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|“||The things I do for love.||„|
|~ Jaime before pushing Bran out a window.|
|“||It was that white cloak that soiled me, not the other way around.||„|
|~ Jaime, to Brienne of Tarth|
|“||I don't believe you.||„|
|~ Jaime leaves Cersei after seeing her what she truly is (in the TV-series)|
Ser Jaime Lannister is a major protagonist in the A Song of Ice and Fire novel series and the TV series Game of Thrones, as well as a redeemed antagonist. He is the eldest son of Tywin Lannister and Joanna Lannister, the twin brother of Cersei Lannister and the older brother of Tyrion Lannister. Known as the Kingslayer, he is known throughout Westeros as the man who killed Aerys II Targaryen (The Mad King) and put an end to his reign. Initially a villainous character, he slowly attempts to redeem himself starting from the third novel and season.
He is portrayed by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who also portrayed Horus in Gods of Egypt.
|“|| Jaime Lannister: So many vows. They make you swear and swear. Defend the King, obey the King, obey your father, protect the innocent, defend the weak. But what if your father despises the King? What if the King massacres the innocent? It's too much. No matter what you do, you're forsaking one vow or another. Where did you find this beast?|
Catelyn Stark: She is a truer knight than you will ever be, Kingslayer.
Jaime Lannister: Kingslayer. And what a king he was! Here's to Aerys Targaryen, the second of his name, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm, and to the sword I shoved in his back!
|~ Jaime to Catelyn Stark|
As a boy Jaime was an average good highborn person, not a great hero, but not a cruel one as well. However he was easily manipulated by his twin sister Cersei, who ruled his mind and took advantage of his infatuation to her to get what she wanted. His mentors were Ser Arthur Dayne and Ser Gerold Hightower, the Lord Commander of Aerys's Kingsguard. Ser Addam Marbrand, one of Tywin's chief knights, is an old close childhood friend of Jaime.
Spending so many years living in the corrupted King's Landing of King Robert I Baratheon, changed Jaime into a more villainous individual. At first glance, outsiders perceives Jaime to be arrogant, disdainful, and sarcastic. To a large extent he is arrogant about his own abilities, but not without cause. Even his enemies admit that he is arguably the greatest living swordsman in Westeros with few able to match him. This ends when Jaime suffers a mutilation during the late War of the Five Kings. Jaime's loss of his sword-hand did much to humble him, given that in many ways he was that hand and how much his self-identity depended on his skills with a sword. Jaime does not mock others over minor insults the way Cersei does, and he can muster up polite behavior, but he is usually very blunt. Much like his brother Tyrion, he typically just says what he is thinking, and has no reservations about mocking those he perceives as incompetent.
Tywin Lannister has raised Jaime and Cersei with the principle of ruthlessness as a virtue. Yet even though Jaime Lannister often behaves unapologetically amoral, in his own warped way, Jaime is the only member of the core Lannister family (Tywin and his three children) aside from Tyrion who shows any hint of honor or principles, whilst Tywin claims to see family as his highest priority but simultaneously is willing to have Tyrion, whom he views as an incalculable disgrace, killed, and Cersei herself ironically sees no immorality whatsoever in anything she does. This is largely based on his arrogance and pride at being a member of the Kingsguard.
Jaime became extremely disillusioned with ideals of honor and loyalty when he saw firsthand the atrocities committed by the Mad King, how other "honorable" members of the Kingsguard stood by and did nothing while King Aerys had people burned alive for imagined insults, because they felt bound by vows of faith and fealty - in this sense, Jaime is surprisingly similar to Sandor Clegane, since they both have powerful disillusionments about honour and nobility. A key difference between Cersei and Jaime is that Cersei honestly believes, in her skewed view of the world, that she is "good", Joffrey is a great king, and all of her enemies are "evil" people trying to destroy her and her children. In contrast, Jaime does not maintain any pretense of being a "good" or honorable man, as he has become apathetic to such concerns. However, he still refused to kill Ned Stark when their duel ended abruptly, since Ned was incapacitated by an opportunistic guard rather than Jaime himself. This may or may not be considered mercy or honour, because the alternative would be Jaime shamelessly killing Ned Stark in what had thus far been an honorable duel.
Moreover, Jaime isn't a very politically ambitious man, much to Cersei's annoyance, and often turns down her frequent urgings that he should try to become Hand of the King. Political maneuvering is not his way, and he sees himself foremost as a soldier who when confronted with a problem takes out his sword and cuts its head off. Up until the day his hand was cut off, he had immersed himself in combat so much that it is his sole value, and when he does lose his hand, his sword hand, he loses the will to live because, thus far, he has only ever had to decapitate a problem so as not to face it again, but now he cannot wield a sword the same way ever again - he laments that he was that hand. Brienne of Tarth is quick to tirade to him about him having a small taste of a world where people have their good things ripped from their possession, and after that one small taste he gives up - she mistakes him for a coward at this point. Only there Jaime is reminded that he must live to have his vengeance.
