[Please note there are spoilers for those who have not watched Game of Thrones season 3, episode 7 The Bear and the Maiden Fair.]
I never thought I would feel this way but after watching The Bear and the Maiden Fair all I can think about is Jaime Lannister and how much he has grown. It’s like seeing a spoilt little boy becoming an honourable man. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is doing an outstanding job at portraying Jaime’s lows this season and the chemistry he has with Gwendoline Christie’s stoic Brienne of Tarth is fascinating.
Lannister pride never disappears altogether from Jaime but it certainly takes on a new tone. As Jaime’s outward appearance has become more and more sullied and dishevelled it feels as though inwardly he is finally starting to develop compassion and empathy. Whether or not this is permanent is uncertain but it is undeniable that he is no longer the same man who, with little more than a passing thought, pushed Bran Stark off the tower to his possible death.
It could be argued that the loss of his right hand is the major influence in Jaime’s change of attitude but I believe it has more to do with his relationship with Brienne. Brienne’s sense of honour and obligation is something that Jaime grudgingly respects, although initially that respect was more in the form of taunts than anything else. This is evident when they fight each other in the moments before their capture by Locke (an almost unrecognisable Noah Taylor).
After their capture and due in part to a common enemy, they start looking after each other and even showing each other compassion. Jaime creates a white lie to save Brienne from being raped but as an indirect result his right hand is cut off by Locke. Brienne repays Jaime by bluntly mocking him into not losing all hope and giving up. She then poignantly asks why he saved her but there is no answer save for Jaime’s haunted eyes.
Things improve slightly when they arrive at Lord Bolton’s; they share a sauna and although they both see each other naked that is not the most intimate part of the scene. Jaime opening up and telling Brienne the story of why he killed the Mad King was a significant moment, when they truly became allies .
In the latest instalment Jaime and Brienne are separated as Jaime is headed for King’s Landing and Brienne is to stay with Locke. With great reluctance they settle their debts and say goodbye. Tellingly at their farewell Brienne says ‘Sir Jamie’ (instead of ‘Kingslayer’) which shows just how far they have come. And I believe that could have been that. However, once on the road Jamie learns that Locke thinks he is being cheated by the reward paid for Brienne and that therefore she would be the men’s ‘entertainment’ for the night. What that actually implies is unclear but it only takes Jaime a couple of minutes before he insists that he forgot something significant and that they must return. The question I asked myself at this point is ‘Why? Why would he delay returning to King’s Landing for Brienne?’ If he was the Jamie from season one I don’t believe he would have returned. Or, is it an overriding sense of duty and obligation that sends him back, more than genuine concern for Brienne?
So they return, Jamie jumps into a pit to save Brienne from a bear and Brienne in return pulls Jamie to safety. After a couple of terse words and ultimatums between Jamie and Locke they get to leave together for King’s Landing. I am curious as to how their relationship will continue to evolve for the rest of their journey but I am most intrigued at the thought of what dynamics will come into play when Jaime introduces Brienne to Cersei. Fun times ahead!
What are your thoughts on Jaime? Is he going to return to his old Lannister ways when he returns to King’s Landing and is reunited with his family or are we seeing the beginning of a new man?