Only a couple of more days until Game of Thrones season 3, showing the first half of Storm of Swords. This season brings about many interesting twists and turns for the various characters. One of my favorite character arcs from the Storm of Swords is Jaime Lannister.
In the first two seasons of Game of Thrones we are not given any reason to like Jaime Lannister. He comes off as arrogant, selfish, and just as evil and inconsiderate as his sister and father. Yet season 3 is when we begin to really see Jaime’s character. (Spoilers for Game of Thrones season 1-3)
One of our first impressions of Jaime Lannister is him having sex with his sister and pushing Bran out the window as he, while climbing around the castle, stumbles upon the affair. This makes Jaime immediately unlikable. It is not just that he throws a boy from a window, he does it with such an uncaring air. Then there is the fact that he is having sex with his sister while they are visiting Winterfell right under King Robert’s nose.
If these are not enough reason to dislike him we find out that Jaime is also known as Kingslayer. Jaime was and still is one of the King’s Guard, but he was part of the guard under the Mad King. Even though Robert and Ned fought against the King and were storming King’s Landing it was Jaime who killed him. Ned even confronts Jaime because as part of the King’s Guard he was sworn to protect the king no matter what, but in the end he is the one who killed him.
This seems to go along with the fact that Jaime is loyal only to his family and does not really care about honor or anything else for that matter. He seems arrogant, selfish, and just downright a despicable human being. Then we get to the Storm of Swords.
It is easy to start out and just think Jaime is a single minded character. The first two seasons there is nothing that seems redeemable about him. You think you have made your mind up. Then Catelyn Stark gets Brienne to help her free Jaime to exchange him for her daughters. During the trip Jaime gives Brienne no end of crap about her idea of what it means to be a knight. As the trip progresses we learn more and more about who Jaime Lannister really is.
In a weird way Brienne awakens Jaime’s inner knight or even his inner paladin. Slowly we begin to see that Jaime is not arrogant necessarily and that at one point he was and in some is still a true believer in what it means to be a knight. It is more that the games that everyone else is playing has made him cynical. Not to mention the interactions between he and his sister. At the same time Jaime is loyal to Cersei while she is out sleeping with everything in order to get her way. His honor might be somewhat twisted, but it was not twisted entirely by him.
One of the actions that really speaks to his character is that Jaime is still keeping the secrets of the Mad King. I will admit I do not remember if this was in Storm of Souls, but I think it is. Jaime reveals (I think to Brienne) that the King was going to burn the city down. The idea being that if he could not keep the throne then he would burn the city to the ground with the wild fire that Tyrion uses at the end of the second season. He is given an impossible choice: protect the King and let him murder everyone in King’s Landing or protect the innocent people of King’s Landing from the Mad King.
Jaime chose to protect the people, but he never reveals what the Mad King was planning to do. To protect the memory of the King he takes on the label of Kingslayer and has not told anyone the truth. Even when he reveals the truth it is not to shout from the rooftops about what he did, it is in a moment of vulnerability that he opens himself up to one person. This is the moment, where I at least, started to realize that Jaime is not a simple character and that there is more to him then meets the eye.
The Love / Hate Relationship
So how do I feel about Jaime Lannister? It is still hard to say. He has the tools and ability to be a good honorable character, even surrounded by the murderous, deceitful, lying family and court that he is surrounded by, but he does not always choose that path. I know he is more than what he was first introduced as, but he also threw a boy out a window and has had an incestuous relationship with his sister.
Jaime Lannister started out an idealist who believed in what it meant to be a knight, but time has just torn away at that idealism to create a cynic. He has been around so many people who have no honor, I can understand why he would turn out the way he did. In the books we are seeing a turnaround in Jaime and he is trying to reclaim the honor that he had in the beginning, but it is not easy with his sister trying to pull him down into the mud.
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