11:00am PT by Josh Wigler
'Game of Thrones': What's Next for Jaime Lannister After That Big Battle
[Warning: This story contains spoilers for the fourth episode of Game of Thrones' seventh season, "The Spoils of War."]
As always, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) sums it up best: "You fucking idiot."
The youngest of the three Lannister siblings mutters this obscenity as he watches his older brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) charge across a scorched battlefield, spear in hand, headed directly for Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and her fallen dragon Drogon. How else to describe the sight of a man riding so confidently into certain doom on behalf of a doomed cause? Before Jaime can reach the Mother of Dragons, her wounded child rears his head and spews forth an astonishing spray of fire — a spray that just misses, thanks to Bronn of the Blackwater (Jerome Flynn) rushing in at the last minute, pushing General Jaime into the nearby river. The episode ends with a haunting image of Jaime drifting toward the bottom of the river, weighted down by his own armor, his fate unknown.
Is this the end of the line for Jaime Lannister, one of Game of Thrones' very first antagonists, and someone who has since become one of the few somewhat heroic figures still standing in King's Landing? Almost certainly not. This isn't Jon Snow (Kit Harington) territory, where Jaime is about to spend the next couple of episodes on a slab, only to mysteriously spring to life. His fate is uncertain for the time being, yes, but we're talking about a week between episodes at most, not the grueling 10 months between Jon's season-five demise and his season-six resurrection.
How can we be so sure that Jaime isn't going to die here? A few reasons:
• In last week's episode, "The Queen's Justice," Jaime learned devastating news from the Queen of Thorns (Diana Rigg) shortly before her death. Lady Olenna confessed to her role in killing Joffrey (Jack Gleason), effectively absolving Tyrion. Her last request was for Jaime to let Cersei (Lena Headey) know who was truly responsible for her eldest son's murder. Jaime has yet to bring this news to Cersei, and won't leave the playing field until he's fulfilled that duty.
• Tyrion, the man wrongly convicted of Joffrey's death, is standing just a few yards away from Jaime when the Kingslayer goes crashing into the river. There's no chance the character dies without one final interaction with his brother, certainly not when they're this physically close to one another, and not now that Jaime knows Tyrion is innocent of assassinating his son. A much likelier scenario: Tyrion somehow orchestrates Jaime's rescue from his current predicament, whether in concert with Daenerys in the hopes of turning an ally within Cersei's camp, or behind her back, because he (rightfully) fears the Dragon Queen's wrath.
• Jaime and Cersei's stories are intrinsically interwoven with one another. They were born together, with Jaime holding his sister's foot on their way into our world. Many fans believe they will die together, due to a prophecy from the books about a "valonqar," a High Valyrian word for "younger sibling," destined to one day kill Cersei. She believes the prophecy refers to Tyrion, but there's a vocal group of readers who feels it refers to Jaime. The irony of Jaime becoming the Queenslayer after so much time dwelling in his choice to kill the Mad King is too irresistible for a story that loves bringing its characters full circle.
• Even if he doesn't kill Cersei (although recent episodes are pointing toward Jaime's growing concern about his sister/lover's state of mind), Jaime simply can't die in an episode in which he doesn't share a single scene with Cersei, or at least a meaningful amount of time talking about her. For better and for worse, their stories are too deeply linked for one to die without the other one being present shortly before the moment of death.
It's absolutely worth worrying for Jaime's safety eventually. It's absolutely not worth worrying about Jaime's safety right now. The Kingslayer very likely won't make it out of Game of Thrones alive, but not without one final goodbye to his two surviving siblings, or at the very least to Cersei. To paraphrase another show in which men and women battle it out for power: If Jaime Lannister dies as a result of this spectacular battle, I will eat this Casterly Rock.
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