Kit Harrington’s Jon Snow might have won the hearts of Game of Thrones fanatics, but when it comes to a character arc that cuts deep, we’re all for Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s portrayal of Jaime Lannister, an arrogant swordsman with a knack of violence…but also bears a little bit of heart.
There’s always that hard-edged, complex type in television — and Jaime Lannister takes on that archetype in the fantasy world created by George R. R. Martin's best-selling novel series, A Song of Ice and Fire. Arrogant, self-loathing, lonely, shameful and cocky, the Dane plays Jaime to perfection. Whether he’s getting his guns out in a swordfight, facing an internal moral conflict or weak at the hands of his sister Cersei’s seduction, Coster-Waldau manages to fit a multi-faceted range in the physical and emotional communication of his character.
New to Game of Thrones? Here are some pivotal moments to catch up on if you’re digging on Jaime.
Season 1: We’re introduced to Jaime, a knight of the Kingsguard, the eldest son of Tywin Lannister, younger twin brother of Queen Cersei Lannister, and older brother of Tyrion Lannister. One of the show’s best-kept secrets, we learn that all three of Cersei’s children were born of incest between her and Jamie. Jaime pushes a 10-year-old boy out of a window, but not for nothing — the boy, Bran Stark, had just witnessed an incestuous exchange between Jaime and Cersei. Right before he pushes the boy, Jaime looks towards Cersei and says, “the things I do for love”.
Season 2: Captured by the Starks, Jaime spends much of his time as a prisoner of Robb Stark. In order to escape, Jaime head-butts his own distant cousin, Alton, and strikes him in the head. As the guard is distracted, Jaime strangles him to death and escapes. He is then recaptured, then released by Catelyn Stark.
Season 3: Jaime loses his sword-hand, chopped off by Locke. Humbled, his character struggles with his identity as he figures out a way to still be a fighter without a sword. Brienne who accompanies Jaime throughout his journey back home serves as his rock in his darkest days.
Season 4: In a scene where some viewers have shipped for ages, Cersei attempts to seduce Jaime, saying that she’s no longer concerned with whether everyone else knows their secret. Jaime returns her affections.
Season 5: In a heated exchange between Jaime and Cersei, the latter accuses Jaime of not being a father to their three children. Taking it as a challenge and overwhelmed with responsibility as an absent father, Jaime takes it upon him to personally bring his daughter, Myrcella home. When Myrcella and Jaime are on the ship back to King’s landing, Jaime tells her daughter/niece that one cannot choose who to love. Myrcella then reveals that she knows that Jaime is her real father. But just as Jaime relishes in the brief moment of fatherhood, Myrcella's nose starts to bleed and she collapses and dies in his arms.
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