Editorial Featured Jaime Lannister

The duality of the twin: The two sides of Jaime Lannister

There it is. There’s the look. I’ve seen it for seventeen years on face after face. You all despise me. Kingslayer. Oathbreaker. A man without honor.

— Jaime Lannister, “Kissed by Fire”

In myth and folklore, twins often illustrate the dualistic nature of the world in which they exist. The Greek deities of Apollo and Artemis ruled the sun and the moon. The ancient cult of Zurvan presented the gods Ormuzd and Ahriman as the embodiment of good and evil. In more contemporary literature, twins or doppelgangers have symbolized the struggle of one’s inner self, such as in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. As a twin, Jaime Lannister represents duality in a physical sense, and his story revolves around the duality of his nature. The dichotomy between Jaime’s ‘good’ and ‘evil’ sides has been a major driving force behind his arc for six seasons.

Game of Thrones is coming to a close, as are the stories of the characters that we have followed since it began. All conflict must end, including Jaime Lannister’s ongoing inner struggle. In this article, we’ll forecast how it might be resolved, but to do that, we have to first examine the men he has been in the past. Jaime has encountered two major turning points in his life, both of which acted as catalysts for important events and greatly informed his personality. The death of Aerys Targaryen was the first of these two pivotal moments. Let’s take a closer look at it.

The Mad King Aerys Targaryen official

The Kingslayer

In Season 1, Jaime Lannister immediately makes a bad first impression on us. Right from the start, in “Winter is Coming,” he appears to be a reckless and arrogant man who lacks compassion. He has a sizable superiority complex and enjoys mocking other people, particularly those who are morally righteous, as when he talks with Jon Snow in “The Kingsroad.” Although Jon is grief-stricken over Bran’s fall, Jaime isn’t ashamed to twist the knife by ridiculing the Night’s Watch and Jon’s decision to take the black. This is the kind of behavior we might expect from an oath-breaking Kingslayer. However, Jaime didn’t always act like a man without honor.

Now for a quick history lesson. In Jaime’s youth, he was a popular squire, admired for his prodigious skill with a sword. He was knighted at the age of 15 and joined Aerys Targaryen’s Kingsguard a year later, making him the youngest knight to ever be named to the order. When Jaime retells the story on Robert’s Rebellion on the Season 6 History and Lore Blu-ray feature, he recalls how a cheer went up from the crowd on the day he swore his oath at the great tourney of Harrenhal. His appointment to the order was part of Aerys’ ploy to steal an heir from Tywin Lannister, but Jaime was proud nonetheless. He didn’t join the order intent on breaking his vows. He envisioned a glorious future, but that ended when he drove his sword through his king’s back.

In the first two seasons of Game of Thrones, Jaime is written in a way that makes us feel removed from him. He plays his cards close to his chest and we see little of what lies beneath the surface. Instead, we form our opinion of him by viewing him through the eyes of other characters. Angry because Jaime pushed her son Bran out a window, Catelyn smacks Jaime with a rock in “Fire and Blood,” and we sympathize. When Ned and Jaime fight in the streets in “The Wolf and the Lion,” we want Ned to win.

During this period, Jaime occasionally hints that there was more to Aerys Targaryen’s death then we knew, but his full retrospective isn’t revealed until Season 3. This is when we start to get to know the other side of Jaime Lannister.

Blood of My Blood

The Kingsguard

In Season 3’s “Kissed by Fire,” weak from the loss of his hand and woozy from the heat of the bath he’s taking, Jaime tells the full story about how he killed Aerys to Brienne of Tarth. We learn that Jaime didn’t take his decision to kill Aerys lightly, which is striking because Jaime is known for his impulsivity. Contrary to popular belief, he tried very hard to remain loyal. He cautioned Aerys not to allow Tywin Lannister and his forces into King’s Landing, but was ignored. When Tywin sacked the city, Jaime urged Aerys to surrender, but was ignored again. Still, Jaime remained true until the moment Aerys ordered him to kill his own father, and to stand by while the Mad King’s pyromancers set off caches of wildfire buried under the city, burning King’s Landing to ash. While Cersei has remarked that Jaime doesn’t take enough seriously (“The Lion and the Wolf”), it’s clear that this isn’t always the case.

