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Apr 30 2018, 09:36 AM
Ser Jaime Lannister is the eldest son of Tywin Lannister, younger twin brother of Cersei, and older brother of Tyrion Lannister. He is tall and golden, with flashing green eyes and a smile that cut like a knife. Anyone who happened upon him calls him the Lion of Lannister to his face and whispers “Kingslayer” behind his back. Jaime is a beautiful man, the perfect golden son of Tywin Lannister but he is seriously flawed. He’s arrogant and vain, wearing glittering gilded armour. He’s impulsive, reckless and violent, willing to kill to get his way. He threw Brandon Stark out of a tower window for seeing him with Cersei; he murdered his own cousin to get away from a prison cell; and he uses his cruel words to hurt people.
Apart from his father, Cersei, and his brother Tyrion, Jaime doesn’t seem to care about anyone. He doesn’t believe in anything. He openly declares that Knights and the Kingsguard are corrupt, that religion is a fairytale nonsense and whenever he’s confronted with the evils he has committed Jaime just laughs it off. People think him vile, filled of nothing but pride and arrogance and that if there was ever a spark of honor in him, it is long extinguished.
Almost everything Jaime has ever done in his whole life he has done it for Cersei. He isn’t ashamed of loving his sister and of his incestuous relationship with her, openly confessing it on several occasions to Catelyn Stark, Olena Tyrell and Edmure Tully. When Stannis Baratheon and the Starks broadcast the tale of incest, Jaime considers it a kindness and for a while he daydreams of openly marrying Cersei and sharing her bed every night. If everyone turned a blind eye for the Targaryens surely they would do the same for the Lannisters, he reasons.
Jaime has spent his entire life in love with her and Cersei knew that for just as long, tugging and manipulating him at every turn. He was only twelve when he was sent away to squire for Ser Crakehall while his father kept Cersei in King’s Landing, eager to marry her off to one of the Targaryen princes. In the four years that followed Jaime got knighted on the battlefield against the Kingswood Brotherhood, yet when Jaime briefly visited King’s Landing on his way back to Casterly Rock, primarily to see his sister again, Cersei took him aside and revealed to him that their father was planning to marry Jaime to Lysa Tully. Desperate to find a way to be together, Cersei and Jaime hatched a plan to defy the wishes of their father by having Jaime pledge his sword for the Kingsguard.
Two weeks later a raven came to Casterly Rock, informing Jaime he was selected by Aerys for the Kingsguard and was summoned to appear before the King in the great Tourney at Harrenhall to speak his vows and don his cloak. Jaime felt relief of being free of Lysa Tully but the whole plan backfired; his father had never been more furious, resigning his office on some hollow pretext packing Cersei for Casterly Rock. So, instead of being together, Jaime and Cersei simply swapped places, and he found himself alone at court guarding a Mad King. He was only fifteen, the youngest man ever named to that honor. King Aerys made a great show of Jaime having him take his vows in front of his pavilion with half the realm looking on. When Gerold Hightower rose Jaime up and donned the white cloak around his shoulders, a roar went up the Jaime still remembers. But as soon as Jaime was sworn in, the King ousted him from the tournament to guard the Queen and young prince Viserys back in Kings Landing, denying him a chance to compete. ‘He’ll win no glory here. He’s mine now, not Tywin’s. He’ll serve as I see fit. I am the King, I rule and he’ll obey’ the Mad King had said and Jaime finally understood Aerys had chosen him to slight his father. Soon thereafter begun the abuse of Jaime Lannister.
It was during this time that Jaime himself started to change, being forced to stand witness to every cruelty Aerys Targaryen could come up with; the Mad King boiled lords inside their armour, raped, beaten and clawed at his wife, had the Starks horrendously killed. Through all those heinous acts Jaime understood that a man can bare almost anything if he must, that the world was full of horrors and anything one could do was fight them, laugh at them or look without seeing. He learnt to go away inside. And when half the country was in revolt against Aerys Targaryen he kept faith to his oaths. Only when Aerys revealed his plan to have Kings Landing consumed with wildfire instead of surrendering it peacefully to the rebels did Jaime find himself unable to uphold his vows. He killed the pyromancer first to block him from setting the wildfire caches ablaze and then turned and shoved his sword on the Mad King’s back. Days later, he kept on killing the pyromancers in the streets to make sure that the last command of the Mad King would not be carried out. And for all his troubles, Jaime Lannister was informed by King Robert while he was marrying to Cersei that the people had picked up calling Jamie Kingslayer. “Just don’t make a habit out of it”, Robert had joked.
