Game of Thrones season 8: How Brienne gave Jaime Lannister the perfect tribute in the series finale
Ever since Jaime Lannister decided to leave Brienne's side, and head back south to make a last stand with his twin/lover/queen Cersei, many Game of Thrones fans expressed the view that the development was a disservice to the man the 'Kingslayer' had become. Some questionable dialogue, a duel with Euron-nobody-liked-him-anyway-Greyjoy, and dying under the rubble of the Red Keep while attempting to flee with Cersei — the combined effects of these couldn't be countered by a last emotional farewell from Tyrion.
Several viewers felt his "abandonment" of Brienne, and that unceremonious end under a pile of bricks, didn't do justice to one of Game of Thrones' most morally ambivalent characters — one with a redemptive arc they had roundly cheered on.
But in Game of Thrones season 8 episode 6 — the series finale titled "The Iron Throne" — Jaime Lannister did get the ending he deserved.
Ser Brienne of Tarth, now Lord (or is it Lady?) Commander of the Kingsguard, opens the "White Book" or the "Book of Brothers" — a tome in which the deeds of all who wear the white cloak are laid down — and completes the entries under Jaime's name.
Brienne fills two pages with an account of everything Jaime accomplished during (and after) the War of the Five Kings, including losing his hand, making good on his vow to Catelyn Stark to return her daughters to safety, a (near) bloodless capture of Riverrun as commanded by King Tommen Baratheon, stymieing the Targaryen attack on Casterly Rock, annexing Highgarden, fighting against the Army of the Dead, returning to King's Landing in an attempt to prevent the loss of innocent lives.
She finishes Jaime's story with: "Died protecting his Queen".
It is a beautiful and fitting tribute to a man who was considered dishonourable for perhaps his most moral act.
It is also a tribute that Jaime would have felt keenly.
Hark back to the scene in Game of Throne season 4 episode 1 — 'Two Swords' — when Joffrey is in the Lord Commander's chambers with Jaime and Ser Meryn Trant, discussing the security arrangements for his upcoming nuptials with Margaery Tyrell.
Jaime shrugs off Joffrey's taunts about not being present during the Battle of Blackwater Bay to repulse Stannis Baratheon's attack. But when Joffrey starts rifling through the pages of the Book of Brothers, calling out the deeds of one illustrious member of the Kingsguard after another — "Ser Arthur Dayne, Sword of the Morning", "Ser Duncan the Tall... four pages! Must have been quite a man" — Jaime seems less impervious.
Sensing a chink, Joffrey presses in for the attack, turning to Jaime's page in the book — where only a few lines of text are filled in.
Joffrey: "Someone forgot to write down all your great deeds."
Jaime: "There's still time."
Joffrey: "Is there? For a 40-year-old knight with one hand?"
Jaime looks at the book again after Joffrey leaves, then slams it shut.
It is soon after this that Jaime — who has been less than conscientious in following through on his promise to Catelyn about seeing to Sansa and Arya's safety — tasks Brienne with fulfilling his oath. He also gives her the Valyrian steel sword his father presents him (one of the two Tywin Lannister forges out of Ice — Ned Stark's broadsword) and a suit of armour. Podrick Payne (who has to leave King's Landing since he refused to testify for the crown at Tyrion's trial for Joffrey's murder) accompanies Brienne as her squire.
It is fitting that it is Brienne who writes Jaime's story — who perhaps instinctively knows how much this simple act would honour him.
Jaime shows Brienne a side of himself that he doesn't to anyone — not even Tyrion, or Cersei.
In the baths at Harrenhal, Jaime tells Brienne the story of the last days of Robert's Rebellion, of Aerys II's command that Tywin Lannister's head be brought to him and that the city itself be burned with the wildfire. He explains why he took the irrevocable decision to slay Aerys; he then passes out in Brienne's arms, and as she calls out "Kingslayer!", he corrects her, or maybe it is an entreaty — "My name is Jaime."
From our archives: Why we're rooting for Jaime Lannister, and what that says of his reformation
Brienne is the foil through which we perceive Jaime's more positive qualities, returning to save her from the bear pit is one of the first altruistic acts we see him perform.
When he decides to return to King's Landing after the Battle of Winterfell, she attempts to provide him some absolution — "You're better than your sister, you're a good man". But Jaime is filled with self-loathing and is less than ready to accept her assessment of him. "She's hateful," he says (of Cersei), "and so am I".
The Jaime who squired with Ser Barristan Selmy, became a knight at 16, and was made a member of the Kingsguard by Aerys II Targaryen (partly to spite Tywin Lannister by taking away his eldest son and heir) — the youngest man to ever take on the white cloak — would have been pleased at the account that Brienne sets down of him.
So too would the man who rode North to fight against the Night King, and died protecting his Queen.
While you're here, catch up with all the episodes of our Game of Thrones season 8 podcast — GoTcast!
Updated Date: May 24, 2019 13:14:46 IST