In killing Aerys, Jaime broke his oath to protect his king, but his actions were not born of ignoble disregard for the vow he had taken. Jaime killed Aerys because the alternative was genocide, and any sane person would have done the same. This shows us that Jaime has a moral compass which, although it grew rusty over time, once emboldened him to make the difficult and risky choice to do the right thing. If Ned Stark, who found him sitting on the throne while Aerys lay dead on the floor, had listened to his side of the story, he may have judged the situation differently. Alas, he chose to believe the worst in Jaime, and Westeros followed suit.

Few men would stand a chance against the unimpeachable word of a man as honorable as Eddard Stark, and Jaime’s voice wasn’t heard because nobody wanted to hear it. He saved thousands of lives, but nobody thanked him. They expected him to die defending his king, yet the men who had rebelled against their king were celebrated. Meanwhile, Jaime became their scapegoat. It was no wonder that he became embittered, and like many people who lack the maturity to deal with unfair situations, he dealt with the animosity of his peers by playing up to their expectations. His trust extended to his immediate family, and nobody else. Like Cersei, he made the world into an enemy. Unlike Cersei, the world had made an enemy of him first.

Jaime and Bran

Bran Stark and Jaime’s disability

The second defining moment of Jaime Lannister’s life came when he attempted to murder young Bran Stark, who had happened upon him and his sister Cersei making love in a ruined tower at Winterfell. Unlike the death of Aerys, Jaime probably didn’t foresee that his actions that day would have life-changing consequences. He didn’t appear worried following the event, nor did he show any remorse. Unbeknownst to him, Lysa Arryn had written to Bran’s mother and blamed the Lannisters for her husband’s death. The touch paper was in place, and Jaime lit the match.

Bran, as we know, was rendered paraplegic by his fall, and in the days that followed, Jaime asserted that he would rather be dead than physically disabled (“The Kingsroad”). It’s easy to understand why he took this stance. His betrayal of the Mad King had left a permanent blight on his reputation. He was universally loathed and derided as an oathbreaker throughout the Seven Kingdoms. But when a tourney was staged, or a battle fought, no man in Westeros could deny that Jaime was the best swordsman around. His physical prowess was his golden ticket, revered by the masses and entirely his own. Jaime Lannister built his life, and his identity, on this foundation.

In Season 3, a Bolton lieutenant named Locke chops off Jaime’s sword hand. Jaime could no longer fight. Without his foundation, his life collapsed, and Jaime has struggled to find his place in the world ever since.

jaime-lannister-locke-official

In the meantime, Bran rallied. Bran, a child, had spent his short life longing to be a knight, but Jaime took that away from him. Instead of falling to pieces, he found a power within himself unlike anything he could have imagined. During his quest to become the new Three-Eyed Raven, Bran has forged a path through the chaos and heartache that has plagued his family, and has handled his burdens with wizened resignation. It’s not a happy existence, but he has something that Jaime lacks: a true calling. Whatever mistakes Bran may have made on his journey, he has not allowed his disability to hinder him.

Intended or not, Bran and Jaime’s stories are running parallel to each other. Jaime crippled Bran by throwing him from a tower, and soon afterwards he lost his own hand. Years later, Jaime’s last remaining child, Tommen, threw himself out a window to his own death. By crippling the young heir to House Stark, Jaime seems to have cursed himself and his family. If Bran had never been pushed, Tyrion would not have been arrested, Tywin would not have declared war and Jaime would never have been captured. He could have lived the rest of his life steeped in the same unapologetic arrogance and callousness that defined him in Season 1. Instead, he lives with inner turmoil. Perhaps remorse, and Bran’s forgiveness, could be the way forward.

However, if Jaime were to think of making peace with the Starks, there are obstacles to consider, the most prominent of which is his twin sister Cersei. She commands more loyalty from Jaime than any king he ever served, and has dictated his behavior since the day he was born.

Jaime and Cersei Season 6 official

Cersei — The abusive lover

Jaime: “Every day I was a prisoner, I plotted my escape. Every day. I murdered people so I could be here with you.”
Cersei: “You took too long.”

Jaime has been romantically involved with Cersei since childhood, and his life has been shaped by decisions she made. It was Cersei who plotted for him to join Aerys Targaryen’s Kingsguard, a role that prohibited him from inheriting his ancestral home or having a family of his own. Jaime, then 16, shelved his own ambitions and agreed to her plan because he wanted to stay close to her.

