You Don’t Need to Like Jaime Lannister

By Marc Price on May 22, 2013 to Game of Thrones

“There are no men like me. Only me.” 


After a rather emotional confession in the bath, it seems like views of Jaime Lannister and his status as an arrogant, self-centered tool are showing signs of change. Begrudging respect is starting to form based on the righteous act he performed in his past that branded him with the title of “Kingslayer.” It’s a funneled perspective that makes us forget just who he is and what he’s done. He’s still a self-centered, arrogant tool but he’s starting to endure the consequences of the bad karma he spreads. After all, in the first episode he did push a kid out of a tower with absolutely no remorse. I mean, who does that?

Then there’s the whole killing Ned Stark’s men with the intention of killing him in the street. That happened too. And he strangled someone in a failed attempt to escape from the Stark’s encampment. The only thing worse than killing for pleasure is killing for ambition, to remove those who are in your way. One might say it should be the other way around, but which is more dangerous, someone who kills because they want to feel something, or one who kills and remains just as empty as the moment before he acted? Who has a greater inhibition towards hurting someone in their way? During Stannis’ assault on King’s Landing, odds are you were rooting for the Lannisters to beat them back. It’s likely that’s only because Tyrion is awesome, but how does one compare Joffrey’s pompous bottom on the iron throne to Stannis’ calloused ass? A boy who at his weakest looks to others for guidance is better compared to a man whose resolute determination was hardened to the point that he could send thousands to their deaths for his overreaching hands to have a chance at snatching power.


Jaime isn’t so ambitious. His only call to action resides in protecting his position. When he was wearing the uniform of the Kingsguard he acted in the way that benefited him the most. It’s only a coincidence that  the King happened to be a total nutter at the time, so he wound up on the side of basic morality. Kill the king to save the kingdom. Let’s not forget to mention that his Father was sacking the city as well. Would Tywin have spared the son that kept his vow to protect the king, or would he have  cut through to claim the prize atop the Mad King’s head? On a smaller scale, that’s all he did when he helped Brienne, and again self interest happened to intersect with doing the right thing. For the time being, she was the one person who didn’t want to take his head and put it on a spike. It’s only that these moments are drawn out so much that they seem like a change of heart instead of a strategic move.


It’s not to say he can’t change of course. Maybe his bathtub confession really was the start of a slow, painful metamorphosis for him. Who’s to say he doesn’t actually care about Brienne enough that sticking his neck out wasn’t only for his own sake? Cutting off a swordsman’s hand is taking away his pride. Maybe now that some light can shine through something good can blossom in him. Or it’ll turn out he’s just as irredeemable as the rest of his family. Except for Tyrion, he’s awesome.

What do you think of Jaime Lannister?  Has he or can he redeem himself?  Give us your thoughts below.

Marc Price is currently a Sophomore at Rutgers University and a writer for He considers himself a movie buff and an avid television watcher, but witnesses would attest that a more appropriate description would be bordering on obsessive. Hoping to one day be a screenwriter, he takes it all in stride knowing that one day he can put all his knowledge of movies and television to good use.   

  • Rutger Gerrits

    I hate him, and all of him…. I hope Robb gets a shot at killing him….

    • Dimitri

      Jaime couldn’t handle Robb but even so he’s still aHead.

  • Tarzan

    How are people changing their feeling towards him? Are they forgetting that the pushed a child out a window after banging his sister?

    • No, but they are choosing to view those events in context with the world in which they are happening, not from a modern, anachronistic standpoint.

  • April Murk

    Great piece, Marc!
    Jaime is one of the characters for which I have love/hate. There is something inherently incredible about the choices he makes and the reasons he makes them. He usually “thinks” he is doing the best thing for himself and the ones he loves. In this, he usually screws himself and others.
    One thing I can say for certain about this show – There are no black and white good guys vs bad guys. They are all bad in some manner.

  • Tamara Winfrey

    I would also like to point out that the person he strangled in the Stark camp was his own cousin. I think as we go along he will begin to recover at least some of his selfishness. He’s already being snarky with people again and I can see him going back to despicable means to an end.

  • One of the (many) things that frustrates me about the show is that they make Tyrion seem far too “good.’ I love the character, but he’s not actually a great person. He’s certainly the best Lannister, but if you read the books, you’ll recognize that he’s done many things that can’t be considered “good,” which we don’t get to see in the show. This is frustrating, as it’s obvious that Benioff and Weiss are putting Tyrion (and Dany & Jon) into more of a “hero” role, however the thing that makes the books so fascinating is that every character, no matter how “good,” is ultimately flawed. The show doesn’t present this factor well at all. The books are not about good versus evil, they’re about people who are a mix of both good and bad, strong and weak, noble and craven… which makes them far more realistic and relatable than most other fantasy series. The show is sadly lacking in this crucial element, and so when we see Jamie Lannister or a Petyr Baelsh, we feel the need to classify them as either a good guy or a bad guy. The fact of the matter is that they are both, just as we all are.

    • The whitewashing of Tyrion is definitely one of my main gripes with the show, but thank the gods that Dinklage is such a great actor and brings so much to the role, otherwise the change would be disastrous. I think they may be aiming for a sudden shift in Tyrion from white to black down the line, rather than him becoming a darker shade of the grey that he realistically should have always been. I’m actually starting to think that the producers may have simply completely misunderstood Tyrion’s character! Not that that can be an excuse, mind you…

    • Jaime Lannister

      so far the only comment who made sense.

    • Edward Matupa

      He was fighting on the side of Joffrey, who he knows is not the rightful king how is this good?

