Come on, Oncers, let’s prove to the world how large we are.
Come on, Oncers, let’s prove to the world how large we are.
Yeah, it’s used a lot as the centerpiece of the case that Jaime Has Not Changed And You’re Stupid If You Think So, because here he is still threatening to throw small children off high buildings to their deaths. Which is one of the more remarkable cases of ignoring context and nuances, but then hey I’m a Killian Jones stan so I see a lot of that. First off, Jaime was not throwing Bran from the window because he ran out of old ladies to knock over and kittens to drown. Was it a horrible thing to do? Yes, absolutely. In no world will I defend that action. Was it entirely consistent with his character and his motivations? Yes. Jaime will do anything for love, he’s only loved Cersei his entire life, if they get found out than he, Cersei, and their children will all die. Is he supposed to feel bad for, so far as he knows, acting to protect them? Jaime has the same audience problem as other anti-heroes, which is that he doesn’t sit around lamenting at length all the bad things he’s done and how terrible he feels for them. Frankly, he doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean he’s content to be who he was anymore.
Secondly, I find it amusing that Jaime gets so much flak for making fun of the Westerosi ideal of honor (HE NAMED A HORSE AFTER IT, LOOK AT THAT FLIPPANT DISRESPECTFUL BASTARD PRETENDING HE’S AN HONORABLE MAN, HE’S SO CHEAP AND SELFISH) when it’s pretty much acknowledged by the rest of the characters and the audience that the Westerosi ideal of honor is profoundly flawed and naive. We learn that lesson in the first book, when Ned gets chopped. Fan favorite characters like Tyrion constantly comment on its shortcomings. Monsters like Gregor Clegane are given knighthoods and services by great lords while the peasants of the Riverlands are butchered. The best players of the game are the ones who have completely lost all shreds of it. Jaime himself wanted to live up to the traditional, classical ideal, but then he was faced with murdering the king he’d sworn to protect or letting the entire city of King’s Landing be burned alive. He chose the former and was promptly turned into a villain in the eyes of the entire country (even though there was, you know, a whole rebellion going on to unseat Aerys’ crazy ass from the Iron Throne). And yet Jaime has never told anyone, apart from Brienne, the real story. He has not been whining about how they should see him differently, because he knows exactly what it was. He was in many ways profoundly traumatized by that act (remember, he was seventeen and it was his father who then took the city and sacked it and he had already made the choice to do what he did) and that’s why he took refuge in the mantle of Kingslayer. Jaime can never again be the boy who admired Ser Arthur Dayne so much and wanted to be a knight and a hero after he’s killed Aerys. It’s gone for good. So he gets another kind of reputation, and he clings to it.
Hence, Jaime has been subverting the Westerosi ideal of honor for his entire adult life. He’s used to show us how profoundly ridiculous it is that him saving the lives of the entire city has caused him to be stigmatized as a bad man, because it’s NOT about making a simplistic moral choice in that moment between Good and Bad — which is, you know, kind of analogous to the real world. After meeting Brienne, however, he’s returning to that part of him that couldn’t quite give up the desire to be Ser Arthur, that deepest wish and imagination of who he, as a little boy, thought he was going to be. So he’s now subverting the Westerosi ideal of honor by pretending (quite consciously and deliberately) to live up to it. Jaime knows there’s a tinge of the ridiculous around “Goldenhand the Just” — but how much more than there was around “Kingslayer,” exactly? When it feels good to him to hang the Lannister man-at-arms with the other miscreants and to clear the Bloody Mummers out of Harrenhal and everything else he does during AFFC, that’s not fake. Jaime, like all Tywin’s children, is fucking terrified of him and has been emotionally and mentally abused by him (the irony of the Lannisters being that if they just pulled together, they really could have been a dynasty, but they’ve been falling apart from the start). Jaime is Tywin’s eldest son, the one Tywin wanted everything for, but Jaime is the only Lannister completely unswayed by power. He doesn’t want it, which is why he has to fight so hard to stay in the Kingsguard. He doesn’t want to be Lord of Casterly Rock, he doesn’t want to be king, he doesn’t want to be so much as a damn mayor. But of course, he was born into the one family that organizes its lives around the pursuit. When Jaime keeps the vigil in the sept and has the vision of his mother, he tells her that they’ve fulfilled her dreams — he’s become a knight, Cersei a queen — and she cries. Because obviously, that’s what they HAVE become, but at the cost of everything else.
So, getting back to Edmure, that entire chapter is Jaime remarking bitterly on the fact of how ridiculously the Freys have mismanaged the entire siege of Riverrun. Furthermore, the war is in fact lost, and Edmure refusing to surrender is only going to hurt the decimated Stark cause more than it already has. Still more, Jaime is not going to suddenly switch to the Tully side and sit down with Edmure and talk about their feelings, and he, obviously, has a reputation as The Worst Evar. So yes, he’s going to make that threat, just because it’s so outlandish and so mustache-twirling-cartoon-villainous that it’s probably going to be effective. Jaime wants the siege over, and he really doesn’t want to fight and shed more blood over what everybody present recognizes as an utterly lost cause. Jaime has already sent Brienne after Sansa, who as far as everyone else is concerned, probably killed Joffrey. So if we’re talking about how he’s supposedly not really keeping his oath to Catelyn by threatening Edmure, why are we not talking about the fact that he’s not keeping his oath to his entire family and to the Iron Throne and instead trying to support our heroes, the Starks, by wanting to save Sansa? Get her back, the war’s over, no more threat, the Lannisters can do whatever they want. Except no. He sends Brienne, the only person he trusts and cares about, to take her away.
So in the latter half of ASOS onward, Jaime is consciously performing his desired identity as a man of honor, while remaining fully aware that it’s a crock of shit, because he’s been too scarred by everything in his past to take it completely seriously. He’s also, as it suits him, performing his role as the Kingslayer, giving people what they expect and what they always have expected. Jaime’s given up on the “I’m not who you think I am” conversation with everyone except Brienne. She’s the only one he wants to know the truth about him, because of how much she’s impacted him. Everyone else — honestly, what does Jaime owe them? He does his best to deal with Robb’s young widow, and even tells her mother that he’s not impressed by her arranging the Red Wedding. He burns the letter from Cersei. He’s finally, finally even just starting to THINK about what it might be like to live as himself away from Cersei and Tywin and the crushing weight of the royal court and all the damage it’s done to him, and he can’t just wish that away overnight. He’s always going to be the man he was, but he can’t go back, and he doesn’t want to. He doesn’t need to be “redeemed,” he needs to be freed, and that’s slowly and painfully what he’s trying to do.
Damn, well said.
advanced fallout strategy: leisurely jog away from danger
Life… is strength. This is not to be contested; it seems logical enough. You live; you affect your world. But is it what you need? You are… different inside. This woman lives and has strength of a sort. She lost her parents to plague, her husband to war, but she persevered. Her farm has prospered, her name is respected and her children are fed and safe. She lived as she thought she should. And now she is dead. Her land will be divided, her children will move on, and she will be forgotten. She lived a good life, but she had no power; she was a slave to death. I wonder if you are destined to be forgotten. Will your life fade in the shadow of greater beings?