Why Jaime Will Kill Cersei in 'Game of Thrones' Season 8, Episode 5

Jaime Lannister made a tough decision on Sunday night’s new Game of Thrones episode, “The Last of the Starks,” but it’s one that could mean huge things for the fate of Westeros. Where is Jaime going? Why did he leave Brienne? Game of Thrones wants us to think he might be changing sides back to Team Cersei in Season 8, Episode 5, but it seems far more likely that he’ll give up his own life trying to kill his sister.

Spoilers for Game of Thrones Episode 4 follow, and potentially for Episode 5 as well.

“The Last of the Starks” included a huge victory party at Winterfell after they burned the dead, with Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth finally consummating the romance they’ve built up over the years. Later, when Daenerys and Jon Snow ride off to war with several other major characters, and Tormund heads back north of the Wall with the Wildlings, Brienne decided to stay at Winterfell to protect Sansa. Jaime stays with her, and for a minute, it seemed like this might be their happily ever after.

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Brienne and Jaime during "The Last of the Starks."

But after news breaks of Euron Greyjoy’s attack on Dany’s fleet, leading to the death of Rhaegal the dragon and Missandei’s capture, Sansa’s words cut Jaime the most: “I always wanted to be there when they execute your sister,” Sansa says. “Seems like I won’t get the chance.”

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In the middle of the night, Jaime packs up to leave. Brienne pleads with him to stay, saying that he’s “a good man” and so much better than Cersei. “You can’t save her,” Brienne says. “You don’t need to die with her. Stay here. Stay with me. Please.”

Brienne — and the viewer by proxy — are led to believe that Jaime is switching sides back to Team Cersei, fleeing back to King’s Landing to protect his sister and former lover. 

But Jaime’s response here makes him sound like a man who still feels like he hasn’t redeemed himself enough. When talking to Brienne, Jaime recounts his terrible deeds: pushing Bran out a window, strangling his cousin while imprisoned by Robb Stark, and retaking Riverrun from the Tullys in Season 6. He did all of this for Cersei.

“She’s hateful … and so am I,” Jaime says. 

This self-loathing isn’t necessarily an admission of guilt so much as it is his motive for going to kill Cersei. It’s an action that will break his heart. Jaime is the kind of anti-hero who’s okay with doing a despicable act if it serves the greater good. So when he rides for King’s Landing, he’s probably going to murder another monarch rather than die beside Cersei in the upcoming battle.

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Jaime Lannister in 'Game of Thrones' Season 8, Episode 2 at Winterfell.

It’s also telling that Jaime doesn’t bring up killing the “Mad” King Aerys on his list of hateful deeds, the act that earned him the “Kingslayer” moniker. To Jaime, regicide is the only noble action he is truly capable of.

Jaime will always love Cersei on some level, and killing her will be even more difficult for him than killing King Aerys. But just like then, he’s recognized he has it within his power to end the war and prevent a lot of suffering. As an added bonus for fans, this would also fulfill the Valonqar Prophecy that Cersei will die at the hands of a “younger brother.”

Will Jaime pass by Arya and the Hound on the Kingsroad? Might the three of them team up to take down Cersei? Probably not, but they’re bound to cross paths in the final two episodes.

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Game of Thrones Season 8 airs Sundays on HBO at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Media via HBO, Inverse