It was thus that Jaime first learnt what it meant to be too good at too young an age, a lesson he didn’t really understand until fifteen years later. Hated, scorned, humiliated in front of the entire realm, Jaime went about life knowing that of all the oathbreakers of Robert’s rebellion he was the only one stuck with shit for honour. Jaime is forever haunted by that judgement passed on to him by Ned Stark and of dreams of Rhaegar and of the Kingsguard. They represent Jamie’s failures, the blood on his hands and his broken vows. Deep down Jamie is ashamed of the man he became; as a boy he dreamed of becoming like Ser Arthur Dayne, yet somehow he became the Smiling Knight instead. So, he found a way of carrying on, wrapping his insecurities under a sharp wit and cynicism, sarcasm and nihilism to protect himself from everything. So, as Tyrion plays the dwarf, so does Jaime plays the callous, uncaring Kingslayer. And for the next fifteen years, he distracted himself with what he’s good at – combat and sex with Cersei.
His love of Cersei can only be matched by his love for his brother, Tyrion. Since their time at Casterly Rock it was Jaime who treated Tyrion with any sort of respect and compassion and for those acts Tyrion is willing to overlook all the horrible things his brother does. And when Tyrion is imprisoned by Catelyn Stark, Jaime is the only one who’s willing to start a war to get him back. In the ensuing first months of the war, Jaime is imprisoned by Robb Stark after his defeat at Whispering Woods, only to be later released from prison by Catelyn Stark on the promise that Jaime will return Arya and Sansa to them. So Jaime travels to Kings Landing withy Brienne of Tarth. But along the way they are captured by the brave companions who suddenly, brutally cut off Jaime’s sword hand. It’s the hand Jaime used to kill Aerys, to cripple Bran, to love Cersei. His pride and his shame combined. Proud Jaime Lannister is finally brought low to the point he considers just giving up. Only the urges of Brienne keep him going.
His relationship to Brienne is a complicated one, she being his mirror opposite. Whereas both are shunned from society, he as an oathbreaker and she as an oddity, they share a lot of common. At first they hate each other. Jaime thought she’s an ugly, stupid freak while Brienne thought he was a monster. Eventually they start to respect each other, Jaime because he secretly want to be like Brienne, and Brienne because she understands that doing the right thing is not always a clear cut thing. Visibly altered through their journey together, for the first time Jaime does something good for someone who’s not related to him when he jumps to rescue Brienne from a bear. Later, he presents Brienne with a valyrian blade aptly named Oathkeeper so that she can upkeep Jamie’s oath to return Sansa back to the Starks.
Jaime returned to King’s Landing a changed man, much to the dismay of Cersei and Tywin. Cersei in particular chides him for his change which feels like a slap in the face considering that Jamie was trying to be a better man for her. Disheartened, he clings to the last thing he has, his position as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, which brings him in direct conflict with Tywin; for years Tywin wanted nothing else than Jamie to resign and now that there’s precedence with the ‘retirement’ of Ser Barristan, Tywin brought the old subject back; horrified to leave his last piece of identity, Jaime adamantly refused. ‘If you haven’t learnt by now, you never will.” the Old Lion said, finally disowning his golden son. That was one of the last times he laid eyes upon his father. Later, when Tyrion was on trial for the murder of Joffrey, Jaime finds himself clashing with his family again. Desperate to save the life of his brother, Jaime first bargains a deal with Tywin and when the plans goes awry, he rescues Tyrion from the dungeons of Kings Landing with the help of Varys.
With the death of Tywin, Jaime gradually saw Cersei for the lying manipulative person that she is, and Cersei rejected this changed Jaime. Having lost his father, his lover, his brother and his children, Jaime was left only with the Kingsguard – the last piece holding the entire edifice that is Jaime Lannister together. So, he turned to the White Book. Inside its pages were heroes like Ser Arthur Dayne and Gerold Hightower and all their great deeds. Jaime's page however did not say much apart from his deed of kingslaying and a lot of blank pages to fill. And at that moment Jaime realized he could fill his pages with whatever he wanted. There was an inkling inside his mind for years, many years, yet seeing that his fate was solely in his hands Jaime started to think that maybe, just maybe, he might be able to be remembered as something else than the Kingslayer in the end. He dared to dream that, perhaps, in the end of everything his pages would refer to him as 'Goldenhand'.