Since then, he has served her without hesitation, even if that required an act of evil, like pushing Bran out the window or killing his cousin Alton to escape captivity in Season 2’s “A Man Without Honor.” This isn’t to say that Jaime has no agency of his own or that he can’t be held accountable for his own actions. It just goes to show what a powerful hold Cersei has over Jaime’s decision-making.

By and large, his efforts have not been reciprocated. The most time and effort Cersei has sacrificed for Jaime was the better part of an afternoon spent with the goldsmiths, designing his prosthetic hand (“Two Swords”). In addition to her disinterest, she demonstrates little respect for him. For instance, in Season 5’s “The House of Black and White,” she summons him to her chambers to discuss a message from the Martells. In the process, she insults him, blames him for several recent tragedies in her life, and berates him for failing to act as a father to their children, even though it was she who forbade it.

As for affection, it serves her well when she needs something. We see this in Season 4’s “The Children” when, following an argument with her father, she seduces Jaime in order to ensure that he remains on her side. This came after an entire season of coldness on her end. These are not the actions of a loving partner, but of a calculated manipulator.

Going further, what feelings Cersei has for Jaime may be based not on respect or admiration but on narcissism—a desire to be Jaime. Jaime was Tywin Lannister’s favorite child, but Cersei has always believed that she would have made a better son to Tywin than the two he had. She shares her feelings on the subject in Season 3’s “And Now His Watch Is Ended”:

Did it ever occur to you that I might be the one who deserves your confidence and your trust, not your sons? Not Jaime or Tyrion, but me. Years and years of lectures on family and legacy…Did it ever occur to you that your daughter might be the only one listening to them, living by them, that she might have the most to contribute?

Cersei and Jaime were grown from the same seed, but Jaime was born male, so she punishes him for taking that opportunity from her. If she hates Tyrion for the death of her mother, she resents Jaime for taking her rightful position. The taint of jealousy has warped her love for him from the first.

The abuse to which Cersei subjects Jaime is not as blatant as the torture suffered by Sansa at the hands of Ramsay, but it is abuse nonetheless. Her brand of mental and emotional torment is very difficult for a victim to escape. It’s the most disturbing characteristic of their relationship, even more so than the incest, and it has given Jaime deep wounds.

jaime-and-cersei-two-swords Official

The Season 4 controversy

In Season 4’s “Breaker of Chains,” Jaime rapes Cersei as she stands vigil by Joffrey’s body in the sept. The scene comes from the books, but in A Storm of Swords, Cersei and Jaime’s lovemaking is consensual, and occurs directly after Jaime returns to King’s Landing. George R.R. Martin later discussed the scene on his blog, saying “[i]f the show had retained some of Cersei’s dialogue from the books, it might have left a somewhat different impression.”

Firstly, Cersei is the clear victim in this situation, and is not to blame for Jaime’s actions. It’s important to address this moment when we consider Jaime as an abuse victim, because the scene itself seems like such an anomaly. Jaime doesn’t appear to be a man who condones the act of rape. He made an effort to rescue Brienne of Tarth from rape only a season earlier, back when expending any effort for anyone who wasn’t Cersei was very unlike him. Thus, his decision to force himself on Cersei immediately following a period of great personal growth came as a shock.

Alex Graves, the director of the episode, argued in an interview that no rape took place. His explanation, that Cersei’s consent was nonverbal, is a poor one. However, Graves’ claim was also backed up by actors Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Personally, I don’t believe the scene was edited in a way that made this perspective clear to the audience, nor do I believe that Graves did Jaime’s character justice, but that’s for the individual to interpret. In any case, it happened, and it’s part of the show’s history.

What everyone can derive from this scene is that Jaime and Cersei are not a functional couple. They have each abused the other, and neither of them should be excused for their actions. Their relationship is unhealthy, destructive and poisonous. As it limps feebly into the seventh season, we wonder for how long it can continue.

bathtime brienne

Brienne of Tarth — The nurturer

Brienne, about Oathkeeper: “You gave it to me for a purpose. I have achieved that purpose.”
Jaime: “It’s yours. It will always be yours.”

