It seems that all the world can talk about right now is the demise of Game of Thrones. How the final season “needs to be rewritten”. One of the planet’s most popular TV shows has unsuccessfully gone down like a sinking ship meeting its unexpected end, by loose-cannon pirates with Molotov cocktails. Yet as a long-time standing fan of the show, and books, there was one gripe that I simply couldn’t let go. The desolation of a dragon within seconds I can let go, the lack of acknowledgment to Jon’s heritage I can even manage, but what was that all about with Jaime Lannister?
As somebody who reads at most opportunities, I am always on the constant lookout for foreshadowing, embedded Easter eggs. Things that give a ‘heads up’ to those who may be a bit more analytical when viewing. This is something that Game of Thrones has done incredibly well in the past. The foreshadowing of Littlefinger meeting his doom via the face of crows was ingenious.
Yet here lies my problem, the immense character growth of Jaime Lannister, the ups the downs (literally on Bran’s part). Through thick and thin, through redeemable and irredeemable – Jaime Lannister was prime example of incredible writing. With such vast character growth, which now, I heart-brokenly have to say has now been completely nullified. Do be warned, before you read on, this contains spoilers of the whole series, so read at your own peril.
Indeed, The “Man Without Honour”
Ah the Kingslayer, once a perfectly blonde arrogant man, who ravished his sister on many occasions, bred future perfectly blonde princes and princesses, pushed a juvenile from a window. In full completion of a character in which we all took pride in disliking. Never in season one did I ever think after the words spoken “the things we do for love”, would he be the character I most cherish. And in general, would become my favourite character. Yet by the end of the series, it was this character pathway which filled me with the most disdain and disappointment.
If you have ever seen Cabin in the Woods: where whatever artifact was picked, the fate of the campers would be decided. It felt like the writers were playing this game too. But, the fate of Jaime Lannister’s life in the penultimate episode. Does he die by the hand of the mountain? Does he die by Euron? Either way, the choice that was made was completely gutting.
“Quite The Little Climber, Aren’t You?”
First impressions of Jaime are nothing short of a brooding, pretty man, who seems to be a bit of a pawn. He seems to be a spoiled brat raised as a part of the richest kingdom with no care nor reasoning by what choices he makes. Mostly because he is indeed in the midst of the royal family and daddy can clear up his messes.
Here is a clean-cut example of a character in season one who we honestly didn’t have time to care for. We knew he was a bit of a moron, but his actions so early on weren’t to affect our likings or dislikings of a favourite or most hated character. It’s quite interesting to see so early on that by sending Bran to his plummet of death, this included zero input from Cersei. Other than her ramblings of “he saw us” repeatedly. Showing us the first character trait of Jaime Lannister, honour by love. Followed by the quotation to solidify this notion, “the things we do for love”.
“Give Me Back My Daughters!”, “I Have Lost Them Too I’m Afraid.”
The lack of care that Jaime had for the practical capture of the Stark girls was in fact menacing. He proved to be a strong soldier and pawn of the Lannister family. Brainwashed into believing that whatever happens in Kings Landing was, in fact, the correct pathway. With the smug look on his face, whilst Rob was holding a sword to his neck, coated in the blood of his peers, Jaime Lannister looks on with content. The audience is forced to dislike his lack of care towards the young girls of the Stark family. But, to tend to his own selfish needs of wanting to escape and return back to his sister-lover.
“Is That A Woman? – Where Did You Find This Beast?”
The first time Jaime laid eyes on Brienne was nothing short of disgusting. As the audience watched him claim that he killed somebody’s son simply because “they were in my way”, and to then insult the woman who is breaking all ideals of misogyny, a feminist’s fan-favourite, his goals were obvious at this stage. He only cared about himself and Cersei, that’s what it seemed. His selfish needs and no matter what he did would bring him one step closer into the care of his incest-loving twisted sister. This would then force us to be the Emperor of a Spartan arena. To hold up our thumbs and want Jaime to suffer his consequences. As he has no true input on a Utopian (or as close to it can be in Westeros) ending.
“I Never Understood Why Some Knights Decide to Carry Two Swords, You Move Well For a Great Beast of a Woman!”
A little flirting maybe? Jaime’s back-and-fourth with Brienne was a cheeky yet pleasant side to see. He wasn’t preaching his escape. Nor hyping the superiority of the Lannisters for once. He would almost treat Brienne like boys would treat girls in a junior school play-ground. Subtle bullying with underlying compliments. He compares her to a knight, something of high honour, and compliments her skills in battle, regardless of the insult of being a “great beast”, regardless of the nature of Jaime’s comments, he did indeed show intrigue and great interest in her.