His first act was to travel the Riverlands and wrap up the war there while attempting to build a new identity as a more honourable man. Jaime begun to do justice, executing criminals and resulting conflicts between the petty lords. Eventually he found himself assuming the command of the siege of Riverrun from the Frays, which he resulted peacefully after he coerced Lord Edmure Tully to surrender the castle. Although this new Jaime was still aggressive, he was less reckless and less proud, to the point of refusing to wear his gilded prosthetic hand on entering Riverrun. Let them see the cripple, he thought. He even decided to be more active with his children. He used to think of them as nothing more than a squirt of seed inside Cersei, but following the events of his capture, he decided to be more of a father figure to them.
His streak of good fortune did not last long; following his attempt to get his daughter back from the Martells, Jaime had to see Myrcella die on his arms. On his return from Riverrun, he found Cersei on the throne and a big piece of Kings Landing having blown up and worse still, his last son, Tommen, was dead. Having lost his children and his father, Jaime finally realized that he and Cersei were the only Lannisters left alive, aside Tyrion who fled. Disheartened and disillusioned, Jaime tried to at least enable Cersei's rule by bending everyone to her will. Jaime had lost everyone and everything that made him who he was aside Cersei, yet everyone were saying House Lannister won the war.
But the war was not over. Soon enough a new threat was upon House Lannister. Fishermen from Duskendale brought news of a massive armada lumbering from the East towards Westeros. The Targaryen girl they had been hearing so many whispers about the previous years, finally landed in Dragonstone with an army at her back and three full grown dragons. Whats worse, the reports suggested that Houses Tyrell and Martell were already backing the usurper Targaryen, and their own brother Tyrion was advising the foreign Queen. Rallying their allies, Jaime convinced Ser Randal Tarly to a command in the royal army while acting out in concord with the Greyjoy Navy, the Lannisters won the early battles of the war. With Olenna Tyrell poisoned and the Greyjoy brothers and the Sand Snakes captured, Jaime felt more confident in their ability to see the war to a positive conclusion. However, returning from the sacking of Highgarden Jaime's army fell in an ambush by the Dothraki, routing and capturing almost the entire army in the process. During the battle, Jaime even tried to take on Daenerys Targaryen and her dragon head on, only to have his horse, Honor, roasted by dragonfire and himself barely resqued by Ser Bronn before the dragon could finish him off.
Following the defeat of the convoy ambush, Jaime returned to Kings Landing and tried to convince Cersei to capitulate peacefully. Yet, once again his pleas to surrender fell on deaf ears. Cersei was adamant to continue fighting, even when Jaime told her there was no way to defeat the Dothraki, the Unsullied and Dany's dragons combined. It took a ploy by Tyrion and Bronn to finally get Cersei to listen to Daenerys and John Snow and to grudgingly agree to a ceasefire. On the aftermath of the meeting however, Cersei reversed back to her original position, planning to betray her oath to fight the northern threat alongside Daenerys and John Snow.
That was the moment. Cersei had become so cynical at a level Jaime couldn't understand anymore. Throughout the years, there had been a lot of plotting and backstabbing but even then Jaime had always been straightforward with walking the talk. And during his confrontation with Cersei in the courtyard, while trying to make her see that betraying that uneasy alliance with Daenerys Targaryen is suicidal, Cersei delved further and further into madness. First, she revealed the fact that she has been working secretly with Euron Greyjoy to bring the Golden Company from Essos, without consulting or at least informing Jaime of their intentions. And then, when she's confronted with the fact, Cersei straight up called Jaime a traitor from meeting with Tyrion. And at that point Jaime finally got convinced that Cersei had gone to a place where he couldn't follow her any more. With Olenna Tyrell's prophecy still ringing in his ears, Jaime for once decided to act seperately from Cersei. “I'm going North,” he told her. Then Jaime finally sees that she's willing to kill him , that his life is meaningless to Cersei he understands that all of the feelings he has had for her were not reciprocal. She just didn't feel the same. And at that point the last part of Jaime gets shuttered. It took all his courage to tear himself away from her knowing that he was completely defenseless had Cersei got enough time to give the Mountain the order to kill him. That moment got emblazoned in his mind, the stupidity of loving a cruel, evil woman for so long, of laying down all his life into serving a woman who did not care at all for him.