Jaime was born and raised with Cersei, and spent over 15 years living with her in King’s Landing as a member of Robert Baratheon’s Kingsguard. Like the Night’s Watch, the brothers of the Kingsguard vow never to marry, so Tywin Lannister never had cause to introduce Jaime to a potential bride. It’s also likely that the controlling Cersei would have done everything she could to keep her brother from interacting with other women, and from what he’s said, he never had eyes for anyone but her. Jaime even admits to Catelyn Stark that he has never been with anyone but his sister (“Fire and Blood”). Therefore, it’s easy to believe that Jaime possesses a fair amount of ignorance where the opposite sex is concerned.

Enter Brienne of Tarth, who acts as a transforming influence on Jaime. Loyal and honorable, Brienne is the antithesis of Cersei Lannister. At first, Jaime pokes fun at her, but he also lies to Locke about her father’s fortune to save her from rape, and that’s before he has his hand chopped off or opens up to her in the bathtub at Harrenhal (“Walk of Punishment”). Even at this early stage, perhaps he saw in Brienne’s unyielding integrity a reflection of the honorable knight he once hoped to be.

Jaime and Brienne’s stay at Harrenhal binds them even closer together, but eventually, they must part. Roose Bolton allows Jaime to leave the castle and return to King’s Landing, but gives Brienne to Locke to do with her as he will. But on his to the capital city, Jaime doubles back and saves Brienne from death after Locke and his men set a bear on her, an uncharacteristic act that nearly costs him his life (“The Bear and the Maiden Fair”). This is a powerful moment for Jaime, who’s rarely shown concern for people not in his immediate family. The same man who killed his own cousin so he might return to Cersei quicker suddenly finds himself delaying his trip home in order to protect another woman.

brienne-bear-official-maiden-fair

Brienne represents morals, justice and heroism, everything that Jaime lost when he killed Aerys and everything he has spent a long time rejecting. But in spite of Jaime’s terrible reputation, she believes in him. She trusts his word and places faith in his honor. This kind of confidence means everything to a man like Jaime, who is bothered by the general public’s lack of respect for him. Brienne—who held Jaime in her arms after his confession in Harrenhal—doesn’t just make him want to be a better man; she makes him believe that he can be, and that earns her his love.

Circumstances dictate that Jaime and Brienne can’t accept or admit to their feelings, whatever their exact nature. But that doesn’t diminish the strength of Jaime’s regard for Brienne. His feelings are not only healthier than his love for Cersei, but stronger, as they are based on a foundation of respect. As Nikolaj Coster-Waldau confirmed on the home video audio commentary for “No One,” when Jaime tells Brienne that his sword—which represents everything that Jaime once thought best about himself—will always be hers, he is offering his heart in the only way he can.

Brienne and Jaime official

Jaime in the present

Edmure: “You understand. On some level you understand that you’re an evil man.”
Jaime: “I’ll leave the judgments to the gods.”
Edmure: “Well, that is convenient for you. You’re a fine-looking fellow, aren’t you? Your square jaw, your golden armor. Tell me, I want to know. I truly do. How do you live with yourself? All of us have to believe that we’re decent, don’t we? You have to sleep at night. How do you tell yourself that you’re decent after everything that you’ve done?”

One of Jaime’s strongest scenes takes place during Season 6’s “No One.” In the episode, Jaime has a private meeting with Edmure Tully to discuss the surrender of Riverrun. To force Edmure into submission, Jaime threatens to kill Edmure’s infant son unless he gives up the castle. Although Jaime has hurt a child before, it’s still a jarring moment for the audience, as we believe Jaime has grown beyond such atrocities. After all, Jaime has not willfully harmed anyone for his own gain since he left Robb Stark’s camp with Brienne.

Is Jaime lying? After all, Catelyn Stark would have told Edmure, her brother, that it was Jaime who tried to kill Bran. Knowing this, Jaime may have been trying to use his terrible reputation to his advantage. Edmure was never going to trust him, so promises of freedom and comfort would have fallen on deaf ears. But knowing him capable of trying to kill one child, Edmure would believe he could kill another.

Brienne asked Jaime to take Riverrun without bloodshed, and Brienne can influence Jaime to to follow his better nature. If Jaime were as heartless as he acted in the tent with Edmure, would he have listened to her? Rather than trying to take the castle peacefully, he would have sent his men to take the castle by force. The old Jaime—the man who acted first and thought later—likely would have done that straight away. The new Jaime is wiser.

