Although "Game of Thrones " has become well-known for its gritty presentation of the politics of an alternate medieval world, it has also showcased some extraordinary romantic relationships that have, sadly, ended in powerful and sometimes wrenching tragedy. These relationships have added a level of emotional complexity to a series that has already established itself for a careful attention to complexity.
Ned and CatelynWhen it comes to tragic relationships, Ned and Catelyn certainly rule the roost. Shown as passionately committed to one another and engaged in a marriage that is truly compassionate, these two are unfortunately swept apart by the tides of politics and duty. This turns out to be both a good and a bad thing for Cat, as she does not have to see her husband perish as the result of Joffrey's pettiness. At the same time, however, it also means that Catelyn, one of the strongest women of the series, will never be with her husband again until she meets him in death.
Daenerys and DrogoFor all that their relationship was forged out of political necessity and Viserys' mad obsession with becoming king, a measure of true love seems to have developed between these two characters by the time of the former's death at the hands of a vengeful sorceress. As a result, we come to see his death as something of a tragedy, and it is precisely this tragedy that gives Daenerys the impetus to continue surviving and striving to gain the throne that she sees as rightfully hers.
Renly and LorasAlthough the romantic nature of their relationship was only hinted at in the novels, in the series it is quite explicit that Renly and Loras are lovers. It is clear throughout that there exists a real love between them; a love that, like so many same-sex relationships in TV and film, ultimately ends in tragedy when Renly is slain as the result of his brother's meddlings with sorcery. It remains to be seen just how far the ripples will spread from the ashes of this tragic relationship.
Clearly, "Game of Thrones" has a penchant for showing us the deepest and darkest pits of human misery, and what better way to do that than to show us the ways in which even the most loving and passionate of relationships can end up in tragedy and ruin? As we gear up for the third season, we should definitely prepare ourselves for more of the same.