“Her Father Would Pay His Daughter’s Weight in Sapphires If She’s Returned to Him. But Only If She’s Alive, Her Honour Unbesmirched.”
Regardless that Jaime is being held prisoner by Brienne, the fight between the two ensured new respect for Brienne on Jaime’s behalf. Upon hearing that Brienne could potentially be raped by their current captors, it would have been in Jaime’s best state of mind to allow that to happen. He would have been able to make a swifter escape. Yet this was the first time we had seen humanity in Jaime, remorse for what was happening.
Whether it be a selfish move on his part as he knew that Brienne was to keep him alive. And therefore be a strong ally to protect. Jaime chose to stand up for her, resulting in a distraction, proclaiming her title (her father’s), promising wealth. Due to this bold move on Jaime’s part; resulting in his first act of emasculation – his be-handing.
“You Think Honourable ‘Ned Stark’ Wanted to Hear my Side?”
In Jaime’s most vulnerable state, we see him speak of his title. Surprisingly, not bragging, yet proclaiming of the reasonings behind it, and not wanting to restore his clean name due to the respect of Ned Stark. The legend that is ‘Kingslayer’, a brutal title was actually born out of humanity and honour to his family and people. To disallow his own family and people to be brutally murdered by the Mad King himself.
When Jaime begins to faint, Brienne chooses to want to return the favour in helping him too, solidifying that mutual respect. Bellowing, “help! The Kingslayer”. To which he replies, “Jaime, my name’s Jaime”. Allowing the audience to recognise that he no longer affiliates himself with said title, but would rather be recognised as his own being and entity – a human with a name. More importantly, something that does not attach him to King’s Landing and the Lannisters.
“Well, We Must Be on Our Way – Sorry About the Sapphires.”
This would be the point where everybody’s heart began to swell towards Jaime, maybe the distance from King’s Landing was doing the brain some good. Jaime’s ascension to hero was well on its way at this point as he jumps into an area… to bare-knuckle fight… a grizzly bear. If that doesn’t show that he is a good guy at heart, I’m not quite sure what does. He ensures Brienne’s escape, with his arrogance still intact to leave with a sarcastic comment, showing the audience not just the growth in Jaime’s personality, but his humour is still quite alive, that even without his hand, he still is who he is. The biggest and most successful part of character growth from Jaime Lannister, here.
“I Murdered People to be Here With You”
Is that a conscience that you have accumulated Mr. Lannister? It’s quite interesting to see from the man who claims he murdered a boy with chains merely because he was “in my way”, is now disturbed by the actions of murdering. It seems all the empathetic work done with Brienne hasn’t gone to waste. Yet, the evil-o-meter suggests that sadly, Jaime is not preaching to the converted and he, in fact, is answering to Cersei, who sees death as a price which can be bought rather easily. Jaime’s growth here is simply incredible. No longer does he seem like the spoiled brat, Lannister robot he was, he seems to have grown sympathy for families, and clearly understands the price of death, the biggest difference which has now distanced the two sibling-lovers.
“It’s Not Right”, “I Don’t Care.”
The first we have seen of the ‘old Jaime’ in a while. Yet it seems more of an act of desperation, or the embedding of poison from the pleads of the one he loves, as if he needs to prove worthiness due to his lack of hand. Literally. Nothing like a bit of your sister in front of your incest-born, dead son’s corpse. Thus, leading to the raping of Cersei, forcing her to whimper “stop” repeatedly. Is this a distraction or him proving masculinity?
Now that at this point we have proven Jaime to be a bit of an anti-hero, rape seems to be out of the question. I feel this act of desperation was to prove Cersei wrong. He was losing her. He knows that he is unable to punish Tyrion, and he knows that without his hand, Cersei is going to punish him for being less of a soldier. This may be a desperate attempt of showing Cersei that he is still as savage as he once was, hand or not, he “don’t care”, or cares far too much.
“They Say the Best Swords Have Names, Any Ideas?” “Oathkeeper.”
Jaime, by proxy, gets the title he now deserves by a woman he thinks so highly of. The journey in which Jaime has come so far in, is now closing off. He has become a noble person in the eyes of somebody who is truly noble. “I hope I got your measurements right”, shows the attention to detail he has put into her armour as a gift along with the sword. It seems the divide in split-personality is difficult. This makes the audience question, what Jaime is the real Jaime? The one we see with Cersei or the one we see with Brienne.
