Hi there! Could you please explain why JB fandom freaking out over Widow's Wail? I didn't read ASOIAF, but it has something to do with books, right?
Sorry, I am typing this up more in a rush, I am extremely fangirling right now.
Why we are freaking out over Widow’s Wail…
Okay, the short reply that is shownly for the most part (so the very basic level) is that canonically, Widow’s Wail and Oathkeeper are twin blades forged from the same greatsword (Ice – Ned Stark’s sword reforged upon orders by Tywin).
Now, what does that tell us?
A lot of things.
For one thing, this would mean that our favorite OTP would both come to wield one part of the sword Ice, would wield twin blades, two swords that inevitably are connected (as they are connected to, name has it, Ice, you know, the Song of Ice and Fire and all). So the implication is not just about JB forging important bonds between each other, but embeds this in the larger focus of the North.
So the metaphor of it is already very intriguing on a very basic level of reading this.
The idea being, the two who wield these swords together belong together, like the twin blades do.
Now, if we are taking book canon into account, this gets even more delicious for a number of reasons.
One of the
primary reasons that instantly come to mind is:
Jaime’s Weirwood Dream.
For matters of a very brief summary: In the books, Jaime, after leaving Harrenhal without Brienne, has a dream whilst sleeping on a weirwood stump (which adds… a good amount of magic and hence prophetic significance to this dream, to be very brief here), wherein he dreams of being in some cave beneath Casterly Rock.
At first his family is there, holding torches, but all leave him, including Cersei (foreshadowing much), Tywin gives him a sword that starts to glow blue (very much like Brienne’s eyes… and so on), which gives Jaime some confidence.
Out of the water pops Brienne of Tarth, naked as on her namesday (like him… the sexual component of this dream is truly not subtle), wrapped in chains that he cuts with the sword, which “part like silk” (man, the sexual metaphooooors), she begs for a sword, and it appears beneath the water surface for her to pick up, and it takes flame as well. It’s the only source of light in the darkness, forming a little “island of light” in which Jaime appreciates her dream-like a bit more womanly (but not prettied-up, I insist on that) shape with the infamous line of: “In this light she could almost be a beauty, he thought. In this light she could almost be a knight”.
They hear strange noises (bear growling), a foreshadowing for what is to happen in the bear pit at Harrenhal later on.
Brienne offers him to climb on her shoulders to leave the cave, at first he is tempted, thinking about reuniting with Cersei (which gives him a boner… so many awkward boners for that guy, just like that awkward boner in the bathtub whilst seeing Brienne in her nudes, again, not subtle), but then his focus shifts back to Brienne and he decides against it.
Then ghostly figures riding on horses appear, folks like Rhaegar, folks who died, and blame Jaime for pretty much everything. Jaime wants to fight them, and is happy to have Brienne by his side, but then his sword loses flame, he passes out. We don’t know what the hell happens next, other than him waking up, drenched in sweat, fearing for his wench.
After that, he resolves to get his wench back and later on leaps into the bearpit.
Now, after that very brief and highly simplified summary of that dream, I hope the point becomes clear anyway: Two swords of magical properties, bringing forth light, are in the hands of those two characters.
The other thing on more general terms is plain as day symbolism. Swords are phallic, so yeah, they do stand for sex. Sex, sex everywhere. So when Jaime gave Brienne Oathkeeper, that also had these undercurrents other than this marriage-like vow to each other over that sword.
I would go into more detail now, but I think it would leave too far away, let’s just leave it at the more superficial level of: there are lots of metaphorical layers to this on sexual, marital, and even pregnancy levels in that dream and more episodes that make this truly marvelous in connection with Widow’s Wail and Oathkeeper.
Now, Widow’s Wail is a fabulous thing for Jaime to bear because this establishes the link to Oathkeeper and Brienne through a sexually charged metaphor of phallic swords.
In that same context, it’s noteworthy that swords are important to marriage vows. In some cultures (I think actually in early Viking culture, which is specifically interesting in the ASoIaF context because GRRM heavily draws on Norse mythology in many cases), swords are exchanged instead of rings. If I remember correctly (which I don’t call authority to, I just remember having read that in an online article maybe a year ago, please correct me if I am wrong), the idea is that family swords are exchanged, which points to matters of legacy in my humble opinion.
So marriages, legacy, sex… all united in two twin blades. Isn’t that just marvelous? Especially since they come to be in the hands of our OTP?!
Widow’s Wail, within show-canon can become specifically interesting with regards to Jaime wearing the sword that formerly belonged to Tommen. After all, part of his season 6 arc was trying to protect/reconnecting with Tommen as far as that was possible, even if he failed. Jaime using it to dedicate himself to a certain cause, say, the team Brienne of Tarth favors, say, the North, say… anything but Cersei and her self-interested causes… is a huge step because he takes a sword that relates to his legacy, a sword that relates to his family (and that of the Starks) and he (potentially - we are speaking hypothetical terms here, obviously) dedicates that newly forged legacy to a new purpose (and likely will forge a new alliance/legacy with Brienne… I hope you see the potential of this metaphor).
Another thing, on a larger, more global scope, is obviously the idea that Jaime and Brienne (Lannister and Lannister-in-the-making LOL) dedicate their swords and hence may vow to the cause in the North, hence bringing Ice back to the North, if in a new form, and use it to e.g. fight against the White Walkers.
That is a
huge deal because it shows a necessary shift in the environment, where those
ancient swords are reused and reshaped to meet new purposes, given to new
people, given over to a new forging of legacy reaching beyond the singular one
of being the ancestral sword of House Stark. The Houses mix, the Houses align,
form alliances, fight for a common cause instead of toying around with the Game of Thrones whilst the White Walkers are having their fun.
That is alliance making symbolized by swords, which is a fabulous thing.
So, in sum, what gets us so hyped about this is that this relates to Jaime becoming his own character, pointing at further disentangling/coming apart from an incestuous relationship that gives neither one room of development or future and embracing his family’s legacy but to his own new conditions, namely by choosing the alliance he wants to make rather than just sticking to the one he is supposed to forge, or is told so by other characters, uniting him with Brienne in a very physical, symbolically heavily charged way, to form an alliance not just (but very importantly) amongst themselves, but simultaneous embeds it into the larger focus of the threat in the North and the apparent need for new, vital alliances among the three remaining Great Houses (Lannister, Stark, Targaryen) and those associated with them.
I hope that answered your question somewhat, anon.