headerThe White Tower
The Kingsguard meeting room was on the first floor of the White Tower, a four storied structure embedded in the Red Keep overlooking Blackwater Bay. It was a round room, completely devoid of furniture save for a wooden table in the shape of the Brotherhood’s shield and seven curved chairs whereupon the Brothers would sit when discussing issues of protection to the King. From the wall hung white woolen tapestries depicting times when men and kings were of better stock. Beneath was the guard’s armory, storing everything a knight might need, from maces and lances to shields and great helms. Above where the resting cells of the sworn brothers, a cubicle holding a small bed, a chair and a dining table, a small cabinet for the white woolen under garbs and a curved window featuring a partial vista of the bay, depending where the room was located in the tower. It was an unwritten law within the Kingsguard that the older members would at least be honored with a better view with years of service at the expense of the younger members. Ser Jaime Lannister had one such room with a view he didn’t particularly dislike, featuring the outer walls of Kings Landing and a hint of the Bay. He had once thought that Ser Oswell Whent, his neighbor to the left, was enjoying a fuller view of the sea, but then he had remembered that he got his premium vista only on the good grace of Ser Lewyin Martell. “I need no view of that pond,” the Prince of Dorne had said disdainfully when offered the room. Jaime had thought that Ser Lewyin must have been so accustomed to the Orange Gardens of Sunspear that every other view paled in comparison, yet he had silently thanked his luck for Lewyin’s refusal. It meant that he had a place to ponder his life choices whenever the King grew tired of keeping him on guard. Exhausted, he made his way to his cell.
Lately the King was growing less tired of having him around. Before the rebellion, whenever the King was guarded by Jaime Lannister, there always came a point where the knight would be sent away. Jaime had learnt to look out for signs when his dismissal was imminent and he had grown expert to spotting them. Everything that reminded the King of his lord father, Tywin Lannister, was a definite sign of imminent dismissal, sometimes with curses, other times more cruelly. Jaime didn’t mind the cruelty. He minded when the King was in an unpredictable mood, something that was more and more common as the realm further dissolved into civil war. Aerys was dangerous when he was unpredictable. His latest Hand, Lord Chelsted, had learnt this lesson the hard way. But lately Aerys was uncommonly courteous towards Jaime and that made him feel on edge. It didn’t help that the Kingsguard was three hands short. With Ser Gerold, Arthur Dayne and Oswell Whent away from the Capital, it fell on the remaining four brothers to guard the royal family. Ser Barristan had worked out a schedule that kept his men as rested as possible but the strains were beginning to show. Just the other day Ser Donothor Darry had stumbled through the last flight of stairs. For a man of legendary command of his limbs, the threat of crushing flat on his face from exhaustion was a serious issue. Something had better be done.
“Ser Jaime,” the voice calling him was unmistakable; he knew Barristan Shelmy ever since he was sixteen years old and his squire, and had admired the knight for almost double as long. He stood by his crammed cell’s door, armored all in white. There was a serious look on his face. “I mean to have a council. Inform your brothers to attend.”
The room was round, its walls whitewashed stone slabs the size of an ox. In the centre was a table curved out of weirdwood tree, white as bone, in the shape of a shield. Three grown men could be seated on each side of the shield, and at its uppermost rim was the seat of the Lord Commander, still vacant. Jaime had been the first to arrive. He had donned the winter garbs of the Kingsguard, a tunic and breeches of white wool and a heavy white cloak above his gilded armour. A longsword hung from his left hip, on his right the scabbard of a dagger. He circled the table cautiously until he came upon the seat of the Lord Commander. A massive book was left open neatly on the centre of the table; the book of brothers was its formal name. Jaime took a seat, pulling the book towards him. It was open amidst the pages of Criston Cole. The shield on top his page showed the arms of House Cole: ten black pellets on a scarlet field. Curious. Why would Ser Barristan take an interest on the Kingmaker? Jaime flipped the pages indifferently until he happened on his own entry.
Ser Jaime of House Lannister. Firstborn son of Lord Tywin and Lady Joanna of Casterly Rock. Served against the Kingswood Brotherhood as squire to Lord Sumner Crakehall. Knighted in his 15th year by King Aerys II Targaryen.
Summed up like that his life felt rather uneventful. Jaime closed the book and pushed it away forcibly. That damned rebellion had taken all their energies and all of their attentions away from their duties. But the book at least could do with some updating and it weren’t such a demanding thing. He was half a mind to do so on his own, of writing down how he had saved Lord Samner’s life and how he had held his own against the Smiling Knight until Ser Arthur slew him. He had just enough time to stand up from the commander’s chair when he heard the door open, and take a few steps away from it. It wouldn’t do to be seen sitting in Ser Barristan’s place.
