Like many people, I too have an obsession with Game of Thrones. I have read both the books and follow the TV series as well religiously. Also, I have a habit of deeply analysing characters of novels and trying to make sense of why they do what they do. I do know they are mere fiction but nevertheless, I would imagine them to be real and I would think what would I do if I were them in that situation. In fact, I have learnt a lot in terms of values from fiction novels than any personal development books I have read.
There are plenty of exciting characters on Game of Thrones including fan favourites Jon snow, Daenerys, Tyrion and of course Eddard Stark. Each of them has their own virtues and morals. However, it’s the character of Jaime Lannister that has impressed me the most among the other famous ones.
Jaime is the son of Tywin Lannister and the brother of Tyrion Lannister and Cersei. Of course, his relationship with Cersei goes more than brother-sister, they maintain an incestuous relationship right from their childhood. In the first few books, we are given a brief introduction to Jaimie. Jaimie is a member of Kingsguard, a knight with golden hair and probably the best swordsman of the 7 Kingdoms.Jaime comes across as arrogant, extremely impulsive and a man without any honour but quite fearless.When a young Jon snow meets him the first time, he thinks this is how a king should look like. However, Jaimie also carries a notorious tag of being an Oathbreaker and Kingslayer after having murdered the Mad King when he was his Kingsguard. Soon, in the books, Jaimie is seen pushing a kid(Brandon stark) out of a tower crippling the boy for life. He also viciously attacks Ned stark when he hears that the Starks have taken his brother captive.We are more than convinced after these incidences that Jaimie is a ruthless, remorseless individual and a typical villain.
However, in the first 2 books, we see the character of Jamie through the eyes of Eddard Stark, Stannis, Catelyn and the rest, all of whom view him with contempt. This image of Jaimie looks legit as each of them had a valid reason to have such a perspective on Jaimie.
We get the first viewpoint of Jamie’s perspective when he is held as a prisoner by Robb Stark. Catelyn Stark reminds of him heinous act of killing a king whom he had sworn to protect and she calls the world a dangerous place only because men like him exist. Jaime coolly confesses the fact that he pushed her son from the tower, and also that he considers the act of killing the king he had sworn to protect was the single greatest thing he ever did. At this point, we are still unaware of Jamie’s motivation behind killing the Mad King. He also rebukes Catelyns choice of words of ‘Men like him’, saying ‘ There are no men like me, only me’. This is a powerful statement. Here, Jaime emphasises the idea of ‘individuality’ and that he or that matter no one cannot be defined in terms of others expectations.He has his own uniqueness and way of doing things and of course his own perspective what is right and wrong. He is independent of societal notions of how one should act and behave.
It’s only in the third book that we see Martin writing a chapter entirely from Jaimes perspective. Jaime who is travelling with Brienne is captured by Vargo and his men. Jaimie takes strong offence when Vargo’s men try to rape her thinking it is an act of needless cruelty. He then goes on in attempting to bribe his own and Brienne’s freedom from them. Vargo cuts off his sword hand for this attempt. After he loses his hand, Jaimie goes into depression mode but this also marks a drastic change in his character or some part which was always in him deep down comes out. Jaimes arrogance stemmed from the fact that he considered himself to be the best swordsman, and when he loses his hand, his arrogance and pride is just shattered. Also later, Jaimie reveals to Brienne of the real reason why he actually killed the Mad King. The Mad King had actually planned to burn the entire kingdom which would have resulted in deaths of lakhs of innocent kids and women.Jaimie tries to talk him out of the plan but by then the king had already sent out for the pyromancer to do the job. Jaimie had enough. He didn’t care for his vow anymore and he decides to end the madness. He slays the king to protect the kingdom. This is important. He had no desire to sit on the throne. This is verified by the fact that he goes on to kill all the pyromancers that the king had planned on using to burn the entire town, affirming his motives were beyond personal. Of course, he never reveals this to anyone till Brienne. Lord Eddard Stark who comes into the room after he slays the king, judges him as an oath breaker the moment he notices Jaime with the sword and the king dead.Jaime explains this to Brienne with the statement ‘ By what right does the wolf judge the lion? ‘. Here, again, Jaimie brings out the fact that he is different, that he doesn’t deserve to be judged because others believed or emphasised values he didn’t care much about. Jaimie when presented with dilemma or contradictions between his values/family and vows, chooses his values/family first, and acts accordingly regardless of the consequences. He later goes on to save Brienne from the pit and also sends Brienne to protect Sansa from Cersei. Jaimie also understands he has acted dishonourably at times and vows to be a better knight in future.
His relationship with Cersei deteriorated rapidly after he loses his hand and he comes to see her for what she is and eventually abandons her when she decides to betray Jon Snow. Although Jaime does act more honourably in the latter part of series, the essence of his character doesn’t change much. He detests any form of needless violence but is willing to carry it out himself when the situation demands. This is easily understood when he threatens Edmure Tully to surrender the castle or die along with his infant son.He doesn’t go much by the rules or expectations of seven kingdoms and instead decides to act based on his conscience alone regardless of the consequences.
Jaime represents the ambiguous nature of all of us.He faces contradictory choices, he chooses what he believes regardless of what is actually expected out of him in a situation. That’s what makes the character engaging and quite interesting to watch and read about.