Jaime and Edmure Official

In any case, Jaime’s plan works, and hundreds of lives are spared. Taking a stronghold in peace is difficult without first enduring a lengthy siege, so this is a big victory for Jaime and a mark of his maturity. He started the series as a man who never considered the consequences of his actions. Now he’s evolved into a man who makes thoughtful, intelligent decisions.

But this episode also tells us a lot about his disintegrating relationship with Cersei. Edmure is correct when he talks of the terrible things Jaime has done, but Jaime does have a conscience. He has done evil things, but he isn’t Joffrey—he doesn’t have an instinctive desire to cause pain. When Edmure asks him how he pretends to be a decent person, Jaime’s response is to talk about his love for Cersei. He claims—as he has many times—that he will do anything necessary to return to her side. It’s a touching, impassioned tribute, but it doesn’t quite ring true, not anymore. Jaime is lying to Edmure, but also to himself.

As I’ve said before, Jaime has not been living his life for himself. He lives for Cersei, and the worst things he’s done were done in her service. He wasn’t awakened to the fact that he was a victim of her abuse and manipulation until he got to know Brienne. Nor was he awakened to the part of him that still longed to be the hero. His deepening relationship with Brienne coincided with the loss of his hand, a traumatizing event that forced him to reevaluate his identity. As his self-awareness increases, he may want to aspire to more than a position as his sister’s lackey.

Jaime and Cersei Official

Joffrey in “Two Swords”: “Someone forgot to write down all your great deeds.”
Jaime: “There’s still time.”
Joffrey: “Is there? For a forty-year-old knight with one hand?”

Jaime has been dealing with feelings of incompetence since he lost his hand and got back in touch with his tarnished honor. After he returned to King’s Landing, his thoughts turned to his short entry in the White Book, which records the deeds of the members of the Kingsguard. He ruminated on his meager achievements and told Brienne that he aspired to more (“Oathkeeper”). But so far, he’s only succeeded in swimming in circles. He rescued Tyrion from execution, but it resulted in his father’s death. He rescued Myrcella from Dorne, but was unable to save her when she succumbed to poisoning. Without the security of his physical prowess, Jaime has struggled to find success. Riverrun is only one victory, and that’s not enough to undo his self-doubt.

In my opinion, Jaime clings to his familiar relationship with Cersei for the unhealthiest of reasons, and attempts to act like the man he once was for the sake of hanging on. If he were to admit that his love for her was waning, it would mean that all the terrible things he has done for Cersei were for nothing. It would mean that he has lived most of his life for a person who did not deserve his love or loyalty. It would mean that he had no purpose, and having no purpose is something he truly fears.

Jaime Lannister Official

The future

Bronn: “I’ve had an exciting life, I want my death to be boring. How do you wanna go?”
Jaime: “In the arms of the woman I love.”
Bronn: “Does she want the same thing?”

The two sides of Jaime’s character are in constant combat with each other. If he spends the rest of his life flitting between them both, he will continue to serve as his own greatest obstacle. In short, he needs to choose a side. Once he does that, he’ll have a harder task: standing by his decision. He can have Cersei, or he can stand with Brienne. He cannot do both.

Cersei isn’t an attractive option. She’s the reigning Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, but she can’t count on those kingdoms to submit to her will. The houses of Dorne and the Reach are united against her. The North, which counts Cersei’s former plaything Sansa Stark among its leaders, is not her friend, and Petyr Baelish has thrown the might of the Vale behind it. House Baratheon is dead, and the loyalty of the Stormlands is in question. As for House Frey, its hold over the Riverlands was thrown into turmoil by a she-wolf with murder in her heart. And soon comes Daenerys Targaryen, with an army of Unsullied, thousands of Dothraki screams and three dragons.

Rather than court these long odds of victory, Jaime could shelve his poisonous relationship with Cersei and head north to offer his services in the ongoing fight against the White Walkers, which would allow him to fully embrace the heroism to which he secretly aspires. If Jon Snow secures Daenerys Targaryen’s assistance, this would also give Jaime a chance to reunite with Tyrion, a sibling more deserving of his time and affection, assuming Jaime can forgive him for the murder of their father. Finally, he would have the opportunity to apologize to Bran. Reconciliation wouldn’t be easy, but if Jaime is to fully embrace the better side of himself, he should do so with as clear a conscience as possible.

Personally, I believe Jaime’s story will end with the abolition of his reputation as Kingslayer, but whether he lives to see it happen is another question. If he does die, I hope that the show honors his wish to die in the arms of the woman he loves.