It seems as if Jaime is a very easily influenced character by his peers. Growing up around characters such as Cersei and Tywin, if easily swayed, he is a very easily manipulated character. Yet, the influence characters such as Brienne have on him, has made him grow entirely. Away from Cersei, the audience sees Jaime as the “Oathkeeper”, not the “Kingslayer”, a development which makes him incredibly thoughtful and inspiring, that even the worst of characters can make a full turn-around.
“Will There Be Pain?”, “No, I Made Sure of That.”
Lady Olenna’s death was one of my favourites due to the input from Jaime. He knew that he was supposed to kill her, yet seems to not enjoy it any longer. He murders her with grace, honesty, and honour. Sends her to her impending doom with choice, which she accepts happily. Somebody who has been given a title of slaying a king gives remorse to an old lady who indeed killed her son. Jaime has become a respectful character, and gave one of the most heart-warming murders (slight contradiction there) in the entirety of the series.
“I Pledged to Ride North, and I Tend to Honour That Pledge.”
Finally, what everybody was waiting for. Jaime to turn his back on his love and his Queen to help battle in the north. To acknowledge the bigger picture in Westeros, and the impending doom of the world itself… for now. This noble act ensured faith in the audience, reassured us that Jaime has redeemed himself from the man he once was, by walking out on a volatile decision, to fight with others to make Westeros a better place, with the help of his hands… well hand. And ironically by the side of Brienne. Isn’t this pathway so fulfilling? Hasn’t Jaime’s arc been so masterly crafted? As a reader, this development is truly one of the best to analyse as this is exactly what character development is supposed to be. Brace yourself.
“I’m Not That Person Anymore.” “You Still Would Be If You Hadn’t Pushed Me Out of That Window, and I’d Still Be Brandon Stark.”
A full circle moment that redeems one of the harshest moments in which Jaime has been involved in. He looks his past in the eye and apologises. He is cleared of his haunting bad deed and finds comfort that Bran tells him he would never have been here today if he had never pushed him out the window. This is a perfect turnaround for Jaime’s character, and finalising some incredible writing of Jaime Lannister taking his journey from hero to villain, stealing our hearts by being a selfless human, not a Lannister robot.
“I’ve Never Slept With a Knight Before.” “I Have Never Slept With Anybody Before.”
If you wanted a happy ending for Jaime, I’d suggest you stop right here. The moment we were all waiting for. Jaime and Brienne, seasons of sexual tension and flirting, and most importantly, what Brienne deserves. A character suited to her. Loyal, noble, and completely selfless. Yet for some reason, all of those seams now become untied. All that grind, love and effort we have shed towards Jaime is now ready to be undone.
This relationship has been built since the early stages of the series, the redemption of once branding her a “great beast of a woman”, to in fact wanting to be intimate with her is completely destroyed within the space of minutes. Taking the virginity of one of the most-loved characters, after giving her a knighthood, Jaime rides off into the distance. To do what? Return to Cersei. Sigh. Hope and redemption still lied in our hearts, with a subtle need that he will take down Cersei himself, whether it be gracefully, that would have been the final piece of the puzzle to ensure Jaime would no longer be a pawn of Cersei’s, but a true individual.
“Nothing Else Matters. Nothing Else Matters.”
Brienne? The seven kingdoms that you just fought for? Doesn’t matter, does it? This was my most shocking moment from Game of Thrones. At this point I found myself swearing at the TV, screaming “really?!”. We become attached to these characters and go on a journey with them to how far they have achieved or diminished. Jaime achieved so much, but was put to rest by his constant need to want to be with Cersei. Maybe this was self-sacrifice as he is so noble that he does not feel like he deserves happiness. Whatever way it is spun, the last time we see Jaime’s live body on our screens was not what the writing could have foreshadowed, and not what he deserved.
This is only a simple timeline of where I felt personally Jaime showed his character growth, to then completely undo every good deed and redeeming quality he had. He may as well have never left Cersei’s side, and held hands with The Mountain the whole entire series.
Rest in peace Jaime Lannister, you truly deserved so much better than a wasted story arc solidified by shoddy writing in the final season.
Were there any other points in which Jaime’s character arc disappointed you? Or do you agree with this let down of the beloved show? Tell us about it in the comments section down below or give us a shout on our Twitter – @fictiontalkmag
Wordomancy is the most effective form of literary resurrection, and I use this to blabber proverbial nonsense about games, books and other fictional lands to which I may or may not have visited yet. Word vomit is key, but really, I’m just a writer in her mid-twenties who is submerged in nerd-culture.