  • IM

    a man judged on his actions without anyone looking closely at his motivations for them… if he can get out of Cersei’s clutches, and away from his father’s influence and expectations, he could have a chance to become a good man – whatever that is! He is definitely the character who has shifted farthest from black to grey the more we have found out about him, so maybe he will head further towards the white end of the scale?

  • Gaurav

    No doubt that he is arrogant, rude and will kill anyone to serve his purpose. But he also has characteristics which we don’t attribute to him at the start of the show. Although pushing bran was a horrible act, and he did it to protect his family, it wasnt done in a scheming, cowardly fashion if that makes any sense. ( When Catelyn asks him what happened to Bran he tells her right away that he pushed him out the window. Also when she accuses him of sending an assassin he tells her that he’s never had someone else do his killing for him ).
    I also think that losing his sword hand is the start of Jamie’s redemption (In the books hes thinking to himself, what happened to the boy he once was at 15. That boy wanted to be Arthur Dayne (one of the greatest knights of the 7 kingdoms) but somewhere along the way, he because the smiling knight (an outlaw ).

  • Daniel

    I would say all feelings towards Jamie is mixed. He has done some unthinkable things, and yes you can never change that. But what he has done is to save himself, like any man faced with similar position would do. Is there honestly anyone that can say they haven’t “burned” someone in defence of them selfs. Remember all acts are of same value, if you steel a bread it is as good as stealing a horse. Don’t say respect him, but give him a chance at redemption. Same goes for for the like of Robbs mother, hound and the irritating Greyjoy. And then the true evils are those who actually do horrible things for horrible reasons, i.e King J, his mother, Stannis. Those are the real bad guys, to mention a few. But hey this is just my 2cents.

    • Good points, but Stannis is definitely not evil!

  • Raquel Soto

    Tyrion IS awesome.

    And everyone hates Cersei. Jaime should just fall for Brienne and forget about Cersei.

  • Nice article, Marc! I’ll just give my two cents here:

    Nikolaj Coster-Waldau himself makes a great point about Jaime in almost every interview he does. He says that when we meet Jaime, one of the first significant things we see him do is push Bran, a child, out of a tower window. This act, in itself, is absolutely disgusting. But similarly, it is interesting to note that if we had met Jaime as he jumped into the bear pit to save Brienne, we would have a very different opinion of him. In relation to this, surely if we had met Jaime as he murdered the Mad King and his pyromancer, and been privy to the reasons as to why he did, we would form a very negative opinion of Ned Stark based on him entering the throne room and judging Jaime on the immediately perceived act.

    There is no denying that Jaime Lannister is a self-obsessed, proud, arrogant asshole. It is worth noting, however, that he has been a slave for Cersei his whole life. He has been faithful to her his entire life. He was persuaded by her into joining the Kingsguard just so he could be by her side. That plan rapidly backfired and is perhaps responsible for contributing more to his aura of bitter arrogance. With all of this in mind, he is undoubtedly on a path to redemption.

    I really don’t see how he was acting out of self interest in saving Brienne. He went out of his way to return to Harrenhal, despite the fact that he was under protection and would have been safe until his arrival at King’s Landing. He attempted to persuade Locke into releasing her, and failed, as Locke (and rightly so from his own perspective) believed Brienne to be his prize from Roose Bolton. Jaime then leaped into the pit, and selflessly put himself between Brienne and the bear. I fail to see how this is acting out of self interest. Before his return to Harrenhal, we saw that he was comfortable with the idea of Brienne being ransomed back to her father. When he realized that this was not going to be possible, he acted not for himself, but solely for the sake of another person, and rescued them from harm. It wasn’t a “strategic move” on his part. In fact, it was quite the opposite. He deliberately put himself in danger for the sake of another, when before he was under protection.

    In relation to him pushing Bran out the window; it is actually quite similar to his act of killing the Mad King, in terms of saving lives. As I alluded to before, it was Cersei who persuaded him to give the final “push” (terrible pun). Jaime is obviously harboring a certain type of resentment for what he must do when he says “I heard you the first time.” Obviously, I do not in any way condone the harm or murder of children. However, we have to assess these situations in relation to the culture of the time period (although this is fantasy, it draws heavily on medieval culture). It is anachronistic to look at the situation from a modern perspective. If Jaime hadn’t pushed Bran, what could potentially have happened? Bran would have told someone, and Robert would have found out. Robert would have then ordered the deaths of Cersei and Jaime, and once it all came to light, the deaths of Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen. This would have spread to him entering direct conflict with Tywin Lannister himself, beginning a war that would engulf the realm. In killing one child, Jaime would have prevented hundreds, and possibly thousands of lives both guilty and innocent from being lost. Again, from a modern perspective this seems horrible, but it was definitely not unheard of in medieval times. Now, of course, we know that a war began in relation to this anyway, but that is irrelevant in the context of exploring the act of killing Bran and avoiding the repercussions.

    This is a very good, well written article, a pleasure to read, and sure to cause some debate (which I have actually started). I just don’t agree with many of your points!

    EDIT: I just noticed your implication that Joffrey is a better king than Stannis would be…

    • Molisar

      totally agree

    • I concur, the article was a pleasure to read but so was your response Cian. Beautifully detailed and accurate–definately worth more than two cents ~smirking~ Thank you both for your intriguing thoughts.

    • Very nicely written Marc and Cian, both!

    • Marc G

      Jaime was not convinced by Cercei to join the Kingsguard, he was appointed by the Mad King as kind of a slap in the face to Tywin.

      • mdigs150

        If you read the books, Jaime was convinced by Cersei, She proposed the idea to the Mad King, and he agreed as you say to ddeprive Tywin of his heir. So it’s all Cersei’s fault. But she’s hot so we’ll forgive her.

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