Game of Thrones: Why Jaime's latest scene is his most tragic yet

The latest episode of Game of Thrones featured a scene with Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth that was particularly cutting.

Spoiler warning: This article discusses what happened in Game of Thrones S08E04, 'The Last of the Starks'.

When Jaimie left Brienne in Winterfell, he turned his back on his new life, which he and Brienne had spent several seasons painstakingly cultivating together.

It's the most tragic Jaime moment so far.

Some people love watching Game of Thrones for the spectacle alone; the dragons, the big battles, the shocking deaths.

For others, the character work in the show is much more rewarding - and redemption is one of its most central themes.

Last week we saw Theon Greyjoy's redemption arc completed in a beautifully tragic way. The last words he heard were "you're a good man - thank you", from one of the people he'd most gravely wronged, before he sacrificed his life for them.

This week, we see Jaime get painfully close to fully transforming from the irredeemable Kingslayer villain into a noble man of honour and loyalty - only to abandon it, right at the last minute.

He killed off his own redemption arc in an awfully tragic way. 

Brienne pleads with Jaime in Game of Thrones S08E04, 'The Last of the Starks'.
Brienne pleads with Jaime. Photo credit: HBO

Aided by copious amounts of alcohol, his relationship with Brienne escalated to the physically romantic after years of sparring and mutual admiration. Shortly thereafter, he coldly dumped her and abandoned the north land he'd just fought to protect.

Pleading with him to stay, Brienne explicitly called Jaime "a good man" - just as Bran had to Theon in the previous episode.

"You're not like your sister [Cersei]. You're not. You're better than she is, you're a good man and you can't save her," Brienne told Jaime.

"You think I'm a good man?" he replies, before listing his gravest sins and concluding: "[Cersei] is hateful - and so am I."

He then rode off into the night.


Of course, the series hasn't finished and we don't know exactly what Jaimie is heading south for. It might be to kill Cersei, which could see him attain absolution.

But maybe it's more interesting if the show doesn't complete some of its most ambitious redemption arcs. Maybe the showrunners want to show that where Theon succeeded, Jaime cannot - that the darkness in some people simply can't be overcome.

Whatever the case, the brutal way he left Brienne bawling her eyes out after finally getting her to lower her defences and allow some vulnerability really, really stung.


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