy band?

alt Credit: Game of Thrones Wiki

Well, now that I have you here reading about Tormund's beard, we can talk a bit about the direction of the show. Of course, the brilliant episode The Spoils of War showed the hell wrought by dragons on a medieval battlefield. My favorite shot of the whole season is Jamie Lannister's face staring down Drogon in the flames. He just looks disgusted, appalled and awed that such a monstrosity could possibly exist. Everything he ever knew is gone, and every one of his trained muscles is irrelevant in the face of a beast that could melt every bone in his body with a half-second glance.

However, it seems that carefully-maintained realism has left the show. It's not a matter of plot holes, but the show is going full fantasy, abandoning the strategy and character interactions of previous seasons. I can't be the only one disappointed that Tyrion's reunion with his brother, after almost three long seasons, barely took 2 minutes? Plus, shoving Jorah and Gendry into the same episode just felt like a stressed weaver desperately stitching threads.

Then, this episode, we got Jon and his squad holding off an entire army of undead, the same one that was apocalyptically strong back at Hardhome. We won't even get into the details of a raven and Dany flying all the way across Westeros in one episode, a journey that used to span entire seasons.

The show is eager to end, and its palpable in the way things are paced. After all, the last five episodes have presumably spanned months. Time is getting screwy. Maybe it's all Bran's fault?