Jaime Lannister has come a long way from pushing children out of windows on Game of Thrones, and it looks like his big choice in the Season 7 finale to head north and abandon Cersei has made him one of the good guys now. This time, that change will be permanent.
In an interview with HuffPost published on Tuesday, actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau spoke about the drastic change that took place within Jaime’s heart when Cersei decided to betray the alliance with Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen.
Jaime finally realized just how crazy his sister is, and he loses all respect and love for her. “He saw what he saw,” Coster-Waldau said, referencing the display involving the undead wight, “and he understood the threat, and he understood that clearly if they don’t all work together, they don’t stand a chance.” To Jaime, the choice to unite is a simple one, and he can’t accept that Cersei wants to just sit back and “let the monsters kill each other.”
Coster-Waldau said, “I don’t know why it took him so long to realize what the rest of the world always knew — that [Cersei] is a crazy monster — but he finally did. And then he left.” That choice made Jaime the real hero of the Season 7 finale.
Jaime intends to honor the promise they made to Jon and Daenerys, even under threat of death from Cersei. He understands that if the Lannisters sit out this war, then whichever side wins in the north will march south to kill them immediately.
When Cersei happens upon Jaime preparing the expedition north, she scoffs at him, saying, “I always knew you were the stupidest Lannister.” Considering her direct threat (“Never betray me again.”) earlier this season, it comes as no surprise to hear Cersei turning her menacing tone against her brother-lover.
Is Jaime more angry about his lover promising herself to someone else or that his queen didn’t consult him, the commander of her armies, about this tactical decision? Both no doubt influence Jaime’s realization that his sister is a “crazy monster,” especially after she accuses him of conspiracy and treason while threatening to have him killed.
Coster-Waldau explained, “My subjects as an actor was ‘This is it. I don’t believe in you anymore. I don’t believe in this, you and me. I don’t love you anymore.’ That’s how I played it.” Time and time again, Jaime has gone back to Cersei out of love, even when he recognizes what she’s capable of. But here, finally, when he leaves her, that love is gone.
Jaime started Game of Thrones as one of its more despicable characters, long before the likes of Ramsay or Euron came around. He pushed Bran Stark out the window to hide his incestuous relationship with his sister, Cersei. Seasons 2 and 3 saw him on a redemptive narrative arc as he traveled with Brienne of Tarth, but since his return to King’s Landing — and to Cersei — at the end of Season 3, Jaime re-joined Team Cersei, effectively making him one of the “bad guys.”
There he remained, trapped between his better, more noble intentions and the toxic love he’s had for his sister. But now, having forsaken that love, Jaime Lannister is poised to become one of the show’s biggest heroes just in time for its final season.
Thankfully, Jaime brings his incredibly useful Valyrian steel sword, Widow’s Wail, with him, a weapon that will be invaluable against White Walkers. And if certain prophecies come true, maybe he’ll be the one to finally kill Cersei in Season 8.
Game of Thrones’ final season might not air until 2019, but premiere dates haven’t been announced yet.