”Good, Ser Jaime is already here,” Ser Barristan said, pushing past the young knight to assume his seat. On his tail were Ser Lewyin and Ser Jon Darry. Jaime stood in place for his elders to assume their seats before taking his own. He was the youngest amongst them so he was seated furthest from Ser Barristan, by the tip of the shield. The seats next to him were vacant, one for Ser Whent and one by the left side of the commander for Ser Gerold Hightower. Across him sat Jon Darry, his eyes caved in from exhaustion, and next to him the Prince of Dorn, Ser Lewyin Martell. The last seat, closest to Ser Barristan was also vacant, reserved for Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning.
”I just spoke to the Crown Prince,” Barristan Shelmy said as a matter of fact. The Lord Commander waited to see what they would have to say to that, but none of them moved to speak. Jaime felt that it was curious since their three brothers had gone from the Capital to fetch Rheagar back. If the Prince was back, then the Kingsguard was not far behind. And that meant their long guards would finally come to an end. He turned to examine Jon Darry, but his expression was unreadable. In the end, Jaime decided to speak up. “Is Ser Gerold back then? And Ser Arthur?” Jaime had forgotten to inquire after Ser Oswall Whent, but he didn’t particularly held him to the same standards as the man who had wrapped him in the white cloak the day Aerys Targaryen decided to elevate him to the Kingsguard, nor the knight he hoped most to emulate since he was a young lad.
”No. Our Prince wants our brothers someplace else.” Barristan replied. They knew already. “What more, I got strict orders from the King. It seems our brotherhood is to fall shorter of hands, though not of spirit. Ser Lewyin, the King commands you travel to the King’s Crossing and tag along the forces your kinsmen have marshalled for the war effort. King Aerys feels they are lagging behind and he would see the situation rectified.”
”I’ll ride there at once,” Ser Lewyin said.
”I admire your haste, Ser Lewyin. Stay but a little while longer.”
”Where is the Prince now?” Jon Darry asked.
”The second reason for our council. He asked kindly to speak to us. He will come within the hour.” replied Ser Barristan. “The tower must look presentable for his arrival. Ser Jaime, you are on duty. Sweep the floors and lock the cells.”
Jaime felt his blood rising but said nothing. He bowed his head and left with all haste to prepare for Rhaegar’s arrival.
Rhaegar had come and was about to leave again when Jaime was done with his duties. The entrance to the white tower had been brought to shape easily enough, and the cells were locked, but then Barristan had banished Jaime to the armory and to a tally of their equipment. “It will serve us best to know what we can count on if push comes to shove,” the old knight had said, giving his new command. Jaime had spent the best part of an hour, scribbling numbers in a small book under the faint light of a torch. The undercroft of the tower that house the armory was deep inside the flesh of the Red Keep. He always felt creeped out when he travelled downwards, an uneasy feeling that had followed him since his childhood and his exploration of the caverns beneath the Rock. There was this sense something ominous loomed in the darkness below the earth and Jaime’s hair stood up at the nape of his neck. Finished, he climbed the flight of stairs two at a time, until he was standing outside the meeting room of the Kingsguard.
From within he could hear the muffled voices of Ser Barristan, and of Ser Lewyin, and the unmistakable soft voice of Prince Rhaegar. For the better part of the year, the prince had vanished, nowhere to be seen. Now he was once again in the Capital and Jaime was curious to find out what Rhaegar had said in his absence. Sure enough, it was a quick meeting. As soon as Jaime was reaching for the door, he saw the thing pulled away from him, revealing young, beautiful Prince Raegar Targaryen, resplendent in his black mail suit. “Ser Jaime,” Raegar called out to him, “tis a pleasure to see you. Forgive me if I must away. The men are waiting for my command in the rally field.”
”Your Grace,” Jaime said and bowed, “is it determined then to give battle with the rebels?”
”This war is tearing us apart. It is time we put an end to it, and many other things.” Raegar simply replied.
”What do you mean, your Grace?”
”After the battle is done I intent to have a council; things must change. They will change. I intended so long ago but… patience is not the virtue of some of our lords. I understand them you know. But it is no good to speak of roads we have not yet taken. Farewell, Ser Jaime. I leave my children and my wife at your hands. Guard them well.”
”So long as I have a sword no one will hurt them, your Grace.’ Ser Jaime replied confidently, with the assurance of a young man who had never failed in his duty.