56 Comments

  • great editorial.

    the complexities of jaime lannister are always a fascinating read and i hope next season he’ll finally desert his abusive relationship with cersei.

  • Yep, great article. Jaime has gone from being one of my least favourite characters to one of my favourite (in both the books and show). I wasn’t a fan of the Riverrun scene (show) with Edmure Tully…..but I knew it had to happen.

  • The future:
    Gold shall be their crowns and gold their shrouds, she said. And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you

    Cersei cannot escape the profecy, nor can Jaime.

    • I did think of this, but I also noted in the show that the valonqar part was left out of the prophecy, so I’m assuming that the writers are going to go down a different route when and if Cersei eventually dies.

      • I think that the showrunners left the valonqar bit out for two reasons:
        1- Leave themselves some leeway in case they needed the show to go its own way,
        2- Not burden the viewer with too many prophecies, leaving only the truly impactful ones (Azor Ahai, etc.).

        Still, I think that the writing’s pretty much on the wall for Cersei and Jaime, because there has been much time dedicated to explain just why Jaime became the Kingslayer, and this seems to hint at him becoming the Queenslayer in the not-so-far future. Just look at him when he arrives in King’s Landing and realises that Cersei did what he wanted to avoid by breaking his Kingsguard oath. And it is good drama as well, because with Aerys it was, in the end, a question of good sense, whereas with Cersei it would up the ante in a significant way, by making it so deeply personal and heartwrenching for Jaime.

      • The valonquar prophecy states he uses “hands”, plural. I don’t know if his artificial one can be “wrapped” around Cersei’s neck. Maybe Qyburn gives him a new one.

  • I think Jamie and Brienne are the love story in GOT. It’s complicated but that is what makes it so appealing. The depth of feelings they are able to convey with just a look shows how talented both actors really are and I really have enjoyed their scenes together. It’s a beautiful story and I hope they do it justice in the end.

  • Jaime chose to be with Cersi and fathered three children with her and they have a consensual relationship. I think Jaime Loves Brienne out of respect, not like he’s loves Cersi. Brienne/Jaime are the Star crossed couple of the show. They will never belong together.

    • I personally agree. While I do believe Jaime will leave Cersei and see Brienne again I don’t think they will be able to admit their feelings, or if they do it will be after one of them, probably Jaime, sustains a fatal wound or something. Proper tragic romance stuff.

    • Then you’re ignoring what Nikolaj Coster-Waldau himself said about the relationship between Jaime and Brienne. The great thing about Game of Thrones is that it’s subtle. Smart people get it, but others don’t pick up on hints.

    • Jaime also chose to abandon Cersei in AFFC. And his relationship with Brienne has been heavily foreshadowed.

      Plus, GRRM told Gwendoline Christie that he modeled Jaime and Brienne after Beauty and the Beast. And Beauty and the Beast belong together.

  • And there’s nothing wrong with them “loving” each other out of respect, admiration and loyalty as friends. There doesn’t have to be a romantic happily ever after for Jaime and Brienne. In fact I would be surprised if there is.

  • “He’d fuck her, that’s for sure. And she’d fuck him. Don’t you think, the way she looks at him?”

    – Bronn, on Jaime & Brienne in 6×08 ‘No One’

    Jaime and Brienne will consummate their relationship after Jaime escapes his abuser.

    • No, color you not that bright. There have been so many hints. The actors themselves have talked about the relationship. This is not a sitcom where the showrunners assume that everyone is stupid and needs to be hit over the hit with a concept to understand it exists.

  • Let’s not forget he’s already ditched the bitch cersei in the books. At this point his character in the show is so frustrating and not nearly as likeable. There’s probably more chance of Jamie / Brienne in true book because he isn’t with cersei and he is with brienne. There’s also two more books to go. The show has 15 episodes, not a lot of time to develop it.

    I really think Jamie is the least well adapted character from the books. They’ve butchered him.

    • Jaime ditched Cersei and left her to her fate only because she cheated on him while he was being held captive. It’s kind of a dick move. Jaime in the show will ditch Cersei when she does something far more serious. That, to me, makes him more likeable.

      • To be fair, he ditched her in the books because he could no longer respect her and she was also guilty af.

        And he’ll be ditching her for similar reasons on the show as well.