Jaime is the only member of Tyrion's immediate family (the main Lannister branch) who ever treated him with respect or kindness. In fact, he admires Tyrion's intellect and his ability to tell off those who insult him. Jaime never approved of Tywin and Cersei's long history of abuse towards Tyrion, and has always treated him like a brother. Indeed, Jaime is the only member of the core Lannister family who has a reasonably good relationship with all of the others. Among the three siblings, Cersei and Tyrion can't stand each other, but they both like Jaime (both Cersei and Tyrion have acknowledged the only reason they haven't gone out of their way to seriously harm or kill each other is because Jaime would never forgive them if they did). However, in recent times, Jaime's good relationship with Tyrion seems to have died with their father, and Jaime said he would kill Tyrion the next time they meet (though it is unclear if he really meant it). His relationship with Cersei has also deteriorated in the aftermath of Tywin's death since it was Jaime who set Tyrion free and inadvertently allowed him to kill their father. Jaime is annoyed by Cersei alienating their uncle Kevan and preferring the former Brave Companion Qyburn over trusted men. Despite Jaime is being nice as usual towards his uncle Kevan, he receives a cold treatment from the latter, being still upset of the loss of his brother Tywin at the hands of his own nephew, as well as the loss of his son Willem, killed by Rickard Karstark. Before leaving the capital Kevan tells Jaime that he always knew the true parentage of Cersei's children. When Jaime learns from his cousin Lancel about Cersei's infidelities with other men, including Lancel, Jaime doesn't want to see her anymore.
Tywin is a stern man feared and resented by all of his children, ignoring Cersei for her gender and scorning Tyrion for both his stature and killing his wife in childbirth. However, Jaime is on reasonably good terms with Tywin - not so much that he is "proud" of Jaime so much as he has the "least shame" for him compared to his brother and sister. Even so, Tywin is upset that Jaime willingly joined the Kingsguard, as while it is considered the highest honor for a knight, its members give up the rights to marry or inherit lands, meaning that Jaime cannot be Tywin's heir. Jaime wasn't in a position to act as a father to his biological children with Cersei, though he is generally supportive of Tommen and Myrcella. However, in sharp contrast with Cersei, Jaime isn't particularly fond of Joffrey, nor will he defend his actions the way Cersei does.
In the TV series version Jaime shows obvious joy when Myrcella reveals her knowledge that Jaime is her father and is happy about it, and embraces her, since this is the first time he has ever been able to show his feelings as a father to his children. He is equally saddened when Myrcella dies in his arms moments later.
Jaime's attitude towards violence is also complex: he threw Bran Stark out a tower window to kill him, but later saved Brienne twice (from being raped, then fed to a bear) from the Brave Companions (or Locke's soldiers in the show). The difference seems to be that after witnessing the depravations of the Mad King, needless violence and brutality deeply offend Jaime (raping his queen wife, burning those who disagreed with him...), though if he decides that violence and murder are absolutely necessary he will ruthlessly carry it out himself. He threw Bran out of a window because had the boy reported that he saw the incest between Jaime and his sister, Cersei, the woman he loved, then all of their children would be executed, so he felt he had no choice. After Cersei sends him away from King's Landing to help the Freys and his cousin Daven Lannister in the Second Siege of Riverrun, Jaime sees better the destruction and desolation that the War of the Five Kings has left in the riverlands. He develops again the empathy for the commoners he had as a boy, and watches with his own eyes these unresting lands who are still a place of fightings and raids from bandits, outlaws, deserters, and former Brave Companions.
Blinded by grief upon learning about the apparent deaths of her sons Bran and Rickon, Catelyn Stark gets drunk with Jaime and the latter swears a vow that he will try to find Arya Stark and deliver her, along with the captive Sansa Stark to Brienne. When the drunkennes was gone, Jaime only wanted to kill Brienne and flee, until his experience with the Brave Companions made him think about his previous life as a youth and how he learned to close his eyes ("going inside" as he calls it) to anything he did not wish to see, just like Robert Baratheon. Jaime whent from dismissing Brienne as an ugly wench to recognize her as a good friend who reminded him who really was and not the hateful Cersei's puppet he had become, reminding how he would have killed Arya Stark just because Cersei ordered him to do so. When Ser Ronnet Connington insults Brienne, Jaime slaps him with his golden head and tells him to avoid mocking Brienne upon his hearing. However he soon learns that even Renly Baratheon, the man Brienne loved and admired, used to make jokes about her aspect and called her "grotesque" at her back.