Nikolaj Coster-Waldau explains why Jaime returned to Cersei

804 Brienne begs Jaime to stay Official The Last of the Starks. HBO
804 Brienne begs Jaime to stay Official The Last of the Starks. HBO /

I guess the things we do for love eventually get us killed? That’s the lesson we might learn from Jaime Lannister. I mean, he had the perfect life with Brienne of Tarth, but decided to return to his hateful sister and King’s Landing just in time to get flattened by the falling debris of the Red Keep. What gives?

HBO’s Making Game of Thrones blog spoke to actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau about Jaime’s decision, and why he had to break Brienne’s heart like he did. “In a different world, Jaime would’ve stayed with Brienne,” he said. “What he has with Brienne is something different — it’s a very pure, innocent love. There is a part of him that wishes he could not be who he is.”

"It’s one of those things we do in Game of Thrones. You have this idea of what you want these characters to do — it’s supposed to end well for these two, they’ve been through so much together — but that’s not how it goes. The most extreme of all these scenes is a couple seasons back, when Myrcella tells Jaime she knows he’s her father and she’s glad he is. He has this moment of happiness, and then the second after she dies in his arms."

Coster-Waldau praised costar Gwendoline Christie’s performance when Jaime tells Brienne he has to leave, and explains why it wouldn’t have worked for Jaime to stay put when he knew what was about to happen to his sister/lover. “Gwendoline was so moving in that scene. She did an amazing job of conveying that Brienne had finally found happiness she’s never had, and it’s just taken away from her in a brutal way.”

"It’s very true to who these characters are. His staying in Winterfell is unrealistic. Cersei is the most important person in his life, whether he wants her to be or not. The idea that he was going to just let her die alone, is too horrible for him. He asks Brienne: ‘Have you ever walked away from a fight?’ There’s no option for him, he has to go to Cersei. Ramsay Bolton said it best: ‘If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.’"

Oh, how dare you break out the Ramsay Bolton line, Nikolaj. I’m not sure I can forgive you for breaking Brienne’s heart…okay, I can, but I’m going to keep grousing about it.

Interestingly, Coster-Waldau says the turning point for Jaime came when Bronn finds Jaime and Tyrion in the winter town:

"Bronn appears and Jaime realizes he was sent there by Cersei to kill him and Tyrion — it’s this strange reality check. Cersei has a way of making sure you don’t forget about her. That act is such an extreme thing. I don’t think Jaime believes Bronn is going to kill them; because Bronn is a businessman."

Being reminded that your sister wants you dead is what sends you running back to her? Man, their relationship was even more unhealthy than we thought.


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And of course, Sansa twists the knife when she talks about wanting to be there when Cersei is executed. “[Jaime] knows that Cersei’s provoked Daenerys so much, and she’s underestimated her enemy — usually Cersei’s the one people underestimate,” Coster-Waldau said. “His whole life has been about trying to protect Cersei, and trying to be close to her.”

"He loves her — it’s unconditional love, it’s so ingrained in him. Jaime and Bronn were together when the Lannister army was attacked by the dragons — they saw first hand what Dany can do. If you go against dragons you are going to die."

Anyway, Jaime does finally reach Cersei, and they spend their final moments together, just as Jaime said he wanted to when he and Bronn snuck into Dorne back in season 5:

“That scene had so much weight,” Coster-Waldau said. “It was a big deal to have these characters die — it’s such an end. I love working with Lena and we always had such an amazing experience together. l look back at what she has done on this show and it’s amazing.”

"The whole world is falling down around them; it’s a poetic thing. When we were done filming, it was so emotional — more so than my last scene. My hope for those final moments between Cersei and Jaime, is that even though people want her dead, it still leaves a sour taste in their mouth."

The actor’s last scene was actually the fight between Jaime and Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk), a scene Coster-Waldau described as “the perfect way to go out.”

"“Pilou [Asbæk] is a great friend, and he brought his A-game. We tried to make it as brutal as we could, and it was a painful few days. [Director] Miguel [Sapochnik] was driven to make this a great fight. It’s more than life or death for Jaime — it would be too cruel if he didn’t make it to Cersei. There are beats where I hope people think, “Sh*t, he isn’t going to make it.”"

I, for one, am glad he at least killed Euron before dying with his sister. They went out of this world like they came into it, for better or worse.

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