lannisters ahoy

I have beyond lost patience with interpretations which insist on seeing Jaime Lannister as a straight-up villain in spite of the discrepancies between what he says and what he does. Not to mention the fact that he acts differently in diverse situations where he’s called upon to make difficult choices.

Was Jaime throwing Bran Stark out of a tower horrible? Yes, it was, and in my book Jaime’s never living that one down. He had a good reason for killing Aerys. Pushing Bran was an ill-thought-out, impulsive act, and Jaime demonstrates loathing of the whole situation even in that moment (“"The things I do for love,” he said with loathing.“), and still that act remains no less unforgivable because of it. But it’s not part of a pattern. Jaime doesn’t go around tossing people out of windows just because it’s what he does, ‘cause he’s eeeeevil. Even Jaime blaming Bran for "spying” on the twins is a way for Jaime to avoid in part his own responsibility for the twincest and all its consequences, but it doesn’t diminish Jaime’s awareness – which comes across clearly even in a scared child’s POV – in the moment when he made the choice to push Bran, that what he was doing was reprehensible. Jaime did it anyway, but he knew (knows) it was wrong. That doesn’t make him either a villain or a misunderstood hero. It makes him Jaime.

If Jaime were just a villain, he might have let Brienne of Tarth be gang-raped by the Bloody Mummers and even enjoyed seeing his captor brought low. He mightn’t have bothered to comfort Tommen at Tywin’s funeral. He mightn’t have bothered to finally tell the truth about Tysha despite probably guessing it would make Tyrion hate him. And he might have rushed back to KL to save Cersei from herself (really help her make Maggy’s mindfuck words to chibi!Cersei a self-fulfilling prophecy), her behavior and Jaime’s own choices since his hand-chop be damned.

GRRM isn’t the subtlest of authors, but he’s subtler than that or he wouldn’t have gone out of his way to build up Jaime’s background and character arc (yes, Jaime has one) so we understand why he does what he does even if we don’t and shouldn’t always approve of it. It’s what makes Jaime a complex character.

On the same note: the trebuchet line. Is something Jaime says so he doesn’t actually have to act on it. Being able to read Edmure Tully and see the mere threat against his child will make him fold is all Jaime needs. Because he’s clever as well as ruthless. Once he has to use his brain rather than his sword hand, Jaime understands that psychological warfare is often the most effective. And really, scaring Edmure while also showing him a way out of his situation by telling him to surrender Riverrun and spare himself and his wife and child unnecessary suffering, was the act of someone who has enough kindness to rival his cruel streak. Not to mention someone who doesn’t always (or even often) see himself very clearly, but does tend to see himself in an unflattering light, and yet rejects any attempt on the part of others to show him sympathy (the end of the Oathkeeper scene, which cuts like a knife). Neither a hero nor a villain, just Jaime.

This is apparently really hard for some to understand. Or not hard: it’s more comfortable to see Jaime as a villain rather than dealing with him as complex.

[Note please that I’m not comparing Jaime to Cersei or Tyrion or Tywin or anyone else in order to defend him or them. I’m simply demanding that Jaime be judged as himself and as all of himself. Obviously I can’t stop anyone from reblogging this just to disagree or tell me how wrong and morally repellent I am for arguing in favor of Jaime as a not-villain as well as a not-hero. I’m still going to like Jaime in all his complexity, and not care if anyone wants to willfully misread the books tell me I’m wrong. Cheers.]