Jaime has come a long way from his early days on Game of Thrones. He began as a villain on the show, so devoted to an incestuous relationship with his sister, Cersei Lannister that he did terrible things, such as pushing Bran Stark out a window, thus crippling the boy for life. But as the series progressed, he began to move down a path of redemption, growing as a person through his interactions with Brienne of Tarth and being further humbled through the loss of his hand. Jaime proved himself as a person capable of change, of growth, while Cersei doubled down on her own inner flaws and became a fully fledged tyrant. Both siblings began to drift apart, clearly showing Jaime as a fundamentally better person than Cersei (though that is not hard.) All signs pointed towards Jaime becoming a hero and this seemed to be confirmed in his last scene with Cersei in Season 7. Cersei had just been shown absolute proof that the White Walkers were real and coming to kill everyone in Westeros. She seemed to ally with Jon Snow and Daenerys to fight the oncoming threat but later revealed to Jaime that she was lying, hoping to weaken her enemies and claim the Iron Throne unopposed.
Jaime was horrified by this plan, so much so that he rode away from King’s Landing and joined with the forces of Winterfell this season. His arc seemed to be reaching a happy conclusion, especially with him and Brienne consummating their mutual attraction to each other.
Until, well, all that character development suddenly did a swan dive off a cliff.
Jamie and Cersei’s relationship had clearly fractured, broken by the paths their mutual character development had taken them down. Jaime’s path had evolved naturally to make him a better person, which is why it was sudden and jarring when he appeared to do a 180. After bedding Brienne, suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere, Jaime left her in the middle of the night, told her how ‘hateful’ he was while claiming his devotion to Cersei, and rode off to be with her in King’s Landing. This could have been seen as perhaps a lie, a trick, or setting up for Jamie to even kill Cersei as had longed been hinted at but nope! In the latest episode of Game of Thrones, The Bells, Jamie dies in the arms of Cersei while claiming his love to her before they’re both buried in the collapse of the Red Keep.
This felt wrong. Jamie should not have returned to Cersei. Their relationship had naturally broken over the course of the series and for them to embrace each other as if nothing had ever happened between them, as if their mutual paths meant nothing, just feels like honestly a slap in the face. Jaime deserved so much better than what he got in the past few episodes, where he seemingly forgot all that he had learned, endured, and seen in favor of dying with the woman he had grown to hate. Perhaps this could have worked if more time had been devoted to showing why Jamie still loved Cersei, why he was willing to abandon his friends to go back to her, but thanks to the rather rushed pace of this season, it comes out of the blue and seems to ignore the character’s internal logic.
Jamie’s arc had naturally pointed to him rising above his twisted beginnings and becoming a good man. And he almost did! But at the last minute, he just reversed back to his origins in Season 1. A lot of the characterizations in Season 8 have been rather wonky but Jamie’s especially stings, as it feels like the writers just chose to ignore his redemption arc for no real reason. Jamie keeps claiming he loves Cersei, even though we’ve seen that clearly isn’t the case anymore. But instead, he dies a rather pathetic death, buried under a pile of rocks with the woman who mere episodes ago he was disgusted by. It was an insulting end to one of the show’s best characters, especially one who had evolved so far and shown so much more depth than what he appeared to be at first glance.
What were your thoughts on Jamie’s characterization this season? Tell us in the comments!
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