Jaime Lannister has always been my favorite character on the show. He may be the show’s best written character as well. The handsome and dashing knight who knows no equal on the field battle maimed and disgraced and returned to his father a broken man. Game of Thrones has no lack of tragic characters or tragic ends to characters, but I think what happens to Jaime is by far the most tragic and effective. Robb Stark was murdered at his uncle’s wedding, truly a tragic end to a great character, although he was a little boring. Ned Stark was beheaded in front of his family and the entire kingdom. A tragic end to an ultimately doomed character. Jaime’s list of tragedies is far longer and more intricate than anything a Stark had to endure, except for maybe Sansa.
In the beginning of the series, Jaime is a handsome knight with the eyes of every girl in Westeros. A knight of the Kingsguard and son of the powerful Lord Tywin. He should be a set to be written into the history books as a gallant knight and heroic knight. Except, he murdered the king he was sworn to protect by shoving a sword through his back. Not exactly the most heroic way to slay a king, even one as reviled as King Aerys. The people of Westeros do not view him as someone who has forsaken his own honor to save King’s Landing from being destroyed by wildfire. They see him as another high lord looking to be on the right side of history and by betraying his king for his own kin.
In the novels, Jaime Lannister becomes Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, I think he does this in the show as well but it’s not touched on as much, and every time he holds must write in the book of the Kingsguard he is reminded of how little he has done as a knight and how few his triumphs are in number. He cannot even correctly fill out the book thanks to his one missing hand. He must chicken scratch his way through writing the noble deeds of his brothers and stare at the empty page beneath his name, for he is a cripple and cannot fight and win melees or battles without the use of his sword hand. He is Lord Commander in name only. He does not even command the respect of those he leads within the Kingsguard.
Jaime is the most tortured character in Westeros. After being maimed by followers of Roose Bolton, I can’t remember who does it in the show, he is made to travel in his own shit and filth and is just degraded to no level any other character in the book or show ever experiences. Sure, people are killed and humiliated but the son of the great Tywin Lannister should never be treated so inhumanely as he is during the time of his capture and dismembering. There has never been a more effective way of turning a character from a pompous prick to a humble knight quicker than covering him in his own shit and cutting off his lively hood (Read: hand). Jaime’s flair for arrogance and pea-cocking around is quickly and efficiently removed from him throughout his traumatic experiences.
Each house in Westero is nearly obsessed with the idea of continuing their blood line and fostering good strong families. Jaime knows this and does anything he can to protect the ones he loves, and he even does things he would never do to protect them. He has a blinding love for Cersei. He runs to take Riverrun from the Blackfish just so he can return to her and protect her from the enemies of the crown. While he is away she destroys half the city and burns all her enemies. Cersei has just committed the very act Jaime through all his honor away to stop from happening during the Mad King’s rule. He tried so hard to make everything right when he looked away the one he loved most in the world becomes the one thing he will do anything to stop. His father turns his back on him when he refuses to forsake another vow he made, he already killed the king he can’t just leave the Kingsguard.
We know that Jaime is going to be around for a few more seasons; presumably since they just gave Nikolaj Coster-Waldau a huge raise for the rest of the series. I cannot wait to see how he confronts Cersei and her treachery. Already removed from the Kingsguard by Tommen, Jaime’s next few years will be tumultuous ones. It remains to be seen if he can stomach what Cersei has down well enough to remain by her side and protect her through the war to come or if he will be so distraught that he leaves. Either way, Jaime remains one of, if not the, best written character on Game of Thrones.