  • Anyone think Aerys is the father of the Lannister twins? There was controversy on the mothers wedding night ritual, and they are the right age. Tyrion isn’t.

  • Remember the leaked photos of the caste up North, in there is an extra unexpected person in that group?
    Would Jon kill the man that pushed his brother out that window, or decide that working together in defeating the Others as more important?
    Cersei may send him too, as a witness to any fakery on Jons part.

  • I am not a Jaime Brienne shipper, but i clearly see the abusive nature of his relationship with Cersei.
    It’s not equal and it never was. Especially in the books where the sept scene is much more clear, but there are other scenes where Cersei is the one who decides when and where. After a period she got married she calls him to have sex over a drunk Robert just to put horns on him, not because she loves Jaime. During sex he asks him to kill a little girl (Arya). He tries to have him marry Margaery bribing him with love. She asks him to kill Tyrion bribing him with sex. She loathe him for losing his hand and she insults him all the time.
    All of this when she thinks Jaime only as a “Beautiful, Golden, Fool” who is incapable of anything and doesn’t have the mind to do anything. The fun thing is that on contrast she the one unfit to rule and gets fooled by so many people.
    I don’t know what if find more disgusting, how Jaime grew up loving his own sister so much, or how Cersei is commiting incest because it works for her to have her brother serve her. If the genders were reversed Cersei would be one of the worst emotional abusers on tv.

    I love how complex Jaime is and i think it’s difficult to understand him when you don’t hear his thoughts. He never does what he says. He wears the Kingslayer persona and goes with it, yet he is the one who saved directly or indirectly most of the characters on the show. Brienne,Tyrion, Sansa, Theon… everyone is alive because of him.
    I hope the writers will do him justice in the final seasons, for me in the books at least because of his dreams and visions, he has an important role to play in the wars to come.

  • A well analysed, researched and written article which spans Jaime’s journey through GRRM’s novels and speculates, I feel accurately his future path in the story. Excellent read…

  • Along with Richard Preston, Sarah has submitted some of the better, more interesting and researched articles at this site. I usually read both authors a second time, sometimes even changing my long held opinions on the subject matter. Jaimie will always be a villain, the person that pushed Bran and set the downfall of the Stark family in motion, but I thank Sarah for giving me a fresh new look at this complex character.

      • You’re welcome! I’m not slighting the other authors, and everyone submits something noteworthy, but you do so much more frequently with less repetitiveness. I’m pretty set in how I picture things headed, too, and have a strong tin foil ending in mind!

  • Cersei and Jaime were grown from the same seed, but Jaime was born male, so she punishes him for taking that opportunity from her. If she hates Tyrion for the death of her mother, she resents Jaime for taking her rightful position.

    Perfection!

    Cersei is such a stupid monster that instead of using her position of power to fight for women rights, she spends her life complaining about her gender.

    • Exactly! She resents being a woman instead of making that work for her, unlike characters like Daenerys and Brienne who are very much about female empowerment.

    • Really excellent, in depth analysis! Thanks!
      The one part I missed, however, was mention and discussion of that last episode, where Cersei wildfires the great sept of Baylor, killing off the most of King’s Landing’s noble families. Jaime arrives to see the smoking ruin of the city center, then sees his sister crown herself King (er, “Queen”).

      He didn’t look as if he were going to congratulate her.

  • Wow what a great read!!!!
    This was a really well-written and thoroughly article, and I really appreciated your whole perspective on Jaime as a character, and his almost dualistic struggle between staying loyal to the love of his life, or loyal to his personal aspirations or feelings. Thank you for shedding such great and interesting light on such a great and interesting character. It made me so much more invested in Jaime as a character, and what will happen to him in the next upcoming season.
    Thank you very much

  • Thanks Sarah for a wonderful, well written and well thought out essay. What a complex character! Thank goodness he has Bronn for some levity and Brienne to remind him of his honor. I thought he dealt with the Riverunn situation masterfully. I didn’t think for a minute he would harm Edmure’s baby but he sure was convincing. My favorite moment was his wave of farewell to Brienne as she rowed away. Very touching moment. I’m anxious to see how things play out with Cersei. The look that Jaime gave here as she ascended the throne was for the ages.

