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[WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones, “Breaker of Chains”]
Jaime Lannister definitely added one to his “sins” tally this week.
In Sunday’s episode, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) forced himself on his sister in the presence of their dead son’s body.
The character is among the more complex in Game of Thrones, with a rap sheet of both good deeds and horrible crimes. On the one hand, he pushed a child of a window … but on the other, he once saved the entire population of King’s Landing from the Mad King’s wildfire.
We break them all down here, with insights from the Kinglsayer himself.
Attempting to kill Bran
Season one, episode one
Jaime pushes Bran out of a window after the young Stark boy catches him having sex with Cersei. The scene is a bold introduction to Jaime and Cersei’s incestuous relationship as well as Jaime’s questionable character. Last year, Coster-Waldau told THR he doesn’t see Jaime as a straight-up villain in that scene because the Kingslayer chalks up the attempted murder as “the things I do for love.”
“That line was very important for me, because it’s one of those hooks you use at an actor, because I think it is at the core of who he is and what defined him,” said Coster-Waldau. “In his mind, Cersei is everything, and his life has been dictated by her and how he could be close to her.”
Ordering the slaughter of Eddard’s men
Season one, episode five
After Lady Catelyn took Tyrion into custody, Jaime seeks to return the favor by taking Eddard prisoner. When Eddard reminds Jaime that if he kills him, Tyrion will die, Jaime tells his men: “Take him alive, kill his men.” The worst part? Jaime stabs Eddard’s trusted man Jory through the eye.
Murdering Ser Alton Lannister to escape captivity
Season two, episode seven
In Game of Thrones, murdering kin is one of the worst sins. But Jaime does it in a heartbeat, befriending his cellmate (and distant cousin) Ser Alton, only to murder him as a way to escape Stark captivity.
Season four, episode three
In a show known for delivering disturbing scenes, this is one for the record books. Director Alex Graves tells THR the scene may be heavy to watch, but the actors were laughing because of how ridiculous it was having actor Jack Gleeson in the shot:
“I’m never that excited about going to film forced sex. But the whole thing for me was about dead Joffrey lying there, ‘watching’ the whole thing,” Graves says. “(Showrunners) David (Benioff) and Dan (Weiss) loved that, and I was like, I wanted to make sure I had Jack in there as much as I could. Of course Lena and Nickola laughed every time I would say, ‘You grab her by the hair, and Jack is right there,’ or ‘You come around this way and Jack is right there.’ “
OK, so that’s the bad. What about his good deeds?
Saving King’s Landing
Before the series began
Seventeen years before the events of Game of Thrones, Jaime earned the nickname Kingslayer for murdering the Mad King. What people didn’t know is that Jaime had a good reason to do so. The Mad King has stockpiled wildfire all over King’s Landing and ordered his pyromancers to “burn them all.” Jaime reveals the truth to Brienne in season three. Coster-Waldau told THR last year that the shame of breaking his vow fuels Jaime.
“That bitterness and anger he feels at his core — it’s like, ‘I know I broke my vow, but this was a good thing. How could I not have done it?’ “
Saving Brienne from rape
Season three, episode three
In the first hints that Jaime has good in him, he prevents Brienne from being raped by claiming her father is a rich lord who will pay handsomely for her safe return. He gets his hand chopped off in the process.
“It’s such a fundamental change in his life. (His skill as a fighter) in many ways is what has defined him in his eyes and in the eyes of the world — being the Kingslayer and being one of the deadliest swordsmen in the world. Now he’s no longer anything, so of course he has to find his new identity.”
Saving Brienne from the bear
Season three, episode seven
Once again, Jaime put himself in harm’s way to save his friend Brienne. He convinced his escort to turn back to rescue her from certain death. When he arrives, he selflessly jumps into the bear pit and defends Brienne, the only person besides Cersei he has felt a real connection with.
“I don’t think he’s bonded with anyone like he has with her. It’s not about anything sexual — it’s a kindred spirit, I guess. I’m very curious to see what happens with these two later on.” Coster-Waldau told THR of Jaime’s feelings toward Brienne.
There you have it. Is Jaime more good than bad? What other deeds or misdeeds did we leave out? Sound off in the comments, and stay tuned to THR.com/GOT for more to come on this week’s episode and beyond.
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