Arts & Entertainment

Sorry Jaime Lannister Fans, But He Must Die in Game of Thrones Season Eight

It's the Kingslayer's only path to redemption.
IMAGE HBO
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It's been a hell of a ride for Jaime Lannister. Way back in Season One, the Kingslayer's reputation preceded him. This was the man who broke his oath to kill the Mad King he'd sworn to protect. Jaime was infamous throughout Westeros as the man who felled a dynasty. And that moment—15 years before the events of Game of Thrones—came to define the Jaime Lannister before the show even began.

When we first see him push Bran Stark out of a window, Jaime Lannister is a broken man. He has nothing to fight for except for his sister/lover Cersei. He has no honor, which for a knight makes him as good as dead.

One could say that Jaime's spirit died the day he killed the Mad King Aerys Targaryen. Yes, we know he did it to save countless innocent lives, but to the realm he was nothing more than an oath breaker. Throughout the series, things went from bad to worse for Jaime. All of his bastard children are dead. His hand has been cut off and he's lost his ability to fight—essentially the only thing he had left.

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When we last see him in Season Seven, he's finally freed himself from his love of Cersei. At his worst moments throughout this series, all the bad and good Jaime did, he did for Cersei. Now, in her madness, she's putting the fate of humanity at risk. She will continue to fight Jon and Daenerys even as the army of the undead marches toward Winterfell. And Jaime has finally chosen the honorable path. He's heading north. He's fighting for the living.

But, as Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Jaime, told me after the Season Seven finale, even his journey north will be dangerous:

He's going into enemy territory, and he's quite recognizable with that gold hand. If he wants to even get to battle before he's killed by Stark soldiers, he's going to need a bit of luck. You'd hope he can get there. But who knows, I might read Episode One of Season Eight and it says Jaime meets a Stark soldier and he's killed.

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From there, he has an entire epic war with the undead to fight. And that's exactly where things will get pretty dicey for our dude, Jaime.The two major theories involving the conclusion of Jaime's character arc are he'll either kill Cersei or he will kill the Night King. Either scenario puts Jaime in a pretty dangerous situation.

Let's first consider the idea that he'll kill Cersei. Now, this would make for a beautiful and tragic story for Jaime to kill his lover and the mother of his children. He would kill one Mad King, then kill the Mad Queen. It's Shakespearian. But to do this, he'd have to somehow find a way into the Red Keep in King's Landing. Say he does come face to face with Cersei and somehow assassinate her. The chances of him escaping alive are slim, especially with the undead Mountain looming by her side. Maybe he kills Cersei, but it would be in sacrifice of himself.

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IMAGE: HBO

The same could be said for the possibility that Jaime kills the Night King. Again, it's beautiful—he kills one fire king and one ice king. But he faces the same issue of somehow surviving that assassination.

Regardless of the scenario, Jaime must die. His character's entire driving force throughout the season is to change what the history books say about him. If he can pull off some grand heroic feat, he will die knowing he's not the Kingslayer, but someone more honorable. He would also know that he died finding a noble cause to give his life to. After he killed the Mad King, Jaime had nothing to fight for except for his love of Cersei. Now, he's fighting for the living, even if that means he must join the dead himself.

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This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Matt Miller
Matt Miller is the Associate Culture Editor for Esquire.com
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