  • Jamie leaving cersi will be very predicatable but they sticking together will be more interesting .
    None of them is saint . They should be in it together like Jamie said to cersi fuck everyone who isn’t us . It will make it more interesting watch .
    Not fan of cersi but any man in her position would have done the same .remember no thrones are won through legitimacy .

    • It’s only “predictable” because it’s what happened in the source material. Show only viewers have no idea Jaime is set to dump Cersei this coming season. At least not the one’s who’ve stayed away from lads leaks.

      Also, Jaime’s actions belie his statement to Cersei. He cares for more than just his sister. And to be honest, it would be foolish to ignore this show’s history of having characters make bold pronouncements and then have the opposite happen.

  • My favorite & most insightful piece written on the true character of Jamie Lannister to date.😊Enjoyed the read….thank you!

  • Brilliant Article, accurately depicts truly how Dynamic the portrayal of Jaime is on Game of Thrones and the complex relationships he makes to those around him .

  • Good article. I think it captures Jaime’s complexity. I do think Bran will forgive him. I think Jaime will kill Cersei, after Cersei looses everything, except her capacity to cause trouble. I think Brienne & Jaime will be together (not as a couple, but as allies). I don’t know if they will admit to having feelings for each other, but I don’the think they will ever consummate their relationship. For Brienne’so sake it would be nice for Jaime to admit to her what she means to him.

    • In ASOS, Jaime literally pricks Brienne’s inner thigh with the tip of his sword and a red flower blooms. Gee, I wonder what that was foreshadowing.

  • Jamie has a chip on his shoulder he doesn’t give a fuck because he knows how cutthroat the world really is and nobody likes him anyway. He’s still the man. He has the political and military savvy to worm his way to the end. He brings something to the table and maybe die honorably leaving the Lannister name to Tyrion.

  • Nicely Done Sarah!

    Jamie is thrust into one of the most powerful/ perverse families. His initial intent was to become the Knight he admired. However when Jamie is forced into a ” Catch 22″ he is forever branded as the Kingslayer. His relationship with Brienne along with his maiming appear to have set him on another path.
    ” And me, that boy I was … when did he die, I wonder? When I donned the white cloak? When I opened Aerys’s throat? That boy had wanted to be Ser Arthur Dayne, but someplace along the way he had become the Smiling Knight instead. ”

    Does his love for Cersei have limits?
    ” She’s been Boinking Lancel, Osmund Keetleback and probably Moon Boy For all he knows.”

    What do they call it Sororicide ?

    Sister Slayer has a nice ring to it.

    He’s already a Sister Layer!

  • I agree with Ella about the reasons the Valonqar prophecy was omitted from the show, and I think that was a sound decision by D&D. But, Sarah, you’ve brilliantly captured Jaime in all his contradictions and nuances. I’ve always considered him the least of the major characters and never forgiven him for defenestrating Bran. But he is clearly grey–mix equal amounts of black and white and you get grey. We painters also know that the very, most subtle and effective greys are not actually B+W=G. Those suck up all the light. To make your grey sing you must mix it yourself out of several, mostly complimentary colours. Your analysis beamed a light onto the many colours of Jaime Lannister.

    • Honestly every time you comment on anything I write I turn to my boyfriend and say, “I love DarkStark” because you are so lovely.

  • Alex Graves direction of the controversial “Breaker of Chains” episode in season 4 stands out as the most bizarrely executed scene in all the series six seasons. Even more than the stabbing of Arya. It still blows my mind that he describes that scene as consensual. It also contradicts the pathway Jaime was on to redemption, and places him firmly back on the villain side for me.
    I think years from now the technology will be there to edit a lot of these moments. Like increasing the presence of Direwolves, Lady Stoneheart, inserting the correct and more faithful Dorne characters, and making Aryas Braavos adventure less strange.
    These moments seem so out of place because such a high percentage of the series is executed at such a high level!
    (There is still a chance that Braavos strangeness was intentional for the story, though).
    Looking forward to see the direction Jaime goes, so the show doesn’t fail in that regard! Like to see him join the fight for the living!

  • Fantastic article. Very well written and thought out. (What happened to the wildfire scene though?)

    It doesn’t change my mind regarding Jaime, though. I do love rich complex characters and stories as it’s one of the main reasons I enjoy Game of Thrones so much.

    I personally believe the prophecy has already been set in motion. It’s not a literal hands around Cersei neck but, metaphorical one. Like all prophecies’, they can be changed.

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